Sunday, May 25, 2008

Avoiding the private car

We went to the Cambridge Beer Festival yesterday. The nature of the event meant that driving was out of the question, so we had to take the bus.

It's not particularly inconvenient. We can walk round the corner to catch the bus, and it's only a couple of minutes. The bus route is moderately direct, and it's not much further to walk at the other end. Furthermore, the service is frequent - a bus every 10 minutes.

So should have been easy; but in practice travelling in Cambridge by bus is hard work and has often been problematic.

While there's supposed to be a bus every 10 minutes, in reality you wait more in hope than expectation. This case was no different - no bus at 20 to; no bus at 10 to; a bus finally appears at 5 minutes to.

Then we get to the railway station and the bus stops. Everybody has to get off and get on a different bus because this one goes no further.

A bit further on, we get into Cambridge and the bus stops. This time we have to wait 5 minutes for a new driver to take over.

All in all, the journey (it's about 3 miles in a straight line) takes about an hour.

What's more, the total cost - certainly for a family - significantly exceeds that of driving and parking a car.

Is it any wonder that we're having trouble enticing drivers away from their cars?

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