All this talk about the cutting of public spending does cause one to wonder about where the axe will fall and what effect will be felt by public transport. It might be that rather than being detached service users, we might need to have more of a helping hand in its provision. After all, it wouldn’t be without endless campaigning that the likes of the Settle-Carlisle railway line survived and we may need to brace ourselves for what we find ahead of us. Speaking of that railway, its supporters do contribute to the upkeep of train stations along the route, some of which were closed at one time. On a wider scale, community rail partnerships have their place and that looks certain to stay with the spectre of spending cuts looming in out futures.
That level of community support of the railways, especially rural ones, has made me wonder about the same for our bus network. This becomes more pertinent when you see smashed up bus shelters like the one that I saw in Heaton Chapel last Saturday or the when bus service information boards attract the attentions of the bored (graffiti and cigarette burns are a particular nuisance). Extending this further, some shelters need a general clean and that only can help to make bus travel more appealing. Even in times when tax revenues were higher, a quick look around often proved that the state could not be everywhere and CCTV systems are not a substitute for local human action. That will become more so if the U.K.’s public sector debt is to be reduced from its current level. The result of this thinking is that I get to wondering about adopting a local bus shelter and keeping an eye on it, maybe even giving it a clean every now and then. It seems that no one else has had the brainwave so I’m sticking it out on the web to provoke perhaps a little thought. Maybe, if we all kept an eye on things, then we might save some of the cash that is spent on righting the results of moments of drunken and bored madness or even give rise to the idea that bus shelters are not mere infrastructural outposts but are part of a given community. Admittedly, this is blue skies thinking but, without a bit of that, where would we all be right now? After all, a bit of civic mindedness can make a real difference to an area.