Rough rides

Homeward journeys on the 130 from Wilmslow to Macclesfield have seen me experience jarring rides along the way. That the buses were running late because of heavy traffic would be the best explanation for their being driven in a hurry. After all, these were the penultimate services operated by Arriva but the commercial service offering calls it a day ahead of the council-supported ones that Bakerbus of Biddulph provide; they are far more sedate in comparison to the experiences being related here and recent late departure from the office had me on one, the first time that I had ridden in a Bakerbus since they lost the Macclesfield-Knutsford contract to Bowers (part of Centrebus nowadays). A driver with his mind focused on finishing his shift can have his foot on the loud pedal for much of the time.

Add rough roads and you come away with the feeling that you are being carried in a bone shaker. In fact, that’s how it felt on the 18:46 from Wilmslow on Friday when it was running 10 minutes late. Every imperfection in the A34 around Alderley Edge gave us all a good rattling. While it might be better to have smoother roads, the current public spending environment probably makes that a forlorn hope. The same constraint probably means that the aging Dennis Darts that ply the route of the 130 will remain with us for a while yet and I cannot see Arriva making them ride better though complaining might make them aware of the problem.

Even with tarmac, roads always had their rough patches and riding a bike is as good a way as any to test the quality of a road surface. Every excavation by a utility company leaves behind a bumpy patch no matter how much they protest that they’re doing their best with resurfacing. Add repeated uprootings and a council will need to look at the situation though we’ll need to wait a good while for good kind of attention at the moment.

Until the A34 around Alderley Edge gets resurfaced and we get buses which ride better, drivers might do well to realise that rattling their passengers on the way home is not good for business. Keeping other road users such as cyclists in mind too would be a good thing as an incident on Thursday evening where a cyclist got cut up at one of Wilmslow’s roundabouts. No harm was done apart from having a irate gentleman thumping the side of the bus and shouting. The bus driver simply carried on and I wonder what impression of the bus industry was being given there. Distracted rushing can do harm…

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