On Trains & Buses

Travel news, views & information from Europe & North America by an independent public transport user


Diesel train operated by Transport for Wales

In recent times, public transport funding and usage have taken a hell of a battering. The arrival of a global pandemic saw to that after years of public spending constraints. It all is a world away from the times in which this website began. Though that was in the midst of the Great Recession, bus networks were stronger and trust in service provision was higher. All that has been pulverised by years of government policy and fears of disease spread in confined spaces.

If ever there was a need to promote the use of public transport, it should be now. After all, everyone is aware of the climate emergency but I also admit to having misgivings given the ongoing pandemic though it is the transfer of people from place to place rather than the means that is the real cause of spreading infectious diseases; we are starting from a nadir.

Grumbles about capacity, timelines, quality of accommodation and behaviour always have been there and are sure to remain given humanity’s imperfections. In 2008, I related an experience of being crammed into a Transpennine Express train while travelling to and from Edinburgh on my outdoors, travel and photography website that resulted in a comment from a regular contributor saying that trains were ghastly; it must have been living on a commuter line that drew that ire though fellow passengers shared responsibility too. Such invective shows that sharing of more pleasant experiences remains a constant need.

Staying Positive Amid Many Challenges

Such is human nature that we always want something better so we are quick to complain when all is not seen to be well. A counterpoint to this is the need to be grateful for what we have and share the good things with others. Since the establishment of this website in November 2008, that has been an intention that only partly gets realised. It is true that you find information on services and on places to find out more but I hardly have used the place to describe my journeys and that is partly because I have somewhere else for a lot of that. Still, there are opportunities to write about public transport usage overseas even if it has been a while since I ventured afar as of the time of writing.

There also may be happier developments to share. These could include any extra services that get launched or any improvements in the travelling experience. After all, we have HS2 construction is ongoing in England and London has got its much-delayed new Elizabeth Line. More investment is coming to English bus services too and it will be interesting to see how warm words about bus services get turned into reality. Rail reform is coming too in the form of Great British Railways and many will be watching how that goes, especially given the ongoing pressure to cut costs.

Tram passes bus in Manchester, England

2020 and 2021 were hard years for all of us so we could do with some uplift. As I write these words, staffing pressures are causing service cancellations and there is industrial unrest in the rail industry with numerous one-day stoppages over the summer period. Hopefully, these disputes get resolved soon since many are getting out and about again. That includes me too with trips to Ireland complementing those around England and Wales. Travelling further afield has yet to happen but there may be time for that yet. Confidence is returning while economic conditions are challenging and political tumult is unceasing.

Recent Snippets

14:54, September 16, 2022

The A537 Buxton New Road is closed near Macclesfield for approximately six weeks until late October. Because of this, service 58 will use Buxton Old Road instead but will still be able to serve Black Road and Windmill Street.

13:44, September 15, 2022

On the Bank Holiday for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, a Saturday Service will operate on all services provided by First Scotland East. In other areas like Cheshire East, a Sunday service is on offer.

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