The Last Bus
It’s a thing, this bus thing. Well obviously it’s a thing, indeed, but once you start thinking, like proper “ooh, my head hurts” thinking, then you start to think “this is a thing”. Maybe you don’t, how the bees-wax would we know?
Nevertheless onward and, err, onward. Buses, yes buses. They’re rather a useful little idea for zipping folks around the place, the cheery ding-ding of the bell, the thrum-thrum of the mighty diesel engine, the smiling faces of the passengers, each one aglow with thankfulness that they haven’t been the latest to shuffle off this mortal coil. Whether we like it or not, it’s a fact that the vast majority of passengers on buses are no spring chickens and it’s no surprise given that they travel for free. No problemo, we say. Indeed, cool and dandy. What we do have a problemo with is the routes of said buses and associated bits of stuff.
Take a wee shuftie at your town’s bus routes, exciting aren’t they? Indeed they are especially when you correlate these routes with the nodal centres of population for elderly people. What? Have we drifted into some weird time vortex where everyone sounds like a Local Authority Planning Officer? Fortunately not, let’s start again. On your bus routes map think about where lots of people with bus passes live: Residential Homes, complexes, aged people’s accommodation, and we dare reckon that most of ’em are on a bus route. Bus routes that over the past few years have been jiggered about with. Why would that be and why in blind buggery would anyone in their right mind have a conspiracy theory about elderly people and buses. Here at _Paul_And_Land_ we’re not in our right mind or maybe we are, who knows?
So you have a nice subsidised service providing a nice subsidised service for some folks requiring a nice subsidised service. And that nice subsidised service gets funding from those lovely people known as the General Public. It’s our money that does this fine thing and it is a mighty fine thing cos’ it gets people out and about, doing stuff and discussing the latest loss to this world, the state of feet or the latest news on Ruby’s arthritic elbow. Thing is, and this is the thing, all your buses are private, see, and so all these nice subsidies are headed straight into private hands. And these boys (and girls) like their money and so they make sure the routes, yes you’ve sussed it, go past where all the nice people get free travel as every person on free travel pulls the bus company a slack amount of subsidy money. Ker-bloody-ching!
You might want to think why the big players love urban routes and why rural routes are bad news for the big boys. The subsidy they receive is per passenger journey (40 pence in this neck of the forest) and, in reality their only motivation is profit. Conspiracy theories, us?