One Morning at the Bus Station…

Travel

Buses get a bad rep. Research in Milton Keynes has shown that many people think of the bus as uncomfortable, inflexible, or even just low-status. Often, people hold these views with little actual experience of bus travel, or without acknowledging the inflexibility that informs their own thinking! Buses are an essential plank in building a sustainable travel system – cutting down journey times, cutting down congestion, and cutting pollution – Which means a boost for wellbeing.

All this in mind, we decided to go to St Andrews Bus Station the other day and talk to bus users themselves about why they use the bus, and what they get out of it.

Kosuke Kosuke is a student who was using the bus to travel to Edinburgh Airport for a research trip. For him, the best things about using the bus was that between St Andrews and the Airport, there were no changes to fuss with, and the fare was cheaper than the train.

Mattia

Mattia has used the bus to get to Edinburgh Airport four or five times. Like Kosuke, he finds the journey cheaper than other alternatives, and appreciates the directness of the route. He also loves using the free Wi-fi on board the bus, and taking the time to relax a bit – a privilege you can’t get with a car.

Mrs Sheila Walker
Mrs Sheila Walker is a real bus champion! She lives in St Andrews, but her husband lives in Edinburgh, and she uses the bus to travel there weekly to spend time with him. She had lots of reasons for loving the bus:

  • You can totally relax
  • The bus drivers are ‘completely high calibre’
  • The service is ‘very competent’
  • The staff are very helpful at the bus station
  • If you get a double-decker bus, you can enjoy the sorts of views that you could never get from either a train or a car.

Mrs. Walker had changed her transport habits after getting rid of her car, and was really glad to be free of the worry about maintenance or security, and never having to ‘drive round thirteen times’ for a parking space again!

Valentina
Valentina was using the bus to get to Leuchars, to then go onto a journey down to London. She uses the bus once or twice a month, and her journey goes to show the usefulness of buses as parts of larger mixed-mode journeys. You don’t have to compromise your horizons to travel in more efficient, more sustainable ways. For Valentina, the bus was her only option beside a taxi to Leuchars, and so was much cost-effective. Contrary to what you might think about buses, she found them ‘very clean’ and punctual.

Inspired? Tell us what you love about your own bus journeys in the comments below, or better yet, get on your bus! Use Traveline Scotland to plan your journeys and find the best bus service for your needs.

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alistair.macleod
Ali is project manager of Transition University of St Andrews.