Public transport. Don’t get me started on buses, taxies, trains or planes. Please don’t assume that I am some conceited, arrogant person who would never use public transport simply due to the ‘public’ aspect of it. I fully appreciate that public transport is specifically for us and is there so we are able to meet are individual needs, as well as to make our life’s easier, but sometimes public transport is not the best source of travel; believe me!
Every citizen in every city, town, state and borough all around the world use public transport on a day-to-day basis. Surely this would indicate that at least one city, town, state or borough in the whole world would be able to successfully reach a bus stop on time. That would make sense wouldn’t it? However, wherever you go in the world – whether that be in London, New York, Paris or Tokyo – I am certain you would find one thing in common with their public transport system; they are all utterly horrendous. This fact is true even without all the additional problems, and there are quite a few of those, to say the least. If you have the great misfortune to live or work in London, you will know that public transport workers can’t go a week without declaring they will be going on strike about one thing or another. “What’s the problem now?” and “What are they complaining about this time?” are frequent questions you will hear floating around London; like the grey, smoky fog that lingers in its once blue skies. As if this wasn’t enough, you then have road works and cancelled trains to contend with. And don’t even get me started on taxi’s supposedly taking the ‘’short cut’’. There are a number of things wrong with taxies in the UK; whether that’s in large, populated cities like London or Manchester, or average, small towns like Harlow. The first problem you face, especially in busy areas, is actually being able to win the attention of a taxi. As you stand there on a sweltering August day, struggling to keep hold of about 50 unmanageably excessive bags, all you want to do is hop in a taxi and relax, as you let someone else worry about competing with the hectic traffic. However, it’s not all that easy. To win the attention of a taxi, you are required to stand there for at least 20 minutes, letting the mothers with new-borns and old age pensioners acquire a taxi before yourself, and then finally enter in an epic battle with another tired, beaten individual whose aim is analogous to yours. Once you have at last caught a taxies attention you get in expecting to be home in no time at all, only to reach there one hour later with an enormous fee of £70...so much for the “short cut” your driver promised, ‘ey? A lovely day of shopping has rapidly turned into a horrendously hot, back-breaking, furiously fighting battle, and, to make matters worse, your £70 poorer. When you are early, the bus is late. Everyone is aware that, generally, buses are between 5 and 20 minutes late; if you’re lucky. This isn’t such a problem in the summer; the bus stop provides a desired shelter from the fiery, burning sun as well as a place to sit and enjoy the weather. However, there comes time when you have no choice but to take the bus in winter – the last thing you want to be doing in such a cold period. This is usually how it goes... You rush to the bus stop, puffing like a steam train, only to find yourself waiting for half an hour in the harsh winter cold, as your nose gradually becomes as red as a tomato. Icicles hang from your now numb ears, and you realise your heart rate has dramatically decreased. As last a rusty old dinosaur they call a bus lumbers into view, and you hope and pray that it has your number on the front. More often than not, you are heartbroken to see that this bus is not the one you need. However, you don’t waste time in deliberating whether you can take this bus to get close to your destination. But, of course, you can’t. ‘Public’ transport? Don’t make me laugh...it’s as if buses were deliberately designed to avoid serving you; the bus you want never seems to want to arrive. So, as you sit there, shivering (and now very worried that you might be stuck at the bus stop forever), waiting for the bus like a child waits for Christmas morning, you start to believe it will never arrive. When, if by some miracle it does arrive, you drag your frozen limbs on board and pay your fare. Just when you think things can’t get any worse you are then ripped off with an adult fare when you’re only 15! As soon as the ticket is dispensed, before you can so much as grab a pole to steady yourself, the bus lurches forward with a roar, sending your bag bowling along to the end of the bus, as you fall forward on to an elderly lady’s lap. You are now finally on the bus, hoping that you can sit back and enjoy the scenic views of the journey. This, however, is not possible, because you have to wonder around all the bus to find a clean and hygienic, chewing gum free seat, where you can stand to sit for the short journey.