Great Western Coffee Shop

All across the Great Western territory => Buses and other ways to travel => Topic started by: grahame on February 10, 2019, 08:30:52 am



Title: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: grahame on February 10, 2019, 08:30:52 am
There gets to be a time in life where habitual car drivers have to give up - there's a case on The BBC (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47186875) overnight.  And at that point, they may be engaging in fewer activities so the need to get around may lessen, but it will still be there.

Senior bus passes provide an excellent way of encouraging people still get out without having to drive - provided that there's bus services from where they are to where they want to go.  The bus pass is encouraging to people to get out, but it's not actually 100% necessary; a number of seniors I have spoken to have said things like "I can't catch the 08:30 bus" when they can - they just have to pay - but the take the moral position that they should not pay as the bus pass encourages them to later services.  There is also the aspect that many of them are scraping around for money, and that certain buses have very high fares for short journeys to the shops / doctor.

The gentleman who's no longer driving now has an hourly bus - but day time only - calling at his Norfolk place. It runs to King's Lynn and Hunstanton (not sure if those would be his chosen destinations?) and there are 4 services, at intervals of 2 hours on a Sunday.   Once in King's Lynn, train services onwards connect him with the rest of the UK and he can get a third off with a senior rail card.  I do suspect his financial and security situation allow him to be driven in private transport and any bus trips would be for publicity purposes, but still and interesting study.

He and his wife have - if I have counted right - three other homes!   One in Central London is crawling with public transport and he should have no problems getting around "in town".  A second one has a couple of railway stations not far from the gates; I have not checked on local bus services.  Sadly, the third one is going to be a real problem - the railway line was lost as part of the "Beeching Axe" half a century ago, and the bus (every 2 hours, Monday to Saturday only) takes over 2 hours with 2 changes (or is it the same vehicle) to reach his railhead.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: martyjon on February 10, 2019, 09:38:30 am
Send im a copy of yer Melksham Train Guide which was available at yesterdays forum meet.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: Red Squirrel on February 10, 2019, 09:57:36 am
Sadly, the third one is going to be a real problem ...

There is, of course, a reopening campaign (http://www.hunstantonrail.org.uk/). Maybe the old gentleman in question might think about giving it his seal of approval? Here's his local station, just waiting for the track to be relaid!

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7e/Wolferton_Station_17.01.2010.jpg)
By Chalkietom - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16778429


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: TaplowGreen on February 10, 2019, 11:14:26 am
If bus passes were means tested (as they should be) rather than universal, I fear the gentleman being alluded to hear may just miss out.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: martyjon on February 10, 2019, 11:46:44 am
If bus passes were means tested (as they should be) rather than universal, I fear the gentleman being alluded to hear may just miss out.

If bus passes were to be means tested they should be means tested up to a certain age (say 75) and then issued universally. Many pensioners have a largish pension pot at pensionable age which then diminishes as time flies by to become asset rich but cash poor by the time they reach their late seventies or eighties.

One problem with bus passes being the availability to older folk living in rural communities with no bus service to use them on.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: eXPassenger on February 10, 2019, 12:58:51 pm
This is great in theory, however the problem is the speed of a roundabout route.

If I had attended yesterdays meeting in Westbury by public transport I would have spent:
26 minutes on a bus to Weston s Mare (free)
17 minutes waiting
1 hour 27 minutes by train including 12 minutes at Bristol (£15.75 return)
Total time 2 hours 10 minutes

The return has less good connections and takes 2 hours 56 minutes.

Or I can drive it in 1 hour each way with a direct fuel cost of around £2.00.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: grahame on February 10, 2019, 02:15:37 pm
This is great in theory, however the problem is the speed of a roundabout route.

...

Or I can drive it in 1 hour each way with a direct fuel cost of around £2.00.

Oh, I totally agree. Hence my comment about Phil's future journeys and whether they're to King's Lynn or somewhere else.  I will admit to driving to Westbury yesterday, mainly because of all the gubbins I had with me.  To some extent, a longer time taken by public transport can be justified if you want to work, sleep, eat, drink, relax on the way - personally, I'll take the train even if it's somewhat longer to avoid ending up too tired and at the same time making use of Transit time.   I do understand there were a lot of Cardiff fans on the train to Portsmouth, via Westbury and Southampton, yesterday to the extent that wort would have been hard.

But - another example of driving - I had an duty to perform from 12:00 to 14:00 at Chippenham Station the week before last. 10 minute train journey from Melksham - easy - right?    Wrong - an infrequent train service would have had me leaving home at 09:42 for a 12:00 start, and getting back at 16:05.  I drove, 11:20 from home, 14:40 back.  Happily take the train if it takes a bit longer, but setting a shift for 12:00 to 14:00 - missing the two hourly train at each end by 15 minutes - looked like it was taking the Mick.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: LiskeardRich on February 10, 2019, 03:23:31 pm
I see several seniors regularly who use their pass to get out and just ride the bus on a round trip, only getting off at the far terminus before rejoining and tapping back in. They seem to make conversation with other passengers or the driver (myself), so I guess a social service as well.
I hear it often from these seniors that without their free travel they’d be sat at home on their own. They particularly like the scenic routes. I work a slow route from Newquay to Truro leaving Newquay 5 minutes behind the fast bus however I seem to get several seniors wait for me rather than use the fast bus.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: Bmblbzzz on February 10, 2019, 03:56:05 pm
I see several seniors regularly who use their pass to get out and just ride the bus on a round trip, only getting off at the far terminus before rejoining and tapping back in. They seem to make conversation with other passengers or the driver (myself), so I guess a social service as well.
I hear it often from these seniors that without their free travel they’d be sat at home on their own.
They particularly like the scenic routes. I work a slow route from Newquay to Truro leaving Newquay 5 minutes behind the fast bus however I seem to get several seniors wait for me rather than use the fast bus.
I know someone who's a postman. He says they're told to keep an eye on certain people on their rounds, mostly elderly people living alone, just to check for signs of anything obviously wrong and to engage them in conversation as opportunity arises. I guess milkmen might have fulfilled a similar role in days of yore.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: TaplowGreen on February 10, 2019, 04:48:21 pm
If bus passes were means tested (as they should be) rather than universal, I fear the gentleman being alluded to hear may just miss out.

If bus passes were to be means tested they should be means tested up to a certain age (say 75) and then issued universally. Many pensioners have a largish pension pot at pensionable age which then diminishes as time flies by to become asset rich but cash poor by the time they reach their late seventies or eighties.

One problem with bus passes being the availability to older folk living in rural communities with no bus service to use them on.

Free rail travel on the same basis too?


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: chuffed on February 10, 2019, 06:20:03 pm
I don't think the wider benefits of the bus pass are considered enough especially by central government who cannot see anything in front of their nose, apart from Brexit. If the users were stuck at home all day, they'd be ringing for home visits from the GP/district nurses,meals on wheels, and home helps. With the bus they get out and about for some physical and mental stimulation, contribute to the local economy just by buying cake and a coffee,( perhaps not in Patisserie Valerie) and increase their well being. Surely a little activity in life, puts off the day a little longer, when they have to become more passively dependent. I just think it's a win win situation all the way round, and saves some money for  the NHS/ social care budget in the long run.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: TonyK on February 10, 2019, 07:11:38 pm
It';s more than that. When a 97-year-old war veteran runs out of lager, it's much safer for everyone concerned if he takes the bus, rather than the car.
Being serious, my mum drove into her 80s, and not just around town. She would do Lancashire - Norfolk - Oxfordshire - Bristol then back to Lancashire over a period of a couple of weeks, visiting family, but she had a near miss one day, 200 yards from home. She said she didn't see him coming, and it was time to stop. So she handed the car over to my brother. She said she would not have been able to do so without a second thought, but for the buses and trams close by, all free with her pass. So apart from letting the elderly get out of the house, the bus pass is an encouragement for those who really don't feel up to driving any more to stop before they do some real damage. I knew one lady, living where buses are a rarity, who continued to drive despite being registered blind! She could still see just about in the daytime, never went out at night, and took some convoluted routes to avoid having to turn right.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: TaplowGreen on February 10, 2019, 07:41:41 pm
It';s more than that. When a 97-year-old war veteran runs out of lager, it's much safer for everyone concerned if he takes the bus, rather than the car.
Being serious, my mum drove into her 80s, and not just around town. She would do Lancashire - Norfolk - Oxfordshire - Bristol then back to Lancashire over a period of a couple of weeks, visiting family, but she had a near miss one day, 200 yards from home. She said she didn't see him coming, and it was time to stop. So she handed the car over to my brother. She said she would not have been able to do so without a second thought, but for the buses and trams close by, all free with her pass. So apart from letting the elderly get out of the house, the bus pass is an encouragement for those who really don't feel up to driving any more to stop before they do some real damage. I knew one lady, living where buses are a rarity, who continued to drive despite being registered blind! She could still see just about in the daytime, never went out at night, and took some convoluted routes to avoid having to turn right.

You can get a free bus pass in many areas at 60. 60 is not "elderly".....raise the age and/or means test it. There are a whole raft of benefits  (TV licence being another one, currently under review, Winter fuel payment etc) which are handed out without any consideration of means testing. Just think of the revenue that is being foregone due to this.

Ironically Prince Phillip may start using his now! 🙂


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: chuffed on February 10, 2019, 08:37:06 pm
TG the bus pass age is the same as the state female pension age....in my case 65 years and 8 months. Please do not make wild assumptions about eligibility. It has not been 60 for a long long time in the vast majority of England. London Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland do issue them at 60 so perhaps any means testing should start there first.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: TaplowGreen on February 10, 2019, 09:47:04 pm
TG the bus pass age is the same as the state female pension age....in my case 65 years and 8 months. Please do not make wild assumptions about eligibility. It has not been 60 for a long long time in the vast majority of England. London Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland do issue them at 60 so perhaps any means testing should start there first.

Which is why I said "in many areas", not "all" or even the majority. I'm not given to making wild assumptions. I'm afraid I'm boring like that & prefer facts 🙂......I just happen to think that universal benefits such as these are not the best use of (scarce) public resources as they do not take into account an individuals means.....perhaps unifying the age bus passes are granted at 75 nationally would be a start?



Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: TonyK on February 10, 2019, 09:56:26 pm

You can get a free bus pass in many areas at 60. 60 is not "elderly".....raise the age and/or means test it. There are a whole raft of benefits  (TV licence being another one, currently under review, Winter fuel payment etc) which are handed out without any consideration of means testing. Just think of the revenue that is being foregone due to this.

Ironically Prince Phillip may start using his now! 🙂

Not in my area, or I would be using one already, to the general benefit of the planet.

As for means testing government will move away from that wherever possible. I spent a very large part of my working life either administering means-tested benefits, or sorting things out when it didn't work, either because of an error on someone's part, or deliberate fraud. It is hugely expensive to administer, which is fine when thousands of pounds of annual benefits is concerned, less so when you might be looking at the cost of one bus trip a week. And it is a brave - or foolish - politician who seeks to aggravate the biggest growing cohort of voters, and the one most likely to actually vote. (This is why George Osborne handed responsibility for TV licences for the over-75s to the BBC, to be phased in by a couple of years after he left office, so he can't be blamed if they are scrapped, but that's another argument). The other arguments against means-testing - the elderly don't do forms so don't apply, they are less likely to use a computer, many have cognitive issues, I fought in the war, the fuel allowance money pays for itself in terms of fewer deaths in cold weather - are also valid.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: welshman on February 10, 2019, 09:57:00 pm
The theory is fine, as is the theory of electric cars.  On Wednesday this week I have to attend an evening meeting 35 miles away and it won't finish before 21:00.  On Thursday, I'm 25 miles away for another evening meeting with a similar ending time.

By public transport  - 2 or 3 buses and two trains - I could get to these meetings in about 2.5 to 3 hours.    By public transport I could not get home before about 08:00 the following day at the earliest and could not start the journey before about 4 am.

So that's a car job - 35 mins each way mostly dual carriageway or motorway.

It will be both ways with lights on and a 700 foot climb at the end.  Would my notional electric car have enough in the battery?  I doubt it.  

Yes I can have a bus pass but there has to be a convenient bus.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: bignosemac on February 10, 2019, 10:14:35 pm
Most modern fully electric cars can comfortably manage at least 150 miles on a full charge. Range isn't greatly affected by lighting and other car electrics such as audio/visual.

Heating and air conditioning are bigger power draws, and cold weather can affect the power draw from the batteries, but I think most latest model fully electric cars would easily manage a 70 mile round trip, fully charged, on a winter evening.

If your meeting locations have nearby charging points then even less range concern.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: Reginald25 on February 11, 2019, 10:06:19 am
Given the clear environmental benefits of public transport (yes I know some would dispute that), and the trivial cost of running a few buses compared to major government spending on infrastructure, I'd like to see the bus pass brought down even further. Overall the saving to the government would probably be significant. In fact lets go all the way and make bus travel free (or perhaps with just a peppercorn fare to stop trivial use). Everyone would benefit, even the few car drivers left would have a better journey. I realise I'm being controversial!


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: LiskeardRich on February 11, 2019, 10:22:47 am
A thought I’ve just had.
If the bus is running anyway it’s surely better getting bums on seats of people who wouldn’t use it if it wasn’t free to them? It’s a few pence the operator otherwise wouldn’t have had.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: welshman on February 11, 2019, 10:33:18 am
Depends on your journey.  The NEDC cycle, used to measure consumption, is heavily biased towards urban stop-start low speed driving.  The journeys I describe are largely at 70 mph (or so).

Neither destination has a charging point within several miles.   Since I don't have an electric car, the issue is somewhat academic.  

My main point was that public transport to many of my destinations does not exist or is unreasonably slow or infrequent and not always daily.  

One regular 75 mile journey I make to Mid Wales would, according to Google Maps, require 5 changes of public transport and about 30 minutes on foot.  If I left at 08:30 tomorrow, I'd get there at about 14:45.   Allowing a couple of hours at my destination, it would take me until well into Wednesday to get back.   According to Traveline Cymru "We’re sorry, no journeys were found for your selection."

If I went on Wednesday, there is no local bus to the destination which would enable me to get there the same day.   So I'll stick with the petrol (not diesel) for the time being, thank you.  I wouldn't want to be out of electricity halfway across the Brecon Beacons.

(The destination is not the top of a mountain - it's a small village about 10 miles south east of Aberystwyth.)





Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: grahame on February 11, 2019, 12:14:51 pm
Depends on your journey.  The NEDC cycle, used to measure consumption, is heavily biased towards urban stop-start low speed driving.  The journeys I describe are largely at 70 mph (or so).

Neither destination has a charging point within several miles.   Since I don't have an electric car, the issue is somewhat academic.  

....

(The destination is not the top of a mountain - it's a small village about 10 miles south east of Aberystwyth.)


Many (most?) electric cars also have a cable with an end like this ... not the fastest of charges, but it does help you get out of a hole.  Perhaps we should have an "electric car" thread, as they are coming common but knowledge is patchy

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/leaf13.jpg)


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: TonyK on February 11, 2019, 02:16:26 pm
Research has shown that fear of an electric car running out of power on a long journey is a fairly large factor in deciding whether or not to buy / use one, even when the car in question will manage the journey easily.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: LiskeardRich on February 11, 2019, 02:46:26 pm
Electric car is out of the question unless I’m guaranteed parking outside my house. Sometimes end up 250+ yards away


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: Red Squirrel on February 11, 2019, 04:30:08 pm
Perhaps we should have an "electric car" thread, as they are coming common but knowledge is patchy

We do!

http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=18522.msg225620#msg225620


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: TonyK on February 11, 2019, 05:54:35 pm
And at least one of our members has an electric car!


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: Red Squirrel on February 11, 2019, 08:22:20 pm
We have a plug-in hybrid, which around town has many but not all of the advantages of an electric car. It has a pure-electric range of around 24 miles, which most days is more than we need, and we charge at home and generally set off fully charged. For comparison, the Hyundai Kona Electric (a pure BEV) has a WLTP range of 279 miles, and can be rapid-charged to 80% capacity in 75 minutes.

For a long time I found our car's winter habit of switching on its petrol engine in order to provide heat for the air-conditioning irritating, until it dawned on me that it makes perfect sense - a petrol engine is far more efficient at making heat than it is at propelling a vehicle along, so use that to heat the car and the electric motor to propel it... ;)

Plug-in hybrids are neither fish, fowl or good red herring, but have a role in the transition to battery-electric vehicles:

1. They salve the nerves of those for whom running short of amp-hours is more worrying than running short of liquid fuel.
2. They provide, for now, ongoing employment for people involved in the manufacture, distribution and installation of exhaust systems, cam belts, valve guides, lubricants, radiator hoses, gearboxes and hundreds of other moving parts, consumables and peripherals that keep internal combustion engines running. These people will soon find that their jobs join postilions, lampies, gong farmers and bargee's mates as historical footnotes.
3. They plug (sic) the gap while the charging infrastructure is developed.

Few things in this world are inevitable, but the demise of the ICE-powered vehicle is as close as it gets because electric motors - whatever means is used to store the energy that powers them - are plainly superior.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: grahame on February 11, 2019, 11:43:56 pm
We have a plug-in hybrid, which around town has many but not all of the advantages of an electric car. It has a pure-electric range of around 24 miles, which most days is more than we need, and we charge at home and generally set off fully charged. For comparison, the Hyundai Kona Electric (a pure BEV) has a WLTP range of 279 miles, and can be rapid-charged to 80% capacity in 75 minutes.

[snip]


I have opened a member's poll in "Frequent Posters" for our - err - frequent posters to give a picture of how our members get around when they're not on public transport.  I'm going to quote the above, and unsnipped, over there - a very worthwhile discussion but perhaps it will move into comments we may want to keep more private

http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=21049.0


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: TonyK on February 12, 2019, 12:24:27 pm
I don't think that our vehicular habits need to be a matter of great secrecy, grahame, and there is a good discussion starting here.

For me, the LPG car was probably the cleanest I ever had. That was a company car. The blurb suggested that one should drive about a third of the time on petrol - a mere flick of a switch was all that was needed - but all I paid for was fuel. I filled the petrol tank on my way home from France, and that lasted 2 years. The down side was that LPG burns hotter than petrol, apparently, and when I began to experience trouble, at about 85,000 miles, the garage told me that holes had burned into the top suface of the pistons. The lease company wouldn't pay to fix it given the mileage, and in any case, I was about to change jobs, to one wich wouldn't provide a vehicle.

I then had a petrol car, bought second hand at 28,000 miles, for 3 years, maybe four.  That gave me untold trouble later in life, when the instrument panel stopped working, but I used my satnav to get some idea of my speed and carried a can of petrol in the boot, being utterly surprised to find that a duff speedo does not preclude a MOT, until taking advantage of the scrappage scheme to buy a new diesel car. In three years, I changed one light bulb and had no other issues, so traded it in for another new diesel. Almost 3 years ago, I could see the way the wind was blowing, and changed to petrol. At the time, diesel was 2p per litre cheaper than petrol. Yesterday, it was 10p dearer.

I'm going to keep this one, in the hope of a government incentive to switch to electric in a few years time. But by then, I shall have my bus pass if they still exist. I may instead take the decision to do without entirely. That choice would be easier to make were I still living in Bristol, but even out here in the sticks there are bus services to take me to Taunton, Tiverton, Exeter etc, and Tiverton Parkway is just over 3 miles distant. Arriving back there after 7pm would mean a taxi, but the overall cost over a 12-month period would be lower.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: CyclingSid on February 12, 2019, 05:30:21 pm
When the whole saga about the gentleman in Norfolk being encouraged to hand in his licence started, I thought about when I lived a few miles down the road from him. There was one bus a week into Fakenham on market day morning, and a very merry bus back in the afternoon.

That area was not unique, and recent media coverage suggests it is going to get worse. By coincidence today I was told that Reading Buses get 80p for older persons pass trip. Gone up from 60p a few years ago. In a place like Reading that might be sustainable with all the other fare payers, but probably a very different situation in rural areas.


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: stuving on February 12, 2019, 06:05:33 pm
That area was not unique, and recent media coverage suggests it is going to get worse. By coincidence today I was told that Reading Buses get 80p for older persons pass trip. Gone up from 60p a few years ago. In a place like Reading that might be sustainable with all the other fare payers, but probably a very different situation in rural areas.

The ENCTS payment per ride is worked out for each authority area, so as theoretically (and it is very much based on economic theory) to give operators no gain or loss due to the scheme. It should be based on operator's fares and costs and usage data, but how often it is updated I'm not sure (each LTA works out its own numbers).


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: TaplowGreen on February 12, 2019, 06:29:19 pm
Just wondering on the same principle, why not extend free travel for "pensioners" to the railways too?

There are an awful lot of people who have parents living a fair distance away (myself included), who are perhaps not so confident when it comes to driving long distances due to age etc, but would like to visit family and grandchildren, or travel long distance for other reasons and local bus passes wouldn't really cut the mustard for those purposes.

Takes cars off the roads and helps older people to travel and keep in touch more easily - how about a publicly funded "train pass" too?


Title: Re: The move from driving a car to using the bus
Post by: grahame on February 13, 2019, 08:22:44 am
I don't think that our vehicular habits need to be a matter of great secrecy, grahame, and there is a good discussion starting here.

Difficult call .. and now hypothetical as it's been made. 38 members have voted on the new thread and a dozen different people commented and I know that a none-zero number of those would not have posted as openly in public. I have quoted much of the recent discussion here in public onto the thread as that data seeds and cherishes the topic.

The general principle applied in making the call is that there is a proportion of their personal or near-personsal data that members are happy to share with our known "club" of perhaps 400 who have established themselves as responsible members by making a certain number of posts without ringing alarm bells, but do not want to share with the 6,000 people who happen to visit the site, uncontrolled, each month and who can easily copy, paste, quote, misuse that information in any way they wish.

Your personal story / follow up is an excellent one to follow up the conversation and (give me  a few minutes to put on a pot of coffee) I will follow it up, quoted, in frequent posters now.



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