20 May 2012

Step Down Sunday - Highway Robbery

Step Down Sunday There’s a bit of irony in that after years of being stuck in the house unable to drive, now that I’m finally getting comfortable behind the wheel – Mr Goldfish has started a new job where he needs the car each day. It’s all the more maddening as there are actually new places I want to go. St Helens has a brilliant selection of charity shops I want to browse regularly and a gem of a fabric store!

As part of our low carbon commitment, buying a second car isn’t really an option – so I have to find a different alternative. Despite being local, my first trip to St Helens was just a few weeks ago. Now that I have a general idea of the area I thought it was a good time to try taking public transport.

So after turning to Google to check the times, plan the route and find the bus stops – my mother and I headed out. Everything was going well until I boarded the bus and asked for a return.

“A single?” he asked.
“No, a return.”
“We don’t do returns.”
“You don’t do returns?”
“No, we do singles for £2.30 or an all day travel pass for £4.60.”

£4.60 for a return! How is anyone going to give up the convenience cars if public transport is so expensive? It cost us nearly £10 to go 4 miles! To go the same distance by car it would have cost about £2 in petrol and maintainance (at a generous 50p a mile), just £2-£3 in parking, and would have taken half the time. In comparison, £4.60 can also get you a return train ticket to Liverpool – which is four times the distance!

The high price of transport has also stopped me from using local services. Last time I checked it cost £2.70 to go to the library down the street-but still too far too walk. Getting to the dentist is just as bad. I’ve also been feeling guilty that we drive to Meeting every Sunday, but when a return bus tickets cost £3.70 each it’s difficult to justify. As it is we drive an eco friendly car and use our trip into meeting to run other errands as well – things we couldn’t do on public transport.

Unfortunately it looks like the situation may only get worse if we move. We thought moving to an area with good bus services would make up for moving farther away from the rail station, but with such steep costs I'm not so sure.

Step Down Sunday Have you made any Steps Down this week?

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