Public Transport: the ups and downs

You might ask me, being 25 years old; “why aren’t you driving?”

I passed my driving test a few years ago and so therefore I can legally drive. But due to not having decent income and still living with my parents as well as having good public transport links, I don’t think I need a car yet.

So with that in mind, public transport is how I get around places these days.

Buses

Where I live in Hertfordshire, I can choose from a selection of buses to travel to various places. They are very good (if and when they turn up…). However if they don’t for whatever reason I can walk into my nearest town, which is handy when I go out with friends. I can walk back once the bus services have finished for the day. It might take longer than planned but at least I have that option. A few people I know live in villages, which can be hard to access using public transport. The reduced service does mean that I have to go to meet them at certain times of the day. So schedules can be interrupted overall as a result.

In contrast, city bus services are quite a bit more frequent than those in towns and especially villages! London Bus services are very reliable and a bus to a certain destination arrives a certain stop every few minutes. And with the Oyster card, one can use it to save money on bus fares.

Taxis

Taxis are the most popular form of transport in the world (according to BBC’s Top Gear). But they have a fair number of downsides despite this significant accolade. One is that the drivers themselves, (deemed “Kings of the Road”) are pretty bad on the road. Also in the town environments, the cost of taxis is pretty steep. Much higher than using a bus. Though despite the higher prices, you can at least expect high levels of reliability with taxis! They get there on time and always turn up.

Taxis are also very good in major cities like London. The fares are quite a bit cheaper but then again in London, one has the choice of travelling around London using the tube. Taxis though provide a good alternative for travelling on public transport. Especially if one prefers a bit more space…! 😉

Trains

National Rail Services

I regularly use the National Rail service to travel from my home-town of Hitchin to either the nearby towns of Stevenage and Letchworth or to the cities London and Cambridge. While there is very divided opinion on trains due to the overcrowding and constantly increasing ticket prices, they remain an important part of public transport for today’s commuting population in particular.

For me, I love the fact that you can sit back and relax on the train (should you be one of the lucky ones to get a seat of course…). Also despite the cost and overcrowding, trains generally are fairly reliable when it comes to times, even during peak hours. But you can get those times where trains can be very late (and I mean, VERY late)!

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London Underground (Tube) Service

The London Tube service is a great way to get around London. If you’re like me and struggle to memorise the many streets in London, travelling by tube does simplify this process much more easily! Though like National Rail trains, tube travel can be quite an ordeal. Tube trains 7 days a week are very crowded and even though a tube train arrives at a tube station platform literally every minute in some cases, there can be huge crowds on these trains. Though one upside to tube travel is that the cost of travel is noticeably cheaper than National Rail services, if you have access to an Oyster card that is.

 

Using public transport abroad

Travelling abroad can be seen as either fun or intimidating, especially if one is not fluent or at least familiar with the language in that particular country. It is therefore common in these situations to travel in either the wrong direction on the correct train or even worse, get on the wrong train altogether! I myself have had that experience and thus it can be rather awkward…! But it does happen to the best of us I guess! 😛

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