Ann from Lincolnshire travels by rail and bus for work and leisure. An adventurer, she enjoys a complicated journey! She’s been impressed by the cleanliness of public transport during the pandemic.
“I work as a community development consultant based at home in a small town between Doncaster and Scunthorpe, which has a small station and hourly services to Doncaster, which gives me access to pretty much everywhere. I have travelled from there to Sheffield, Leeds, York – and to Warsaw, Budapest and Belfast by train – and by bus and tram when I arrive at the other end.
“Why do I do this and not just jump in the car (which I still need to get me to the station)?
“I find public transport more comfortable – especially now the Pacers have finally gone! I’m under 5ft and being crammed behind that steering wheel for miles at a time is not comfortable. I can catch up on work, relax and read, have a sleep between commitments. I can see things that I don’t see when driving because I’m concentrating on the road. I don’t have to worry about bad weather conditions and I’m not pumping carbon emissions into the air. I love the challenge of complicated journeys by rail – the last one I did before lockdown took me to all four areas of Yorkshire, starting at a small South Yorkshire station, changing at Goole for Bridlington in the East Riding where I had two meetings, galloping to the station after lunch to catch the train to Seamer in North Yorkshire and changing to the TransPennine to Leeds to a third meeting, and then back via Doncaster.
“I meet so many interesting people and have enjoyed the shared resignation with fellow passengers when trains get stuck for whatever reason – which one isn’t able to do when stuck on a snarled up motorway – and we also have toilets and refreshments available when that happens!
“Since restrictions started to ease in summer 2020, I started to travel by train and bus again, as I was strangely longing to be back on Doncaster station. We had some days out walking by train and I started to use it for work again. What really struck me was how safe it was, partly for the sad reason that so few people were using it, that distancing was not a problem. Trains and buses are scrupulously clean as people with backpacks of sterilising fluid work their way up and down the trains, and there was evidence even on small stations of cleaning of surfaces happening constantly. Face coverings had to be worn on public transport throughout and staff have often stayed in their cabins and not checked tickets.
“Sadly, one of the effects of the virus has been the closing of waiting rooms on some stations. On a recent trip to Grimsby for a health appointment during lockdown, we were treated to 90 minutes sitting in a cold shopping centre with a flask of tea because the station waiting room was locked. Nearly all refreshment venues are closed as well on stations at the moment.
“However, despite that, I shall be back on the trains next week, planning my way around the temporary timetable, making sure my seats are reserved on the LNER, enjoying an Azuma pulling into Doncaster station just for me! I do hope our transport system survives. It is so important and our planet needs it.”