Today’s columnist, Peter Davies: No sense in bus travel

First Buses
First Buses

Apparently the usual suspects, no doubt comprised of greens, health fascists and interfering busybodies, have just marked "Catch the Bus Week 2015" without telling us whether they intended to catch it.

Barely a day goes by without some self-righteous pressure group lecturing us on our various life choices.

There is little pleasure in the average Doncaster bus journey. Buses seldom take a direct route from A to B as dim-witted doodlers construct ever more complicated routes to hinder people's attempts to go about their business in a time efficient manner. The current Bessacarr service has to be travelled to be believed and it is now quicker to walk the two miles into the town centre.

Those wishing to travel to work between Thorne and Doncaster will have an average two and a half hours added to their working day. By contrast the train journey takes around 15 minutes each way. These are just two examples of a wider malaise.

In addition, bus fares are excessive; it is now often cheaper for two or more people to take a taxi and infinitely more pleasant. Anti-social behaviour, particularly but not exclusively from uncontrolled and apparently uncontrollable yobs, is totally ignored. No one is ever ordered off the bus and decent people often have to endure bad language and worse during their expensive journeys.

Subsidies to bus passengers are not to the poor - they are to car owners, often from outside the borough who use the two Park and Rides which have cost millions of pounds and are still under used even with the incentive of cheap fares.

Doncaster is the largest metropolitan borough in the country and is surprisingly rural. It would therefore cost a fortune to service all 45 outlying towns and villages with regular bus transport. The car must therefore remain the only sensible solution for most transport needs in Doncaster and policies should aim to improve journeys across the town.

The opening of North Bridge to outgoing traffic has been exceptionally popular but this should have been the start of a car-friendly approach such as cutting the number of traffic lights on Trafford Way and moving bus stops so foolishly-located opposite bollards.

The South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive should recognise the different transport needs of Doncaster. While shovelling our money on Supertram in Sheffield and Rotherham, there have been no moves to construct a railway platform near Doncaster Airport and develop an Adwick style train service to the south of the town. The PTE is one body with its Sheffield-centred bureaucracy which should be one of the first victims of the quango bonfire.