As a car owner and regular ‘park and ride’ rail user, I don’t have much call to use buses in Doncaster these days.
And after a recent experience, I now know why.
Apologies to any bus drivers reading this, but it’s a profession that has come in for a lot of stick over the years.
Grumpy drivers leaving passengers stranded, grumbling about not being able to change bank-notes, kids and OAPs not being allowed to travel at certain times, just because they don’t have the right pass, that kind of thing.
I’ve experienced all of the above over the years (and members of my family have) and even now on the rare occasions I jump on board, I’m often met with a scowl from a driver unhappy about something or other.
Before you all come looking for me (presumably, three at once) I know full well that it’s unfair to tar all drivers with the same brush. I’m fully aware there are plenty out there who offer service with a smile and are no doubt helpful to passengers.
Anyway, back to my problematic journey and this week’s column.
With my train delayed due to a mechanical fault, I’d been forced to catch a different, later service, which meant I missed my connecting train at Doncaster.
Instead, it meant my journey to return to where I’d left my car, would have to be completed by bus.
Venturing into the Interchange, I found my intended destination on the screens and headed to the right bay.
The screen at the stop also displayed my intended destination.
As the doors swung open, I checked with the none-too- cheery driver that the bus was headed to where I needed it to be.
“Yeah, mate, no problem,” he replied.
So far, so good. And off we set. Let me point out at this stage, I was unfamiliar with the route.
Nearing where I needed to be, the bus suddenly swung off the main road and into a housing estate.
“He’s probably going around the houses before getting back to the main route, although this is a strange way to go,” I thought as we rattled along.
It soon became apparent that no such thing was about to happen and rather than head back into the village that both driver and display board had indicated we’d visit, off our vehicle headed into the wilds (well, the countryside bits) of Doncaster.
Racing to protest to the driver and jump off before I was never seen again, my protestations went unheard and the end of a busy day saw me trudging dejectedly along the muddy verge of a country lane about two miles from where I actually needed to be.
I eventually rolled home nearly two and three quarter hours after leaving work, hot, bothered and incredibly irritated.
And they wonder why people don’t use public transport.
I certainly won’t be taking a bus again in a hurry.