A Bus Experiment

Sustainable Harborough Community

How can I reduce my carbon travel footprint?

To replace my small petrol car with an electric one would have a huge carbon cost for its manufacture. The electric car club sounds a good idea but what about holiday trips to see the family up north since train alternatives don’t work very well?

Have you used the bus recently?

Time to give buses a try now that they seem Covid safer. A bus trip to Harborough was a good test run and worked well as I didn’t mind being there 45 mins earlier than necessary.

What about trying to get to my exercise class at the Langton Greenhouse complex off the A6? That seemed a greater challenge. The hourly X3 bus, the only one to stop there, was ten minutes late and I was glad I made it in time.

But how to cross the A6? Thankfully there were islands and footpaths to get round to Melton Road and time to cross. I wondered how people who don’t have cars and who work in this area, manage.

Pathways and crossing points may be needed

Walking along the road to the Greenhouse was not a pleasant experience. For bus travel to be viable, we need pathways and crossing points as well as speed restrictions. 

I had a 30 minute wait for the return bus ten minutes after it was due, I began to wish I had the app that tells me where my bus has got to. 

My experiment taught me some important lessons. Bus travel can be a very sociable activity and a big help for good mental health, especially for people who live alone. It’s less stressful than driving on our busy roads and even with the cost of tickets, probably cheaper than the cost of car upkeep, fuel and parking. We get more exercise walking to the bus stop (though the poor air quality is not helpful). And the chance of any of these improvements being made, with an increased bus service, seems remote.

Harborough Carnival on Saturday 11 June will be hosting a Celebration of Cycling. I think a secondhand electric bike may be the answer!

Julie Fagan, Eco Church member, and volunteer, Sustainable Harborough Community