Friday 26 June 2009

Getting things into perspective

To say I nearly missed my train because of it would be a massive and unfair overstatement (I had the best part of 25 minutes wait in the end anyway), but I would have been in Paignton quite a bit earlier if the “discussion” with the driver had taken less time.

As I boarded the bus to go onto Paignton to get the fast train up to Exeter I was immediately behind a lady with a dog.

The lady produced her free bus pass (entitling the holder to unlimited free travel on any bus, in any town in England after the rush hour, not a bad deal when you think about it, and when you see what the standard single fares are), and went to get her ticket when the driver pointed out that there is a small charge for the dog.

The massive, outrageous, unbelievable and utterly unacceptable charge of 50p for the dog for the whole day, unlimited, anywhere on a Stagecoach bus in South West England.

The lady had a lengthy debate about how she thought this was unacceptable and wasn’t going to pay it, until the bus driver pointed out that she would have to get off the bus if she didn’t.

She grudgingly, and very childishly, slammed down a £2 coin (note here not fishing around scrabbling for small change) ripped the ticket out of the machine and stormed off down the bus.

Now to put this in a little perspective. The cost of a day ticket for the whole of Devon, on Stagecoach only, cost me £6.50, and I consider that to be pretty good value considering a single from Paignton back to Torre on Tuesday evening was £2.80

I don’t begrudge the free bus travel afforded to anyone over the age of 60, however, kicking up a fuss for a 50p dog ticket does appear a little churlish when you get so much free travel!

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