This is a second guest post by Dangermouse. Omnibuses welcomes contributions
Just like Tony Hancock and “go to work on an egg”, the bus was also a very significant part of working life. It was not so much a choice but an expectation, especially for what used to be called blue-collar workers.
A rare thing: a small network operates in Newbury for 21st century employer Racal VodafoneThe result was “Works Services” providing direct access from many residential areas straight to the workplace, with no need to change buses. Even in my local town up till 10 years ago, I remember seeing at least five different work services serving different employment sites.
Most were pretty busy and where filled with men, woman, the young & the older who were all happy and cheery. I bet if you think back to your local area 20-30 years ago you can remember seeing plenty of these types of services, running about providing a substantial network for workers, sometimes tied in perfectly with schools, all of which helped curb traffic on the roads at peak times.
Unfortunately, times have changed and so have types of employment, with much heavy industry now becoming rarer within many parts of the country. The result is that the special works service is no longer needed. Or if it is, it’s a kind of insurance policy for the occasions when the car’s off the road; or for young people before they can use their wages to buy a car.
But wait, new and exciting employers have appeared to help create many new jobs, but alas, many of these seem to have failed see brand new work services for these new white-collar jobs, with many people now being forced to use cars to get to work. The only place I know from this new generation of employer who provide “work buses” is Prudential in Stirling that has over 20 buses and coaches to provide such services, with many being well used.
But the question has to be why have work services never continued in great numbers. You might think call centres or industrial parks would look at this type of scheme to help reduced traffic and parking problems.
Could it be those white-collar workers don’t like the bus? Or do people just think of the work bus as something related to the past and needed to be gotten rid of? I get the sense that such services would have a much greater impact on reduced peak traffic, far more than form of political planning.
Pity that planning has resulted in the call centres in such awkward locations, ones that never seem to lend themselves to an easy bus service.