One ongoing story, soon to come to fruition (we bus riders hope!) is the saga of our new bus station. The original plan had been to begin work during the summer months which for all of us car less residents who reside in our local town would have been far more preferable to when the actual work began, some time in October, thus resulting in the horror that has prevailed for us during this winter.
Firstly some bright spark (no doubt male) decided that to begin with, they would knock down our old covered stand, which incidentally had both roof, sides and back thereby making it fairly protective during any inclement weather, and then replace that with four separate completely open to the elements temporary stands which will be demolished once the main stand is completed, supposedly some time in March. (Although we bus passengers are now all confidently predicting that this will not be achieved judging by the rate of work actually taking place recently.)
So, before they could even begin any building of the actual intended bus station itself, they had to firstly demolish our enclosed stand at the other end, erect four open to ‘everything nature decides to throw at you’ bus stands, then begin to demolish the other covered stand where the new bus station was to be housed. Follow all of that? No, neither did we!
Now we bus passengers should have known what would happen once we were all expected to use these new ‘open to the elements’ temporary stands. Yes, you’ve guessed it. We were to endure one of the worst winters for 15 years or so! Not only that, but some bright spark (again most definitely a car owner and of a male persuasion, in fact probably the exact same idiot who came up with the first idea) decided that our buses which had always used the same stand for the last 20 years or so, should suddenly begin to use two separate stands, thereby guaranteeing that plenty of bus passengers using our particular route would be bound to get on board the wrong bus.
Our two buses use exactly the same route as each other when going to Bradford, which is the direction we take when travelling home from town, but they do use a different route when travelling in the direction of Halifax, and so have two different numbers assigned to them. They have in the past (before all the upheaval and decision taken by this male moron to test whether or not we who use this particular route could see out the winter without landing in the Hospital Psychology Unit) always departed from the same bay/stand both when departing or arriving in either direction, so of course we have all grown accustomed to waiting at the same stand no matter which destination we happened to be heading in at the time.
The ensuing confusion whilst all the building work has been taking place has been enormous and we have all been relating many tales to each other of journeying in the wrong direction, standing at the wrong stand etc, etc. But funnily enough, this has only applied to us, the poor saps who use this particular route. All the other routes have been functioning in exactly the same way that they did previous to all the changes, which does beg the question, does this guy have a grudge against someone who lives on this particular route? An old girlfriend or divorced wife? Some other male who has done him wrong? We can’t understand it. (We being any poor passenger who has stood waiting patiently at the wrong bus stop only to either get on the wrong bus or see their bus go sailing out from the stand further down thereby causing them to miss it!)
Worse part was of course the horrible winter, where we all seemed to be stood waiting an absolute age, as is the way of things when you are a bus passenger and the weather is bad. During the worst of the weather, the buses tended to be running anything up to 15 to 20 minutes late, and with chill icy winds whistling down towards us from the west, many had taken to slowly shuffling their way behind someone else to try and afford a little bit of shelter. This was fine of course if you happened to be lucky enough to have some very large bulky gentleman waiting in the queue, but not when all there was were thin stick like ladies who looked ready to be blown over or worse, collapse from the cold. As a matter of fact, it has amazed me that no bus passenger has died from hyperthermia this winter whilst waiting for a bus in these useless stands. We might just as well have been standless for all the good they have been.
Why couldn’t they have just left the covered one in place and extended it to accommodate another bus? It was only one stand short as it originally stood. This would have saved them money as they wouldn’t have had to pull it down, build the temporary stands, and then demolish those when the main bus station is finally completed! What a farce it has all been, and we, the poor bus users of our little town have been totally fed up with it all. We do tend to be a lot of moaners around here at the best of times, but it has been the topic of discussion and rants and raves all the way through from start to finish. We who have lived through it all (and lived to tell the tale!) will not forget it in a long time, its been like an endurance test set by some unknown enemy hell bent on trying every bus users patience who has been unfortunate enough to reside in our area and use our bus station frequently.
When the new bus station is completed, and we all finally get inside it, we all ought to hold a massive passengers party to celebrate our endurance. Medals for bravery beyond the call of duty should be awarded to every passenger who managed to endure it more than twice a week. Long standing awards should be given to those who suffered during the snow storms of buses turning up at least 20 minutes late whilst they shivered under those inadequate shelters. We should all get another medal awarded for having the patience to endure the bossy guy that they assigned to patrol the ‘designated crossing’ making sure that we all walked much further than we really needed to even if our bus was just about to depart.
It has been an absolute nightmare and I am glad that I for one won’t be around the next time they decide to change our bus station!