A bad start to the year
edited: Wednesday, January 23, 2008
By Maggie R Cobbett
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2008
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With the best will in the world, we can't all leave our cars at home.
Further reducing my carbon footprint was my great aim for 2008. Already a convert to reusable shopping bags, recycling, home insulation, water butts, compost heaps and energy saving light bulbs, I decided that making better use of public transport was next on the agenda.
Most of my long distance driving is due to my work as a television/film extra, with many locations well off any bus routes. However, getting from my home in Ripon, North Yorkshire to the studios in Leeds should not be too much of a problem, or so I thought until I read the bus timetable. My call time is often as early as 7 a.m. The first bus does not leave until 6.25 and takes an hour and a half to cover the 28 miles. Breaking my journey in Harrogate to take the train - the government in its wisdom closed down Ripon's railway station in the 1960s - would get me to Leeds only three minutes earlier and cost considerably more. Neither the bus station nor the railway station is anywhere near the studios. If I were lucky enough to hop onto a local bus straightaway, the earliest I could hope to arrive would be getting on for 8.30, by which time my name would be mud, both with the director and my agent.
So, it is with regret that I shall be using my car for the foreseeable future. By keeping mainly to minor roads, at that time of the morning I can drive door to door in well under an hour and at a lower cost.
Now is the time to confess an even greater sin against the environment. A recent Liberal Democrat report shows that British train passengers pay the most expensive fares in Europe. In a few weeks time, I am going down to Somerset for the Bath Literature Festival. I was quoted £125.10 ($244) for a return ticket from Harrogate, with a journey time of five and a half hours. As I know from sad experience, this gives no guarantee of a seat, even when one has been reserved. A National Express coach would have been much cheaper, but would have involved several changes and taken eleven and a half hours, including a two hour wait in central London. I do not care to drive all that way on my own, so I am taking a one hour scheduled flight at a cost of £74.74 ($144). It is going to take a lot of recycling this year to make up for that.