|My certificate, given to me by Hilary|
I've only just got around to posting this but on 22nd May I completed my bus tour "Around the Edge of England", arriving back at the same bus stop at Bridge Road, Lancaster from where I set off in April 2015.
Regular readers will know that I haven't been travelling continuously all that time and that the journey was done in stages as and when time was available.
Full details are on the Around the Edge of England by Bus blog but the basics are:
I travelled on 51 days
Covered 5,000 kilometres
Used 257 buses
1 "electric railway"
1 miniature railway
1 pier railway
1 tube train (on a pier)
1 "floating bridge"
1 transporter bridge
and a hovercraft.
Most of the bus travel was free, because I am the lucky owner of an English National Concessionary Bus Pass, but it did cost me:
£37.80 in bus fares for journeys before 09.30 (before when the pass isn't valid)
£34 on ferries
£22.55 on train fares
£17.30 for buses in Scotland
£12.50 for tram fares
£12.40 on the hovercraft (by far the most expensive journey per kilometre)
£1.60 on the transporter bridge
40p on the floating bridge
The pier railway and the tube train on the pier were included in the ferry fares and I forgot to record how much the fare was on the (Volk's) Electric Railway.
97.3% of the 257 buses did exactly what they were supposed to do and 77% of them were exactly on time, with most of the rest being no more than 10 minutes late. I think this is a tribute to how well the bus industry is run and what a reliable and dependable form of transport buses are. I only had to adapt my plans to cope with disruption twice and those changes were minor and easily accomplished. The trains that took me to and from each leg of the journey caused more problems than all the buses combined.
Most bus drivers' behaviour could be described as "neutral". They did the job, but nothing else (although the automatic reading of bus passes by the ticket machines much reduces the scope for interaction between drivers and passengers). The friendliest drivers, without a doubt, were on the Isle of Wight. There was really only one unfriendly soul - ironically on the very last bus of the trip, although I did witness a rather heated confrontation between one driver and one passenger over a fare.
Roughly one-third of the 257 buses I used were double-deckers, which I consider far superior to single-deckers, some of which were very cramped and uncomfortable. (For those who don't know me I am 1.86m tall and most buses are designed for shorter folk.) In all honesty I couldn't recommend local buses as a particularly comfortable means of transport.
The travel was extremely safe. I experienced one very minor collision between a bus and the roof of an overhanging building and saw one passenger, who was standing up and not holding on when the bus suddenly accelerated, slightly hurt. These were the only safety-related incidents.
My favourite stretches of route were in North Cornwall, Northumberland and the Cumberland coast and my least favourite were in north Kent and south Essex.
Now where shall I go next?