Well at the end of my week how did I do? When I set out on this task I had two objectives, one was to see if it is possible to commute on the bus and the other and more important objective was can it help make me fitter.
On some of the More Bus routes like their M1/M2 services they have buses operating 24 hours each day making it perfectly possible to commute to your place of work whenever your job, even on my route which is the X1/X2 they have buses leaving Lymington just before 06:00 in the morning getting you to Bournemouth for 07:30 with the last bus home in the evening arriving in Lymington at 20:00 so is it possible to commute using the bus in our area? Yes very much so and when you consider parking in Bournemouth now costing £4.00 each day suddenly you start to find it can be cheaper by bus but without the hassle of finding that parking place. For me though and with my job of being in and out the office it does come a little difficult at times though again it is entirely possible.
The other objective was does it make you fitter, this is a resounding yes, I will share with you my stats below with week one on the left when I used only the car and week two using my bus card on the right.
As you will see my steps increased from a daily average of 1207 per day up to 2636 per day, an increase of 120% and my distance increased from a daily average of 0.85km (0.52mile) per day up to a daily average of 1.99km per day (1.23 miles) an increase of 135%. On top of this I had daily fresh air, enjoyed looking at what’s going on around me and even got to talk to people I would never have normally said hello to so all in all in my experiment taking the bus does make you fitter.
Will I be using the bus again? As I say this has been a bit of an eye opener, it is fair to say that yes I will be using the bus again depending on what my week’s diary entails.
Where I am a frequent user of the bus is in my leisure time, travelling to and from Bournemouth, to the football and even just coming home from town, as I have said before, taking the bus is the cheaper option to getting a ban or a ticket if I have been out for a meal and enjoying some wine. I, like many thousands of us in our conurbation have bus stops all very local so it is one mode of transport I will be continuing to use and if I help to clear our over congested roads then I am glad I have done my bit for the environment and more importantly my health.
For this challenge I was travelling with More Bus using their 7 day unlimited pass which costs just £14.00 and gave me a weeks unlimited travel in their zone A, they have many ticketing offers so for the full list visit their website www.morebus.co.uk
My thanks to More Bus for putting up with me putting some of my journeys into words but more importantly a quick word of thanks to all our bus drivers, they have a hard job with a high level or responsibility so next time your bus is a little late don’t blame the driver, blame the roads!
My commuting story – Week beginning Sunday 14th February 2016
Next week I am throwing the keys of my car away, only for one week but living and working in the Bournemouth area I wanted to see if you can live your week commuting and getting to appointments using the bus alone.
Being the wrong side of 50 and worse still being the wrong side of 90kg I realise that I am nowhere as near healthy as I should be. It’s a lame excuse I know but I get home late and tiered and cannot force myself to a gym, after all those who go are a lot fitter and lot younger than me. It was then I came across an article on the More Bus website promoting their Bus Stop Challenge
Volunteering to use public transport? Well yes, okay I must say I do use the buses but never for work, never during a rush hour and when I do I have either had a pint or two of I’m about to have a pint or three, a Christchurch return on the bus is cheaper than a driving ban…and Bournemouth’s ever increasing parking charges!
Thankfully these days, or in my case embarrassingly so, we all live with our phones, the health app on my phone is akin to my bank statements when I was a youngster, not to pleasing to look at, still let me share it with you.
Steps, a daily average of 1,207, not good, I know what you’re looking at, what happened on 7 February? Bournemouth were at home to Arsenal so I had to park the car and walk, good exercise just a shame on the result that time.
Walking, a daily average of 0.85km (0.52 mile), well less said about that the better, and the steps? Well that must have been at home so all in all I am not the model keep fit fanatic I once was, back in the 1970’s when I lived on my bike or got the bus, which then if I recall correctly was the old Hants and Dorset bus 13 from Ferndown and cost me I think £0.7p but feel free to correct me if you used to use that old bus.
So here I go, a week on the buses, if you are around on the More Bus X1/X2, 15, M1/M2 who knows, I could be passing on my thoughts of the bus you are on next week. Keep up to date with my week’s progress on www.lifebeginsmagazine.com on twitter @lifebeginsmag or on our Facebook feed https://www.facebook.com/lifebeginsMagazine/
Want to try the challenge yourself? You can find out more info and sign up yourself at http://www.morebus.co.uk/article.shtml?articleid=5460 and let me know how you get on.
Suddenly I am clock watching, yes I like millions of others in the country are waiting for that key moment in time, the 07:30 news? That last swig of coffee? But today is different. I been busy reading my on line time-table which is crazy, as I did the same last night. Surely they would not change the times when I was asleep, but no, it clearly says 07:34 so being a little more sharp than normal I leave the house.
Waving goodbye to my car I set out on a bright but very fresh morning, its not far to my bus stop, maybe just a couple of minutes, but its embarrassing to say this one walk this morning will be a longer walk than some of my average days put together. Down the road, under that most elegant of trees I often look at as I drive past, I notice I’m being followed by someone’s cat – he obviously doesn’t recognise me as a regular, down the ally and hey presto here I am on Purewell Road, Christchurch. Turn right and within 20 metres I am at the bus stop. That is something we are all lucky with in the Bournemouth conurbation, we have loads of bus stops so it’s never too far to walk….but does that then defeat the object of this whole exercise (excuse the pun).
Others are waiting, does that mean I am on time? Are they waiting for another bus and I have missed mine? Is it just me or do we all think like that? Well I did not have long to wait as bang on time, 07:34 my bus turned up. In this case it is the X1 and all decked out in Heart FM livery. Yes I am a realist and I know that buses are not always on time but seeing this bus had just come from Lymington I was slightly impressed.
I have a smart card for the week – on More Bus they call it ‘The Key’ and effective it is too, simple to use and no money needed. On the card I have I can use it as often as I wish during the week. Well I have to be honest, it’s not the comfort of my car but it is clean, it’s bright and airy and very smooth.
Arriving at my office none the worse for wear, the journey was not that traumatic, of course it took a bit longer than when I drive myself but with no car park charges and having a slight smirky smile as the bus skipped the traffic queues as it went down its dedicated bus lane I have to say that on day 1 I have seen things I do not normally see and got a bit fitter in the process which at the end of the day is what this More Bus Challenge is all about, getting fit by using the bus.
Find out more about their bus stop challenge and their range if tickets at http://morebus.co.uk/ and join me again when I think I will check out the passengers on my bus and share my thoughts of them.
Agh, what was that? Someone spoke to me! ‘Morning’ the person said to me dressed in their heavy winter coat. Yes today was cold. Well, cold for us in the South at -3c but thankfully the bus was warm today (no waiting for the car to get warm or defrost!).
Now, today I cannot tell you which bus I am on – why? Because today I have been people watching, I may have changed colours or sexes just in case the people concerned recognised themselves in the words I write.
Going back to my new found ‘bus buddie’ I forgot to tell you what this person went on to say after a very pleasant and cheery ‘Morning’, which incidentally I did return even though I was always taught never to talk to strangers, “well do you think a bus will turn up?” they went on to say. Is it me I thought? I’m at a bus stop, after all – what else would turn up? And this is why today I decided to check out my fellow travellers who I spend the next 40 minutes of my life with.
It’s today I noticed that after I had used my card and turned to walk down the aisle of the bus I noticed one of those quirks of human nature. I am sure everyone was sat in the same seat as I saw them in yesterday, why is this? Have More Bus introduced reserved seating overnight and didn’t tell me? All this begs the question: ‘when I sit down am in inadvertently nicking someone’s favourite seat who would normally get on further down the road?’ Well if that is you, apologies but I do like a window seat.
Not many of us on the bus today, maybe because it is half term but you can tell at this time of day it is mainly commuters apart from that couple near the front, early for them both who are clearly in retirement and I would say by the way they are acting they are nervous, clearly on their way to the hospital which goes to show how vital this bus is for the ones who don’t drive and need to get to our local hospitals.
Sat at the back is someone who is clearly giving signs of ‘leave me alone and keep away from my space’ earphones in with a comatose look about them, he either does not want to be up this early or maybe is returning from a late night out in the heavy powerhouse that is Lymington…um no definitely the early start.
Another stop, now I recognise this person from yesterday, big broad smile and clearly happy to be going to work. Funny how happy people always stand out which is great in our modern world, hopefully they are this happy when they return after a day’s work. Oh there we go, just as I thought, same seat as yesterday. I think next time when I get on the bus I will sit in that seat and see what happens.
Do we all remember those films of days long gone by, a London bus grinding its way through the 1950’s and 1960’s smog, people sitting on the bus reading a paper and cigarette smoke filling the bus (upper deck only mind you), not one person today is reading a paper but what all seem to have is those annoying phones! Yes a majority are all tapping away (probably making use of the free WIFI onboard!). Music, texting, who knows but whatever it is it all equals less interaction between people which, maybe I am right or wrong, but for the future that cannot be good.
Here we go, its my stop, a quick ‘thank you’ to the driver, it does annoy me when people do not thank the driver, after all I can tell it’s a tough job full of responsibility. Oh well working from home tomorrow so no bus for me tomorrow (Wednesday) but back on board Thursday, think its time to dig my book out and spend some time reading, cannot do that when you’re driving.
Come mid-week I was working from home so it was a day without the car or the bus, I also had another problem in that the car needs to go into the garage so getting it from home to the garage in Poole is no problem, getting back then for me it’s the bus.
I am not normally a person who visits website of buses, indeed where I live we have plenty of buses so if its going the right way I get on and the same applies to when I come home. Coming home or back to the office from another part of town, an area when I am not totally familiar I then charted into the unknown territory of the bus time table.
Looking at bus stops times is one thing and is very straight forward, when it comes to being in an area you are not 100% familiar then that is another subject altogether, welcome to the world of the bus website!
In a former life of working on another magazine I used to review websites, this was in their earlier days and some of them were pretty bad, and some still are, this is not one of them. I am not reviewing the More Bus web site but I have to say I was impressed, bright and airy, easy to use, responsive even on a 3G phone (I tried both 3G and 4G) and more importantly in our busy words kept up today on Facebook and Twitter. They have buses by numbers for those who know which bus they actually want, and for me who was a little out of their comfort zone their buses by map, from that it took only a few minutes to see what bus I needed to get home and with their “Live bus times” feature I must say I was actually impressed, South West Trains take note!
As my work colleagues will tell you I have actually quite enjoyed myself this week, okay let be honest it is not perfect for everyone but please take some friendly advice from me.
I took this challenge to get fitter, it does help, I have saved money, I have not really added to my day and after a long day of work I can read on the way home or even make use of the free Wi-Fi on some buses (yes they have that also), why not give it a go and let us know how you get on, you can share your thoughts with us by tweeting @lifebeginsmag or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org but before it finishes, sign up for the More Bus Stop Challenge.