Thursday, 1 March 2012

A travelling we will go

I used my bus pass for the very first time, and a merry old dance it was too.

Last night, because we were going for dinner in Edinburgh (and very lovely it was too), we only took one car into the city; and because I had to pick up a large amount of yoga mats from my work that I need for a course I'm running in a couple of weeks, Mountain Man took me into work this morning, picked up the mats for me and then he headed home, while I did my work and then was to take the bus from Edinburgh to The Borders this afternoon.

I needed to get from Princes Street to Earlston and then from Earlston to Gordon. And this is how it went:

Because of all the upheavals in Edinburgh due to effing tram track building there are no bus stops in Princes Street, so I had to walk to George Street to find a stop. This was error number one. I should have headed for the bus station and got on a bus there, but I had free travel, it was a nice day, I had time, and so I decided to grab a bus in George Street. Big mistake.
The first leg of my journey was from George Street to South Clerk Street and it's really nice to be able to get on a bus, swipe my card on the reader and head for a seat. So far so good.

Second journey was from South Clerk Street to Sheriffhall. This bus took 15 minutes to come. I tried to get a bus straight from South Clerk to Earlston, but no-one knew where the bus actually stopped. And here's where the problem lies. Lothian Buses only know their own bus stops, but not where others, such as Edinburgh First or Munro's stop and I needed a Munro Bus No 51. Another quick swipe of my card and that was it.

Third journey was from Sheriffhall to Dalkeith (I'm not counting the mini journey when a lovely bus driver was trying to help me out and gave me a lift round a roundabout to the other bus stop on the other side of the road, which would actually have taken me but 2 seconds to walk!). This bus was an Edinburgh First bus and the rules of bus passes are different. You have to put your card on the swipe bit and leave it there while telling the driver where you want to go, you get issued with a ticket and that's it.

Fourth journey was from Dalkeith to Earlston (after a 20 minute wait for the No 51 to make an appearance). This was a Munro's bus and the rules are different again. You tell the driver where you want to go and swipe your card quickly on the machine and then he punches in where you're going, but you don't get given a ticket.

By this time I gave in and phoned for Mountain Man Rescue Services to come and pick me up in Earlston. It just so happened that he needed to be there anyway so it wasn't a problem.

So there you have it, four (and a bit) buses and two and a half hours later I arrived in Earlston, a village 6 miles from home. However, I now know how to use each bus system and get to all kinds of places I would never normally dream of going, and I know never to take the bus if I'm in a hurry.

Actually next time I'll not make a mistake and go straight down the bus station and no messing!

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