Since moving to my lovely quiet village, I’ve begun to appreciate the value of the village bus service. The impact it would have on people’s lives if it was cut would be catastrophic.
Catching the bus is some peoples’ only contact with other people.
So many times I’ve heard people say that they wouldn’t see anyone if they didn’t have a trip out each day.
People often go to the bus stop early for the simple reason, to catch up and chat with their fellow travellers.
It runs once an hour but the last bus home is at 17.10, which is a bit of a nuisance, but it provides a valuable community service. Many residents catch the first free bus at 10am – the first one where you can use a bus pass. I join them when I’m home as it’s a fountain of knowledge for everything that’s happening in the village. You hear who’s ill, who’s better, who’s on holiday and where; you hear stories from the past. This week I heard all about the time the village was cut off by the snow. Goodness knows how we got onto that subject but it was lovely to hear the stories. My own street had been wall to wall snow and the snow plough had come to a halt outside the village so everyone had to trundle through the drifts home, helping each other back to their houses. It was all told with tales of excitement, adventure and community spirit. Everyone at the bus stop had lived there a long time so could remember except me! I might be an outsider but everyone is so warm and welcoming. No-one passes by without a smile and saying ‘hello’.
As soon as people get on the bus there’s lots more greetings and smiles from everyone. Even the driver knows everyone and everyone seems to know the drivers by name. Due to the passengers being of a certain age, the drivers appear to automatically be more considerate and jolly.
It may be that the driver takes little money on these journeys as most people have a bus pass but the service it provides is so much more than a transport service. It’s a social connection that would otherwise be non existent in many people’s lives.
I like to call it the NHS service on wheels…..and far better than pills and potions……..🚌