Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Transport rant

Market Rasen station - I think someone must have been having a bonfire
I am coming up for my first year at Market Rasen.  I do love it, and I am deeply in love with the countryside, but I am beginning to get really rather cross about certain things.  I chose my house, which is five minutes from the train station, because I have children in their teens and twenties with friends and family around the country, and I wanted it to be easy for them to get to see them.  I also had hopes that we'd be able to get jobs in Lincoln, which is the nearest big town.

While I was able to commute back and forth down the Metropolitan Line to Aldgate every day in London without a problem - and find about 15 other ways of getting there if there were problems on that line, there are only two ways of getting to Lincoln on public transport:  there are three trains in the early morning, or a bus once an hour.

However, despite the fact that one's best chance of being able to get a job is in Lincoln, if you're wanting an office or shop job with normal opening hours, there's not much public transport to help.  The 6.22 will get you to Lincoln at about twenty to seven.  Pretty early for a 9-5 day.  The 7.39 will get you there at around 8am - again pretty early for a 9-5 day, but wait, there's quite a good chance that you won't get on the train at all.  Having come from Grimsby, and being a single carriage train, there is every chance that you may fail not only to get a seat but to get on the train at all.

The situation is just as parlous on the way home.  So if you were lucky enough to get a job working 9-5 in an office somewhere in Lincoln, you'd have every chance of having to spend at least the first hour of the day kicking your heels in a cafe somewhere, and the last hour too.  And if you don't manage to get on the 7.39am train?  You'll be waiting two and a bit hours for the 9.55am! 

I had no conception of the difficulty of living in a small town if you don't drive.  It is true my son does drive, but he's in University at different times every day, and some days has to leave at 6am to do a shift at BBC radio Lincolnshire.  It would not be an easy option.

What annoys me the most is the lack of any understanding that this is a problem locally. The new local plan calls for new housing to be built all over the area, with hardly a mention of the inadquate public transport provision *anywhere*.  I plastered the plan with my objections to this fact, but the other members of the Market Rasen Rail Users Group tell me there is very little interest in the poor train service locally.  In fact the representative from the Country Council left before the service on the Market Rasen line was discussed. 

You can't even go into Lincoln for a film or a meal, if you don't own a car and don't want to shell out £40 each way for taxis.  The trains stop before 9pm and the buses earlier.

It's annoying that the people in authority point to the line as it is and decide that there's no demand for an increase in services... and that the local train line, East Midlands, and the government can't make up their minds who is responsible for the level of service contracted to East Midlands - or who is empowered to change that.

I realise that a rural and less populated area such as this pat of Lincolnshire can't justify the sorts of high level of public transport I am used to in London... but this level of service doesn't even reach a basic baseline.  It's appalling.  And listening to the huge number of trains which pass through the station without stopping -feeling themeven, as the floor and ornaments rattle - is just adding insult to injury.

If people could rely on a good and frequent service to Lincoln, I can guarantee that it would be used.  How to prove that in absence of the service, I do not know.