A day in Preston today, having been asked at short notice to assist at a "Your Bus Matters" event organised by Bus Users UK.
It's notable how train passengers seem to have no difficulty in getting their voices heard when it comes to complaining about the service they receive. Even the-great-and-the-good have to use the train sometimes. But bus passengers seem to be in a different league and could be forgiven for thinking that their custom is taken for granted and no one really cares what they think. No one who really matters uses the bus!
Bus Users UK was set up to try and correct that perception and days like today are part of its work. The day involved speaking to passengers from a bus parked in the city's Flag Market and very interesting it was too.
There was a lot of concern over cuts that Lancashire County Council is making to the bus services it can no longer afford to provide and over some very unpopular changes to commercial services in Preston itself. There were complaints about lack of punctuality on one major service, but the bus company representatives who attended were able to say that improvements were in hand, whilst at least one younger passenger was over-the-moon about the new buses on his route that offered high-quality seating and free wi-fi (and you don't get that in your car!)
A great variety of people to talk to, but star of the show had to be the little old lady who looked as if she would struggle to catch a bus into town but who turned out to be an accomplished traveller over half of Lancashire with a knowledge of services far away from where she lived and a stash of timetables tucked away in her handbag to prove it - in numerical order!
Meanwhile back at home I've been writing up the latest stage of my bus journey Around the Edge of England, which was mostly about Cornwall.