‘Travel Diaries From Around Birmingham’

Shaz Rahman- Bus and train

My name is Shaz Rahman I am a campaigner and the fundraising person for Birmingham Friends of the Earth. I commute from Birmingham to outside of Birmingham and I am continuously frustrated and bemused by my commute. This is why I’m taking part in Bham FoE’s travel diary.

At the moment I get a combination of the bus and train to work. I don’t have a driving licence so that is not an option. I have considered cycling parts of it along with the train but that is not workable a I get sent to lots of different places so I would not have somewhere to put my bike at all times. I also try to get a nap in where I can on the bus or train which is not a good idea on a bike. Where possible I do get a lift from a colleague in a car. I choose bus and train because this is the quickest and safest way for me to commute. I have a combined network rail, bus and metro pass. Outside of work I do cycle across a lot of the city as it is amazingly good fun and good for my health, but it has turned me into an adrenaline junkie

Whilst my journey does change from day to day a typical journey happens like the following. 6.48am 97a bus from Garrison Lane to Moor Street. 7.09 London Midland train to Stourbridge Junction (which is always 3 minutes late) 7.49 shuttle train to Stourbridge Town. 7.56 257 bus to Kingswinford High Street and about a ten minute walk to work. I have to be at work for half 8 so I do miss quite a bit of the rush hour.

My journey to work is ok as it is regimented and my connections lead on to one another. My commute back though I go through rush hour and it can take well over two hours.

When I commute to Wolverhampton things are different. There are quite a lot of trains that go to Wolverhampton at around half seven but most of the time when I get to the train station there are delays. I recently read that for November, 82.9 % of journeys where within 5 minutes of their scheduled time! Not even on time, within five minutes of their schedules time! How can that be good enough? Prices are set to rise in January again for rail fares but the service is consistently terrible. London Midland are notoriously bad for delays and trains that never actually arrive due to cancellations

I used to commute to Coventry using the West Coast Mainline and that service works well. I also am fond of the Chiltern service between Moor Street and Marylebone, but they are not cheap services so I would not consider them to be good value.

My bus route the 97a is a very good service which has many buses going along it even until midnight. The bus is good value if you travel on it many times a day but not if you are only using it for a couple of journeys. It is also worrying how Travel West Midlands have a near monopoly over the bus service within Birmingham so any complaints about buses seem to fall on deaf ears.

‘Travel Diaries From Around Birmingham’