Have you caught a bus yet this week? If you’re not a bus user, this is definitely the week to dip your toe in the water. And if you are … then maybe take one extra journey! National Catch the Bus Week is in full swing. It’s organised by Greener Journeys, a campaign to encourage fewer car journeys and more trips by bus, stimulating economic growth, reducing congestion and CO2 emissions, and enabling access to jobs, retail, leisure and vital services.
We’re playing our part by staging five themed days, each of them underlining one reason for travelling (more) by bus:
Monday was Environment Day – promoting the positive role bus travel plays in improving the environment. As a company, we’ve invested heavily in reducing emissions and our carbon footprint. And we’re strong supporters of local green initiatives. To mark this, Desna and I took part in the local Beach Clean-up, and we had free bus passes to give out to fellow volunteers for their homeward journeys too.
Tuesday is Get Bus(y) Day – we’re celebrating what an amazing city this is, with wonderful things to do and places to go on our doorstep, and a great network of bus services that helps people enjoy life to the full – day and night. Members of our Customer Services Team are out on North Street today, marking the end of the council’s recent works to improve the pedestrian experience there, and giving out hundreds of complimentary journeys, plus coffee vouchers and bagels. They’re also handing out copies of our Improvement Agenda, detailing some of the initiatives we’re working on to improve the smooth-running of our network.
Wednesday is Community Day. We’ll be talking about how the company gets involved in various community activities, supporting and promoting good causes and community events, and encouraging staff fundraising and volunteering . For example, for this weekend’s Paddle Round the Pier – the annual beach and watersports weekend festival – we’re sponsoring the access beach for the second time, and providing volunteers to staff an entrance. Here’s a video about our various community buses. On Wednesday there’ll be the chance to win an annual bus pass too via our social media.
Thursday is our first Accessibility Day. Our Accessibility and Communities Officer Victoria Garcia will be at Churchill Square with a bus all day, inviting disabled people to come on board to try out the experience and discuss their challenges, apply for one of our Helping Hand cards, and find out what other help is on offer. Scooters and wheelchairs can be assessed for travelling on board, and the Mayor will be launching six brand new Shopmobility scooters that can be used on board the bus. The bus itself is our new “loop bus” – a pilot project trialling an onboard loop system for hearing aid users. There is a programme for the day here.
Friday is Active Travel day. We’ll be helping the council to promote its new campaign encouraging locals to get more active. We’re sponsoring brochures and posters, and carrying publicity about activities on our buses. This is an important campaign for us, because there’s growing evidence that cities where more people walk, cycle and take public transport have stronger economies and stronger social connections – and that active, less car-bound populations are not only healthier, they’re happier too. There’s a link to the council’s Get Active programme here.
So there you have it. Five good reasons and one national campaign to inspire you to catch the bus more often – starting this week. Have a good one!
If you’ve any comments, do get in touch @citybusnews.