March 1, 2012

As a wise man once remarked, it’s hard to get by – when your arse is the size – of a small country, and everybody sings: bah bah bah dah, bah dah bah bah, bah bah bah dah, bah dah bah bah, bah bah bah dah, bah dah bah bah, bah bah bah dah bah dah bah bah, bah bah bah dah, bah dah bah bah, bah bah bah dah, bah dah bah bah, bah bah bah dah, bah dah bah bah, bah bah bah dah bah bah dah bah.

Arse-to-aisle-size passage restrictions notwithstanding, it seems the mode of transport celebrated in the lines above, namely city-to-city coach services and, more specifically, the sector’s leading operator National Express, is experiencing a dramatic upsurge in popularity as young Britons are put off private motor transport by a combination of things such as rising fuel prices and insurance costs.

According to a report on the Channel 4 News website, National Express saw sales of discount cards for regular users up 36%, year on year, as more and more young people abandoned all hope of funding sky-high fuel prices and motor insurance premiums. Students certainly can’t afford to run cars any more, what with tuition fees and all.

It’s obviously a bit shite not having a car of your own – especially if you’ve gone to the trouble of taking the test (though the number of 17-25 year olds bothering to do so was down by 250,000 last year, a fall of almost 20%), but the bus isn’t really so bad. You’re far less likely to kill yourself whilst texting. You get to watch some cheesy rom-com you never wanted to see in the first place. You might meet the person of your dreams, or, failing that, you can chow down unattractively on your choice from a selection of overpriced crisps and sandwiches.

Train travel is also increasingly popular amongst the young. The C4 website reports that 1.2m young people bought discount rail cards in 2011 (one third more than in 2005), making an average 40 journeys each per year. Hence the complete absence of available seats.

We’ll be sure to bring you further updates on the slow death of private motor transport in future editions of Bankstone News.


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