Public Transport

The 43: Early Morning Musings

43 Stagecoach

I’m a gal who loves public transport as much as the next person. Trains, planes, trams, and of course, the mighty bus. Offering such wonderful discomfort and delightfully awkward conversations with fellow passengers, what’s not to love?

In Dronfield, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to buses. For me, it doesn’t get better than Stagecoach’s noble 43. I mean, it’s usually a double decker, which is always a good thing; they kit them out with new seats every couple of years, so you know it cares about the latest trends in fashion and design; it has a set route from which it never deviates, unlike it’s reckless brother, the 43A (which I can only assume flips a coin at every junction to decide which way it’s going); and like a true Dronfieldian, it refuses to acknowledge the existence of Coal Aston (the one downfall of the 44 clan).

Because of my deep affinity with the 43 I’m willing to let a lot of things slide. So you’ve increased my NUS ticket price by 33% – I can live with that. So you occasionally decide not to turn up at a scheduled time – that’s okay, we all need a break every now and then. So Chief Ticket Inspector of the Universe, [name removed], gave me and my pal a bit of lip this one time – there’s nothing wrong with playful banter.

But recently I’ve discovered a flaw I’m not sure I can be so forgiving of. The 05.53 bus is not one experienced by the masses, probably because normal people are still tucked up all warm and cosy in their beds at that time. Unfortunately, I have a few soul-destroying mornings every couple of weeks which necessitate me to traverse the zombie-apocalypse-esque roads to Sheffield at this heartbreakingly early hour. It is on this journey, at one particularly dreaded stop, that your fault occurs.

Now, everybody knows that Gunstones bakery is a primary player in Dronfield industry and economy. It makes tasty food, smells great when you walk past, and is the sole driving force behind increasing culture diversity in Dronfield. It’s great really. My problem is, at about ten past six in the morning – when I’m already grumpy and tired and need to be at work by seven – there are so many workers finishing their shift at Gunstones that my precious 43, my gallant metal steed, is forced to remain stationary for eight entire minutes just to let them all on. I’m not exaggerating there, I literally timed it on Friday. Eight. Minutes. At one stop. I’m sorry, but that is simply unacceptable. The driver always starts out blindly optimistic; he thinks it’ll be over in no time and naively leaves the engine running. Which makes it all the more demoralising when about five minutes in he sighs in defeat and switches it off.

There is one obvious solution to this problem which is already in action during the evening influx of workers from Sheffield to Gunstones. At this time Stagecoach organises a special bus just for the Gunstones employees, leaving the regular service free to run smoothly. I feel victimised that the same treatment is not given to us early commuters.

So rally forth, let’s organise a petition or a series of mildly threatening calls of complaint to Stagecoach and let us end this injustice! Or else I’ll have to resort to something ridiculous, like passing my driving test…

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