Taking Stock - February 1, 2016

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Being of a tubby persuasion, I like to take every opportunity to engage in exercise by stealth.

That means if I’m heading out to the shops and I’m not expecting to have a lot to carry, I’m quite happy to head out on foot.

It’s a policy which doesn’t always go down well with the children, who along with listening to commercial radio and only wanting to sleep in, count the desire to go everywhere by car as one of their little foibles.

Occasionally we do get caught out.

One such occasion came in the weeks after Christmas when, with festive booty burning a hole in their pockets, the brood demanded we hit the high street.

Anyone with children will know they have a knack of setting their hearts on whatever happens to be the most inconvenient item in any particular store.

And, being a softy at heart – despite the carefully cultivated 21st century curmudgeon persona – I sometimes struggle to say no.

And so, in the absence of pack horses or llamas on Victoria Road West, the decision was taken to catch the bus home.

Now, I’ve heard a lot of late about how local bus services are under threat.

So it was rather surprising to find the bus, when it turned up, was packed. The reason soon became evident – realisation dawning that of all the people onboard, I was the only one who paid.

As business models go, it doesn’t seem to be one for the long term.

And perhaps folks should ask whether they want a free bus in the short term or any bus at all for the long haul.

For places like Over Wyre – where I grew up –public transport is vital but sadly not profitable. It will always need a subsidy, but one which would be reduced if everyone made a contribution.

It wouldn’t be popular, but unless something changes quickly I’ll be forced to pay through the nose for a taxi in the future – far worse for my pocket and the planet.

That llama’s looking a better option every day.