Taking Stock - July 13, 2015

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Turn on the TV or radio news last weekend, and you’re likely to have heard about the Tube strike.

Auntie even hired a helicopter – scrambled into the skies above the capital to grab scintillating footage of folks boarding a bus.

I must admit my sympathy for the members of the rail unions – who use strike action as a political tool far more often than as a means to better the lives of their workforce – is limited.

But not as limited as my sympathy for Londoners who have been treated to a taste of life outside the M25 bubble. I don’t commute by public transport – not only because it’s so time consuming (seven short miles taking more than an hour) but because it’s so very expensive.

There have been occasions recently when I’ve been in town of an evening with the opportunity to sink a pint or two – no more, not on a schoolnight.

It’s a good job I hadn’t been aiming for a session, given the £5 hole the bus fare put in my pocket.

I’m not a motoring snob. I don’t mind jumping on a double decker, and I’d do it more often if I were able to pay London prices.

Of course, it’s not just on the bus that we get a raw deal up north.

Take the trains – particularly the worn-out ‘Pacers’ which pound the South Fylde line. It’s a far cry from the air-conditioned modern trains which whisk most London commuters home.

Even when new trains arrive in these parts they won’t really be new – Blackpool’s much-delayed electrification allowing the introduction of carriages approaching 30 years old.

Of course, London commuters will tell you they have no choice but to let public transport take the strain – the traffic would be unbearable.

It’s hardly a busman’s holiday up here either – some north to south routes becoming no-go zones at peak times.

I’m fast coming to the conclusion that’s down to the number of traffic lights, some of which I reckon are barely five car lengths apart (head down Whitegate Drive and see what I mean).

In fact, unless you own a bike and it’s the one day of the year when it’s not either raining or blowing a gale, travelling around the Fylde coast is far from fun.

Tube strike – we should be so lucky.