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  • Writer's pictureJohn Emslie

Boring Buses?

So the BBC think buses are boring? Well they are a bit, aren't they. But for everyday use, so are bikes, trains and cars.

What's all this about? In a nutshell, a recent review of the BBC's impartiality on economic matters used their coverage of bus travel as an example of how the lived experience of news teams can lead to a lack of balance in reporting on bus use and investment...I love this report quote:

"Another example which loses out for a different reason is coverage of public spending on buses. Bus travel is, for a great many people, all there really is. There are more journeys by bus than any other form of public transport, and these services are significantly shaped by public spending through concessionary fares, subsidies, etc. But trains and planes receive more attention. Why might that be, do you think?"

And this:

"They’re [buses] also thought boring. They’re sometimes covered by local BBC services, but rare on national news. Transport specialists know all this. They’d like to do more but struggle to be heard. But from an impartiality perspective ‘not worth it because it’s hard to cover and boring,’ doesn’t cut it. Boring to you, maybe, if you don’t take the bus. Make them interesting – they’re of interest to passengers. ‘Boring’ is another of those judgments that doesn’t feel like it matters to impartiality but can mean neglect for big interests."

Along with the above, when there's a frost, I get peeved when weather presenters default to "so you'll need to scrape the windscreen this morning" mention of put on a warm coat for the bus queue//walk/cycle ride etc!

I dearly love the BBC (particularly my beloved Radio 5 presenting team) and of course it's not just them, generally, society has a long-established downer on non-car modes in general. Why? Lots and lots of simple/complex/logical/illogical etc reasons, and I spend much of my working life exploring them and trying to do something to redress the balance...including...bigging-up the bus!

Thanks to Local Transport Today (LTT) for drawing my attention to this matter and inspiring this mini-rant!

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