How do rural families get to work and their kids to college?

Shocking, I know, but I’ve just realised I haven’t had a wash! And I’ve been out twice and walked the dog.

You see, I had to get out early and take my partner to work as we’re down a car at the moment. So just after 5am I virtually fell out of bed and into my clothes and went. It’s a twenty mile round trip and he starts at 5.45 most mornings. Today we got a lie in, he didn’t start till six! But for a girl who thinks getting up at 6.30 is gruelling it was a shock to leave the house at 5.25. I got back in time for breakfast before taking my teenager up to the village for the college bus. Another six mile round trip.

It’s times like this I know that when politicians get all righteous about everyone using public transport it’s just a load of ill thought out bullshit. It’s all right for them sitting in their cosy city offices with transport right outside their doors. But they have no concept of what it’s like for those of us who live miles from a bus that doesn’t start running till 7am. Cars are essential to our lives; we can’t all cram into the cities and towns. How else are we supposed to get to work especially if that work is in isolated places like the people I met on the road turning down isolated farm tracks to get to the vegetable producers and packers? How else are we supposed to get our kids to schools and colleges, when they’ve shut the local ones? Some kids have to be out at 7am to catch their buses, often after a car trip. It’s a hell of a long day when they don’t get back till 6pm.

We’re quite lucky. We have a village shop I can cycle to for provisions if necessary, another six mile round trip. But how do rural dwellers get to libraries, and hospitals and other shops without a car when this public transport the politicians get on their soap box about is far away and barely existent? And yet local facilities are some of the first to be cut back.

It is a heavy financial burden for us to run two cars, especially in an area where wages hardly support it, and we’re as reluctant as anyone to pollute. But cars are essential for rural communities, how we’re going to afford them is beyond me. ‘Cost of living crisis’ hardly describes it. Politicians need to step out of their uncut lives and see how the other rural half, devastated by the cutbacks, really have to live. We have to survive here; we’re not just playing at living in the country when we visit our second homes for a weekend!

Now I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll go and have a wash.


2 thoughts on “How do rural families get to work and their kids to college?

  1. Yep I’m with you on this one. We grew up in a village and only my father (who was at work all day) drove. The bus service was hourly – if the drivers could be bothered to stop – until 8.00pm. And that was pretty good for villages where we were. (Forget having a social life as a teen!). Luckily the nearest town was only a 3 mile cycle ride. As children we cycled every week to Brownies and Guides, there and back.

    Whenever people talk about upping petrol prices or cutting bus services my first thought is to those who live in rural areas. I’m fortunate where I live now, on the outskirts of a city with good (though not particularly cheap) bus services, local amenities for me and the children, but I haven’t forgotten what it’s like for those in other areas.

  2. Hi Ross
    As someone who has lived in rural isolation and now lives in a large village with amenities, I feel that I am more than qualified to comment on this. No-one can understand the hardship of living in rural isolation until they do it. It is one thing having a weekend home or going on holiday to the countryside but living there has to be experienced to truly know what it is like. If I am totally honest, it was only when I moved into a place with shops, buses and trains that I understood how hard life had been.

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