Let the train take the strain while the bus takes the fuss

This weekend’s stag do for vigornian was excellent fun. Obviously we can’t reveal the sordid details in the possible cyber-presence of the hens, but each one of those details was planned by, or sprang spontaneously from the planning of, the best man. Congratulations all round to everyone for mucking in with the entertainment, but especially to him for the effort he put in. Bruges, incidentally, is lovely: we ended up seeing an awful lot of it, although perhaps I’d go back and see some of it again at a more leisurely pace.

All aspects of the journey that were left in Paul’s hands ran like clockwork—apart from a rather lax attitude to the prospect of our train leaving Bruges in four minutes’ time, but even that was technically well-judged—but my own journeys to and from London were a mess. As I was handing over to Stagecoach another twelve pounds, to fix the (mis-sold and hence expired) next-day return that I found to my surprise I had in my pocket, I had a minor epiphany: despite the cramped timetable, direct road and low prices, the coaches to London no longer automatically trumped the train journey.

Student life—still my main influence when it comes to decisions regarding transport, especially the Oxford–London journey—consists in part of being time-rich and money-poor, and in such a situation one looks at the prices of the seats alone when making the decision. But I’m old now. I have things I want to do with large swathes of my life other than read the NME on the Oxford Tube.

When Stagecoach aren’t selling you the wrong ticket, the difference in prices between train and coach is at most two pints of beer; when they are, then the coach is more expensive than the train by about the same amount. And the price of two pints of beer might look like two pints of beer to a poor student, but these days it looks to me more like an hour of my life that I’ll never get back.

(I’d complain, by the way, but I’d be mortified if CCTV showed I’d actually asked for a next-day return.)

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