Stuck between a pot-hole and double-decker

THERE were two straws that broke this camel's back.

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The first was unwittingly sitting on a wet bus seat that didn't make itself known until the moisture reached my skin. Just lovely.

After finally drying out, I got a whiff of damp bus every time I moved for the rest of my working day.

The second was arriving in the office like a shivering, bedraggled wreck, bluer than Smurfette, having spent 90 minutes travelling 15 miles, the first 30 minutes of which were spent standing in horizontal sleet at an unsheltered bus stop.

That was it. No more.

As environmentally-friendly as I would like to be, I have finally decided to bite the bulletand buy a car. Using Park and Ride is almost as green, isn't it?

So, at the grand old age of 35, I ventured into my first car showroom to do the deed, to cheat on the public transport that I've used for so long.

I had mental images of toothy, welcoming smiles; being sat down with a big cup of steaming hot chocolate while the ever-so-helpful salesmen talked me through the models and the financial incentives available.

I had high hopes of driving off into the sunset under my own petrol power, the proud owner of my first ever automobile, able to banish 'Eau de Bus Damp' forever.

No such luck. In the first garage, the staff didn't even brave the rainy forecourt to bother me.

In the second, the sales chappie tried to blind me with science, and I scuttled off home to the comforts of an internet search and the sofa.

But reading the news this week, I'm beginning to wonder what's the lesser of two evils.

As a bus passenger, it enrages me that car drivers coast along in bus lanes then hold up the traffic as they try in vain to rejoin the appropriate lane.

As a driver, I'm frustrated that the bus lanes aren't always well sign-posted – especially the 'Venus fly trap' on Cathedral Street.

I don't have any gripes with the council making millions out of bus lane fines, provided that it's the people using them intentionally who are penalised and not the poor souls who genuinely weren't able to avoid the lane.

It would be a different matter if the roads were well-maintained. Almost half of motorists in Scotland have had their cars damaged by potholes in the last two years.

So, what to do? Do I drive the daily obstacle course of hefty loan repayments, insurance, car tax, potential fines and damage caused by potholes, or do I put up with unreliable buses and the sodden clothes?

I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place, a pothole and a double decker.


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