This award is for the best “other transport” category.
Public transport in Scotland has been off limits for much of the year, either as part of restrictions or as a personal choice due to the risk factor involved. At the end of November I took the bus to Edinburgh and the train back. I was meeting my son for lunch – permitted travel and permitted social contact at the time.
That little trip was my first on public transport for 8 months.
Back in normal times, when I was returning to Scotland from Athens on 1 January I took the Athens metro to the airport. It was fine, and for a Scot it was a small miracle to find any transport on that date. Nothing moves in Scotland.
My short visit to Malmö in January/February involved taking the Öresundståg trains for the 40 minute journey from/to Copenhagen Airport. They were fast, comfortable and a pleasure. Yes, I have crossed The Bridge.
Usually the airport bus I take to get me from the park and ride near home across to Edinburgh Airport does not figure in the discussion about awards. Maybe this year it has to. But then it does not operate on 1 January. My son had to pick me up with his car.
I would say the same about the mundane bus and train journeys I took a few weeks ago. But then in these Covid 19 times they took on a special significance. As things turned out they were great, and I felt safe. They were very quiet indeed, but the restrictions current at the time prevented people leaving my part of Scotland (Fife) unless certain exemptions apply.
That bus journey was emblematic in a sense, being my first for so long, and at the time I hoped it was a sign of life progressing away from restrictions. It was not to be.
Could I give an annual award to Stagecoach for a 30 minute commuter bus journey?
No, the Öresundståg has to get it. Apart from enjoying the short trip for its own sake, I had deliberately chosen the weekend of Scotland being dragged out of the EU by our “friends” down south. Freedom of movement for the last time on a train between Denmark and Sweden was symbolic.
It also brought back memories of my first visit to Sweden in the early 90s, when we (the Last Wife and I) took the sleeper from Stockholm to Copenhagen. In those days they put the train onto a ferry to cross the Kattegat. I did not wake up when the train went onto the ferry, but I did when it got off – close to its destination anyway.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2020 🏴🇪🇺🇬🇷🇩🇰🇸🇪