‘My tour across England and I did it all on my free bus pass’

Alan Gurr, delighted having completed his grand north-south bus ride.   Picture: OX68981 Antony Moore

Alan Gurr, delighted having completed his grand north-south bus ride. Picture: OX68981 Antony Moore Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

BUS fanatic Alan Gurr has achieved his dream of travelling across England for nothing using his bus pass.

The 67-year-old granddad’s first attempt to traverse the country by bus failed last year because he missed a connection.

But now the divorced Didcot dad-of-two has completed his mission thanks to the national scheme, which gives free travel in England after 9.30am. And he has raised £350 for East Oxford’s Helen & Douglas House hospice in the process.

After a train up, he set off from the most northerly bus stop in England, at Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland, on Monday, July 14.

The following Tuesday, eight days and 32 buses later, he arrived at the country’s most southerly bus stop at Land’s End and took the train home.

Mr Gurr, who works on the factory floor at TNT packaging warehouse at Milton Park, said: “A lot of people spend all year saving up to go on holiday to a sunny beach in the south of France.

“That would drive me crackers. I’d just get bored and sunburnt – it does not appeal.

“I really enjoy England, I like my holidays at home, I like B&Bs and I like travelling. I decided to do it by bus just to see if I could, and I could.”

Mr Gurr said: “We all had very hot weather that week except for me in the Lake District.

“With all the rain and steamed-up bus windows, I couldn’t see the beautiful scenery.

“Apart from that, it was a very enjoyable week for me, helped by the knowledge that I was raising some funds for a very worthy cause.

“All of my pre-booked B&Bs were good – some of the beers I tasted weren’t.”

He said the best evening meal he had was at Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip restaurant in Blackpool.

Last July he travelled south-to-north but missed a crucial connection and had to take a train.

He added: “It was a personal challenge. One missed bus connection meant I had to complete that day’s journey by train.

“I decided there and then to do it again, properly, with no mistakes on my part. Now I have done it, albeit in the opposite direction.”

HOW HE DID IT

  • Sunday, July 13 – train from Didcot Parkway to Berwick-upon-Tweed
  • Monday, 14, – Berwick, Newcastle, Carlisle, Keswick, Ambleside – 4 buses
  • Tuesday, 15 – Ambleside, Lancaster, Blackpool – 2 buses
  • Wednesday, 16 – Blackpool, Preston, Chorley, Wigan, Warrington, Northwich, Middlewich – 6 buses
  • Thursday, 17 – Middlewich, Winsford, Crewe, Newcastle Under Lyme, Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth – 5 buses
  • Friday, 18 – Bridgnorth, Kidderminster, Worcester, Hereford, Gloucester – 4 buses
  • Saturday, 19 – Gloucester, Lydney, Chepstow, Bristol, Wells, Taunton, Axminster, Exeter – 7 buses (a busy day) A Sunday bus timetables meant I could not finish the trip that day
  • Monday, 21 – Exeter, Wadebridge, Truro, Penzance, Land’s End – 4 buses
  • Tuesday, 22 – train from Penzance to Didcot.
  • Sponsor Mr Gurr at justgiving.com/Alan-Gurr

 

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Comments (6)

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9:41am Wed 6 Aug 14

Gunslinger says...

The sort of stunt that will get bus passes stopped or severely restricted.

Lots of people are dependent on bus passes to get around, and some existing transport links will disappear for everybody if they are scrapped. This just plays into the hands of those who say they are an unaffordable luxury perk for people who don't need them.
The sort of stunt that will get bus passes stopped or severely restricted. Lots of people are dependent on bus passes to get around, and some existing transport links will disappear for everybody if they are scrapped. This just plays into the hands of those who say they are an unaffordable luxury perk for people who don't need them. Gunslinger
  • Score: 3

10:21am Wed 6 Aug 14

ashleyc says...

Sorry Gunslinger but I don't follow your logic at all. Why would this cause any problems to the pass system at all? It's not like he is exploiting a loophole or causing huge problems for the buses involved - it's taken him over a week to do. There's a national bus pass scheme and he's simply proved it is indeed national.
Sorry Gunslinger but I don't follow your logic at all. Why would this cause any problems to the pass system at all? It's not like he is exploiting a loophole or causing huge problems for the buses involved - it's taken him over a week to do. There's a national bus pass scheme and he's simply proved it is indeed national. ashleyc
  • Score: 3

11:33am Wed 6 Aug 14

icba1957 says...

ashleyc wrote:
Sorry Gunslinger but I don't follow your logic at all. Why would this cause any problems to the pass system at all? It's not like he is exploiting a loophole or causing huge problems for the buses involved - it's taken him over a week to do. There's a national bus pass scheme and he's simply proved it is indeed national.
Except that all the local authorities through which he travelled will have to reimburse the bus companies for his "free" travel.
So it's not free at all.
[quote][p][bold]ashleyc[/bold] wrote: Sorry Gunslinger but I don't follow your logic at all. Why would this cause any problems to the pass system at all? It's not like he is exploiting a loophole or causing huge problems for the buses involved - it's taken him over a week to do. There's a national bus pass scheme and he's simply proved it is indeed national.[/p][/quote]Except that all the local authorities through which he travelled will have to reimburse the bus companies for his "free" travel. So it's not free at all. icba1957
  • Score: 3

2:11pm Wed 6 Aug 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

Too right it aint free, his jaunt around the country will come out of our taxes.. in my opinion this makes him no better than MP's claiming expenses..
Too right it aint free, his jaunt around the country will come out of our taxes.. in my opinion this makes him no better than MP's claiming expenses.. yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: 1

5:25pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Gunslinger says...

ashleyc wrote:
Sorry Gunslinger but I don't follow your logic at all. Why would this cause any problems to the pass system at all? It's not like he is exploiting a loophole or causing huge problems for the buses involved - it's taken him over a week to do. There's a national bus pass scheme and he's simply proved it is indeed national.
The logic is quite clear.

People bragging about trips like this reinforce the perception among many that bus passes are an unnecesary freebie which should be curtailed, when other people are suffering cutbacks, bedroom tax, higher council taxes, parking charges etc etc.

If this happens, and passes are restricted or abolished, the sufferers will be the majority who use their pass for day to day use and perhaps the occasional longer trip when on holiday.
[quote][p][bold]ashleyc[/bold] wrote: Sorry Gunslinger but I don't follow your logic at all. Why would this cause any problems to the pass system at all? It's not like he is exploiting a loophole or causing huge problems for the buses involved - it's taken him over a week to do. There's a national bus pass scheme and he's simply proved it is indeed national.[/p][/quote]The logic is quite clear. People bragging about trips like this reinforce the perception among many that bus passes are an unnecesary freebie which should be curtailed, when other people are suffering cutbacks, bedroom tax, higher council taxes, parking charges etc etc. If this happens, and passes are restricted or abolished, the sufferers will be the majority who use their pass for day to day use and perhaps the occasional longer trip when on holiday. Gunslinger
  • Score: -2

6:53pm Thu 7 Aug 14

IS says...

It costs tax payers a billion pounds a year for 'free' bus travel for pensioners. Each trip costs the local council something over £1. I think it works out to about 10% of council tax.
It costs tax payers a billion pounds a year for 'free' bus travel for pensioners. Each trip costs the local council something over £1. I think it works out to about 10% of council tax. IS
  • Score: 0

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