When The Inside And The Outside Don’t Match Up (Or – The Disappointing Bus)

There is something quite odd about the town where I was born. It might well be on the same island as where my Dad was born but it has got way more in common with the city where my Mum was born than the one where Dad was born.

My Dad was born in landlocked Leicester and my Mum was born in Rotterdam. Me??? I was born in King’s Lynn in Norfolk. If you have never been there it is a port town with a large river. It is also seriously flat (to the point where Leicester could almost be considered to be on mountainous terrain in comparison).

Yesterday I had one of my occasional bouts of missing flat surfaces and water (and I couldn’t get to Rotterdam) so I decided to go back “home” for a few hours.

I caught the train to Peterborough because I knew there was a bus between Peterborough and King’s Lynn.

I rarely get excited about travelling by bus (it is my most usual mode of transport after all) but I had seen the X1 trundling between Peterborough and King’s Lynn when my Dad had driven me in his car.

The outside of the bus looked really posh with its electronic destination board with white letters on a black background (much easier for me to see than the usual orange letters).

This had made me think it would be as nice as the X1 between Coventry and Birmingham. (Now – that is the best “executive” service bus I have ever travelled on.)

Unfortunately, it was just like the bus between my house and Leicester city centre (with a couple of tweaks). It didn’t have any charging points for mobiles but it did have an almost impossible to read display telling you the names of the next stops (complete with a voiceover which had obviously been nicked from Google Maps).

I hadn’t exactly been expecting a Rolls Royce type of bus but I had expected something with a bit more luxury.

Anyway – I ended up in King’s Lynn, where I wandered around for a bit (I did think about going to see the hospital where I was born but I decided against it) – then I started the journey home.

I thought the bus back to Peterborough might be a bit more like I had expected but it wasn’t.

The other annoying thing was – even though I had caught the bus to King’s Lynn from outside Peterborough railway station, the bus back dropped me off at the bus station. I eventually located the railway station after an impromptu exploration of the Queensgate Shopping Centre – as well as a walk around the outside of the bus station (there were no signs telling me how to get from the bus station to the railway station).

When I eventually found the railway station I had to guess which platform the train to Leicester would leave from. (Luckily I remembered following a Guide dog from Platform 6 when I got off the train in Peterborough so I thought the train to Leicester might go from Platform 7 and I was correct.)

Surely – with a station the size of Peterborough – there would be some way of having a screen on the footbridge between the platforms telling you which platform which train leaves from??? Especially when you consider it is also a station on the East Coast Mainline.

I may sound like I am being picky but – if I had not timed my trip back so I knew I would do the majority of it in daylight – I could have ended up seriously panicking about whether or not I would get home again. (I don’t like being in strange places on my own in the dark – especially if I have to interact with strangers.)

Sometimes I wish the people who were in charge of planning public places (particularly transport hubs) would consult people like me so they could design places which were actually “user-friendly”.

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