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Sunday 22nd September 2019 was world 'car-free' day, which encouraged motorists to give up their cars for a day.  It also promoted the use of mass transit, cycling and walking, and "the development of communities where jobs are closer to home".   However the reality for many is that there aren't jobs close to home - that may be due to living in a rural location, availability of vacancies or suitable skills. 

We know that many GEM participants do not have cars and rely heavily on public transport, and sometimes this can make jobs further away hard to get to.  The GEM Participants Council wanted to raise awareness of this, and to encourage those of us with a car to experience a working day without one.

We also support the NUS Green Impact Scheme, and are always looking for ways to reduce our impact on the environment. So on Tuesday 17th September, colleagues from the GEM team, including Navigator Developers joined our participants on public transport.  Here are some of their experiences...

"My watch is slow so what should have been a leisurely walk to the bus stop turned out to be a 5 minute trot! Puffing and panting I negotiate a price with the friendly bus driver a to take me to Gloucester Quays...£3.50 and no discount for cash. I can tell by the smile on his face he can tell I’m a novice.  

 Arrive on time, asked the driver for a selfie. Enjoyed this much more than I thought I would, less stress, no road rage and feeling relaxed....think I should do this more often."  Tony, Opportunity Hunter, GEM Project 

"To get to and from work, I take six buses a day which equates to just over two hours a day spent on a bus. To make sure I get to work on time, I have to leave the house at ten past seven, and most days I don't get home until quarter to seven in evening. That almost a full 12 hour day.

My first bus is at 07:16, which takes me from home into Cheltenham town centre. It gets into town at 07.28 which gives me just over five minutes to hot foot it through town from one bus stop to another, as my next bus is as 07.35. This second bus takes approximately 45 minutes to get into Gloucester City centre. If the bus gets in on time or slightly early, I can just make the 08.25 bus down to work. If I miss that 08.25 bus the next bus is the 08.40.

On any given day, how early or late I am to work depends on how the buses are running, as can adverse weather conditions.  There is also a cost factor that comes with getting a bus to work and back. It is cheaper than running a car and paying for petrol, but the weekly bus fare does mount up, and in the last two years, I have spent roughly £1,740 on bus fare. 

Travelling by bus isn't the quickest way to travel to work, but for me, it's the only way I can get to work without relying on lifts or having to cycle."  Seonaid, GEM Project Administrator

"I’m normally based in Cheltenham but I had a pre-booked meeting arranged in Gloucester so I had to look into various public transport options. After looking into both bus and train timetables I decided to travel by train as the timings and location of the train station better suited my family commitments that I had to undertake before starting work.

I found the train to be quick and quite relaxing, although it did mean that I had to carry out and plan my journey in advance rather than just hopping in the car and allow extra time just in case there were any train cancellations.

In terms of expense, I think it worked out about the same when taking into consideration parking costs. Overall i found the experience very positive and I’d be tempted to use the train more often." Tracy, Navigator Developer, GEM Project

GEM supports car-free day

by Becky Boseley