Sorry, it’s time for a whinge. This week’s offering should have been about all sorts of entertaining weirdness like Jamie Fox the human scarecrow, French beekeepers finding blue honey in their hives and some nutter called Felix jumping out of a stratospheric balloon while slathered in Blue Stratos. You know, the usual stuff.
Whoops, just re-read that last bit. Should have said “sponsored by Red Bull Stratos”. Not doused in the 70s male grooming product.
Now where were we? The whinge, is where. It concerns First Bus student tickets, and it goes like this.
First Bus sells a Student Photocard, and students can use it to buy discounted bus tickets.
Students, for the purposes of the Photocard, “must be studying full time at a university, college or school.”
Which covers our son, who’s on a full-time course in the sixth form at a school in Bath.
So we took his photo, much to his displeasure, filled in our bit of the application form, got the school to fill in their bit of the form, and were duly issued with a Photocard.
This entitles him (or at least the fabled Bank of Mum and Dad) to buy: a FirstDay Student Bath (£3.40); a FirstWeek Student West (£17.90); a FirstMonth Student West (£70); or a FirstYear Student West (£750).
Now, the FirstYear option would require more quantitative easing than the Bank of England could comfortably afford, never mind the Bank of Mum and Dad.
And half term’s coming, so there’s no sense in buying a monthly if it’s only going to get used for three weeks out of four.
So what would we save if we bought a weekly as opposed to five dailies? None of us is too great at maths, but a minute’s work on the calculator suggests that (£3.40*5)-£17.90=-90p.
Yes, sums fans, five dailies are 90p cheaper than one weekly. All right, the daily only covers Bath, while a weekly lets you roam, free as a bird, to exotic locations like Wells, Devizes and Congresbury. But the main point of buying one of these things is to get Dixon Junior to school and back in one piece, not for him to swan about the darker reaches of the West Country.
And even if you did buy a weekly, when it expires you can’t buy a new one on the bus – you have to go to the bus station. For the cost, presumably, of an additional, undiscounted, adult single fare.
Dailies seem like the obvious choice. But the first time our son tried to buy one, Photocard in hand, the driver said he could only buy a student ticket if he went to the Uni or the Tech. Whatever the “Tech” is.
|Where's Bath to?|
Quick visit to the First website, where among other things you can discover according to their map, Bath doesn’t exist.
You can find a customer service number in Southampton that gives you the option to press 1 for customer services.
And when you press 1 you get the option to press 1 again. And again. And again. Kafka! Thou shouldst be living at this hour.
And if you persevere, you can also find a phone number for Bath lost property, which is actually the main number for Bath bus station.
Where a very friendly chap says that the driver was wrong and that yes, our son is indeed eligible to buy a daily student ticket.
Whinge over. Now pass the blue honey.