Avanti West not going the distance on staying safe

Braved public transport for the first time this weekend for a much delayed birthday treat trip to London organised by Mrs Jones.

Had a great time in our capital – which still felt amazing despite Covid –  apart from the return journeys on the Avanti West line from Rugby to London Euston.

I’d love to know how the closure of half the indoor platform waiting area helps with socially distancing as their signs claimed.  They’d also closed an entire car park using the same excuse forcing passengers to mingle in a much smaller space.

I guess they do these things to save money, which is understandable at the current time, but I just wish they wouldn’t pretend it’s all being done to help keep us safe.

After this disappointment I was comforted by the arrival of what, with very few passengers on the platform, looked like a train more than big enough to keep us all socially distant.

Sadly, not so. Everyone it seemed was booked on the same two of at least ten carriages and me and Mrs Jones were sat cheek by jowl with Britain’s great unwashed. 

Surely it would make sense to spread people out more and use some of the capacity in the empty first class carriages.

To add insult to injury the train manager’s lengthy announcement advised all of us to socially distance which judging by fellow passengers collective eye-rolling did not go down well.

After more than six months of not having to mix with strangers on trains – or anywhere else for that matter – I felt even more averse to doing it now.

Everything about my fellow passengers annoyed me including any noise, any movement and most of all any breathing!

Though I take reasonable precautions – sanitise, socially distance etc – I admit to being a reluctant facemask wearer.  For once though I was glad of my mask, I stayed securely muzzled throughout the journey’s 50 minutes, a time period I could just about handle.

It did make me wonder how I’d cope on a long haul flight, masked up for eight hours or more with hundreds of people in an even smaller space than a train – all of them talking, moving and breathing!

Thankfully the second part of my public transport journey – a black cab ride to the hotel – was much better.

The taxi, along with all the others we used on our weekend, seemed reassuringly clean, modern and spacious. 

I had been hoping that public transport operators would use Covid to up their game but this weekend’s experience with Avanti suggests not.

Published by brianjonesdiary

Dad, husband, brother and son. Interested in travel, politics, sport, health and much more. Semi-retired and aiming to making the most of life as I approach my sixth decade.

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