Looking towards a brighter, bus...ier 2021
As we all approach the end of 2020, I suppose – if we believe of course in superstition and we also dignify the New Year as a fresh start – we should all probably feel relieved to see the back of 12 months that we hope to never see the like of ever again.
A new vaccine has begun to be issued and, in the run-up to the festive season, a time that is often characterised with hope and joy, we might just all be able to feel confident about a brighter future waiting for us right around the corner.
And, as ever, the end of one year is a chance for us all to look back.
What lessons did we learn?
What are we grateful for?
What are we glad to see the back of?
The answer to the third question ought to be fairly obvious if the vaccine pulls us out of the Covid-19 trap.
We can all, I am sure, answer the other questions quite differently.
I certainly learned things about our bus company and also about our people that I never knew before.
I learnt how to ensure that we were more resilient, that we were more agile and also that we were more flexible than ever before.
I learnt how critical buses were felt to be for our nation’s infrastructure and also in our way of life.
I learnt how strange it was to run hundreds of buses that hardly carried any people on them, but I also learnt then how quickly people returned once we reassured everyone we were “Clean, Safe and Ready to Go”, as we continue to say.
I still long to have all our customers back (and more customers besides) so we again can trade commercially at precious little expense to the public purse.
Perhaps most importantly, I also learnt what a positive feeling it was to see our colleagues recognised as the valued, critical, key workers I knew they were all along.
And much of this is what I am grateful for, too.
Despite the terrible hardship we’ve endured, I am grateful to live in a town filled with optimism - as well as its beauty and homely comfort. I am grateful to be surrounded by the incredible people I work with – who just kept calm and who just carried on – and the supportive customers that we have and also the organisations we stand shoulder to shoulder with here in Harrogate.
I write this column while I am sitting beneath a small painting that sits proudly in our living room. It is a painting of a packed crowd exiting the pantomime at Harrogate Theatre (with a busy number 36 bus passing by, of course). It all serves to remind me of the better times that there are to come.
Yes, I admit that I am only an adopted Harrogatonian of a mere six years, but the Christmas panto trip has already become a firm fixture of the family events calendar, and one that we shall miss the most this year.
However, my glass remains half-full believing that this, and many of the things we love, will be back in 2021, for us all to look forward to together – that is including that number 36 bus being nice and busy again too, of course.