Public transport is Virgin on disaster…


I live in Coventry, which is as near as damnit slap bang in the middle of the UK, and within spitting distance of our second city, Birmingham, given this fact why is it soo damn difficult to get to the UKs biggest airport (Heathrow) on public transport?!

Normally when I fly its always easier and quicker to get to go from Birmingham to Frankfurt, Schipol or Copenhagen than it is to Heathrow, but this time it just wasn’t possible so I committed to Heathrow.

The options to travel from Coventry to Heathrow are:

  1. Drive, while you have to endure the M40, M25, and the extortionate parking fees at Heathrow, it is nethertheless the flexible option.
  2. Train to London, underground to Heathrow/Paddington then Heathrow express. This always strikes me as a dog leg of a journey and you have to suffer the underground with luggage. At least though the wheels keep turning.
  3. Train to Reading, bus to Heathrow.
  4. Train to Watford, bus to Heathrow.

There really is no optimum choice, and despite knowing better I went for option 4, what really irks me is that I am sure there used to be a train from Watford to Heathrow.

This should be easy but alas… my journey was:

  1. Cab to Coventry Train station (less than a mile, easily done).
  2. Virgin Train to Watford, just like going to London no issues.
  3. 1.5 hours spent stood in the wrong place at Watford, the signs being in the wrong place for the bus. Rather than leaving from the bus terminal at the station, it leaves from over the road and down the street a bit, out of site from the station. There were about 10 of us all stood in the same wrong place, so I am confident it wasn’t just me being stupid. To add insult to injury the bus drivers actually drove past the station and obviously could see a load of people with suitcases stood at the wrong bus stop and drove on regardless with an empty bus. I asked 3 members of station staff, until I got one ansy woman who said testily ‘its obviously over the road’, this deteriorated into a full on argument and she was completely unuseful and totally jobs worth.
  4. Finally I got a bus to Heathrow and once I was on it, it wasn’t too bad.

Coming home.

  1. Land at Heathrow.
  2. Go to designated bus stop, according to time table bus at 19:45, turns up 20:05 and departs with just 2 of us on it immediately, with no regard for the timetable.
  3. Arrive Watford Junction (approx 20:40), train apparently at 20:55 to Coventry, wait on platform 20:55 completely fails to turn up, no warning, just vanished off display and a 21:05 to Preston (calling at Rugby) turns up instead… so I get on that.
  4. £30 cab ride to Coventry from Rugby and I am home.

I may as well have driven, it would have been easy, and probably cheaper in the end.

Until this country gets public transport right, people will stay in their cars. Nuff said!


Author: Ben King

My name is Ben King, I am a director of an Internet solutions company called bit10 ltd. My ultimate responsibility is to bring in the work that bit10 delivers. However I also do a myriad of other things, for example system design, and administration. Outside work I go out, I drink, I socialise, I cook, I have fun, oh and I play a little bit too much World of Warcraft!

1 thought on “Public transport is Virgin on disaster…”

  1. You should have got FlightLink (Cheaper and saves all the messing around). Pick it up at Pool Meadow and then Sleep until woken up at Heathrow.

    Just watch out for drunken drivers (Yes it is worthwhile smelling their breath first)…

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