She is a big traveller and did her Masters in Science Communication at the University of Edinburgh. She currently works as Communications Manager at Peterborough GreenUP, a not-for-profit environmental organization in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
“My education background – and let’s be honest, much of my lifestyle – is based around environmental and climate change related communication. That is, anything and everything that has to do with the planet that we live on. Sometimes, what I do is related to how climate change works, and how humans impact the environment in that way. Much of the time, I speak to and tell local stories of people who are making changes that decrease carbon dioxide emissions, and their impact on local wildlife and nature. As a recent student, most of the time I am out and about experiencing new things – and rely on transportation to get me there.
We’re not perfect eco-stewards in Canada. In fact, Canada has more than a million kilometers of two-lane roads for cars. We’re a big fan of our personal vehicles – 72% of Canadians reported owning their own car in a 2022 survey. I have my own car, and my family of 5 has three more!
However, we are getting there. Buses in Canada are becoming more popular, especially as new lines open with more frequent buses, and the bus becomes a lot safer and more accessible to those who need it the most.
Today, I thought I’d share with you some reasons why I choose bus – both while I was in Scotland studying at the University of Edinburgh, and why I choose it now, in a country that loves its cars.
‘Choosing the bus keeps me warm’
I distinctly remember the day that the bus dropped us off at Loch Lomond – well, that is, in the middle of the park somewhere, with not a soul in sight. The University of Edinburgh Hillwalking society was to walk a 3000ft uphill mountain in an afternoon, in 30 km/hr winds and rain.
Needless to say, we were cold. The sight of the First Bus waiting to warm us up after descending from the fog into sheep-covered pastures, soaking wet and in need of a good cocoa, was definitely welcome.
In Canada, I choose the bus when I travel short distances in cold weather. In Peterborough, a bus can mean that I arrive at work, the grocery store, or downtown for local shopping without numb feet and fingers in -20 degree Celsius weather.
‘Choosing the bus allows me to travel with all my senses’
Driving can be pretty stressful for me, as I often pay more attention to the roads and safety signs, and to other drivers, than to the surroundings. A difficult thing to do, when you have lived in two very beautiful countries and love to experience new places.
Taking the bus means I can put my trust in the hands of the driver, who knows the roads like the back of their hand. That way, I can sit back and enjoy the sights, the smell of the fresh air, in a comfortable seat, with my friends and loved ones.
Imagine the things you miss while driving 6 hours to Ottawa, Canada’s capital, versus on a bus, which lasts the same amount of time!
Plus, I can eat and observe on a bus. I’m not so skilled at that in a car.
‘Choosing the bus is often faster (and healthier!) than driving’
I always thought that taking my own car would be faster than a bus – which has to make frequent stops to pick-up and drop-off passengers. However, city and town road infrastructure is changing in the Canadian and Scottish landscape to accommodate faster bus travel – by increasing bus lanes, bus-only traffic lights and even alternate routes.
I didn’t realize how great this was for my own health. After using the bus, I’d then have more time after a quick journey to hike, explore or walk around before work or class. Not only that, but I was able to get in my morning walk to the bus stop, something that is lacking when your car is right outside your doorstep. 10,000 steps, anyone?
‘Choosing the bus keeps my Carbon Footprint low’
#lovemybus outlines all the great benefits of choosing bus. They use research to support that “bus can be a solution for tackling the challenges we face; improving our health, reducing pressure on the health systems, tackling inequalities and climate change, creating green jobs and strengthening our economy”.
I particularly am happy about how taking the bus can keep carbon dioxide emissions down, meaning that even while living in countries that emit a large amount of carbon dioxide emissions through their transportation sector, we can decrease this number just by taking low-emissions or no-emissions buses rather than driving. While I want to have a lower impact on the environment, sometimes I can’t afford to make changes (for example, by travelling by air to visit my family overseas), but this is an affordable alternative for me as I live my day-to-day life in cities like Peterborough and Edinburgh.
‘Choosing the bus is peaceful’
Rolling through tumbling hills near Inverness while listening to an enthusiastic bus driver talk about the natural landscape, or taking a bus to visit my family a couple towns over after a long few weeks of work… What is better than sitting and dozing off?
A bus is where I can do much of my thinking, creative brainstorming, and daydreaming. I feel at peace in the bus, and know that all that is ahead of me, is a great journey, and an even better destination.
Peterborough GreenUP, a local not-for-profit in Ontario, Canada – about half the population size of Aberdeen – is helping to get Canadians out of their vehicles through active transportation programs that promote walking, biking, strolling and busing to work, school and hobbies.
I’m grateful to work with them and I’m also grateful to have worked alongside #lovemybus during events such as the annual Highland Games in Birnam and Dunkeld, at bus stations in Galashiels, and watching fly-by pilots in Perth. All this while meeting hundreds of people who were long-time bus fans, or just starting out.”