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Public transport has its benefits, and also its drawbacks. Tax Returns not Day Returns are what we do best at Springfords, but whether it’s Finsbury Park or the local Park and Ride, making plans in advance can make travelling a breeze instead of a wheeze.
Many people say that the only problem with public transport is the public. Most of those people work in public transport. If we all just stop trying to get around, they say, all those busses and trains and planes would be as punctual as a metronome. Still, you don’t need to be a mainline maestro to guess that trying to fit a symphony of passengers into a suburban coda of a station would produce a discordant chorus of complaint.
Squeezing too much into too little is not the sort of arithmetical mistake the expert timetablers at Springfords are likely to make … assuming of course that our clients have given us their tax information in time! We rather pride ourselves on running to time, especially with the personal tax terminus coming up at the end of the month. Miss that particular stop and there’s a considerable penalty fare to pay.
Network Rail may be getting their own tax affairs sorted out in time for the end of January but, as doubtless you’ll have heard, they failed to weather the storm on the Highland Main Line and the West Coast, where tracks and bridges have been washed out. Last year, it was late running engineering works that caused calamity and confusion for thousands and thousands of passengers. This year, it’s the wrong kind of weather that’s put paid to the smooth running of rail services in Scotland and elsewhere. We wonder how many January travellers were planning to sit down on the train and put the finishing touches to the information required for completion of their tax returns. Not something you can do while driving up and down, and, with our roads resembling obstacle courses, avoiding the pitfalls of potholes is more difficult than avoiding the pitfall of failing to submit your tax return on time.
In the same way as you’d check the traffic news before departure, we’d recommend an air or rail check in advance too. Most of our public transport operators have helpful social media feeds and text messaging services. So even if Network Rail have gotten themselves a bit out of gauge, you can bet that your chosen carrier will be expressly incentivised to blow the whistle and let you know.
If your journey does require you to make your own way, check out the park and ride facilities on the edge of almost all cities and big towns. Quite apart from offering cheap or even free parking, there’s usually inbound transport waiting, and a modern waiting room - which ironically you’ll not have waiting time to use. For speeding into town, multi-person priority measures - bus lanes to you and us - can beat the traffic hands down. If you’re watching the pennies as well as the minutes, that’s often more economical than parking in the city centre.
Meanwhile, if you do end up, stuck up the line, don’t forget that unlike a traffic delay there are compensation arrangements in place for unlucky travellers. Your profuse apologies to clients and colleagues could be offset by a portion or more of your travel costs reimbursed by the operator. Don’t forget though that you really should take any such largess into account when you add up your annual travel expenses in advance of the preparation of your tax return!