The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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4:26pm on Wednesday, 25th April, 2012:
I took my younger daughter to the University of Hertfordshire today. She had an interview, following which she hopes to get an offer for their M.Pharm course. I drove there in the car (it's not far — about an hour and 20 minutes from our house).
Like many universities, Hertfordshire has insufficient car parking spaces available. However, unlike most of these, it has a solution in the form of a park-and-ride scheme. We were told by their advance literature to use this, so we did. We arrived half an hour before we needed to be on campus and waited for one of the "every 5 minutes" buses.
After about 5 minutes, a bus duly arrived. After another 5 minutes, it left. It took us to the campus and stopped outside a student facilities building called the Forum. We didn't want this stop, we wanted the next stop, outside the admin building. Scores of students poured onto the bus, cramming it full. We didn't care, because we had seats.
The bus continued to the next stop. Someone pressed the bell. The "bus stopping" sign came on. The bus didn't stop.
The bus continued to the other campus of the university. When it got there, it disgorged the majority of its passengers. I asked the driver if the quickest way to the administration building on the other campus was simply to stay on the bus. He said yes it was, and it would take 6 minutes to get there. He didn't say he'd wait 5 minutes before leaving, but he did.
On the way back, he did stop at the stop he should have stopped at on the way out.
When we finally arrived at the registration building we were 7 minutes late instead of 10 minutes early. We were supposed to arrive at 1:15 for a 1:30 interview, but we arrived at 1:22 — all thanks to a bus driver who didn't want to stop to let other passengers on to his full bus, but neglected the fact that there might have been people on it who wanted to get off there. We weren't the only people taken on an unnecessary journey, either: the person who pressed the bell for the earlier stop and was ignored was not pleased, either.
Fortunately, when we arrived in reception there was a student on hand who took my daughter to the interview, which she made it to just in time. He told me to wait in reception. A few minutes later, another student came and collected me because actually he shouldn't have told me to wait in reception. I should have been waiting in a room containing 3 more people than it had seats. It did have free coffee and biscuits, though (the same biscuits we have at Essex University, as it happens, which I've built up a tolerance to so was able to eat).
As to whether my daughter will choose Hatfield (assuming they make her an offer), actually she probably will do it as her insurance offer. Of the four other universities she's applied to, two have given her a reason not to want to go and two she wants to go to but their offers are the same so she'll have to pick just one. Hatfield didn't give her a reason not to want to go (she doesn't hold it responsible for the recalcitrance of its bus drivers), so it'll succeed by default.
Driving along the M25 in the full throes of a thunderstorm is an experience, I can tell you...
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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (email@example.com).