Then there's the fares fiasco! On the busway itself you have to buy your ticket before you board from these pretty blue machines. Sweet.
BUT, and wait for it, tickets are not interavailable between the two operators. So you buy a Stagecoach ticket and Mr Whippet whips along and you can't get on. Or, vice versa. And currently Whippet's fares are significantly cheaper than Stagecoach's "premium" charges. And unless you carry high powered binoculars, you can't tell which operator's vehicle it is anyway.
The timetable (which can be viewed here) doesn't even explain who operates what!
Not a piece of slang; it IS literally very weedy.
It is, of course, dead easy to pick fault; BUT the busway is super smooth, satisfyingly speedy from the new stations and suggests "quality travel" to the disillusioned A14 car queuer. It NEEDS to succeed, but will it deliver its promises?
The jury, as they say, is out. The common man didn't want the tram in Sheffield, neither did the city's traders. Loadings were initially a disaster; the ticketing system was crackpot and doom was predicted. But now, trams are full and folk are clamouring for extensions.
Further busways are planned between Luton and Dunstable and at Leigh in Greater Manchester. Let's hope the promoters are proved right.
Tailpiece: In a noble attempt to prepare for an onslaught of confused, critical and cantankerous customers, Stagecoach have provided themselves with an enquiry office at St. Ives Park & Ride station. An fbb blog exclusive pictures it here to the left of the shelter.
Well out of the firing line!
[Thanks to our Northampton correspondent for the scoop.]
[A couple of pictures were "borrowed" from "Omnibuses" blog, see comment below]
Next blog : due Sunday August 20th