Thursday, 26 April 2012

Boris Blunder or Brilliant Bonus [2]

Back to Boris-land
An "anonymous" was a bit shirty with fbb yesterday, suggesting that everything would be all right soon on the Fareham busway and that fbb was being horrid to criticise such a wonderful system. Particularly the real time information; "anonymous" writes "if you bother to check the web site you'll see it's working now." Really? So fbb checked at 1930 yesterday (Wednesday).
1. Real time at Coach House?
2. Real time at Hoeford?
But, anonymous, there are no buses numbered 82 OR 86! And as for the "alighting stop" at Fareham station; ...
... it shows a destination that you can't reach because you aren't allowed to get on the bus at all. 
Real time working now? Is ALL this on-line information available at ALL the stops listed on the web site? True, the real times for busway routes E1  and E2 seemed much better.

see "STOP PRESS" below.
But the Gosport to Fareham busway blogs interrupted some initial thoughts on Boris and driverless trains (read again). Today we take a look at the real thing!
Driverless Trains? fbb didn't mean Alton Towers, which isn't underground, ...
... where the train is, and always has been, driverless. Similarly there's Gatwick Airport ...
... where the shuttle between south and north terminals is equally driverless but equally above terra firma.

But it was in 1998 that a Meteor revealed itself in Paris ...
... but not one of these. Météor was the acronym for the first completely new Paris Metro line since 1935. The full title was MÉTro Est-Ouest Rapide; a clever contrivance, but subsequently dropped in favout of the more prosaic "Ligne 14".

The line ran south east from Madeleine ...
... via Chatelet ...
... and Gare de Lyon ...
... before turning south west-ish and crossing the Seine to a terminus at ZAC** de Tolbiac, later renamed Bibliothèque François Mitterand (The French National Library).
Sadly, of course, the line is totally underground, including the depot, so the metro gnomes cannot see the sights.

The line is completely automatic with no drivers or other staff on the train. Despite the comments quoted in yesterday's blog, there has been no significant outpouring of fear and panic because of the lack of a "conducteur". It is, however, true that in the early days the front seats, with a clear view of the track ahead, ...
... were eschewed by older Parisians. The front block of six seats was, nevertheless, very popular with the Paris "jeunesse". fbb was able to ride the line soon after opening and the experience was decidedly underwhelming. Driverlessness seemed utterly natural and thoroughly relaxing. The trains are fast and a seat at the front offers very spectacular views. A 9 minute Video can be seen (here) if you like pictures of black tunnels videoed whilst facing backwards!

The line has already been extended twice; in 2003 at its northern end to Gare St Lazare and in 2007 ...
... to Olympiades. A further extension north is approved and in progress.
Its service frequency is very impressive indeed.
The line has not been completely trouble free with occasional electronics failures being the most annoyingly obvious. For example, if s set of platform doors won't work, fail safe technology can, under certain circumstances, shut down the whole line. But it has proved very safe indeed, celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2009.
Nice touch, RATP**.

But, please note Boris, Christian Wolmar and Bob Crow, entirely automatic.

And there's more ...
... in tomorrow's blog.

ZAC = zone d'améliorations commerciales = commercial development zone.
RATP = Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens = Autonomous Paris Transport Authority = (sort of) Paris PTE.
P.S. The automatic and driverless "Orlyval" between Antony on RER line "B" ...
Gare d'Antony 1908 : changed a bit now!
... and Orly airport was the first such service in the Paris region. It opened in October 1991, but it's not underground!
Busway STOP PRESS 0821 Thursday.

Service 83 "unrealtime" now shown without supreseded 82s and 86s ...
... but running to ...
... Admiral Cunningham.
Is that anywhere near Fareham bus station? The pub is reported as having  closed down, anyway. fbb is checking.

It is getting better - slowly!(?)

 Next Blog : Friday 26th April 


  1. Do routes 82 or 86 use the busway? No, they don't run anymore.

    Is there a problem on non-busway stops? Yes.

    Is there a problem on routes E1 and E2? No.
    Is there a problem on the busway or Eclipse in general, no. All the busway routes work fine.

    "But, anonymous, there are no buses numbered 82 OR 86! And as for the "alighting stop" at Fareham station; ... ... it shows a destination that you can't reach because you aren't allowed to get on the bus at all."

    ...and the name of the bus stop is quite clearly shown as "Alighting Only" so I don't exactly think they're hiding the fact you cannot get on there. You've cropped it out of the picture you show us.

  2. The name of the offending stop should be Fareham Station, Alighting Only. The "destinations" are only there because geeks allow the technology to rule their brains. Delete the destinations list. Seemples.
    Whilst there may be good reasons for it to be alighting only from a road traffic point of view it is not good news for the fbbs of this world who would prefer not to have to stagger into the centre of Fareham. Not a specific busway problem but poor nevertheless.
    Presumably there are signs to he adjacent "proper" stops?
    By the way, I like the busway for itself but I think it has cost far too much for the benefits that it delivers. I travelled on the faster 83 (off peak, granted) and we had to "wait time".

  3. Perhaps this correspondence should now be closed until I re-visit the system, hopefully on Thursday of next week? I am aiming to try peak hour journeys from Station to Gosport.
    Thank you for all of your comments - most stimulating all round.

  4. Basically one must remember that the clock face times as opposed to numbers of mins are near useless in real time systems.

  5. You're right - the name should be "Fareham Station Drop Off only" (drop off is more idiot proof IMO), but it does at least say Alighting Only. May as well keep the destinations on, in case someone's waiting for a passenger to alight to meet up with or something.

    As for it being Alighting Only in the first place... well, it does benefit the buses too, it's not just cars I'd say. If they cause queues sitting there for ages it'll only affect all the other buses behind.

    Latest news it that all the real time is now updated and the old route should be off - as you've noted.

    fbb should definitely check the 83 and Admiral Cunningham - that is where it now terminates, after all!!

    The big news is that a bus hit a cyclist today - but I'm told it was due to a clever cyclist jumping a red light at one of the junctions, so you can't do a lot about that. Plonker!

    Hopefully when you re-visit it'll be better.

    As for cost, well, it's expensive - but what isn't these days. A tram would have been hellishly expensive - and would the huge extra cost have been worth it? Probably not.

    In years to come, at least the roadway had been cleared etc etc and junctions put in. If they want trams, it wouldn't cost as much to put some rails in than it would to start from scratch.

    And of course it won't take that much traffic off the A32. But a tram probably wouldn't have either. However, it's good that the people that DO catch the public transport get the better end of the deal, for once!