Thursday, 6 September 2012

What do You Know about Uno [3]?

All Change at Park and Avenue Campuses (Campi)?
Indeed, from last weekend the network of buses serving Northampon University are now provided by the University of Hertfordshire or Uno. No-one seems to know what the horizontal bar over the "o" means. Possibilities are:-

 Un ... Oh?  : surprised by a pink and purple bus

 Un ... Oooo?   : impressed by a pink a purple bus

 Un ... Ooer?   : confused by a pink and purple bus

fbb votes for "confused". On Thursday of last week (30th August) our local correspondent made a brief tour of the town to see how well Uno had prepared Northampton's bus users for the big change; from familiar white Soul's buses to the more dramatic pink and purple.

Was there a notice on the important stop at the station?
Just the unhelpful (and incomprehensible) departure lists.

Was there a notice on the stand at Northampton's black hole bus station?
But there were times for Soul's outgoing service  

Was there information at the Tourist Information Office?
But there were leaflets for Soul's outgoing service

A return visit on Monday of this week produced this in the frame at the bus station ...
Two notices about the withdrawn services and ...
... a simplified Uno timetable with Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday times. Its the same PDF as on the Uno web site ...
... but leaves users mystified as to what 19Bs and 19Cs might be. And in case you were wondering (as fbb is sure you were!) the big dark blob on the photo above refers to enhanced peak time frequency when the hard-working students return later in the month.
But, at least, a timetable at the stand a small positive. At the Tourist Information Offices, good news! The leaflets from the old Souls service had been removed. In their place, bad news - not a proverbial sausage!

But the buses looked good, as here at Park Campus.
Apparently a small batch of these Mercs is used on the main service 19 from Uni to Town. Two smaller vehicles ...
... are allocated to the service 18 from the Park Campus to Weston Favell Centre on the east of the town. The Sunday service on the 19 was formerly operated by Country Lion ...
... often using one of these darlings seen here on town service 11.

But from 2nd September, Uno runs the Sunday journeys ...
... according to the University, Uno and Northamptonshire's web sites.
But, also, according to Northamptonshire's web-site ...
... Country Lion runs the Sunday service, and at (almost) the same times!
 1  Is this fierce (and ultimately self-destructive) competition brought on by a sulk from Country Lion on losing the contract?

 2  Has Northamptonshire or the University forgotten to cancel the contract with Country Lion?

Undoubtedly it is really happening; as one of the notices on the stand at the bus station tells us the Country Lion's timings will change from 2nd September. Both timetables are in the frame. Or there's another possibility.

 3   Has Uno subcontracted the Sunday operation to Country Lion to save all that effort of running buses on the Sabbath; and both operators have produced publicity?    
We await further information from our local news-hound.

In the meantime, it appears that you pays your money on Sundays and takes you choice; Uno pink or Country Lion red. Eeeny meeny miny mo!

It's all excitement in Northampton, U no!

On the campus, Sunday campus
The lion waits today
Empty seats and choosing which bus
Take pink or red you may

Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh
Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh
Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh
Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh

Every Sunday it is a fun day
The lion waits today
Competition now, then one day
The lion goes away!

Repeat "Wimoweh" ad nauseam and fade ...
Fat Bus Bloke's Bible Blog
blows up a balloon. (read here)
STOP PRESS : Northampton correspondent, Alan, reports that option   1  applies. Country Lion is, indeed, running a commercial service on a Sundays in competition with a subsidised service by Uno at roughly the same times. Supreme silliness!
Alan also says that the operating licence granted to Uno is for an operating base at Park Campus for 30 vehicles. 30? Watch out First; watch out Stageocach, Uno has arrived.

 Next Bus Blog : Friday 7th September 

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