Monday, 4 February 2013

Researching Redditch Revisions [4]

Those who abandon their working-day blog reading at the weekend may like to backtrack and catch up on the Great Bus Fares demo at Bristol on Saturday last. Two fbb blogs refer:-

Bristolians are Revolting [1] (here)  

Bristolians are Revolting [2] (here)

News is filtering through about the turnout for the "big demo". According to a local contact, "take away the media and the politicians and there were hardly more than 20 present". Blog readers may come to their own conclusions.
Back to Redditch : Reviewing the sale of First Bus' operations

And the First shall be Last ...
click on map to enlarge

In reviewing routes in Redditch, we need to remind ourselves that almost every coloured line represents post 1964 development. Before Redditch was designated a new town there were many smaller settlements in the surrounding country area but most of the population was clustered fairly close to the town centre.
Lodge Road, close to the Town Centre

It would be tedious to fill this blog with a detailed review of every route because they are all much the same. Leaving from the bus station they strike out into various housing developments, perform various gyrations and trundle back to town.

So lets begin with the "biggies".

 52 Batchley  [First and Diamond]
A one way loop round the estate. First run "frequently" Monday to Saturday daytimes with no service after 2000; every 20 minutes on Sunday daytime only. Meanwhile, Diamond run every 20 minutes seven days a week with nothing after about 1800.

 55 / 56 Crabbs Cross & Oakenshaw  [First] 
This route is the main link to the Alexandra Hospital grounds ...
... although the 57 and 58 stop (sort of) nearby. Certainly, catching the more frequent 57 straight down Studley Road would be far quicker that a tour round Redditch's south western developments, picturesque (?) though they be!

Tragically for some, the hospital hit the national headlines in December 2012 with huge failings in care for the elderly.

The 55/56 routes also serve the Tesco Extra store just off leafy Coldfield Lane.
Huge Tesco at turning in background.

 57 / 58 Matchborough   [First and Diamond]
The estates at Winyates and Matchborough provide a fine example of design to favour buses. Each has a network of cul-de-sac roads and running through the middle are Winyates Way and Matchborough Way.
At Winyates centre, this aerial shot shows the pregnant bulge of Winyates Way which is buses only ...
... demoting the rest of the "main" road into two cul-de-sacs. (Should that be "culs-de-sac?") A similar arrangement applies at Matchborough.
Although the road layout looks identical (because it is!) fbb promises that Matchborough centre is off to the right.

First operates "frequently" Monday to Saturday daytimes, finishing at about 2000. Buses run every 20 minutes during Sunday daytimes. Diamond advertise every 7 and 8 minutes Monday to Friday, every 15 on Saturday and every 20 on Sunday with a finish at about 1800. On Sundays, one of Diamond's 58s runs (every hour) as a 58A via the Hospital.

It would seem likely, therefore, that Diamond will recast the 51 Batchley and 57/58 Matchborough routes to reduce costs. They have promised to "maintain existing services"; whatever that might mean. fbb wonders whether the poor residents of Redditch, hitherto deprived of any evening local buses, might expect Diamond to extend operation until 2300 on the more popular routes. There have been vandalism problems in the past.

"And here endeth the lesson" as far fas First is concerned. These three blocks of service are all that was left in First's Redditch town route portfolio; almost everything else "local" is run by Diamond Bus. To avoid arousing the ire of Redditch experts (are there any?), fbb must add that longer distance routes ply some of the traditional main roads, and First's route 143 provides some local links ...
... on its way from Bromsgrove to Studley via Redditch. Here, it provides a link from Webheath to town, and from town to Lakeside, Greenlands and the Hospital.

Tomorrow we complete the survey, search for a missing depot and challenge the imagination. Redditch still surprises!

See also:-
Researching Redditch Revisions [1] (read again)
Researching Redditch Revisions [2] (read again)
Researching Redditch Revisions [3] (read again)

 Next Bus Blog : Tuesday 5th February 

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