Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Odd Ode : Odd Decision : Ode ear!

Wot? No 24?
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In memory of the late, great Cyril Fletcher
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This is the tale of one Beverley Bell;
Her recent career has gone very well.
Achieving the goal of her lifelong ambition, a
Job as Senior Traffic Commissioner.
She sits in authority, jury and judge;
Accepts no excuses, rejects any fudge;
Condemning managers for acting like fools;
Ensuring bus companies don't break the rules.
Insisting high standards should be the norm;
Demanding accuracy on every form.
So what goes in Derby? Why has Arriva
Been punished so much; how did they deceive her?
She's ordered free travel each day after seven;
A veritable glorious passenger heaven.
And free fares it is for all of a year;
A penalty seemingly very severe.
But only on routes 45, 44.
So what evil horror's this penalty for?
It seems that the company tries when it can,
To save on expenses, cut out a man
By linking its routes when trading is quiet.
But doing this deed, well, Bev didn't buy it.
Instead of using their bus station bay,
They routed their buses a different way.
They stopped outside on the road at the end;
Then drove on down Morledge then round the bend.
The bus stand was altered to be Albert Street
The linking of two routes was tidy and neat.
But sadly the company omitted to tell
Of this minor change to our Beveley Bell!
We might just consider the legal infringe,
How badly on interchange it might impinge.
For some a short walk from street to bus station,
For others an easier route integration.
The change in itself meant nothing at all.
It's poor paperwork that brought their downfall.
A simple mistake, that's all that it was
That upset our Bev and riled her because,
Whilst running a bus can be quite a caper,
The vital thing is correct bits of paper!
Meanwhile on fat bloke's Island of Wight,
His local bus route's been in such a plight.
For a couple of years it was in such a state;
With buses running incredibly late.
Delays could often be nearly an hour;
Locals in fury, with grim face they'd glower.
The Vectis did nothing to make timings better,
So some local people sent off a letter
To Traffic Commissioners to get something sorted;
The failures in detail were duly reported.
And what did officialdom do? Not a jot!
Their service to passengers was simply rot!
Late buses continued, with total impunity
From punishment, bearing apparent immunity.
The public was treated with great disrespect
But all the paperwork was quite correct!
So we all stand in fear of Beverley Bell.
Fail in your form filling, she'll give you hell!
Remember the rule which can't be forgot
Tick the right boxes or just go to pot!

A question worth putting to fierce Mrs Bell;
Does she know Derby? And know it quite well?
Does she consider a minor infraction
Deserves such a disproportionate action,
When other companies behave much more badly?
Arriva would crave Bev's forgiveness ...
... quite gladly!
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In case you thought otherwise, fbb understands that evening journeys on service 44 and 45 all called at the bus station on their outward run from City to Alvaston; no missed-out stops there.
fbb understands that Arriva is appealing against this draconian decision.
Southern Vectis eventually retimed the service 8 which now runs reasonably well, except perhaps in the Summer when those awkward things called passengers slow it down.
Comments on various forums suggest that Beverley Bell has made more punitive judgments than any other Traffic Commissioner and, not surprisingly, had more appeals against her decisions upheld!
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 Back to "24" tomorrow : Wednesday 6th March 

7 comments:

  1. I will not repeat most of my long (and not poetic) comments on the Omnibuses blog on the subject, but will make two points.

    The nub of my criticism is that, under deregulation, an operator can change a route to inconvenience passengers regardless of the latter's opinions, but he must tell them. The problem with not changing the registration is that timetable producers who get copies didn't know about the change. I can just imagine an FBB blog if he had checked a tight connection in the bus station in the Derbyshire timetable BOOK, and then found the bus sailing past the bus station to stop in a back street.

    You are correct that buses call in the bus station outbound. According to a notice in the relevant bay, only inbound journeys are free, so after an evening in town you still have to pay to get home, i.e. it's half fare for an evening out. This ought to increase the number of passengers and reduce the effect on Arriva's revenue.

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  2. The crunch question is whether the 44 and 45 did (or do) or did not (or do not) call at stop A1 on Morledge which IS, effectively, at the bus station. If they did / do then the problem in non-existent and the punishment quite wrong. Interchange is no more difficult or lengthy that from one end of the bus station stands to the other.
    One comment elsewhere on-line suggests that Derby City has removed stop A1. In which case, why is it still shown on Transport Defunct?
    The point of the doggerel remains. This is a trivial problem compared with repeated late running and no-shows which seem to go unpunished yet are far more disruptive to the passenger.

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  3. The TCs could more reasonably defend their position if, a well as checking the internal paperwork, they ensured that bus companies were communicating with their passengers in respect of changes. Now that really would be a useful service.

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  4. Reading the comments "in another place" as well as here, it does seem that the degree of 'punishment' is relatively minor - only one route, evenings only and in only one direction; and, as others have suggested, the operator might actually gain some passengers as a result of the overall reduction in the fare for a return journey. So it looks like a minor punishment for a minor offence.

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  5. To the reply to the "Crunch Question". Buses initially stopped at A1, but,according to both the driver who first dropped me in Albert St, and the Public Inquiry report in Route One No.470, Arriva were told by the City Council that they could no longer use that stop. I agree that stopping at A1 was no problem, but going to Albert St was, and neither change was put in the timetable.

    A1 is still listed because it is used by an Ashbourne Community Transport shoppers bus 4 journeys per week.

    I can't explain the different actions of different TCs, but I always thought that "Fred got away with worse in the next county" wasn't an acceptable defence in law.

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  6. This gets curiouser and curiouser. Derby City council has no authority to prevent Arriva from using any bus stop unless there is a traffic order restricting time spent at the stop. Effectively unless there were a safety issue, a bus can set down anywhere and A1 would be a setting down stop. Even more pointedly, a bus does not need marked bus stops to pick up or set down (hence hail and ride).
    Perhaps there is a deeper reason here - maybe there is some kind of on-going anti-Arriva "policy" from the Council.
    I wonder who complained in the first place.
    If "the problem" is that Arriva did not tell its passengers (rather than fill in the correct form) then the list of guilty companies would clog Auntie Beverley's schedule until way past her retirement.
    Blog coming up re Arriva (co-incidentally) in the Leicester area not telling the passenger where they go.

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  7. I paraphrased - the Route One report I referred to, which you can read for free online, does say that there was a traffic order. When I next go into the city centre, I will see what signs on the ground say.

    There wasn't an anti-Arriva policy - the then Council were annoying everyone at the time by also abolishing bus lanes. Control of the Council has changed political colour since then. The attitude at the time was "we want buses in our shiny new bus station, not cluttering up the street outside".

    I don't know who complained - it wasn't me.

    The East Midlands are odd in that they aren't a separate traffic area, so the three cities are in three different ones. Arriva Derby share some management functions with Arriva Midlands, based in Leicester. The latter may have been unaware of Mrs Bell's reputation!

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