Tuesday, 3 June 2014

A B C D E F G (part 4)

In previous episodes
fbb began (here) with a question; "which bus route has the largest consecutive number of suffix letters?" The blog provoked a number of interesting comments. Then he revealed the complex simpliCITY serrvice 38 in Glasgow (here) and explored the First Bus set of services (here). Now we continue ...
Here is fbb, on Hope Street Glasgow and awaiting is pre-chosen service 38B bus to Barlanark; but wondering how a less well informed passenger might cope. For a start there seem to be other 38s which don't stop here.
McGills buses whizz past, as do those labelled ...
... City Sprinter. The white (or red or blue) ...
... City Sprinter buses are adorned with information which suggests they might be cheaper.
"Tap ae the toon" is only £1.50 but where is it and where is the fare from? No point in worrying because these muticoloured buses running at incomprehensible frequencies don't call at stop HD.

As well as 38s, we have seen 38B, 38C and 38E and maps and timetables suggest there might also be an occasional 38A; there is one on the bus top flag (top right of the route number panel). Do the timetable displays at the Hope Street stop help?
As Paul Daniels used to say, "Not a lot!"

Here is the so-called timetable, presumably produced by Stratchlyde Partnership for Transport's clever confusers.
Departure times are in different colours as explained by the notes.
38A is exactly the same as 38 ...
... which warrants a different colour and a different name for its identical terminal point. You may not be able to read the panel; it says "Runs to Easterhouse Shopping Centre." Omnibologically, "Easterhouse" usually refers the the "scheme" (estate) wheres the "shopping centre" is on the edge and well short of the main housing.

Building began in the mid-1950s by the then local authority, Glasgow Corporation. The goal was to provide better housing for the people of the east end living in sub-standard conditions. It was built to house over 50,000 people but the current population (based on the 2001 census) was 26,495, of which 96.85% were born in Scotland. 172 people or 0.63% of this population were born outside Scotland, the lowest percentage in the country.

But no matter; because the terminus name is longer (actually correct whereas the 38A isn't) and no route number is shown. Helpful, eh? These next three are OK ...
... if you can pick out the colours through an unwashed frame glass. Finally we have ...
... which might be for "short workings", but fbb could not pick out a red number anywhere.

But there is "real time" - only it isn't. Impossible to photograph, so you will have to trust fbb's re-creation ...
... which appeared at 1126 and disappeared at 1132. The bus arrived at 1138 with no indication on the screen.

The bus was clean and well-driven, the journey was uneventful; just as any bus journey should be. There was plenty of "layover" at the terminus ...
 ... so the return run would be back on schedule.

But look what's coming in the other direction.
A 38B in simliCITY livery. It says on the bus "every ten minutes or more through Glasgow City Centre", BUT the 38B is only half hourly. Misleading, confusing or just pointless?

At Barlanark, fbb changed to the 60 and 60A to proceed to Easterhouse shopping centre. These two routes together offer an advertised 10 minute frequency. Here is fbb's bus, 10 plus minutes late ...
... with the next one (on time -ish!) right behind. Don't worry; the bus isn't bent into a parallelogram cross section. Blame the limited quality of fbb's phone camera!

It is unfair to judge from just one incident, but generally buses were not properly spaced out; two together and sometimes three together was a common sight on several SimpliCITY routes. There isn't much point in trendy branding if the advertised frequency cannot be maintained.

But onwards to Glasgow Fort; here to look out for kilted and ferocious warriors brandishing their claymores to repel the evil English bus enthusiast; defending the ancient fort to the death.

McGill's 38 (formerly Arriva, formerly Clydeside Scottish ...
... formerly Western Scottish) runs from Glasgow via Paisley and Johnstone to Kilbarchan or Spateston.
It uses different stops which are labelled McGills 38 and leaves the First 38 (southbound) route soon after crossing the Clyde. City Sprinter 38 is in direct competition with First on the south of the city.
 It does share "outward" city centre stops with our 38s, but with the name "City Sprinter" on the flag alongside its "38".

Nevertheless, fbb wonders whether, on both counts (competition and confusion), it might have been better for First to use a different number. "Ride the great eights, simpliCITY itself!" Pity, there already is a service 8.
Friday's announcement - which came a day after a man aged 44, and a women, 28, were arrested following allegations of fraud at the company - brought some disruption. However, Gwynedd's senior transport manager Dafydd Williams, said: "We are not leaving any community with no services at all."

He said the council had identified firms which could help, but some did not have enough staff to cover the services so it was possible drivers employed at Padarn Bus could find work. Gwynedd council has published revised timetables but says some of the services formerly provided by Padarn Bus around Bethesda, Maesgeirchen, Glasinfryn, and Gerlan, among others, will not be covered directly.

Padarn was a reasonably large operation; of particular significance to visitors is the Snowdon Sherpa network of service which, according to the council, will continue.
There is talk on the street that the "fraud", mentioned above, may be connected with the reduction in funding from the Welsh Government; but this, fbb stresses, is merely a rumour!
And finally : all three X7s on Stagecoach's web site are now (Monday 2nd, 2212) showing the same (and correct) timetable. (See yesterday's blog.)

 Next bus blog : Wednesday 4th June 

1 comment:

  1. I feel sorry for all those, particularly the customers and staff, who have suffered through the closure of Padarn.

    As has been said we don't actually know what it relates to. Rumours always circulate at such times and can get a life of their own that does not always relate to the truth. What has been reported does however suggest that there has already been an investigation that has led to the arrests - but one should not judge until this matter has been to court.

    I await more details with some interest.