Sunday, 6 July 2014

A Tale of a Tub [2]

See "A Tale of a Tub [1]" (read again)

Bar le Duc has a famous foodstuff, its Jelly ...

L’origine de la merveilleuse industrie de Bar-le-Duc remonte au 14ème siècle. La plus ancienne mention connue des confitures de Bar-le-Duc date de 1344 et elle est d’origine juridique. C’est à cette époque, en effet, que l’usage se répandit dans la noblesse et la bourgeoisie, lorsqu’un parti avait gagné un procès, de remercier les juges en leur présentant quelques verrines de confitures.

Depuis ces temps lointains, la fabrication n’a pas changé. Les groseilles rouges ou blanches sont épépinées à la main, à l’aide d’une plume d’oie, par des femmes très habiles. Elles sont ensuite jetées dans un sirop de sucre brûlant, procédé qui garde intacte la groseille avec toute sa saveur et sa couleur claire.

... made from red or white currants.

The old town is the "High Town" with steep streets and footpaths.
The town then developed along a narrow valley, now shared with the railway line, the Route Nationale 135 and the river Ornain.
Population is about 16,000 withing the town limits but the "greater" community probably numbers 25,000. The Northamptonshire town of Daventry is of a similar size.

The first two routes started in 1982 and the TUB network was instigated in 1996 with Transdev as the contracted operator.

Lines 1 (RED) and 2 (BLUE) are roughly every half hour ...
... with line 4 (ORANGE) being just seven round trips a day. Because Dave the Driver is parked at Marcel Pagnol (bottom right) we will look at line 3 (GREEN) in a little more detail.
Its terminus is at "Auchan" which is a vast Hypermarket, situated to the left of the bus in the picture below..
Auchan is one of the biggest retailers in France ...
... and sells almost everything. As you might expect, it has a huge "traiteur" depatment, which we would call the "deli". Even reading the web site it makes fbb's mouth water.
Particularly impressive are these delights below; hopefully our readers can cope with the French into English translation.
Ligne 3 then runs via Mairie de Savonnières (Town Hall of the Soap-makers), a posh community building in a little suburb ...
... and on into Bar le Duc itself, where the main stops are on Rue de Rochelles.
The route then continue in a north-westerly direction, turning sharp south and through copious open country ...

... to terminate in a little lay by at the village of Véel.
Note the large black "real time" panel on the pole.
Occasional journeys run five minutes further to a small housing development near (but not at!) the golf course. Note, as usual with the town networks "en France", the total lack of a clock-face frequency.

Keolis also operates an on demand service to surrounding villages ...
... which has clear instructions, and ...
... which costs €1.90 with the price halved if more than one person makes the same journey. Bargain!

So what is specially special about this typically French subsidised network?

Les bus du réseau TUB sont gratuits pour les habitants de Bar-le-Duc, Fains-Véel et Savonnières-devant-Bar. A tout moment, vous devez être en mesure de présenter votre Carte Pass correctement validée.

Pour bénéficier de la gratuité des transports, vous devez toutefois faire établir votre Carte Pass TUB (sur présentation d'une photo, d'une pièce d'identité, d'un justificatif de domicile et moyennant 3 euros).

Yes, your knowledge of French may well be enough to spot the word "gratuit". The network of four routes (not pre-book services) is FREE for all residents. The card costs €3. Maybe fbb should stress that the correct phrase is "free at the point of sale"; taxation levels in France are high!

And talking of tubby ...
Big Bellies have arrived at Seaton.
The Council has replaced each rank of two "ordinary" bins with one of these.
Some cunning solar powered technology compacts the rubbish. Each bin costs £21 a week to rent and fbb has one question, "How will they cope with Frydays chip boxes in their hundreds, disposed of each weekend?"
Does fbb foresee an impending litter disaster? Of course not (?). Each BigBelly emails the office to tell them when it is nearly full ...
... so at 2330 on a Saturday night, the council's Mr Big Belly will spring into action and empty the compacted trash.

fbb has been on a Big Belly spotting expedition and has seen six. That's a rental of £6,552 per year. Bearing in mind there are still plenty of "ordinary" bins to empty, fbb wonders by how much his council tax will be reduced. Answers on a postcard, please, to ...
 Next bus blog : Monday 7th July 


  1. Spotted one of the solar compactors at York yesterday (taking part in the Tour de France - as a spectator). Noted it was placed firmly under the canopy outside the station. Isn't that a bit like putting solar panels inside your house?

  2. Is there any reason why the French don't follow clock-face timetables? Just a little niggling thing that always annoys me.