Thursday, 29 January 2015

Daring Doings in Doncaster's Dunscroft [8]

The Power of the Press!

Seventy-year-old Charles Worsdale, of Church Balk Gardens, Edenthorpe, said: “Many residents, many of whom are elderly or disabled, have to depend on the buses. This is a vital public service.”

Mr Worsdale, who uses the 67 and 69 bus service, said the changes will make it difficult for him, and many others, to attend appointments at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

He said: “This will result in considerable hardship for a large number of residents, who have previously relied on the running of the buses via Church Balk for shopping, keeping hospital and doctor’s appointments or visiting family and friends.”

As we saw yesterday (read again), Church Balk at Edenthorpe ...
... gained a half hourly service from the early seventies by extending 159 journeys from Clay Lane estate. Until recently this was replaced by three buses every two hours as routes  67  and  69 , with the 67s looping back every two hours via a bit more of Edenthorpe ...
... viz Edenfield Road on their way to Lindholme.
There was a good service at the edges of the housing, but, arguably for the less athletic, it was a potentially troublesome walk. What Mr Worsdale and his chums get from last weekend is a new service 89 doing a similar loop but hourly and off-peak.
The 89 does still serve the hospital.
To what extent this change  will result in considerable hardship for a large number of residents is difficult to assess from a distance. But Mr Worsdale can still do his shopping and visit friends and even keep his hospital appointments.

Mum-of-three Nicola Tanner, aged 28, of Clay Lane, said the changes would affect parents who use the 76 bus to take their children to Kingfisher Primary School, Coventry Grove, Wheatley. She said: “Some of us have pushchairs.

“We’re all good friends, so we organise between ourselves who’s going to get the bus to school at 8am and who is going to get the next one at 8.30am, because there isn’t room for all of us on one bus.

In fact Nicola had a choice of three buses under the "ancien regime":-
“We’ve been told to get the 84 bus, but there will only be one bus an hour, which means some of us may have to get an earlier bus and then be stood outside school for at least half an hour.”

The 84/84A/84B complex runs every 20 minutes between Barnby Dun and Doncaster (so not one bus an hour) but Nicola now only has two journeys ...
... at about 0807 and 0827; but that's all the journeys she claimed she had prior to the change! She also needs to take a short walk from Thorne Road along Coventry Grove.
The school is on the roundabout at the end.

Surprisingly, however, the press has not latched on to the change at the Wheatley Hills estate which is much more dramatic. Here is a before and after map:-
Prior to 26th January, service  76  ran every 20 minutes to Clay Lane with an additional 20 minute frequency service  77  crossing Thorne Road and serving Wheatley Hills. Occasional journeys diverted via Wheatley Hall Road as    76A . The new  76  now runs every ten minutes - seemples!

Nicola Tanner now has the  84  group from Clay Lane.

But poor, poor Wheatley Hills estate. They have gone from a bus every 20 minutes on service  77  from 0800 to 2000 to a paltry  89  with journeys roughly every hour between 0900 and 1600.

Now that would be a story for "The Star"! But the incisive press reporter missed it completely.

Anyway, all is well because First have explained everything.

A First spokesman said the changes were introduced in response to feedback from customers, and they would not be left disadvantaged.

Unless they live at Wheatley Hills!

The spokesman said: “The new service 89 will provide improved access to Doncaster Royal Infirmary."

Less buses than service 67 and 69; an interesting definition of "improved".

“These are not cuts, the total level of resource is the same. We’ve refocused that resource following consultation with our customers in 2014, which asked for a simpler network with faster and more frequent buses from certain areas."

3 minutes faster from Moorends on the X8 and slightly more frequent from Stainforth on the 87 but on Mondays to Fridays only. But I am sure that the relatively few disadvantaged passengers (?) will be encouraged to know, as they shiver at their bus stop, that their resources have been refocussed. It can be quite painful, you know.

“However, this is an on-going process. We will be going back out in the community to get feedback after these changes have come in to force and if we need to make more changes to meet customer requirements we will.”

Yes, the man hints, we'll probably have to change it all again soon. Don't expect us to get it right first time!

Any big change can cause heartache, but these blogs have shown how easily the end user can be misled, either deliberately or by default, by the way the alterations are explained. fbb thinks this "refocussing of resources" could have been better explained by avoiding "operator-speak" and "management speak". In practical terms, tell people area by area what has changed, don't expect them to grapple with long lists of roads, route numbers and frequencies.

A house-to-house delivery of a network booklet with the excellent First Bus map would seem to be essential for a major and contentious change like this. Enjoy a bit of the map! (click on the map to enlarge)

 Next bus blog : Friday 30th January 


  1. 'Daring Doings in Doncaster's Dunscroft' doesnt actually make any sense.

    You seem think such bad alliteration is hilarious but its not.

  2. Amateur alliteration apparently annoys averagely attentive article readers but I hope haphazard hilarity is mollified by mild amusement and lets light-heartedness lubricate lessons learned with limited levity. Boring bus blogs can be bountifully brightened with energetic employment of eclectic english expressions.

  3. Once local authorities gain the powers to control/regulate their local bus services (or whatever it ends up being) this is no doubt the sort of issue they will often be faced with.

    It used to happen with the old 'corporation's. If there were a few people in 'wotsit terrace' who wanted a bus closer to their doors and half a dozen votes were at stake many a municipal manager was 'required' to provide something.

    We will see the same thing again. Sometimes it may be justified but all to often it will require financial support. Removing the 'profits' of the big boys is not going to buy the level of additional services, low fares etc that some people seem to dream it will! I wish I could be proved wrong.

    Each individual council will want its share of additional service as will each interested councillor and lower fares etc. Evening services, Sunday services etc etc.

    They won't be getting additional block funding London style from the Government. The decisions will now be made at the local level with whatever ongoing reduced funding the Government deigns to provide.

    Is it 40% or 60% of the cuts the Government has still got to make?

    Just how is this going to work - and not just in the big cities?

  4. You’re always going on about Benjamin Netinyahu. Let it go, you’re never going to meet him.