Tuesday, 2 June 2015


Midland Red : a PS
See yesterday's blog (read again). Leicester correspondent David didn't have any Midland Red timetables (boo) but Northampton correspondent Alan did (hooray). A further historical blog will follow on Thursday. But, as a taster, here are the buses along Groby Road in 1964.

But, for now at least, back to today's 29 ...

... And a Non-Xpress X
The 29 and 29A ran via Groby ...
... and looped via Markfield village.
The 89 then took the main road into Coalville whilst the 29A ran via Greenhill and Whitwick.
But, back in April, things changed.

We’re making some exciting changes to local bus services along the Groby Road and onto Coalville, Ashby de la Zouch, Swadlincote and Burton upon Trent from Sunday 12 April 2015. The changes will enable us to improve punctuality; giving a better service to our customers and making bus travel an attractive alternative to using the car along with helping us to grow passenger numbers and helping to free up our grid-locked roads. (And, if it works, growing the profits and enhancing the German economy.)
Simon Mathieson, Arriva's area director for Leicester, gave the details which involved minor timetable changes for the 26, 27 and 28. But the big news was a doubling of the frequncy via Whitwick from hourly to every 30 minutes. Here is Simon pictured at the launch ...
... although fbb isn't sure who the lad on the left is.

Service 29A: Leicester – Groby – Markfield – Whitwick - Coalville This is one of the services that will see some of the most important changes. A revised route incorporating Bardon Business Park will be introduced along with the frequency being doubled to operate every 30 minutes daytime Monday to Saturday – there are evening and Sunday buses too!

Most buses arriving in Coalville will continue to Ashby, Swadlincote and Burton as service 9/9A the same as they do currently – with through fares.

So what about the main road route, 29 as was?
Service 29X, providing faster journey times between Leicester and Coalville, will operate from St Margaret’s Bus Station along St Margaret’s Way, Ravensbridge Drive and Blackbird Road onto the Groby Road, Groby village then onto Markfield running along the edge of the village on Leicester Road/Ashby Road before re-joining the main road and running direct into Coalville. Service 29X will run up to every 60 minutes daytime Monday to Saturday.

Service 29X runs limited stop between Leicester and Glenfield Hospital and misses out Markfield village loop; which, you would think, would speed up the running time. But it doesn't!

29 all stops Leicester to Groby : 17 mins

29X limited stop Leicester to Groby : 17 mins

29 via village to Markfield Main Street : 28 mins

29X NOT via village to Markfield Main Street : 28 mins

Not much of an improvement to achieve at the cost of confusion at stops not served by the 29X.

David, our local hack, writes:-

Went on the 29X from Groby into Leicester last week. It seems more lightly loaded than the other routes. It comes 5 minutes after the 26, so I let the 26 go. As far as I could see, we didn't catch up the 26. 'Limited stop' in practice seems to mean it travels slowly as far as County Hall where it waits for time, then sprints in to town passing angry-looking passengers with their hands out.

Arriva have, a little belatedly, labelled stops with (or without!) 29X.
Sadly, the stop information on the Groby Road has been so awful in the past that it is no wonder that passengers ignore it even though it is now up-to-date. Correspondent David again:-

The 29X could work. It needs a reduced running time. It is timed at 43 minutes Leicester to Coalville and 50 minutes Coalville to Leicester, with the result that it waits around going into Leicester. If I remember aright, the timing Coalville to Leicester for the 665 (NOT via Whitwick or Markfield village) in Midland Red days was about 40 minutes.

David goes on to suggest:-

It seems odd that the onward service from Coalville to Burton, the 9, 9A, 9E, is a continuation of the 29A, which wanders round Whitwick. Why not run the more direct 29X through to Burton? I should think anyone travelling from Burton to Leicester via 9A plus 29A must have lost the will to live before they get there.

But it's the Arriva publicity for these services that is particularly disappointing.

 Pre-final 29 blog : Wednesday 3rd June 

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