Saturday, 23 January 2016

Falcon's Far-reaching Flightpath [1]

The Route's a Beaut!
A couple of weeks back, fbb was able to reveal outline details of the new interurban service between Plymouth and Bristol being inaugurated by Stagecoach South West. More details have recently emerged via the Stagecoach web sites.
Launch date is Sunday 14th February and for two weeks a flat fare of £1 for any single journey is being offered. Here are some extracts from the on-line blurb. Cheap as chips - actually cheaper than chips!

From Plymouth to Bristol & back again 24/7

The South West Falcon is a brand new coach service from Stagecoach South West connecting Plymouth, Exeter, Taunton, Bristol Airport and Bristol City Centre. Starting from 14 February the Falcon will fly up the A38 and M5 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

To celebrate the launch of Falcon any journey will cost just £1 between 14 and 27 February*

All Falcon coaches have free Wi-Fi, USB charging points, power sockets and air conditioning so you can work, rest or play whilst on the move.

Over the next few weeks we'll be revealing full details of our great value ticket range and our 24/7 timetable, so make sure you check back regularly.

Unlike National Express, you will pay the driver, just like on a bus. The map confirms the main stops ...
... and an additional panel adds in some detail and a few more stops. (click on the panel below to enlarge it)
The final few bus services that remained at Bretonside have (or soon will) move out, leaving just long distance coaches using the rather sad fag end of a bus station that was so superior when it opened.
A new bus station round the back of The Parade is about to be constructed.

Next call is at Drumbridges (for Newton Abbott). Sounds picturesque doesn't it. Actually it is  bus shelter and layby on the roundabout that provides access to the A38.
The blue sign reveals that the extra bit of pull-in is for "police patrol vehicles only", so a bit risky to wait there if you are delivered or collected by car. There is only one bus service from Newton Abbot to the same elegant stops, namely the not-very-frequent 39.
Sadly, according to the sainted Traveline, there is no service on Thrsday and Fridays. Either way, fbb doesn't expect heavy loadings from Drumbridges!

We know that the Falcon calls at Exeter But the list says Honiton Road and Sowton sites. This seems a small but noticeable waste of time. Do Exonians need both access points or is it a mistake as in yesterday's blog?
Next stop, Cullompton. Nip off the M5 and stop at the Weary Traveller, whizz round the about just ahead and you are back en route.
There's the esteemed hostelry on the left. At least there is a bus stop flag; more than you got at Drumbridges!
Next we go to Taunton where, according to the list, it gets a bit complicated.

The Gateway Park and Ride, just off the M5 ...
... closes its doors, the barriers come down and the gates close at 1830/1900 and all day on Sundays.
The Falcon cannot land. Thus services are transferred to Sainsburys on the other side of the M5.
fbb does not think that the buses go into the store, even into the car park ...
... but there is a well-appointed bus shelter (no glass when Google went by) and a layby. Luxury indeed!

The list of Falcon stops as shown above was revealed on the Plymothian Transport blog on Thursday last; but, mysteriously, by the time fbb was exploring the information on Friday, something had changed.
Taunton is now just Taunton. Second thoughts, Stagecoach?

fbb awaits the timetable with interest.

The rest of the route will be featured tomorrow.

In the meantime, remember this?
Somerset timetables on the First Bus un-appy App all seemed to be in Essex.
fbb is now thrilled, ecstatically thrilled no less, to report that this has been changed. Now if you tap Somerset you get Somerset ...
... all mixed up with Cornwall.

Why is it so difficult to get simple things right? What is the problem about supplying a list of Somerset timetables in the Somerset section? Nobody seems to care or be bothered to get it right. Look, folks, it only needs a list to be created which accesses the deep throat First database. A passing 7 year old could do it.

 Next Falcon blog : Sunday 24th January 


  1. When the old X38 stopped at Drumbridges the loadings in peak could be up to 20 per trip with people from Bovey,Newton Abbot and surrounding places using it. It stops at both P&Rs in Exeter I'm guessing as Sowton has a direct bus to the RD&E hospital and town plus for workers at the industrial estate and the rugby ground. Honiton Road also has direct links to town and Exeter Airport as well as being next to Met Office and the new huge development at Monkerton. So I would argue both are sensible. A fast bus from Cullompton to Taunton also makes sense given First abandoned it and even Nat Exp stop once a day there now. Also none of these require more than a couple of minutes off the motorway.

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  3. Re Falcon doing both park and rides - I'm guessing it's easier to run a 15m coach up to Middlemoor Roundabout from J30 and back to J29 then to try and turn in the park and ride bus layby themselves.

  4. Informative post with attractive and I enjoyed spending time on it. Appreciated!

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  5. Great information has shared in this post and hope the commuters will make use for their journey.

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