Thursday, 9 June 2016

From Our Own Correspondent [2]

Somerset Site Sub-Standard
Recently fbb aroused indignation at Buses of Somerset (BoS) for suggesting that the move for the independent BoS web site into First-corporate land was the beginning of the end for this green giant of Sonmerset. fbb commented that there was no "news" on the site except old news.
Additionally there was little to help customers understand what had happened to former Webberbus routes.

A correspondent concurs - somewhat belatedly. Perhaps he is not a daily reader of the blog. 
The site remains very poor compared with its predecessor. But it is just a pity that the high quality of information available on the original BoS pages should be sacrificed under some misplaced HQ policy. Sounds very much like the old pre-Fearnley First Bus.

And not a word of apology ...
... and you won't!
Chumminess is no excuse for poor service.

Devon Delivers, Dorset Doesn't.
It is good to see a better attitude to Public Transport from fbb's adopted county. You just have to feel sorry for Dorset folk. The press item from which the above was extracted by our correspondent is interesting.
The bus is right for a Dorset "community" vehicle. But fbb wonders where along the route of the 688 ...
... you might pass the harbour?

The article also mentions route 20:-
The revisions to fbb's local Stagecoach service are minor, Timings do change a bit here and there and the service runs direct between Taunton and Wellington rather than wiggling via West Buckland.
The timetable is on Traveline but with an attempt to disguide the fact that it is a through service.
fbb has corrected this piece of misdirection.
All will be on the GoSeaton app (downloadable  FREE  for Android devices from Google Play Store) from Monday next.

No sign of anything on Stagecoach's web site. But then we don't expect that from super corporate land.

Exeter's New Bus Station
Exeter's current bus station is looking its age; like fbb it is old and tired and in need of refurbishment. But the civic dignitaries have come up with a cunning plan,.

(1) Sell off the site for leisure and retail development

(2) Get the developers to build you a bus station free,

The present facility has already been fettled a little to squeeze in wider and longer buses but its 14 stands are always busy and buses often have to use nearby stands because their's is full. Exeter's bus station isn't big enough.

On-line information is less than helpful;.
Blocks A (pink), B (pale orange), C (green) and E (blue - next to the new leisure centre) are, presumably, retail opportunities. The darker block is labelled C and bus station. fbb has attempted to match old with new with only limited success but would estimate that the old station is about as long as "Block "B".

Which would make the new bus station smaller than the old, not larger as is needed.
In this version, it looks as if a triangular overall roof had been glued on to block "B" with parking for vehicles on "layover" to the right. It is definitely not big enough, as well as being a hearty few yards further from the main shopping area.

Never mind, eh? The leisure centre looks pretty and there will be lots more shops to stand empty.

Good scheme?

As ever, time will tell.

There was hardly unbridled enthusiasm for the project back in January!

The plans for the bus station go on public view next week ; if they materialise on-line, fbb will take another look. Councillors and developers have reacted to tonight's lively meeting in which planning permission was granted to Princesshay Leisure, a major Exeter city centre development on the site of the bus station.

The Crown Estate and TIAA Henderson Real Estate project will comprise of restaurants, shops, a cinema, a council run-leisure complex and a bus terminal. The landscape-changing project is set for completion in mid-2019, and will create around 750 jobs for the city.

The decision to grant planning permission arrived despite 250 letters of objection from the public and criticism from many councillors present.

It's changed shape yet again!

 Next tram blog : Friday 10th June 


  1. The Exeter bus station scheme is utter madness and down to pure greed on behalf of the Council which wants the glory of a new leisure centre etc.

    No-one would argue that the current bus station would benefit from a refurb. But it's the right size and well located. The logical and straight-forward solution is to leave the upper half as it is and sell off the lower (former coach station) part and develop that. Maybe that's far too obvious and far too simple.

    Have they bothered resolving the question of where the (15m) National Express and Megabus coaches will stop yet? Let alone any facilities for the passengers. What a wonderful welcome visitors to the city will get. Grrr.

    1. And don't forget that the Bus Garage will also be redeveloped . . . that's where buses on long layover can go at present. When that's moved, there will be MORE buses, not less, parking up.
      Still, I don't suppose it'll really matter that much . . . .

    2. Sorry, replied just now in the wrong place but never mind.
      Actually, thinking about it more, it will make quite a difference as presently all the outstationed buses at Dawlish, Sidmouth etc go there during the day for fueling and washing between duties. Easy at the moment, it takes ten minutes. Not the same if they have to go out to Marsh Barton and back.

  2. Andrew Kleissner9 June 2016 at 08:10

    "The Project will comprise of ..." - grrr, they can't even get their grammar right! (One of my pet niggles, I'm afraid).

  3. Buses on layover currently just go to the lower level or use one of the spaces by the entrance. I believe the new garage is due to open in September. Not long now.

    At one time, the bus station was to relocate to where the existing garage is but no, that's now been sold for student accommodation. Don't know if Stagecoach owned it or leased it.

  4. The new bus station is being paid for by Exeter City Council. See
    for more details of this and other aspects of the plan. It confirms that the new bus station will be smaller than the present one and will be further from the city centre. It will, however, have 'dynamic stand allocation', which sounds dreadful. While the works are underway, the bus station will possibly be temporarily relocated to the Triangle car park. There's a public 'consultation' at the Guildhall on Tues 14 June.

  5. Re Exeter Bus Station - sounds all too familiar with what is going on in Cardiff.

    Original location and size was fine, just needed some TLC.

    Along come the developers to sell the local authority the dream - smaller bus station and relocated so sod the bus users, they only like rail or a shiny tram, anyway?

    Then out comes dynamic stand allocation - a transport consultants dream. Has this worked anywhere in the UK. Christchuch (?) down-under often gets trumpeted as the model to follow but that's an island station not drive in reverse off. Today you bus goes from stand 1, tomorrow stand 10. Run along old dear with your bags as the bus is about to leave....

    1. Dynamic Stand Allocation was planned for the new Bus Station at Luton Airport. I say planned, but in practice it didn't materialise . . . . there's a surprise!!

    2. It was planned for the new Chatham bus station too. I don't think it actually happened there either. Anyone know for sure?

    3. Not when I was there about 9 months ago.

      Unless you have lots of whizzie whizzie kit that determines when a bus has ACTUALLY left the stand before directing another bus to that same stand, I don't see how it can work in practice.
      Relying on the timetable isn't practicable; buses can be ready to go, and Mrs Scroggins with her portmanteau carpet bag (think Margaret Rutherford here) arrives at the stop just as the doors are to be closed and then has to find her pass from the depths of said bag.

      And then what happens when the whizzie whizzie kit is unplugged, and there are 17 stand in use? Mrs Scroggins will never catch her bus!!

    4. Seems that it didn't actually happen at Chatham. I've done a quick search, and what comes up but this blog! I'm sure fbb will remember!

  6. I have used the bus station in Christchurch NZ. Part of it seemed to be indoors and part was roadside stands. The dynamic stand allocation was certanly confusing for the first time user and, as a concept I think it is best avoided. I don't think the bus station survived the earthquakes of a few years ago.

    The Exeter Civic Society and the Exeter & District Bus Users Group (which seem to be connected) have condemned the plans for the new Exeter bus station (too small, poor facilities, wrong place). There is a report on the Express & Echo's website
    (if you have the patience to fight with the website and its interminable pop-ups).

  7. Fortunately Chatham could work without dynamic allocation, which was just as well, because the Cambridge-based supplier did not actually have a working system to put in.