Thursday, 14 July 2016

Have you Noticed the Notable Notices?

In Oxfordshire.
Our local newshound, the currently prolific Alan, has been to Bicester again. He reminds us all that Oxfordshire has decided to withdraw support for all its tendered services and the date of execution is coming soon.

To sit in solemn silence on a sofa made of rock**,
Waiting for a bus with an eye upon the clock,
Rueing the sensation of this short, sharp shock,
From a cheap and chippy chopper on the bus route stock!

It was William Schwenck Gilbert who did not quite predict the Oxford happenings in his libretto for The Mikado.

**One of the seats at Bicester's bus stand looks like a plush sofa, but is made of concrete!
But on the nearby stop signs notices have appeared.
These are both Tuesday only (Market Day) routes, the 37 striking out towards Buckingham ...
... and the 81A north and a bit west following the railways line.
The notice refers to "a new service 81 timetable which is not yet published. The existing 81, a Fridays and Saturdays route linking some of the same villages is also shown on Traveline as ending.
This one caused fbb a bit of bovver as 94 is a number used by Charlton (on Otmoor) services for a route between Oxford and Ambrosden. Over the years the company has run a variety of vehicles in service along this corridor.
But does the 94 run to Bicester? It did, occasionally, back in in 2005 ...
.... but according to Traveline, that privilege is now devolved to Thames Travel and numbered T94
Thames Travel calls it "Bicester Services" 94 ...
... to distinguish it from their other 94 ...
... which is in Didcot.
Let's hope that the Bicester folk understand what the notice means. Anyway, in about one week, the service 94 or 94T or T94 will have expired!

Then there is the 88.
Some keen readers may remember that this route, which runs six days a week, has caused the most angst. On Monday to Friday five journeys a day run through from Northampton via Brackley to Bicester.
And they are through journeys although Traveline and Stagecoach aren't so sure.

But the notice is highly misleading. Yes, the 88 will still run after the chop; and yes, it will no longer stop in Bicester town centre. And yes, there will be a revised timetable.

In fact, the 88 will run between Northampton and Silverstone (map, top right) only and never get anywhere near Bicester (bottom left)
So why not admit that it, too, is withdrawn?

Perhaps the young lad (or lass) charged with printing the notices simply does not understand where the buses go (or went)!

But the people of rural Oxfordshire will find it hard to get around after these cuts. The question again posed is this. How much extra will the public purse have to pay for more vehicles on the road, cars and ambulances to hospital, extra social care because folk can no longer get out and extra psychological stress caused by isolation?

Will it be more than the saving on the bus budget?

You bet!

In Northampton
Alan spotted these in the leaflet rack at Northgate bus station a few days ago.
The clever design that purports to be for services 20 and 16 is actually a leaflet for buses to the Silverstone circuit for last week's Grand Prix (held in 2016, gettit?)

But this one from National Exdpress is really, really useful for the residents of Northampton.
Alan's phone photographic facilities are almost as primitive as fbb's, but the useful leaflet is for the service from Fareham, Portsmouth and Guildford to London. And in case you thought that National Express were indulging in a massive advertising campaign for all their services ...
... it was just an odd leaflet heap stuffed next to routes serving the town. A few days later Alan wrote again:-
Indeed, please don't try this for yourself. Not a good idea at all.
M1 Junction 15A for Northampton?

And at Birmingham
This one was also published in Modern Railways ...
... and offers a whole new slant on a campaign to protect the environment.

But this week's prize for noticeable incompetence MUST go to ...

 Next Sheffield bus blog : Friday 15th July 


  1. Now that Brexit means Brexit, might we look forward to an end of the nonsense of long routes having to be split into artificial sections?

    Or will buses be too far below the radar for our politicians?

  2. From July 25th three Stagecoach Midlands 88 journeys continue from Silverstone to Brackley (Population c. 14,000) Currently it is six. Northamptonshire has withdrawn the subsidy for its part of the route too. There is no reason for them to do this other than the fact that Brackley is 22 miles from County Hall and thought of as "a faraway country ... of whom we know little"
    And yes Brackley's MP was in the news quite a lot last week.

    Oxfordshire is proposing demand responsive transport for the "Lark Rise" villages between Brackley and Bicester - concessionary passes not valid.

    1. Thats the problem even if we give politicians control .They will only care for their town not the small towns or villages .

  3. According to a news feed GHA coaches ceased trading as of last night. That is quite a large operator to fail!

  4. The abolition of the pointless Driver CPC would also be a good red-tape-removal from Brexit.

    But I think tweaking with bus operations is likely to be low priority.

  5. And if we want to stay in the single market we'll have to continue observing EU regs on drivers' hours anyway. That's assuming there will be anybody left to drive them when all the Polish bus drivers go home.

    1. Doesn't Domestic mean domestic under Brexit?