Thursday, 3 November 2016

Exeter Electronics Examined (1)

Testing Times and Tracking
Exeter City still has lettered routes; a throw-back to the grand old days of Exeter Corporation Transport.
Letters were retained when the City's buses were taken over by Devon General ...
Even with Harry Blundred's "minibus revolution" letters were still used. The service from Cowley Bridge and the University cross-city to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital was "lettered" G and H.
Along came Stagecoach to buy Devon General and, once again, Exeter's letters survived.

Actual routes have changed in detail with H1 and H2 being a previous manifestation.
But in 2016, buses to the Hospital are still lettered "H" ...
... they still run through from Cowley Bridge and the University ...
... and continue eastbound to the new development at Digby where buses terminate at the mega-Tesco.
Service D also runs from the University and on to Digby but not via the Hospital.
Two weeks ago Mrs fbb had an appointment at the R D & E Hospital (nothing serious, thankfully) and while she was attending, fbb had the opportunity, at last, to try out the much-promoted new App from Stagecoach.
Regular readers of this blog will remember that fbb had tried to use it at Seaton, Sidmouth and Axminster but signal strength was insufficient to propel the technology into action. Also to be remembered is that Stagecoach have blocked "screenshots", so fbb has to use Mrs fbb's phone to photograph his phone.
Previous illustrations of the "bus tracker" facility have been taken in the confines of fbb mansions where the App can be used but the buses cannot be seen!

fbb did not have the luxury of a second phone as he whiled away his time during the good lady's appointment. So it was back to a sheet of paper and a Bic pen to record the sequence of events at the hospital's "Main Entrance" stop.
The results will be revealed in tomorrow's blog (exciting eh?); but, in the meantime, here is an extract from the timetable to help our keenest readers to prepare.
Whilst waiting, readers may like to wonder why, on the eastbound timetable (top, above), you cannot get to Digby Drive and, on the westbound section (bottom, above), you cannot get to Cowley Bridge.

It's just plain loopy, yet again.
Meanwhile at First's Buses of Somerset
Last weekend, there were a number of service reductions in the "Greater Taunton" area. With the demise of Webberbus, the time had come to trim back some of the extras added to counter the competition.

So the company's web site tells us the the service 10 to Minehead and the 101 towen service are withdrawn.

Minehead Area Services

Service 10 (Minehead – Porlock Weir) and Service 101 (Minehead Town Service)

Services 10 and 101 are withdrawn due to low customer demand for these services.

But a glimpse at the list of timetables reveals:-
Needless to say, there is no obvious explanation. Apparently a last minute bag of pennies from somewhere has saved the service (Monday to Friday only), but nobody in the slick and efficient computer-driven management at Taunton has seen fit to remove the "cancellation" note.

Although the list of the forthcoming changes was published on October 6th, timetables did not appear on-line until a few days before the change, according to a frustrated correspondent.

It makes me want to cry! What do you think of this.

On 6th October, Buses of Somerset posted this on their website –

The following changes are taking place on the Buses of Somerset network of services from 30th October 2016. Please make sure you check the new timetables which will be available soon on our website before travelling.

There then followed a summary of the forthcoming changes that involved almost every route. With just 4 days tp go, there still is no further information, no online timetables, no printed timetables available and nothing under the “planned changes” section of the BoS website.

What a way to run a bus company, the sort of thing you might expect from Charlies Chara’s but not from such a major transport concern, surely.

What is saddest of all is that it was signed (anonymously!) ...

A buses of Someset employee.

Due to other pressures, this note arrived too late for fbb to verify its contents; but if the Minehead silliness is anything to go by, it all seems very believable.

Passengers? Why bother with them? It will be all on line - sometime!
  Nexeter Exeter blog : Friday 4th November 


  1. Minehead - The 10/101 withdrawal anouncement caused a petition and rally to be created - It was local news headlines. The 10/10A is a 1 bus temporary service until the end of the year, whilst the local community look for funding. Somerset county are over budget already.

    The BOS Website has a news item (Press release)"lifeline for minehead local bus services" from the day it was agreed. This was also in the local press and county council news site. All the new timetables have been on the BOS website under Timetables/Forthcoming Timetables for at least a couple of weeks, plus Traveline.

    Due to Webberbus the timetables are still changing. The funding for the C, F & 67 (not BOS) finish on 26th Nov and nothing yet said.There is no point in paying for books, maps etc. if they are only going to last a few weeks. RichardW

  2. Not correct! The new timetables for services 10 and 10A appeared in the 'news' section on the evening of Tuesday 25 October, but the new timetables did not appear in 'Forthcoming Timetables' until the following day, and the revised routes only appeared in the 'news' section on the evening of Friday 28 October. The new timetables and routes are still not on the Traveline South West data base at time of writing (1030hrs on Thursday 3 November).