Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Only the Lonely at Olney (2)

Planets Pursue Passengers ...
The Stagecoach group magazine (September 2006) was effusive about the new-look interurban bus services from Bedford.

The planets are now fully in orbit – and have captured the imagination of Bedfordshire’s travelling public. Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, Pluto, Mercury and Mars – all new branded buses – are just over a month into action and already attracting significant growth in patronage.
“The trends are looking very good,” said James Freeman, Managing Director of Stagecoach East. “The level of awareness is surprisingly high in such a short space of time and we are seeing meaningful increases in passenger numbers."

“Local people have taken them to their hearts, which is a very pleasing sign.” He said the old bus numbers had “disappeared without trace” with people preferring Jupiter to No 142.

Not quite, Mt Freeman, Sir. Mercury retained the number 50!
And he added: “Astronomers may throw Pluto out of the galaxy, but the Bedford to Northampton buses, with their vivid purple branding, are carrying more passengers.”
James said Stagecoach had learned from experience that people could be won over to travelling by bus – even when they had access to their own car. He said this had happened where the network was simple and straightforward and the service easy to understand and reliable.

Pluto was, in essence, unchanged from its unbranded predecessor in terms of route (NOT via Olney) ...
... but running time was much improved.

 Running time Northampton to Bedford : 50 minutes 

There was a nice map, though (click to enlarge).

But this interplanetary travel was not to last. This is how Stagecoach explained the county's cutbacks at the time.
The boss reported:-
Ironically this announcement came in December 2006, just three months after the "hooray Henry" report in the company rag as quoted above.

Pluto became service 41 ...
... diverted via Olney to replace the 130 and its successors and with a consequential increase in running time.

 Running time Northampton to Bedford : 1 hour 5 minutes 

Which (sort of) brings us to today's timetable.

There is a chumminess between the current service 41 and service 40 between Bedford and Milton Keynes via Stagsden (similar to the old 132).

Here is the 41 table ...
... but note that the 41 takes just 2 minutes to get from The Swan to the Mobile Home Park whereas the 40 takes 9 minutes. That is because the 40 runs via new development at Bromham, similar to, but further than, the old service 133 from yesterdays blog. Remember?
Of course you do?

The map may be a help.
There is the 41 PURPLE via Olney and the 40 in a nearly illegible PINK. The PALE BLUE line is the X5 between Cambridge and Oxford which runs non stop between Bedford and Milton Keynes.

The Bromham wiggle is better shown on a Traveline effort.
It all becomes clear when we look at the service 40 version of the chummy timetable.
So all you have to do is to guess what will be happening to these services from Monday next.

fbb will reveal all tomorrow!

 Next Bedford blog : Wednesday 23rd November 


  1. Although I don't want to let any felines out of their bags, the forthcoming changes and timetables are available on both the Stagecoach and Bedford Borough Council websites. What paper and other local publicity has been made available, I have no idea!

    1. It's also on the Northamptonshire CC website as well.

      Looks like the oft repeated issue of council funding (again without letting felines out of their captivity)

  2. Nothing to do with today's blog but, with your IoW connections you may want to do something about this. https://www.facebook.com/thebusshelteriow/photos/