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.
“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.
Pluto became service 41 ...
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 ...
The map may be a help.
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.
fbb will reveal all tomorrow!
Next Bedford blog : Wednesday 23rd November