Sunday, 26 March 2017

Nothing to do with Mothers Day

Or Mothering Sunday?
Correct; Ecclesiastically, today is not Mothers Day, it is Mothering Sunday. In times gone by it was customary for believer to visit their "Mother Church" on this particular day. For fbb at Seaton that might have been Exeter Cathedral ... .
... or the Minster Church on the Ax.
But the practice had all but died out by the start of the 20th Century. In 1912, an American, Anna Jarvis, ...
... actually trade-marked "Mothers Day" and "Second Sunday in May" to begin the newer version. Back at Coddington (Notts), the delightfully named Constance Adelaide Penswick Smith picked up the idea and wrote an improving book encouraging the re-establishment of a "Festival for All The Family",
And slowly but surely the Church celebration took root.

Breezer Breezes By Bembridge
Southern Vectis has had a love-hate relationship with open top bus services for many, many years. the problem is very simple; in good weather they rake in the money in sackfuls but when the rains fall, takings are almost non-existent.
In the mid eighties and new OT route began from Ryde, via Robin Hill, "over the downs" and back to Ryde. It fizzled out. But a brave new operator, Westbrook Travel, owned by you esteemed blogger, started a replacements.
This time, after a sale to new owners, the company fizzled out and Southern Vectis was back on the route.
It ran every half an hour for a short summer season and struggled to gain enough patronage. By now it charged a premium fare (£10, as part of a day rover) and so it was a bit easier to cover costs. 

This season the company is having a go at something  bit different. Instead of getting to Sandown and nipping smartly back to Ryde, the Breezer will run right round the coast via Bembridge.
Oddly, it misses out a charming piece of sea side running via Seaview Duver. 
It's twice as long but half as frequent.
Hope it does well, but ...

Is It Really Thirty Years ...
It was 1987, in the heady days of deregulation, that some oddly liveried buses appeared in the yard outside Ryde depot. 

They wee destined for Southmpton to compete with Southampton's City Bus operation. They wore black on red blinds (this illegible) and operated out of the back of a van in a car park near Ocean Village. It was all very amateurish.
A deal with Brian Souter to take over the Southampton and Eastleigh operations of Hampshire Bus brought an end to competition with the City incumbent. Opinion "on the street" suggests that Blue Line would not have survived the start-up had the expansion not happened. Be that as it may, eventually a sale to GoAhead and a re-brand to BlueStar both led to the company we know today.

It is 30 years old.
A big knees-up is planned for June ...
Our (senior!) Isle of Wight correspondent was dispatched from the Island to oversee the engineering side of the developing business, so it was he who uttered our headline. And, yes, it really was thirty years ago,

Trauma at Tanygrisiau
John's Coaches runs the little local service in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Service 37 (Blaenau Clipa) has been run by John for 18 years.
Blaenau Ffestiniog residents have hit out at a decision to strip a popular bus service contract from a much-loved local company.
The 37 Clipa service between Blaenau town centre and Tanygrisiau, run by John’s Coaches for the past 18 years, is to be taken over by Penygroes bus firm Express Motors from 1 April after the contract went out to tender.

But residents have hit out at the decision not to award the contract to John’s Coaches, with an online petition gaining more than 300 signatures in two weeks and customers sharing tales of the driver, Mr Edwards’ son Gareth, “going above and beyond” for the often-vulnerable passengers.
Here is John's bus in Blaenau.
It's raining; but it usually is in Blaenau! The bus, of course, is ex East Yorkshire.
Incidentally, Travelien Cymru have posted the new timetable (from 1st April) in advance. The current timetable is not available. It might be unchanged, but, who knows?

Tomorrow, to celebrate this week's formal farewell to Europe starter, we return to France.

 Next Lyon tram blog : Monday 27th March 


  1. If driver Gareth's sole work is driving the Blaenau Clipa, then TUPE applies and Express will be obliged to offer him a job on the same terms and conditions.

  2. There is no takeover. John's Coaches have simply not had their contract renewed. TUPE is not involved!

    1. If a contract is retendered and won by another operator then TUPE does apply, it is the whole point of the TUPE regulations to protect workers jobs & employment rights when their employers lose a contract it doesn't just have to be when a company is taken over. TUPE comes in when a company loses a contract where members of staff are largely or entirely dedicated to servicing the contract is lost. Where that is the case the member of staff should be offered the choice to transfer to the new provider of the contract on their existing terms & conditions.

      It is rarely implemented in the bus industry because few companies have drivers dedicated to a single contract (except the very small companies or the very top line prestigious contracts like Park & Ride or corporate work) & most companies are so in need of drivers that they often have vacancies that mean no job losses are involved in losing a single contract.

    2. In London, where drivers work on a rota or rotas solely identified with one route or contract, TUPE is available all the time. Some drivers like their route so much that they'll transfer between operators each time the contract changes, thereby working for Operator C on the conditions applicable to Operator A!!
      That doesn't mean to say that Operator A will not try very hard indeed to retain drivers!!

  3. Dwarfer 1979 has correctly identified a case I had in mind, where a large operator re-gained a P&R contract from a small operator. Under TUPE, large op had to take back several members of staff who had previously been sacked and went to work for small op on the P&R contract. I can't recall how long it was before each of those involved blotted his copybook and was dismissed (or invited to leave) for a second time.

    1. Quite correct - at my company we've re-employed some drivers three or four times, as we've bought other companies or won their contracts.
      And you're right . . . . . they tend not to stay very long second / third time around!!
      I would just point out that some drivers just will not wear uniform, and smaller operators tend not to worry to much about that, whereas larger operators see the need to maintain a corporate image as more important . . . . sometimes that's the reason for the regularity of the parting of the ways.