Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Worrying Withdrawal in Weston (1)

The Slow Demise of Another Independent?
Although there is evidence in the local area of occupation since the Iron Age, it was still a small village until the 19th century when it became a seaside resort, and was connected with local towns and cities by a railway, and two piers were built. The growth continued until the second half of the 20th century, when tourism declined and some local industries closed. A regeneration programme is being undertaken with attractions including the Helicopter Museum, Weston-super-Mare Museum, Grand Pier and an aquarium.

Weston super Mud?
Owing to the large tidal range in the Bristol Channel, the low tide mark in Weston Bay is about 1 mile (1.6 km) from the seafront. Although the beach itself is sandy, low tide uncovers areas of thick mud, hence the colloquial name, Weston-super-Mud. These mudflats are very dangerous, as pointed out gleefully by the Daily Mail in June 2014.
The youngster got an earful after apparently straying onto mudflats which are exposed at low tide in Weston-super-Mare. He is seen bursting into tears as the furious woman wags her finger in front of his face.

The incident happened a few miles from the spot where Lelaina Hall, five, died after getting trapped in the mud at nearby Berrow beach in 2002.

And the ever-present danger was underlined during the day as emergency crews were called out several times to reports of people stuck in the mud.

Trams ran along the seafront from 1902 to 1937.
After closure the town and is environs continued to be served by the Bristol Tramways Company but with buses.
This begat Badgerline, a name which mystified bus watchers beyond belief at the time and soon these monochrome creatures began to adorn the garish yellow and green vehicles.
Badgerline merged with Grampian (Aberdeen Corporation as was) to form First Bus which continued to dominate the town's passenger transport.
All seemed well (or as well as could be expected with pre-Fearnley First) until Crosville arrived.

The original Crosville Motor Services was a major bus operator, covering Mid and North Wales and North West England.
The name fell out of use after that company was privatised but has been resurrected by this new operator.

Crosville's first four commercial bus routes commenced operation in April 2012.
In broad terms, sometimes in detail, these were in competition with First. Conflict was well under way in the Autumn of 2014.

A spokesman for First West of England said: “We understand that there is a level of interest regarding our network in Weston, but we’d like to take this opportunity to reassure people that we have no plans to change anything in the immediate future.”

First recently dropped its service 5 to the hospital.

Its spokesman said: “We have recently removed one-loss making service from our network there, and occasionally we will make changes to make our business more efficient, but no significant other changes are planned for the foreseeable future.

And who started a new service 5 as their 105?
And here is its current timetable.
Buses showing number 5 run via the St Georges Estate on their way to Sainsburys but direct back to town.

Less than 3 years after First abandoned service 5, this appears on their web site.
And, guess what? It looks very much like Crosville's service.
First seems to be "having a go" at Crosville.

Weston's newcomer had some posh vehicles which ran an express service to North Bristol.
The route will allow residents to reach sites including Aztec West, Rolls Royce, Airbus and the Ministry of Defence, and begun on Monday when Crosville took over the previous Monday-to-Friday contract from Kings Ferry, now part of National Express..
But service reductions soon came.

Crosville’s owner, Jon Jones-Pratt, said: “Crosville stepped in to support the network and try to minimise the impact of service cuts. “We have attempted to operate the service but there have been challenges.”

Mr Jones-Pratt said: “The commuter service has been reduced to allow continued sustainability.”

He said he is ‘confident’ the service will now remain. 

It was withdrawn completely in January.

But no-one was expecting this announcement, made at the end of February.
fbb will examine the announcement more closely tomorrow.
Nothing to do with buses?
When fbb's RISC OS computer gave up its ghost, he replaced it with a version of the Raspberry Pi running software that began its life as part of the on-going BBC computer range.  Raspberry Pi is a ludicrously cheap computer that has found favour with beginners, experimenters and enthusiasts alike. A typical model costs £30!
You need to add your own keyboard, screen and power supply, but essentially it is a fully functional machine.

One experimenter has used one to replicate a 1950s black and white television.
But, unlike the original ...
... the box is very empty.
Most of what is there is the power supply, screen and loudspeakers. The computer is little bit at the front of the illustration.
fbb uses his Raspberry Pi for graphics (the famous fbb maps), visuals for talks and sermons and his consultancy work for the GoTimetable team.
 Next Weston super Mud blog : Wednesday 15th March 


  1. Hinckley Point must be absorbing a lot of local labour - indeed, it provides much work for the Southern National part of JJP's empire.
    If there is a driver shortage, I would be tempted to concentrate on fixed price contract work, rather than the vagaries of an unpredictable income from local bus work.

  2. I believe the main reason The Kings Ferry came off the coaching contract was due to low passenger numbers. It seems despite best intentions, there simply isn't the interest.

  3. My understanding is the Crossville/First joint venture has a 200 vehicle contract at Hinckley, may be where they are going to concentrate.