Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Wondering and Wandering in Wool (2)

There Is Plenty Of Bus Information At Wool!
There is the usual bus stop "flag" ...
... which displayed two services that no longer operate. But there was an electronic thingey which appeared to be displaying accurate information. More about this display later,
There was also a collection of leaflets and booklets on display on the wall of the station building.
Amazingly, there were plenty of timetables in the frames. There was a variety of different styles, but all the information was there for all to see. Compared with many locations, and ignoring the "flag" it was all potentially useful and informative.

But look closer.

The X55 (a "tourist" bus) finished on Sunday 3rd September.
The 103 and 105 ("normal" buses) were expunged as part of Dorset's dramatic reduction in spending announced earlier in the year.
The Breezer 30 (GoAhead, also a tourist bus) finishes on September 16th,
Which leaves First's X54, the remnant via Wool of the Jurassic Coaster service which used to run through from Exeter to Bournemouth.

The X54 loses its Saturday service at the end of the month.
A locally produced notice repeats this reduction ...
... and guides local folk to the various book-ahead community bus services available. (click on the graphic below for an enlargement).
Put all this together and you soon realise that, had fbb arrived at Wool Station in three weeks time, there would have been no buses at all on a Saturday, leaving just four journeys each way on the "X"54 Monday to Friday.

fbb was able to observe the following departures ...
... all of which were announced on the screen. As is usual with this system, these electronic revelations were a mixture of real time and unreal (timetabled) time. Equally normal, the system seems unable to deal sensibly with late running.

The 1003 disappeared from the screen at 1003 but no bus had arrived. It appeared, unannounced, ten minuted late.
The other buses in the sequence were, however, on time. The Breezer's passengers had the privilege of double deck buses ...
... newer and brighter than the bog-standard offering from First.

What was interesting was to look at loadings. All four departures had what fbb would assume was an "acceptable" load of approx 30 passengers. How many of these were on cheapo "senior" fares, fbb could not tell, as few boarded or alighted at Wool.

One family was off for a "day" at Weymouth with youngster excitedly clamouring for the double decker (First Bus please note!).

What is depressing is that there appears to be no means of providing local (non-tourist) links to the villages around Wool. Surely a well presented service connecting with specified trains and with through tickets and an attractive, well distributed leaflet could be made to work with only a nominal support from the local community?

First Bus have promised better bus/rail integration as part of their franchise bid for the dull-liveried South Western Railway. Here is a locality where something imaginative could be provided, surely?

Low flying Gloucester Old Spot warning!!

Talking of Good Publicity?
Yesterday, at approx 1000, the postie rang the doorbell and handed over a bundle of mail to fbb. Most was for the good lady, but one was from a Sheffield correspondent.

John writes, in an accompanying letter (remember letters?) ...

Enclosed is a copy of each of the timetable leaflets for bus and tram services in Sheffield that were available on Friday afternoon, last.

It is worth remembering that there have been timetable changes from Sunday 3rd September to almost every First Bus and Stagecoach route that runs in or into Sheffield.

First Bus:- 
NOT available were
72/73/74 incorporating major changes
X5/X54/X55 ditto
36 ditto
81/82, 95, X1, X78, 271/272 with minor timetable changes

Stagecoach bus:-
57, 86 and 737 were available at Arundel Gate office, 43/44 and X17 at the Interchange. X17 is unchanged. 25/50 etc, also unchanged, is only available in Chesterfield. A bi-lingual 737 leaflet (Sheffield to Doncaster Airport) was available on some buses.
NOT available were  
88, with major changes to the Saturday service
2, the new "heavily promoted" service to Barnsley
72, Chesterfield Killmarsh Sheffield
Supertram Link (to Stocksbridge) unchanged but NOT included on the 57 leaflet

Stagecoach Supertram:-
ONLY available at Sheffield Tourist Information office. The TiC had no other public transport information for Sheffield but they do sell Derbyshire timetable booklets.

Joint (Partnership) Services:-
Admittedly the changes on most of these are minor, BUT potential new customers have no printed information at all for these:-
1/1A   Jordanthorpe - Sheffield - High Green
7/8    Crystal Peaks - Sheffield - Parson Cross
24/25  Bradway - Sheffield - Woodhouse
52/52A Woodhouse - Sheffield - Crookes - Hillsborough
83 )   Parson Cross - Sheffield - Greystones
83A)   Parson Cross - Sheffield - Hallam Grange
120    Halfway - Sheffield - Upper Fulwood

Other operators (replacement services)
NOTHING AVAILABLE for these services which replace facilities (mainly on Sundays) withdrawn by First
85 High Green
57 Oughtibridge and Worrall
74 Harthill

John's letter ends with this telling paragraph:-

Such is life in this day and age. I remember, in my past life working for Sheffield Transport, there were occasions when changes were postponed if timetable leaflets were delayed for fear of criticism from the press, the public and the traffic commissioners. I doesn't seem to matter now, yet operators wonder why passenger numbers are in decline. Not surprising when no-one can find out when and where the buses run and on-line information is difficult to access, wrong, incomplete and misleading.

There will be more about these leaflets after tomorrow's visit to Bournemouth.
Email from correspondent John to say that leaflets for 36, 72/73/74, 81/82, 271/272, X5/X54/X55 and X78 had appeared by yesterday afternoon. It was necessary to visit both outlets (Arundel Gate and Interchange) to source them. These are all First Bus exclusive routes. Still nothing for any of the joint services and nothing for the "Sheffield 2 Barnsley" route.
Well over a week late. Inexcusable.
 Next Bournemouth blog : Wednesday 13th October 


  1. Closer to FBB's home Lyme Regis Town Council has funded a replacement 'town' service, route 71, that will operate Monday to Friday. Route 71 was one of many axed by Dorset County Council in July. Not far for our blog writer to go to check this out for himself.

  2. Staying in FBB-land all is not well with The Mule which apparently has finished the season earlier than expected having upset some of the locals alas.