Saturday, 7 October 2017

Saturday Stuff To Study - Or Not

Saving Money - No Timetable Book?
Southern Vectis, the Isle of Wight bus company, has always printed a bus timetable, usually twice yearly. Designs have varied over the years from Island variety ...
... through National Bus Company standard ...
... to covers by Island cartoonist Rupert Besley.
When fbb was involved in their production (another "kitchen table" job) they were A5 in size, 96 pages and in full colour. Sale price was 50p but fbb was never involved in the cost of printing.

When posting correspondent Alan's experiences in Gwynedd (Wales), fbb was firmly informed that the county had "consulted" and decided to save money by not telling its residents and tourists in print where and when the buses run.

fbb was chastised by several anonymi for this antediluvian attitude. It is, as people keep telling your embattled author, all on-line/on the mobile phone.

It isn't.

Bearing in mind the fact that Gwynedd have all their on-line timetables in a print-ready form (i.e. as PDF pages), what would it cost to have them printed?

fbb obtained this quote from his usual supplier.  10,000 A5 full colour booklets (assuming print-ready artwork is supplied) - £4,250. 

That's less than 45p a book; indicative of how cheap colour printing has become with the advent of digital flummery.
It follows that with one extra passenger per book per (half?) year, the theoretical account would be in profit. And that is assuming that the books are given away free. Sell 'em for ten bob each (as fbb lives way back in the 1950s!) or 50p (in 2017) and any extra fares generated are all a bonus.

So get printing, Gwynedd - here is a quotation.

fbb will, using the county's existing system of timetable files, produce a full colour timetable (to sell at 50p or give away) for £4,750 per 10,000 - maps would be drawn and included FREE. The books would be delivered to one central address in Gwynedd. (T & C apply)

Southern Vectis timetable books are, quite rightly, free of charge and in the currently popular ⅓ A4 size.

Who Operates Transport in Stockholm?
The first part of the Stockholm Metro was opened in 1950.
Stockholms Spårvägar was renamed to Storstockholms Lokaltrafik in January 1967 when the metro, local train, and bus operations in Stockholm County were merged into a single organisation under the supervision of Stockholm County Council. The different transit systems within the County had until then been run by different organisations, Statens Järnvägar (State Railways) ...
... private companies and companies owned by the local municipalities.

In 1993 SL began to use independent contractors for the operation and maintenance of the different transport systems. For bus traffic the operators own the buses, but for rail bound traffic the SL own the trains, and the contractors operate them.

There is one more organisation owned by the county and responsible for local public transport. This is Waxholmsbolaget, responsible for boat traffic.
The problem with this system is that operators normally use the standard SL livery. Just occasionally their true identity is revealed.
The Metro is operated by a subsidiary of MTR, the Hong Kong Metro company.
Although the express trains to the airport use SJ tracks, this, too, is a separate company.
Arlanda Express is owned and operated by A-Train AB, which also planned and constructed the new Arlanda rail link. When the link was completed in 1999, the railway facilities were transferred to the Swedish government. In return, we at A-Train AB lease back the link based on an exclusive concession, which gives us the right to operate trains on the link until 2040. Operations are conducted entirely on a commercial basis.

Pendeltåg trains also run via the Airport as part of their normal stopping service, but using the loop line built and served by Arlanda.
Arlanda Express charges 540K (Swedish Krona) for a return trip ...
... whereas SL has a simple (?) flat fare of 30K, 43K or 60K depending on where you buy the ticket. (Stored value card, Ticket Offices Or tram line 7 respectively.

BUT. There is a 120K supplement to join or leave a train at Arlanda.
It is a bit like the Heathrow Express rip-off!

So, at the 30K fare, your return by Pendeltåg would be 300K. A Krona is about 10p!

Whilst the operators of services is a complex mix, the price structure covers everything provided by SL but not Arlanda Express or the national rail system.

Whatever Happened to Brightbus Buses?
Brightbus was a significant operator of school buses in South Yorkshire. Citing health problems, the owner announced closure at the end of this year's summer term. Other operators have taken on the services with varying degrees of success.

But what of the vehicles?

SA52 DWC began its life with First Glasgow.
It languished briefly in all white ...
... before becoming Bright's bright green.
But recently spotted in Sheffield, the bus is now with T M Travel but still in green ...
... with the addition of its new owner's logo front and side.

An Offer fbb Cannot Refuse
This arrived in the fbb in box a few days ago.
Your elderly author has to admit to understanding not a word of it. But thanks for the offer all the same!

Tomorrow : bus timetables at a railway station - shock horror!

 Next Sunday Stuff blog : 8th October 


  1. If you think normal passengers will pay for a timetable book then you must be mad

    1. Especially as you moan about having to pay to photocopy timetables

    2. I visited the (then bustling) Caernarfon TIC in 2013. They were running a petition on retaining the Gwynedd t/t book and asking if potential buyers were prepared to pay say £1 for it. The vast majority of the many signatories were.In an ideal word of course t/ts should be free- but in a world of austerity a small cahrge isn't unreasonable. Derbyshire now charge £2.50 for their books and still find production viable.

  2. I have been paying for timetable books, as have millions of others, since I was a teenager (nearly 60 years). I has been "the norm" throughout that period.

    As explained above - getting rid of printed material is probably counter productive and increases costs via more expensive tender prices consequent upon a reduction in passenger numbers.

  3. We use to print ours with a 10p price on them but supply them free to the village shops and post offices on our routes.

  4. A 28 page DL (3rd A4) booklet - full colour, timetables supplied in excel format (but not including maps) - 8000 copies = under £2000; that's a real price, and less than 25p each.
    I've offered to Bus Users UK to compile the booklets for them; they have the contacts for distribution, and some limited advertising should pay for the print run . . . . they weren't interested.

    I'd love to have a go with a series of rural bus guides; the timetable compilation wouldn't be a problem, but the distribution would. Anyone out there?