Monday, 1 January 2018

New Year Quiz

But will it be "happy" for the bus industry? Bus business is declining, even in London - with blame falling on internet shopping, lower disposable income and an "inexplicable" fall in the amount of travel using OAP passes.

No bus company seems to mention the fact that it becomes harder and harder to obtain (or even find on-line) a bus timetable; that the sort of promotional offers used by our successful supermarkets are a rarity "on the buses" and that there is little effort to encourage purely leisure travel for its own sake. It's all about "commuters" and "shoppers".

Innovation seems to be a dirty word. Instead we hang on to what is profitable and let the rest go. It either goes to a competitor or to a "low cost" operator who very soon goes bust. There are some good exceptions, but very very few.

In London the Mayor is proffering a "no fares increases" policy whilst promoting the virtue of reducing the subsidy to zero. Utterly crackpot!

The only benefit from the mess that seems to ooze like sticky mud all over the bus industry is that there should be plenty for fbb to write about.

It is therefore very necessary to thank all those who have supplied news and pictures during 2017, to appreciate those who have corrected the old man's confused ramblings and to remind all blog readers that fbb really appreciates contributions however small. Send stuff to:-

Thank you all!

And now, to while away yet another "bank" holiday with rubbish telly and the last of the turkey sandwiches, here is fbb's mega quiz for January 1st.

Loadsa Lovely Logology
In each case, identify these logos or brands. Obviously most are easily solved using the dreaded interwebnet but you may award yourself extra bonus points for those that you can answer without resort to the world-dominating Gurgle search engine.

In each case identify where the "brand" has been used; but beware, there may be one or two of these!

Three Arrows

Five Lines

The Avian World

In A Flash!


Plain and Simple?

Answers will be published in batches over the next few days.

From tomorrow, something quite different as a start to the new year. In 1972 fbb became engaged to the future Mrs fbb (married in '73) so a very appropriate mini-gift from No 1 Son has provoked a little new year nostalgia. What do you remember, omnibologically speaking, from 1972? If you are younger than 50, don't try too hard!

 Next 1972 blog : Tuesday 2nd January 


  1. Happy New Year fbb and keep the blog going. It is fun. As for the future of the bus industry it is quite simple. Just follow Reading Buses example and provide a bus service that people want to use rather than running buses for the young and the old who have little alternative.

    1. Let’s not also forget that the likes of Reading and municples in general and some overseas companies can operate to break even/very small margin compared to the plc groups

  2. Andrew Kleissner1 January 2018 at 09:25

    Speaking buses, I remember CONDUCTORS - both on our 140 RT-operated route in London, the the 11/11a (and other routes) which I used as a student in Southampton, mostly with AEC Regent Vs. In Southampton too there was a wonderful circular route, the much-lamented 4/6, operated by nice Atlanteans. This did a complete circuit of the city for 6p - I remember the outrage when the fare went up to 8p!

    1. At one time when I worked in Plymouth I would wait at the stop for my bus home and watch several Citybus services go past and catch the Western National service. I reckon out of the 10 homeward journeys I got home quicker by waiting. And the reason was that the Western National bus still had a conductor.

  3. In 1972, as fbb may well remember from his previous life, Sheffield received its Bristol VRTs. They weren't a great success but I liked 'em! Bristols in a municiuapl fleet were a novelty then.
    On the main theme of this year's post, i was talking to a recently retired senior industry figure who said that there has never been a worse time to run buses.A declining passenger base(due to the decline of traditional shopping), growing poverty among the poorer parts of the community (i.e.those more likely
    to use buses), regulation, austerity-driven cuts in subsidisd services, and an ENCTS scheme that doesn't reward operators properly, are creating a toxic mix.

  4. I agree with Dennis. Its not just a simple case of 'if the bus operators ran the services people want'!! There is a lot more to the economics and realities of running buses than Peter allows for or possibly realises.

    There are places where bus operators, like Reading, have been successful, but this is primarily because they have had the backing and active support of the local authorities e.g. bus priorities and transport and parking policies that help to make public transport attractive.

    I was once asked by councillors why our town didn't have a vibrant bus network etc like Brighton/York/Reading etc. My response was that we didn't have a University population (who use buses), the parking policy was pro car (they insisted on such 'choice') and delays on the highway network were getting worse - gridlock had been predicted by transport modelling. They were also actively promoting the removal of bus services from the High Street.

    Ten years later we regularly have gridlock, bus service reliability has slumped (over 20,000 miles lost in 2016 due to congestion and roadworks)and some services have been reduced.

    The new Local Plan has been approved by Government on a basis of improved public transport - with the great 'somebody else' paying the bill!!!

    No its not a good time to run buses.

    1. But my area has 2 universities and we still have terrible bus services. And yes I do think bus companies should get more money from bus pass use.

    2. My local plc bus operator is following the slippery slope of cutting services and increasing fares. On my local route earyl (and not very early at that) journeys have been cancelled as have late (once again not very late) journeys and the very limited Sunday service has also vanished. What "Big Bus PLC" seems to forget is that once passengers have had to find another way to travel having lost those services they are likely to use the alternative at the times when buses are running making the remaining services less economic.

      Meanwhile fares are creeping up which makes taxis a competitive option where two or more people are travelling together but not so great for bus pass holders.

      Big Bus PLC also has a reputation of having the most surly unhelpful drivers of all the operators in the area. From my experience of them as a frequent user this is completely unjustified but there seems to be little attempt to convince passengers, and more to the point potential passengers, that this is not true. Maybe they just want to run down the business enough so they can leave and go play with a train set somewhere.