Monday, 8 January 2018
Surprise and No Surprise (1)
Happenings in South Yorkshire
fbb was talking with chum on Saturday last about First Bus cutbacks in Slough and Weymouth. They agreed that commercially these were necessary but they also attracted significant opprobrium locally and from the press.
The chum asked, with no hope of a sensible reply, why it was that First Bus seemed to get loads of flak when they took the chopper to a network whilst "another operator" seemed to achieve it without a bucket of venom-spitting.
One reason, of course, is that First has not really thrown off the curse Moir Lockhead philosophy of "don't run it if it doesn't make a stonking profit". The positives of the Fearnley regime (of which there are many) keep being tarnished by the bad news stories.
At the end of January approx 80 routes across the County of South Yorkshire will have timetable "revisions".
Those from First Bus are all about tweaking individual journeys to improve timekeeping and reliability ...
... plus a few to sort our School service problems.
But, in Barnsley, Stagecoach is all about cuts ...
... in this case to both the 93 (top) and the 95 (bottom). Here is the current Saturday timetable ...
... and the same routes from the end of January.
Mapplewell keeps its hourly service; Bloomhouse Green is cut from every 30 minutes to every hour and Kexbrough from every 20 to every 30.
Note. in passing, that the PTE's timetable thinks the buses run to Bloomhouse Green whilst the stagecoach bus and the bus map (also a PTE production) tells us the Terminus is Woolley Grange.
Likewise the PTE timetable runs to Kexborough rather than the geographically correct Kexbrough.
The service 93 estate (what ever it might be called) is largely built on an old colliery site ...
... where modern housing ...
... sits alongside traditional terraces.
Needless to say, the bus stops short of both new and old, still at the former colliery gates!
The turning circle is at the bottom centre of the aerial view.
Meanwhile the PTE tells us that service 6 is to be reduced from every 10 to every 12 minutes on Monday to Friday ...
... matching the Saturday headway.
But it's that phrase "to improve sustainability" that intrigues fbb. What exactly does it mean? Should not the bus company be honest and say "we are not making enough profit to ensure the long-term future of our business"?
As yet Stagecoach Yorkshire has not published these negative changes on its own web site. It will be interesting to see how thy explain the cuts.
Two recently introduced routes also get a trim.
The Sunday service on the X65 (Barnsley to Meadowhell) ...
... is reduced from every 30 minutes to hourly.
The X65 is an oddity. It runs on Saturdays and Sundays only, except during school holidays when a Monday to Friday service is added.
Will it survive?
The 737 between Sheffield and Finningley Airport also gets a chop. In essence the journeys designed to meet morning flights are withdrawn completely, seven days a week and in both directions.
Will it survive?
What is clear is that the news from Barnsley is all about cut-backs.
How will the local people and the local press react?
fbb and his Sheffield area correspondents will doubtless keep their beady eyes open and ears to the ground to report the flak.
But we do have a couple of excellent pieces of Stagecoach publicity in the Sheffield area, with both giving mixed messages about what is, without a doubt, a very disappointing service cut.
Next surprise/no surprise blog : Tuesday 9th January