TOP BIRTHAY CARD AWARD goes to our Senior isle of Wight correspondent. Outwardly the card is
Back to Fakenham
Correspondent Keith, as well as being bemused by bus information in Brum (earlier blog), lives in Fakenham and is most dis-chuffed by First Bus' timetable for their "exciting" new X29, replacing the Stagecoach (erstwhile Norfolk Green) route.
Here is Keith's missive to First Bus with additional comment by fbb.
So perhaps not so big a disaster as Keith suggests? Or have First just looked at a map and ignored potential customers? But the timetable is (deliberately?) misleading.; maybe Gunn Street for Foulsham?
2) Why is there no bus from Fakenham (Oak Street)on Mon-Fri between 0710 and 0925?
xx25) AFTER Toll Bar (xx08) ...
First Bus will probably argue that X29s have to be part of the 15 minute frequency on the "Yellow" route to Taverham. Of course the company could charge from Oak Street to Warren Avenue (due away 0933) then provide free travel? Or would Norfolk Council be prepared at accept an exception; it does happen elsewhere in similar circumstances.
... but NONE of these conveys passengers from Norwich. That would seem to be a very poor aspect of the new X29.
6) City College is not served for the students.
OK, it is only three stops away and these student types can always walk; but is it sending out the right messages about "service"?
7) The timetable is very operational and not customer focused. It is driven from the City end and Fakenham looks like an 'add-on' or 'after thought'.
Keith's number 7 is the core of the problem. Service X29 has been created to offer as low a risk as possible to First Bus. Compared with Stagecoach, the First Bus is saving money by making it part of the Yellow Line 28/29; it is saving money by not running a full service when buses can be used more profitably elsewhere (i.e. between 0710 and 0925 from Oak Street) and it is saving drivers' wages by running four buses out to Fakenham without allowing passengers to join them.
It is a timetable for the convenience of the bus operator and, in many aspects, not ideally suited to those awkward beasts, the passengers.
Question? Will these "operational" savings encourage passengers? Or will usage decline, post Stagecoach, to the point at which First drops their route to Fakenham as they have done once before?
Keith prudently concludes ...
fbb will be interested to hear from Keith about the company's response - if any.
And an fbb moan. How does a visitor know which "Fakenham" stop is at the town centre? A sensible convention in these circumstance is to list stops as ...