Friday, 2 February 2018

Let's Look At Lincoln (3)

Branding to Befuddle? Or Simply Simplibus?
When bus operators introduce "an exciting new network", the motivation is usually to reduce costs and so within the novelty there will be service reductions to find. Often these are cunningly hidden behind new brand names and a new set of route numbers.

With the opening of the shiny new bus station in Lincoln, Stagecoach announced their supposedly shiny new network. fbb prepared himself for hours of patient research, comparing route with route, to work out what had changed and to guess why.

The on-line blurb looked like the usual "trade puffs".

From Sunday 28 January 2018...
simple fares dayrider £4.20, megarider £12
simple routes all over the City
simple times from every 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes
now up to 7/8 minutes to Birchwood
simple route numbers 1 2 3 4 makes using the bus simple for you!
Find out more about simplibus in Lincoln

Is there an increase in ordinary single fares? We are not told.
In what way have the routes been simplified?
Surely buses have always run at these intervals?
Aha! The Birchwood service used to be every TEN minutes
Were the original numbers very complicated?

Maybe click on the Find out more button?

simplibus | Lincoln
Why you’ll love simplibus
new Central Bus Station opening at 5.30am on Sunday 28 January 2018 located between the new Central Car Park and Lincoln Central Railway Station.
we've invested over £2 million on ten new buses with free USB charging and comfy high back e-leather seats 
simple fares unlimited travel with dayrider, megarider and mobile tickets
simple routes all over the City and surrounding villages
simple times up to every 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes 
simple numbers from 1 to 19

The only "more" that this tells us is that the routes will be numbered from 1 to 19.

Fortunately Stagecoach has provided a list of the changes, all the new timetables, plus a new map. 

Several good house points!

Unfortunately, due to the exigencies of the situation for which an apology has previously been proffered, fbb was too frazzled with other stuff to remember to download the previous timetable set. BUT; he did make a list ...
... and download the old a new maps both of which were still available yesterday (1st Feb).
Sadly the old timetables vanished (quite rightly) after 27th January. fbb did check earlier this week ...
... 66 being the old number for the "improved" Birchwood service. Sadly the only Lincoln route 66 delivered by Stagecoach's poor web site was ...
... the service between those well-known Lincolnshire villages of Barnsley and Elsecar.
But slowly the addled brain of fbb began to realise that Simplibus was simpli the old network with a few different numbers.

Excluding those route number changes it became obvious that ONLY THREE routes were being Simplified. 

The Simpliest change was to service 5. No change to route or number ...
... but the frequency is Simpli reduced from every 20 minutes to every 30. Before our eagle-eyed readers suggest that Glebe Park has the 17 and 17 as well, please note that these are Simpli "portmanteau" routes serving Glebe Park, Ermine East and (off map left) Ermine West. 
They run on Sundays only and haven't changed! No also that the 17 (and 18) serve the Ermine estates but, helpfully (?), that name is not used in the timetable.

Which leaves the 66, possibly increased to every 7/8 from every 10, and the 44; which become the 6 and the 9 respectively. Why not make the 44 into service 4? Aha! The Stagecoach planners have a cunning plan.

Here are the old 66 and 44.
fbb did look up the timetables before they disappeared and, indeed, the 66 was every ten minutes and the 44 every 15. The 44a serves a warehousing/offices industrial estate ...
... plus a Sainsburys FROM Lincoln at morning peak, TO Lincoln in the evening rush hour. There probably isn't much of a bus "rush" at Teal Park!

The Stagecoach gnomes have turned this lot into a mega circular.
The 9 (formerly 44, every 15 minutes) is the "other way round" from the 6. Clever eh? fbb doesn't expect many passengers to appreciate the numeric subtlety. The 9 remains at every 15.
But the 6 (formerly 66 every 10 minutes) is reduced to every 15.
So, it is true, as Simpli announced, that Birchwood now gets a bus every 7/8 minutes rather than every 10; and it is also true that departures from the bus station and arrivals at the Birchwood Neighbourhood Centre ...
... are evenly spaced. Well done Stagecoach.

But folk travelling to or from Hartsholme, Skellingthorpe Road and the Western extremities of Birchwood have a reduced service because the "long way round" route 9 Simpli offers no benefits in arrival time.

In conclusion, whilst it is good, every so often, to have a tidy-up of route numbers, the new network offers very little change and some disbenefits for Glebe Park and Birchwood passengers.

Will Lincoln folk be impressed with Simplibus? Probably not.

fbb could not find anything obvious to explain whether fares had changed, but the emphasis on a "daily" or "weekly" fare in the promo would suggest that "ordinary" fares have Simpli increased.

Local knowledge required!

Many moons ago, fbb visited Lincoln by train. Things have changed a lot since then.

1500 Friday 2nd Feb
see tomorrow's blog
about dramatic happenings in Norfolk

 Next Lincoln blog : Saturday 3rd February 


  1. Stagecoach presumably have two choices:
    A) match their network to the available traffic
    B) become the next Carillion, BHS, Woolworths etc

    So the "usual trade puffs" from Stagecoach are received with the "usual negative blog from fbb"

  2. Perhaps Bertie hasn't read the blog. Surely fbb's point was that NOTHING has happened, just a new name for an existing network with wo minor tweaks.

    It would be difficult to write a positive blog about a non-event.

  3. As I mentioned yesterday it is simpli a renumbering exercise!

  4. Gteat blog as alwayas, FBB my be interested in the library of congress web archive which can be used to view some webpages after the have been removed, or to get older copies. They don't have everything but can be worth a shot: