Wednesday, 14 February 2018

New Network Renewed

It was less than a year ago that Yellow Buses announced their "exciting new network". As well as re-jigging the route network, brand names were applied to groups of routes and they were called "lines".

The word on the street was that this new network was a commercial disaster and some of those that proposed it have "moved on".

The upshot is that a new new network is being introduced in April.
Letter prefixes for route descriptors will go as the above graphic shows; BUT some of the "exciting" route changes have been un-changed. Bits of the network have been withdrawn but, says he blurb, colour coded routes will remain with the added delight of colours painted/stuck on the buses.
As part of this rejig, Yellow have withdrawn from all tendered routes; but their web site does explain that the local authorities concerned will be retendering ...
... and this has been confirmed by Poole Council on-line but not yet by Bournemouth.

To attempt a detailed review of the changes would be too lengthy an exercise and would require a fairly detailed knowledge of what went before, so fbb will attempt to summarise with the help of the rather crude Yellow Buses route diagram.

The most obvious rethink has been to go back to the future and run buses from Poole through Bounemouth and on the Christchurch. Here is the old map ...
... with (PRIORY) P1, 2, 3 and 4 running from Bournemouth Square via various routes to Christchurch and forward to Somerford (off the map, far right). This mini network becomes ...
... three variants of the through route from Poole, much like it was before the May 2017 changes.

Why? To compete more effectively with More (Wilts and Dorset) whose frequent M1 and M2 ...
... do much the same. This is commercial insanity!

The level of patronage does not justify a bus every 2 minutes between Poole and Bournemouth and both operators must be losing money. Yellow Bus will re-establish through services over the whole route to the detriment of some of its "less remunerative" bits.

Note that the (DOLPHIN) D1 via bits of Tuckton unserved by other routes and the (ROYAL) R6 between Christchurch and the hospital have been axed without replacement. fbb travelled on both of these recently under the "lines" branding and neither was well used. Interestingly, the few passengers that travelled had either caught the wrong bus or were uneasy about where it went. This was four months after the May change!

Of course, through services are maintained between Poole, Bournemouth and the Hospital; they have to be, to complete with More! The old scheme was overkill, however, with buses looping as R1 and R2 ...
... via Boscombe and Iford with R3 running via Charminster.

The R3 remains as service 3, still every 7/8 minutes to Castlepoint shopping centre but reduced to every 15 on to the Hospital.
R1/R2 have also been reduced in frequency and will now be service 2 running every 15 instead of every 7/8.

It is buses via Wimborne Road and Moordown that have received a very unkind cut. (click on the extract below to enlarge it)

Here is the current timetable for the (BOURNE) B1, 2 and 3:-
The new 4/4A retains the 15 minute frequency but then runs half hourly to the Hospital as before and (an increase!) half hourly to Bearwood. Services via Ferndown and to the Airport go completely with a small caveat.
The new diagram shown the devastation beyond Moordown.
The previous (VILLAGE) V1 and V2 become the 5 and 5a with an increased frequency to every 15 on each from every 20. (fbb thinks it was every 15 before the May 2017 change?)

Services via the UNIVERSITY have changed significantly.
The U6 remain much the same as the new 6, the U8 disappears completely and the U9 and U10 become a new 9 running no further than "Alderney West"
The Company's summary (on a staff publication!) offers an insight into their thinking (?) if that is the right word.

Together, we need to bring customers back to Yellow Buses. A large percentage of customers using the network have no loyalties and effectively get on the first bus that arrives. These are both concessionary customers and fare payers. By operating improved frequencies along the core corridors our aim is to always provide the first bus that comes along.

No, sorry Mr Yellow, that doesn't actually make sense. You seem to be trying not to admit that your aim is to trounce More Bus. It won't work, Yellow; you will still lose a whole heap of money.

In order to make our vehicles more noticeable ...

More noticeable than YELLOW?
... we are adding route branding to our vehicles, publicity and bus stops. Every vehicle in the fleet will be route branded. A number of generic branded vehicles will be yellow and silver. These vehicles can be used on any route across the network. We have then used the distinct colours from the lines to brand the rest of the network.

And will your depot staff guarantee that the right colour (plus the odd silver to cover for breakdowns) will ALWAYS be on the right route. 
But, fear not, Buster Bear is coming!
Young children and those of nervous disposition may wish to avoid the bear!

Tomorrow we are off to Europe again.

 Next Basel blog : Thursday 15th February 


  1. They have also cut the r4 and r5 so now no direct link from kino to castle point and the hospital, customers are expected to change bus in Charminster instead, when I first moved to bournemouth years ago they had a great service with W&D and yellows having an understanding of each others areas, but both started to get greedy and started running series in each others towns so we have ended up with the situation we have today with over buses routes and having to keep changing the network to make the sums add up, but all they do is allionate the people who use the buses in the first place and then wonder why people have no brand loyalty.

  2. It is understood that the Brockenhurst College Contract with First Bus was another disaster, when they undercut the previous long standing operator of the Colleges routes. Hidden away on Yellows Facebook page in response to a question regarding the two X routes that are also going is that they are also giving up the College Contract at Easter. It is reported elsewhere that More will take over the College routes from Yellows. It has long been rumoured that first want to give up their College routes having already given up many Southampton school services to the likes of Xalabus..

    Yesterday’s VOSA cancellations listed both X routes and all of the Bournemouth and Poole network except the Airport Service B1.

    p.s. Tomorrows trip to Basle looks good from last nights sneeky look. Someone left the door open!

  3. There is nothing wrong with lettered routes as in Exeter letters have been used for City routes from the Corporation days and now continued by Stagecoach. In Exeter Stagecoach use numbers for the ‘country’ routes, with some numbered routes taking over parts of lettered routes - e.g. Cowley Bridge - H1 and the 5 series.

    The issue with Yellows was using a numbered suffix to a lettered route, and then blaming the users for not understanding the changes in January 2017.

  4. New service 3 operates between Poole and Castlepoint via Bournemouth Square; New service 3A operates between Bournemouth Square and Royal Bournemouth Hospital. Yellow Buses are withdrawing through buses between Poole and Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

  5. The brockenhurst college contract is ceasing as yellow buses decided it was no longer viable (different calculator used I expect) according to the internal notices