Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Silliness in Sevenoaks? Part 2

To Encourage Passenger Growth?
Searches on-line are not always the best way of discovering happenings omnibological. For example, type "Arrive service 402" into a "well known search engine" and up pops this stuff.
As well as appearing under the "Yorkshire" heading (poor web site design not incompetent geography!), you also get the same under the new Arriva logo ...
... complete with exhortations to spend your pennies in Bromley.
The 402 stopped running to Bromley in July 2017!

But you can also find details if the changes from Monday Mach 12th.
Then again, if you try for a network map, you might find this one from Kent County Council.
This, helpfully shows the network BEFORE the changes in April 2017, so nearly a WHOLE YEAR out of date.

The same map is displayed at Sevenoaks Bus Station, especially to confuse the passengers and put them off bus travel for life.
Or is it the same map?
It shows the pre-April 2017 452, the 402 nipping north-ish towards Bromley, but not the 431. Confused.com? Whatever; both maps are wrong!

What is the point of publishing a map on your web site or at a bus station if it is, effectively, useless.

Then there is another problem. All the publicity consistently says that the 452, the 402 from April last year and its replacement from March 12th this year, tells us that the bus runs to Dunton Green.


The Kent County map suggests the (old) 452 turns right into Longford Station Road (see above), but Google says the road is Dunton Green Station Road.
Kent's route map (and most other maps) put Dunton Green further north ...
... after crossing the M24. Travelling towards Sevenoaks, the place name signs ...
... are placed between Dunton Green and Longford, travelling away from the cartographical village. Consistency of naming would help a great deal but fbb guesses that the map makers have never been to Dunton Green, or heaven forfend, have never travelled on a 452, 402 or its March 2018 successor. Dunton Green has spread well beyond the old village.

Whatever (again) the bus nips along Station Road, past the end of the road to the station (called "The Sidings"), under the railway ...
... then turns right into a new development called Ryewood, named after Rye Wood which is on the left after the bridge in the picture above.

Google Streetvew actually shows an Arriva Bus lurking on the edge of the development ...
... and it dates from the (nearly) year ago 452.

Ryewood estate is being built on the site of Dunton Green Brickworks ...
... which, in its day, was a major employer of the local folk.
Alas, the site of the Railway Tavern is now a sales office for the new development.
But, back to the buses. Once served by a proper bus every 20 minutes, Ryewood now has, guess what, ...
... a minibus every 30 minutes!
I am greatly indebted to correspondent Roger for providing information and a host of pictures; Rog explored this new route (and its companion, service 2) on the first day of operation on March 12th.

We will complete the story tomorrow.
Yesterday's blog was very late in appearing. It was not the weather; it was, yet again, pure incompetence on fbb's part. He was so pleased to get it finished early on Sunday afternoon that he forgot to press the "publish button"!
Sheffield Snow Snippet
One of the things than can frustrate wen snow falls is the strange way in which bus companies explain what is happening. If the special arrangements are then picked up by the press, the detail can suddenly become doubly obscure.

Here is a report from the Sheffield Star, interpreted from a Stagecoach listing; sent in by yet another Sheffield correspondent.
Running from Chapeltown (NOT High Green) to City and via Chesterfield Road (NOT Gleadless Valley to Batemoor
Parson Cross - no "s" on Parson, please.
The 25 always uses "only main roads" and always goes to Woodseats. In this case buses were going no further than Woodseats, a significant snow-induced short working.
Ternimating? This is a favourite prusmint for fbb!
The 57 always uses Manchester Road at Stocksbidge and always ternimates at Unsliven Bridge. What they mean is that buses will not serve Stocksbridge estates but will use Manchester Road all the way from Deepcar to Unsliven Bridge.

But the prize in the gold envelope goes to:-
The mind boggles!

For fond memory's sake ...
... a 120 (formerly 40, formerly 60) about to pass the equally former fbb residence in Sheffield. For the upper part of Crimicar Lane, the snow is of no consequence; it can often be much much worse than this!

 Next Sevenoaks blog : Wednesday 21st March 


  1. Put simplistically KCC don't do publicity any more! The on-line maps were dropped during the last year. Area booklets stopped years ago and real time information in most if not all areas has gone.

    More recently they have proposed cutting a significant proportion of the bus service support budget which caused a furore in the press etc.

    Last April Arriva also chopped a section of section 6 between Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, leaving part of the route with only peak journeys to/from the County town apparently expecting that passengers would be prepared to change buses en route without a guaranteed connection! Thankfully that has at last been changed.

    Historically Dunton Green used to have a London Country bus depot which may have affected bus stop naming and Tunbridge Wells had a Green Line depot and a separate coach station.

  2. I Believe KCC now operate on the basis that the operator is contractually responsible for producing publicity, as is (or at least was) the case in Oxfordshire. The maps were produced by FWT (the County map was), and their apparent demise has seen a number disappear from websites: to be fair, the online versions were updated pretty frequently until they were removed, and some of them had never been available in printed form anyway (such as Sevenoaks). It looks like FBB has picked this up from Google, as there has been no direct link from the Council website since the end of last year.

    As for the 402, it has suffered from the onerous LSP and LEZ restrictions and a lack of passenger numbers. Sevenoaks town, and that area of Kent are affluent, high car-ownership areas: never good bus territory even in the days of Kentish Bus. I took a trip shortly before its withdrawal: at most 8 passengers between Bromley and Sevenoaks. Hardly enough to justify the investment and improvement required. A number of passengers waved the bus on in the greater London area, favouring the "red" 358 that was directly following us.

    Sevenoaks bus station is now managed by a local independent: they do their best, but can only do so much - especially when the multinational has little incentive/interest to help.

  3. I would suggest that Go-Coach (the independent) do pretty well. They operate the travel centre at Sevenoaks Bus Station where you can pick up not only their timetables but those of Arriva too (even though they currently compete on services to a couple of outlying villages).