Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Bus Stop Shop Window (1)

It Is NOT All On-Line!
When we read press reports of prestigious bus and coach exhibitions in the UK and internationally, the text often refers to "the industry's shop window". Whilst that may be true for company owners, managers and (more importantly, we are told!) their accountants, it is not true of the General Public. For most bus users, the "shop window" is the humble and often hardly noticed bus stop.
The display that guides the user to the company's "products" varies enormously throughout the world; the above, for example is (maybe was?) in a huge City in America.

Contrast this with Paris, where signs in the centre are well equipped, clear and tidy.
What is also superior and sensible is that the route numbers are big enough to be seen from pavement level. But, even better, they are internally illuminated.
The colours match the route maps and any branding on vehicles or timetables. Of course, the Paris authorities see bus, tram, metro and train as the answer to the city's congestion and pollution problems and are thus prepared to tax and spend to achieve this.

In the UK, the authorities see bus, tam, metro and train as the answer to the city's congestion and pollution problems but are NOT prepared to tax and spend to achieve this.

Things have moved on a bit from the rural bus stop that fbb was used to in his youth ...
... where we now have variants on a standard sign ...
... but not all is well with the industry's shop window.

Which takes us to Leicester, where fbb spent two comfortable nights in the Leicester Central Premier Inn.
Of course, as you may gather from its name, it is NOT in the centre of Leicester but a mile or so along the Groby Road. Obviously, the area used to be "out in the country" along the former A50.
fbb arrived by bus from St Margarets bus station and was told by his chum, David, to get off at a stop called Loros.


The loros (Greek: λῶρος lōros) was a long, narrow and embroidered scarf, which was wrapped around the torso and dropped over the left hand. It was one of the most important and distinctive parts of the most formal and ceremonial type of imperial Byzantine costume, worn only by the Imperial family and a few of the most senior officials.


Loros (or is it L O R O S) is a magnificent Hospice built partly on the site of the former Groby Road Hospital.
Initially an "Isolation Hospital", the original grew and became more "general" ...
... but was ultimately demolished as departments moved about half a mile further out of the city to the Glenfield Hospital site.
The original building remains, as does the gatekeeper's lodge ...
... now part of the "Eating Inn" restaurant as used by your gourmet-loving author. Full cooked breakfast was an essential feature of the recent "Grand Tour".
The main part of the former Hospital site is now a Housing Estate called Heathley Park ...
... with the Hospice shown top left.
At the bottom of the aerial view we see the Premier Inn (left) ...
... next to the original Groby Road Hospital building.

L O R O S (Loros) is the name on the stop for city-bound journeys ...
... but fbb's advised LOROS/Loros alighting stop ...
... isn't! Fortunately the road sign came well in advance of the junction ...
... and meant that visibility and nomenclature inconsistencies did not impede the fat bloke's successful egress from one of Arriva's finest (?).
Google Streetview was in a hurry, so overtook the van on the lorry leaving fbb's chosen stop hidden. It was OK from the bus, provided that you spotted the advance warning!

So how well do the L O R O S (or Loros or Groby Road!) stops succeed as the "shop window" for buses from the Premier Inn into and out of the City.

We will look in more detail tomorrow - and, as you might have guessed, it is not a pretty sight!

 Next "Shop Window" blog : Wednsday 25th April 


  1. Responding to some more erroneous comments from posters yesterday on the Discover and Mendip Explorer routes:

    Anonymous23 April 2018 at 19:35
    "The point of branding is that it should be prominent. Prior to Mendip Explorer first had a rah gaggle of vehicles and were using 18 year old Marshall Darts on the 376 - their prime route - when one of the regular vehicles was out of use. Hardly good and nothing for the reputation. ME changed that. The new sign should have first as secondary branding. The influx of Deckers appear to be dual door which is odd - or am I seeing the same one quite regularly? It would also be good to have Wi-Fi that works. It does o the X1 and X2 running from Weston."

    Again, some rather selective observations and recollections.

    Firstly, to suggest that a Marshall Dart was regularly appearing on the 376 is just untrue. There was one, and that was usually allocated to either the Wells to Frome service or occasionally the X75 to Bridgwater. Any appearance on the 376 (and I can't recall any) would've been to cover a failed Eclipse. If it were a "start of day" substitution, they invariably put a B10BLE on the Bath service to release an Eclipse. The sole Marshall disappeared a full year before the deckers arrived and, you may care to wonder, why they needed to have deckers on the 376 if it was so hopeless before the Mendip Explorer was launched?

    Similarly, you omitted the fact the branding was there on the sign outside the depot. However, the branding is prominent at the bus station where, dare I suggest, most (potential) passengers are likely to see it, facing out onto Princes Road. Selective amnesia again?

    The two deckers with dual doors currently being used are a pair of nine month old Scanias. More will be sent down when released from other temp duties to allow the conversion to deckers (along with a route change to avoid a low bridge in Chilcompton). However, this is a temporary measure whilst B9 Geminis are refurbished and repainted to replace the Eclipses.

    Karl23 April 2018 at 19:49
    "Interestingly Discover comes with doubled frequency on two of the routes to what they were before they ran routes in wilts into the ground, so you have to give them points for trying to fix their mistakes. Hopefully they try long enough for success."

    The frequencies on the 267/272 are being doubled but not certain about the line "to what they were". Now I was away for a few years either side of 2000 so can't comment on that period but the two routes have traditionally had hourly frequencies since at least 2005 (though the 272 was cut back from Devizes/Easterton to Melksham aside from tendered journeys). Since dereg, they've been hourly (as the X3 and X71-3) and before that, the 267 route was the two hourly 253/4.

    Where I can agree with another poster is about the 231/2 that was successively ignored with ageing Badgerline VRs (pre First Group) and then ex Bristol Olympians. Only in 2005 did the service get decent kit in new Eclipses though many of those subsequently were spirited away to Glasgow or elsewhere.

    That is fair criticism and First can and should be criticised for their approach to running those services; it almost felt like a sop to Faresaver to keep them out of Bath city services.

    Other comments are factually incorrect or rather selective in their view!

  2. I hesitate to respond before seeing tomorrow's Blog, although I fear we already know the direction it will take, so perhaps it is worth mentioning the experience of our Head of Service for Passenger Transport today at a large unitary authority. He was at a meeting with the DfT and buses were 9th on the agenda, followed only by "Any other business".
    So they talked about millions for road improvements, millions for trunk road dualling, millions more for a rail turn-back siding, but had nothing to offer bus network which tries to link together our dispersed rural county.
    How do we counteract this lack of interest from DfT? How do we move forward? Hastily put together blogs, with numerous screen grabs, and copious spelling mistakes do nothing to boost those of us who want to do it right, who know we fall so short, but who just don't get any funding.
    As I read I can so often sense the steam and smoke rising from your keyboard FBB, and often with good reason; but please understand there some of us who feel the same way, who are battling, and yet who simply aren't allowed to do the job we want to do. Knocking us really doesn't help.

  3. Anon 19.49

    DO you think that by doing less the industry would achieve more? Walk away and come back when returns are adequate

  4. Ultimately bus operators are there to make a profit for their shareholders, they just happen to do it by running buses.

    If the returns aren't good enough why shouldn't they walk away and come back when the returns are better?

    First is well known for "walking away"; whether it ever returns remains to be seen.

    Many, many other operators have suffered financial collapse, and can no longer come back when the returns are adequate.

    With that in mind, maybe converting your bus depot into a widget factory is the best idea.