Saturday, 12 May 2018

Basel, Bartenheim and a Broken Shire

Broken Shire
Readers will remember that Northamptonshire has found itself in a fine financial mess. In the simplest of terms, the county has run our of money. The consequences for Public Transport have been a near total withdrawal of funding for socially (no longer) necessary services. Service RF1 (RF = Rutland Flyer) which serves part of the county, disappears in June.

It is not a small back roads service ....
... as it runs hourly six days a week. Centrebus have announced that they will be cancelling their operation.

Rutland Council is optimistically seeking a new operator ...
... presumably willing to lose money! Please form an orderly queue.

Less significant in size, but still vital for the villages it serves, is route 67 which dies at the end of May.
To encourage passengers to use the bus, the County is closing down is bus timetable web site which lists all bus services in the county in number order. The new policy is to link to operator's web sites.
Presumably you have to know who operates your bus before you can find out who operates your bus.

The appropriately named minister (James Brokenshire) ...
... has appointed his enforcers to sort the county out!
Two Commissioners have been drafted in to oversee financial decisions at Northamptonshire County Council for three years following a Government announcement.

Last month, the then secretary of state for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, announced that he was likely to send commissioners into the council, following the publication of the damning Best Value Inspection report. Secretary of state James Brokenshire MP has now drafted in two government-appointed commissioners who will work at the One Angel Square headquarters overseeing finance and governance.

In a written ministerial statement to Parliament, the communities secretary said the commissioners would be led by Tony McArdle, former chief executive of Lincolnshire County Council. He will be supported by Brian Roberts, former deputy chief executive of Leicestershire County Council.

The commissioners will be at the council alongside a new independent improvement board agreed by the council’s cabinet yesterday, which will challenge and oversee improvements at the council.

The commissioners are due to be in place until March 31, 2021 and will update the Secretary of State every three months on progress.

Will the commissioners actually change anything?

T M Travel Uncertainty
Correspondent Bob has joined to debate/concern about the company's "no pick up policy" on service 218. Bob points out a difficulty in the way T M Travel explains things:-

Whilst it is reasonably clear, the 'news' page on web site link confuses matters greatly by saying that 

from the Archer Road stop on Abbeydale road the buses will normally only stop to let passengers alight coming back into Sheffield.

What might they mean by 'normally'? Is it at the driver's discretion? Or are there some designated journeys on which local passengers will be picked up? Or will a bus that has to stop anyway to drop people off also pick up if required? It's anybody's guess, but perhaps the use of the word 'normally' on the webpage is the mistake.


Distribus Route 4 (Or 604)
This is one of a group of three services that creep almost secretly from France to Switzerland. The route numbers appear on the Basel network diagram but do not seem to be added to bus stop flags as here with the missing 8/608.
The 4/604 crosses the border at "Saint Louis Grenze" and continues to the centre of the French Town. At the crossroads ("carrefour") it has a splendid bus stop flag ...
... confirming that it is route 4 and that it runs to St Louis Neuweg ...
... a k a Parc Soleil, a pleasant park in a pleasant part of town.
This warrants a 30 minute service, six days a week; but don't ever expect "clock face" in France ...
... timetables are what is known in the trade as "operation led" - i.e. buses run for the convenience of the operator rather than with an easy to remember set of times. This disease is beginning to infect bus operation in the UK.

The other "half" of the service continues to "Professeur Coste".

Jacques Marie Cyprien Victor Coste (1807 to 1873)

Informé de la découverte de Joseph Remy, un pêcheur vosgien de La Bresse, il s’intéresse à la reproduction artificielle des poissons. Sur la base d'un rapport qu’il fait paraître avec Henri Milne-Edwards (1800-1885), le gouvernement lui fait une avance pour la création d’un élevage industriel de poissons à Huningue en Alsace, qui produit 600,000 truites et saumons en deux ans.

Il devient membre de l’Académie des sciences en 1851.

En 1852, il est nommé par Napoléon III à la tête d'une mission d'études sur la production des gisements naturels d'huîtres.

So he developed a fish farm at neighbouring Huningue on the Rhine. [trout, salmon, oysters]
So what do we find at the Professeur Coste terminus? A museum? A Grand Mansion? A Statue of the Great Man? The Eponymous Fish Shop?

The blue label on the pole informs us that this little side road is called "Rue Victor Coste" ...
... and opposite is a wide bit of road with a typical top quality Distribus flag, pole and frame.
And that, folks, is the impressive terminus ...
... of route 4 (or is it 604) named Professeur Coste.

A bit of a let down, really; but typically "operation led". A less frequent 7 (WISHY WASHY GREEN - also from Switzerland) is joined by 6 (ORANGE) and terminates at Kembs.
Service 5 (PURPLE) diverts after the Professeur to join service 8/608 (PINK) ...
... at Bartenheim which is where this exploration of a little bit of France stuck very close to Switzerland began its eternal rambling way back on Wednesday.

 Next Sabbath Selection blog : Sunday 13th May 

1 comment:

  1. The RF1 change is unrelated to the Northants issues (other than the general uncertainty in the area may have resulted in a wider network review by the operator), the NCC contracts will all end on the 22nd July though the County has been actively trying to get funding from Borough/Parish councils & have issued some tenders for some service after this date on certain corridors.

    The RF1 is already partially funded by Rutland CC currently and I assume they will just issue a replacement tender as would normally happen when a contract comes to its end, Rutland appear to more financially stable than many and haven't shown a major issue maintaining their supported bus network. A tender hasn't been issued yet which may be due to the council talking to other operators about possible options or it may be that the cancellations haven't yet actually been processed by the Licensing Office (presumably caught up by the surprise change in the registration rules, the timing would be right)