Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Depressing Press Mess, No Less!

Glasgow Bus Crash
As a bleary eyed fbb crawled sluggishly into consciousness yesterday morning he heard a short news item on the 7am Radio 4 bulletin. After lengthy (and tedious) reports and comments on Amber Rudd's resignation (inevitable after Therese May said she had full confidence in her minister!) came a short item as follows:-

News is coming in of a bus which has turned over on a slip road in Glasgow ... etc.

Well it didn't and it wasn't!

You would hope that a responsible news organisation like the BBC could get its facts right, bearing in mind this accident took pace twelve hours previously at 1900 the previous evening.

fbb does not like writing about bus crashes, largely out of respect for the driver concerned and the people injured. But, in this case, some of the press reports, although slightly more accurate than the BBC, showed a scant regard for the facts.

Published pictures were all versions of the same thing, taken from a distance with the actual accident hidden by the various rescue vehicles.
One article had a "detailed" quote from someone who stopped his vehicle to offer assistance.
Colin, from Paisley, said: “I was driving along when I saw a guy with ripped jeans walking across the road. Then I saw the bus on the verge so pulled over. I ran over and it was absolute carnage."

Really? "Carnage" means "the killing of a large number of people". 

“Two other folk already there had managed to rip off the door and smash in two of the windows."

Wouldn't the driver or the passengers just open them? If there was an impact, the windows might have smashed themselves.

“I went on-board and the driver was still conscious. His legs looked in a really bad way. He told me that he’d blown a tyre which I think was from hitting a concrete block on the roadside."

Maybe a tyre had blown? Concrete block?

“The engine was still running. I asked if he could put it off as there was petrol leaking out the back and I thought it might explode."


Most of this is misleading and some of it is simply wrong.

But fbb has researched on-line and reckons he has most of the location facts at his fingertips and can come to some sort of reasoned conclusion.
The A814 is the main road from central Glasgow to Clydebank and Dumbarton. Argyle Street becomes the Clydeside expressway which eventually morphs into the far reaches of the Dumbarton Road. Where the A814 crosses the Clyde Tunnel approach (A739) there is a terrifying spaghetti of flyovers and junctions.
The inbound (TO Glasgow centre) A814 performs a huge wiggle before it rejoins the outbound lane. This ensures that traffic from the south can emerge from the tunnel and turn right for the city. Similarly, traffic from the west can turn right by looping the loop to join the southbound carriageway through the tunnel.

Complicated and baffling for the outsider as fbb well knows having negotiated these junctions on several occasions!

To get the desperate local folk from one side of this grunge to the other (from the Balshagray Drive Broomhill Terrace junction ... 
... to the remnants of the Dumbarton Road) there is a creepy subway. It comes out here ...
... convenient for bus routes 2 and 3 into the city or west towards Clydebank.
Meanwhile, service 1, 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E jointly branded at "the one" are running non stop via the A814 wiggly bit.

Back on the north side of the spaghetti we can look, courtesy of Streetview, along the inbound A814 just past the subway entrance.
And there is a mega-tall street lamp, supported on a large block of something lumpy with a concrete retaining wall.

And that is exactly where the bus ended up, apparently colliding with that retaining wall and not, as might at first appear from the pictures ...
... with the lamp standard.

If the bus lost a tyre explosively the vehicle would have been very difficult to control and a swerve into the "block" would explain the damage in front of the driver and the sudden deceleration injuries described in some of the press reports.

Readers' sympathy goes out to all concerned, BUT ...

The bus was NOT on a "slip road"
The bus was NOT "turned over"
There was NO "carnage"
There was NO "petrol"
The bus did NOT "mount the pavement"
The crash was NOT in The Clyde Tunnel

No one underestimates the trauma that any accident can cause and our readers' best wishes will go out to all those injured, shocked or just a bit shaky. Thanks also to the emergency services whose efforts were both tireless and dedicated.
But it would be nice of the press and the broadcasters did their homework properly and told it "as it was".

First Bus and Apollo
(see item in yesterday's blog - read again)
David Leeder ...
... was a big noise in the UK bus industry for many years.

David has over twenty years of top-level experience in the bus and rail sectors. He was CEO of the UK's largest regional bus network outside London – West Midlands Travel, Managing Director of the UK Bus Division of First Group plc and Executive and Main Board Director at National Express Group and First Group respectively.
Subsequently he founded M E T plc to acquire and develop bus operations overseas. The current portfolio is two companies with approx 400 buses.
The latter was purchased from First Bus in 2011.

Whether Mr Leeder's recent German business experience qualifies him for analysing First's current situation is debatable; fbb guesses that First's board of directors might not be impressed with his thoughts!

Some of the items from yesterdays Passenger Transport quote may also be debatable. fbb cannot remember First Bus announcing in 2013 its intention to dispose of 50% of its bus business. Giles Fearnley's job was primarily to reduce debt and a big contribution to this was the sale of First's London business; since then there has been a policy of disposal of weak businesses but some which were in a bad way have been turned round, e.g. Cornwall.

At best the Passenger Transport article is attempting to be prophetic and, until Apollo comes clean, prophecies are likely to be unreliable.

Interesting times ahead!

Anyone want to buy First South Yorkshire?
Offshore Island - Part Of UK Or Not?
Yesterday Mrs fbb bought a tub of Rodda's clotted cream to add to the cake for the yesterday's Bible Study "Fifth Monday Special". the cake was delicious, but both fbb and Mrs were intrigued by Rodda's interpretation of the geography/politics of the British Isles.
There is a competition to win Tennis tickets, but the note explaining who is eligible reveals:-
A reminder to the bosses at Rodda's. The isle of Wight is a county in England, part of the UK (United Kingdom) - it has just the same status as Cornwall!

The usual mistake is to mix up the Isle of Wight (near Southampon) ...
... with the Isle of Man, not very near to Blackpool.
The Isle of Man also known simply as Mann is a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann and is represented by a Lieutenant Governor.

It is NOT part of the United Kingdom!

Still trying to catch up tomorrow.

 Next Sheffield blog : Wednesday 2nd April 


  1. Probably the best outcome for First South Yorkshire, subject to a suitable buyer!

    1. The depot cat1 May 2018 at 08:20

      I heard FBB was going to put in an offer and show everyone how it should be done....

  2. I have been trying for nigh on seven years, so far without success! See tomorrow's blog for another potentially failed attempt to help First make a bit more money.