Saturday, 11 August 2018

U N O 2 U O N (2)

Whilst most of the University of Northampton will be moving from the Park Campus ...
... in the north of the town, some "stuff" will remain there as the new Waterside Campus is developed; student halls of residence, for example. There is also "Avenue" campus ...
... which, back in the far-off days of fbb's youth, was "The Tech", a "Technical" secondary school as an alternative to the "Grammar" or the "Secondary Modern".
Modestly, of course, fbb went to "The Grammar".

To link the Park and Waterside sites, U N O service 19 has been revised significantly ...
.... sorry, wrong word, we should say "refreshed"!
Instead of running via the Railway Station to Sixfields on the west of the town, it now serves Waterside. For most of the year it runs every 12 minutes Monday to Friday, every 15 on Saturday and every 30 on Sunday.
During the lengthy "summer break" the Monday to Friday headway reduces to every 15,

Service 18 now links the Park and Ride at Sixfields, via the station, also with Waterside.
Monday to Friday this runs every ten minutes, reduced to every 15 for the Summer. Saturdays and Sundays frequencies are similar to the 19.
The third route to Waterside is the 20 ...
... in an insipid version of Uno pink, which serves Avenue Campus every 30 minutes Monday to Friday only.
The 20 run non-stop between Avenue Campus and its so-called town centre stops, then onwards also non stop to Waterside.

Whilst the 19 serves conventional town centre stops, both the 18 and the 20 avoid The Drapery and Northgate Bus Station; they are, effectively, Waterside links and do not purport to be designed for "ordinary" passengers wishing to interchange in the centre.
Indeed it is, up to a point.

Which leaves service 21.
This route doesn't serve any part of the Uni, being, apparently, an attempt to take a competitive "pop" at Stagecoach.
It is a copy of service 8 (MAGENTA) in the town's eastern district but entering the "original" town via Broadmead Avenue (service 7 YELLOW) rather than Broadway.
On Saturdays it runs every 20 minutes and there is no Sunday service.

And so to Waterside itself and the report from Alan the Fearless.

UNO bus routes have been revised and until the students turn up in September. "summer break" schedules are in operation, so drivers are driving empty buses around the town and around Waterside.

Services 18 and 19 run in an anti-clockwise megaloop between the town centre and  Waterside Campus via  Bridge Street – Cattle Market Road – New South Bridge Road – Bedford Road – Derngate – St. Giles Square.
Limited stop service 20 operates the other way  around  the university campus, i.e  from St. Georges Avenue – Kettering Road – York Road – Cheyne Walk – Bedford Road – New South Bridge Road – Bridge Street – St. Peter’s Way – Horsemarket and back to St. George’s Avenue.
At Waterside there are two super new shelters with no information about what stops there, or where  and when it goes.
You might find a timetable book on one of the buses but currently (Wednesday 8th) there are none at Northgate or the tourist office.  I do not suppose they expected any passengers to turn up yet.

Barriers and rising bollards along the road are presumably there in the optimistic hope of preventing local motorists using the route as a bypass from Far Cotton to the Bedford Road.

It all looks very empty and rather weird, almost like part of an architects' computer generated "virtual tour" ...
... but they are real UNO buses, trundling along real UON roads and actually used by correspondent Alan, much to the surprise of the drivers.

You do wonder how much all of this is costing the University; and whether this level of service is not over-the-top for the initial phases of the "big move". It will all become clear when the students arrive and the staff offices are full of activity. There are heavily discounted fares for those that need to get to Waterside.
UoN staff and students pay just 50p per ride on any Uno route between Waterside and the town centre - show the driver your ID, pay cash or contactless.

That offer extends to the whole of the 18 Park and Ride route.
It is all fascinating and rather disturbing to an elderly former Northampton resident who has not been back for a good number of years. Clearly a route learning visit is called for.

And, as we might expect, to celebrate this move to a brand new campus, the University of Northampton has a brand new logo. It changes from colourful and "interesting" ...
... to monochrome and boring!
A triumph of modern graphic design.

But there is one other snippet of transport interest at Waterside campus, espied behind one of the shiny and anonymous shelters.
What could it be?

More in a later blog.

 Next News-bites blog : Sunday 12th August 

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