Sunday, 9 September 2018

Playing Catch-Up

Orario Italiano
Following on from yesterday's Geneva overview (French Speaking) and sorties to Basel (German Speaking), fbb is also grateful to correspondent James for a rail timetable from the St Moritz area, but in Italian. fbb's dalliance at school with Italian was short-lived, dropping a one lesson a week course after one term.

One spectacular failure was to translate "il vie di Napoli sono molto interessanti" as "the life of Napoleon is very interesting"! Collapse of not-so-stout party! Our readers may amuse themselves by working out the real schoolboy howler!
This service runs from Tirano (in Italy) then almost immediately crosses the border into Switzerland and travels via some superb country to St Moritz.
Like Friday's Arosabahn, Google Streetview has become Google Trackview for parts of this line. Along the route runs the famous Bernina Express service.
These are limited stop trains with extra facilities ...
... (code BEX) slipped in between an hourly stopping service. fbb has learned more Italian from the notice above than in his desk in the cricket pavilion (they were short of classrooms!) at Northampton Grammar School. Also of note is that the evening service between Poschiavo and Tirano is by bus.
Also from James was a mini-timetable for trains from Bellinzona to Chur advertising Postauto Nusstorte ...
... something like a Bakewell Tart but with a walnut and sugary goo filling, The Nusstorte is a delicacy in Graubünden - and here, apparently you can buy it from the bus company. Sadly when fbb searched the response was decidedly unhelpful.
fbb was thinking of suggesting some similar diversification in the UK. Haggis from First Bus in Scotland, Pasties from First Kernow, pre-packed Pie and Pea Dinner from Stagecoach Barnsley; but most assuredly, Stottie Cake from Tyne and Wear PTE (aka Nexus)
The dimple is simple but essential!

Something Really Silly
Alert readers (aren't they all?) will remember that Bristol's Metrobus M3 leaves the city via the M32 and then cruises off on its very own bus-only junction ...
... before serving the University of the West Of England's (UWE, usually pronounces "yewie") little bus station.
It then continues to Emerson's Green Park and Ride via the busy Filton Way.
The 20 minute frequency was more than adequate for the university Summer "Vac" but more is needed once the busy students get back to work. That "more" was due to be provided by the Metrobus M1 from Cribbs Causeway etc.
The two will combine to provide a bus at least every ten minutes fast into town. But not until January 2019 (hopefully?).

So First Bus is nobly filling the gap with extra short workings on the M3 from City to UWE.

All together now, "Oh no they're not!"

To ensure that sufficient capacity is provided between the City Centre and UWE, a Service U3 will be introduced from 16 September 2018.

Service U3 will operate up to 6 departures per hour Monday to Friday only between the City Centre and UWE and will work alongside Service m3 to provide up to 9 departures per hour.

Service U3 will operate Monday to Friday during UWE term time only between 17 September 2018 and 14 December 2018.

Service U3 will follow the same route as Service m3, with the exception that it is not permitted to use the M32 bus only junction and will instead operate via A4174 Filton Way and Coldharbour Lane.

Customers are advised that tickets must be purchased prior to boarding Service U3 and will operate the same as Service m3 in terms of ticketing.

So, because its isn't an M3, although it uses the same stops, has the same pre-book ticket system and is exactly the same as an M3 short working - it is not permitted to use the bus only slip road!

It must travel a little further along the M32 and use Filton Way, running non-stop. It will cost First more in fuel, more in staff costs, more in wear and tear and be slower for the students. It will add to pollution. It will represent a total waste of money building the umpteen million pound slip road etc.

What a brilliant idea!

U3 - U couldn't make it up!

Excellent Customer Service!
Remember fbb's reduced price brand new Park Royal Railbus model?
Because it is a model of a Scottish railbus it has steps and handrails each side so that the "passengers "can climb up from a low or non-existent platform.
Upon delivery, fbb opened the box and, horror of horrors, one set of steps fell off. Deep sadness.

But, with a spot of superglue and some shaky and stubby fingers, all was repaired and back to its beauteous normality. 

But a few days ago Mrs fbb moved the model from in front of the telly - to polish the table!

Either the original set fell off again or those from the other side of the vehicle did likewise. 
Horrifically one of the very fine handrails (a bit of paperclip - according to Mrs fbb) vanished, possibly gobbled up by the greedy Dyson; never to be seen again.

fbb sobbed himself to sleep that night ... BUT ...

Heljan enclosed a list of spare parts with the model. So off goes a weepy email and, just three days later a small padded envelope arrived with the necessary replacement.
Much joy at the arrival, tinged with a certain amount of terror at the need to glue the hyper-fiddly bits back on.

But you could not want better customer service.

And how long are you asked to wait for an email reply from First Bus.

14 days!

Rodford R I P
fbb mentioned in passing a few days ago that the name Rodford had caused some ongoing amusement in the fbb household when it appeared on a sticky label above fbb's office desk. No 1 son, then but a callow** youth, was won't to shout our "Rodford" at unpredictable intervals.

** Callow : A callow or teneral phase of an insect or other arthropod, typically shortly after ecdysis, while the skin still is hardening, the colours have not yet become stable, and as a rule, before the animal is able to move effectively.

Here is Rodford School as it was ...
... hardly an icon of education architectural pulchritude! And here is is in 2010, demolition in progress.
It is replaced with a small block of typically uninspiring housing.
The road is called Rodford Ride ...
... which, with the more impressive Rodford Way nearby ...
... picks up the name of a "blink and you'll miss it" hamlet.
This is Elm Farm ...
... but Rodford Hill Farm has breathed its last long, long ago. The railway is the cross-country route between Bristol and Birmingham but all else is modern.
fbb passed by Rodford-as-was on Monday last whilst riding the South Gloucestership Lynx route Y1 - of which more tomorrow.

Verbosity At Its Worst!
This notice appeared recently on a bus shelter in Heeley, Sheffield.
Perhaps other notices appear on bus shelters for the Yak Farmers of Tibet?

Where do I "note" it? In my note book, on my I-pad, or even in my Filofax? Please tell.

Do I really care what the stop number is? I am standing at it; waiting for my bus. I am very anxious to know whether the replacement stop (location) will have the same number or a revised numerical location designation.

Why is it a stop "location" anyway? What else would it be? A stop "mirage"?

Thank you for telling me that it is "redundEnt". (Write out "redundaAnt" 100 times and have it on my desk after break)

Pedantically "The Executive", whoever or what ever they (or it) might be - again we don't care, should take a singular verb (apologises) but they (it) don't (doesn't) apologise. If the apology was genuine they might have left the stop where it is!

What possible inconvenience might it cause. Aha! That's it. The "customer" is so busy reading this tortuous and unnecessary bit of gobbledygook that he/she has missed their bus.

What is wrong with "STOP CLOSED : NEW STOP" with an arrow?

Cue for "Anonymous" to gleefully (whoops, "gleefully to ...) point out all of fbb's mistakes. But fbb is not part of a £multi-million enterprise, just an old man writing blogs!

 Next Yate blog : Monday 10th September 


  1. The M32 bus link is the only part of the network with a restriction to specified vehicles. This was apparently done to preserve the quality of operation i.e. not allow every less-than-reputable operator to run over it.

  2. Correct Sheildsman. But that restriction does not (and should not) preclude running M3s "short" to UWE, surely?

  3. Of course what is more ironic is that the overnight short journeys *will* run via the M32 bus link as they are M3s. It is only the daytime shorts that don't as they are U3s.