To pile pain onto the ailing Arriva, Stagecoach then won a contract to provide buses for Surrey University.
This 2015 map shows how it worked under Arriva's guiding hand.
The 26 and 27 (BLUE) provided a both-ways-round circular service; 26 via the University, Manor Park (halls of residence), The Hospital, Stoughton and back to town via Woodbridge and 27 in the opposite direction. Extra journeys for the Uni were added in by extending routes 36 and 37 (GREEN), serving the east of the town, through to Uni, Manor Park and the Hospital.
A 38 (PINK) was added shuttling between Uni and Manor Park.
The Stagecoach set-up offered a similar sort of service but with some modification.
Instead of 26/7 circulars Stagecoach retained the circular route, but numbered 1 (BLUE) serving University, Hospital and running on to Stoughton. Service 2 (YELLOWish) runs via Woodbridge to Stoughton. 1 becomes 2 and vice versa, changing at Stoughton (1 to 2) and at Woodbridge (2 to 1) according to the above map.
The effect of this is to make everything to and from the University show the number 1 1 - nice and simple for the averagely intellectual student and very easy for Uni staff and visitors. Stops on Campus are branded "Route One" ...
... (in words) but fbb saw no evidence of such a brand on the buses.
Service 17, also run by Stagecoach, is an odd tendered route featured some time ago in this very blog.
But fbb couldn't find it! Route CNEX is a mystery BUT it might be service 1X.
But back to last Friday ...
Your ill equipped author has no timetable for the 26/7 but downloaded the Stagecoach leaflet in preparation for a ride. With limited time available last Friday after the launch, he spent some time trying to plan his trip until he realised that he was working from the Uni term time table. (click on the graphic below for a slightly bigger view)
But, oddly, only two each hour of the circulars starts from the bus station; the other two (at 24 and 54) commence their trip at the main Campus.
Eventually spotting his error, fbb then moved to the Vacation section.
Now we have a core ten minute headway serving everything, with four buses continuing via the circle every 15 minutes.
Clearly Arriva was miffed at this loss of one of its key services. But the university-less 26 and 27 did not seem to be working, so a more drastic plan was hatched and, this time, it was as easy as A B C.
Because the easy new service is a bit more complicated (to illustrate, if not to use) fbb will continue from that point tomorrow.
Now would be a good time to slip in a ...
... First Bus RA2 PS