Friday, 4 October 2019

As Easy As A B C for I J K and T (part 2)

An announcement today on the company's web site:-
Maybe a bit more tomorrow.
Pinhoe Road and Topsham Road have, for many a long year, carried "traditional" main road bus routes to Pinhoe and Countess Wear/Topsham. In the great minibus era, Harry Blundred's networks followed a similar overall pattern to the old Exeter Corporation.
E and W (RED) ran to Pinhoe and Whipton Barton whilst  K, L and T (LIGHT BLUE) served Countess Wear and Topsham.

In more recent times the K ran from Pinhoe to Countess Wear via Whipton Barton with certain journeys extended as T to Topsham.

Then came the need to provide buses for devekopment in the newcourt area and some Ks were numbered J and extended to what was known as the Rydons Lane development. fbb has filched this map from the Plynmothian Transit archive ...
... showing J journeys with a somewhat complicated squiggle and terminating at Digby Tesco with journeys on D and H.
Yesterday, fbb included a shopping list for the changes introduced a little over a year ago.

Being a tad inefficient in the memory department, he overlooked new housing to the east the northern bit of the old Exeter by-pass, named Hill Barton Road.
The big block lower right is the Met Office!

The development, called Rougemont Park, should have been added to the mixing bowl.
In their press release for the changes, Stagecoach offered a reasonably understandable explanation, pointing out that it was bags of pennies from the Tithebarn housing near the Science Park and Rougemont Park developers that had provoked this route change.
We are now in a position to understand this mini network with the usual benefit (?) of an fbb map.
Note that this change withdraws the K from Pinhoe.

During Monday to Saturday daytimes, the K runs every 20 minutes as does the I/J
the evenings and on Sundays the service is drastically reduced. The I runs every hour from Whipton Barton to Countess Wear and Digby, augmented by an hourly T from Whipton Barton to Countess Wear and Digby, turning wround and running back as a J.

The core daytime service (not Sunday's) between Whipton Barton and Countess Wear is thus every 10 minutes and, provided you are on the correct side of the road, the route letters are irrelevant.

Showing circular services on a standard printed timetable can be difficult, but Stagecoach do, helpfully, show that most journeys shown as terminating at Digby (the anti-clockwise I is shown below) ...
... continue beyond the Tesco "terminus".

fbb has not seen a printed leaflet, but hopes that a route map or simple diagram is included to unbaffle those, like fbb, who are new to "the system".

"Yikes" Said The Senior Bus Executive ...
... when fbb passed on the news that GoAhead Oxford Bus was withdrawing its X90 London Express service from January 2020.
For many years post privatisation the Gloucester Green bus station in Oxford has been dominated by buses departing for London at astounsdingly frequent intervals. There have been some recent reductions but the X90 still runs every 30 minutes seven days a week.
The competition, Stagecoach's Oxford Tube ...
... runs at varied intervals, but during the day there is a coach about every 15 minutes.
fbb thinks he can remember when both operators were running every 10 minutes at busy times.

In its announcement the GoAhead company, now going less ahead on this route, blames serveral problems.

Since October 2016 when Oxford Parkway Rail Station and the new rail line to London Marylebone opened, falling passenger numbers due to the new rail competition and worsening congestion have made the continued operation of the X90 service increasingly challenging. This unfortunate mix of factors include bus speeds falling by 8% on the London road corridor in two years and passenger numbers on the service falling by 35% since 2015.

Whilst we have introduced several measures to adapt to the above challenges, it is with regret that it is no longer viable to operate the X90 service.

The service now makes a significant loss each year, which cannot be sustained by the Oxford Bus Company. We have tried to develop a niche for the service by offering a high-quality service at more affordable fares to better compete in the market, but this has not been successful. Therefore today, with great regret we are announcing that the service will cease operating after service on 4th January 2020.

No blame for Brexit?

There is no direct mention of Stagecoach, but you would have to ask where their service is making any money either. Or have Uncle Brian's lads and lasses offered something a little bit extra to snaffle more of the market?
GoAhead will still run every 30 minutes Oxford to Heathrow and evey hour Oxford to Gatwick ...
... but here they have no competition from St*g*c**ch!

But from next year a certain bearded bus boss will be chortling with glee as he sees his revenues rise!

 Next weekend mixture : Saturday 5th October 

1 comment:

  1. Something had to happen on the OX-LDN road with the train competition. Both ops reduced fares and Stagecoach didn't replace its coaches this summer on the usual five year cycle. Perhaps waiting to see who would react first. However COMS have branded the service, it's never quite achieved the 'presence', the Tube has with its huge Astromgegas in bright colours. There's still a large student market to tap, so hopefully it will survive ok.