Monday, 6 July 2020

Weekend Variety (2 - delayed)

London-style Bus System in Manchester?
Regular readers will be well aware that Manchester's "Metro" Mayor, Andy Burnham" is in favour of ditching the "commercial" model of bus services. From the very first days of his election campaign, he has wanted to take control of buses, trams and trains and take them away from businesses which seek to serve their shareholders as a first priority.

So he set up a survey and the full results have recently been published.

Over 80% of people support Transport for Greater Manchester's proposal to replace unregulated bus service with a franchised model, a survey suggests.

In total 8,516 people and organisations across Greater Manchester and beyond took part in the public consultation on the proposed franchising scheme that ran from 14 October 2019 to 8 January 2020.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and independent research agency Ipsos MORI have reviewed, analysed and summarised all responses to the consultation in two reports. Ipsos MORI has also analysed qualitative research with public transport users, non-users, residents and businesses.

Some of the most common reasons for support included that it would be an improvement on the current system of deregulated buses; that it would help deliver an integrated and coordinated public transport network and that it would provide better value for money.

Those opposed were concerned about the affordability of the proposed scheme or did not believe the proposed scheme would work.

Needless to say, the bus operators are agin it.
Stagecoach wants a "partnership" approach.

Like the amazingly inept Sheffield Bus Partnership?

Others point to the current situation in London where the Government has imposed conditions on a bail-out for Mayor Khan's ailing franchised system.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps issued a written statement to parliament in which he said that “an important secondary factor” in the need for a bailout “was the pre-existing poor condition of Transport for London’s (TfL) financial position as a result of decisions made over the last four years”.

London's (franchised) transport finances are close to collapse.

Whilst 80% of Andy's survey thought franchising was a spiffing idea, the CPT revels that a different survey ....
Note the middle paragraph.

Three quarters of people in Manchester do not wish to fund public transport through their taxes.

No worry, says his Mayorship, the government must pay!
How likely is that even before the Virus crisis - but afterwards ...
... there they go again!

To summarise ...

1. 80% think franchising is a good idea

2. 75% don't want to pay for it

3. Bus companies want a "partnership"

4. Partnership is a disaster in Sheffield

5. London's franchised system is in a financial mess

6. The Mayor expects the government to pay

Hmmm? Franchising looks unlikely.

Airport Alterations
Buses to Leeds Bradford Airport were once part of the First Bus network.
More recently, services passed to Yorkshire Tiger; that is Arriva in disguise.
Even more recently there had been a rebrand as Flying Tiger with posh buses ...
... serving the network of three 7xx routes.
Other services have come and gone, e.g. from York ...
... and come and stayed as here from Keighley in 2018.
But changes are afoot with buses to the Airport from Leeds. C T Plus are running the 747 on a temporary basis ...
... but only once an hour, presumably in response to the virus crisis,

Flying Tiger's web site still shows all three services ...
... and a 20 minute headway.
Hey ho - it's all on line - WRONGLY.

Later in the summer, Transdev take over the 757 with hints appearing on their regular Twits.
What's going on?

Competitive Clashes?
Readers may remember two programmes hosted by James May looking at the trials and tribulations of the Hornby company. One of the stories concerned the announcement by Rails of Sheffield that it would be "producing" an iconic small steam loco.
The Brighton-built "Terrier" has always been a popular loco for modellers and enthusiasts alike and Hornby have had one in its play list for many years.
When Rails of Sheffield announced that they would be producing as Terrier, Hornby were decidedly miffed. James May made much of the ill-feeling. Arguably Rails' version was a better model and, consequently, more expensive.
Really, you have to be a perfectionist to tell the difference!

But now Hornby have got their revenge. It begins with the Hornby OO Rocket pack with loco and three shiny yellow coaches.
Not cheap, but a fantastic train to run on your layout.

But the yellow coaches were for First Class passengers - they had roofs, windows and seats! The "lower orders" would be expected to stand in Third Class open trucks like this one ...
... reproduced full size for a Liverpool and Manchester Railway celebration.
Rails announced that they were commissioning a "blue wagon" (sorry, "coach") ...
... built using the latest super-duper technology.
It would be at a super-super technological price!
Pre-orders were rolling in nicely when this appeared on Hornby's web site ...
... and at less than half the price - £16.99.
Rails have capitulated!
"Gotcha!" says Simon Kohler, but quietly as it isn't really a tat-for-tat production. "Hornby have been developing it as part of the Rocket set product," Mr Kohler states with all due humility.

Yeah, right!

Control Tower Project

Tomorrow we go to Bedfordshire.

 Next Handy for Sandy blog : Tuesday  7th July 


  1. Andrew Kleissner6 July 2020 at 07:10

    Hornby "say" this has been in the pipeline since they measured up the vehicle in NRM York two years ago and produced CAD designs. They now have "engineering samples" to hand. There can't have been a huge amount of work involved as the underframe is the same as the First Class coach - Rails would have been starting from scratch.

  2. I am unsure as to why FBB is obsessed with Sheffield as the only partnership example. Merseyside, West Midlands and Hertfordshire all have successful partnerships.

    As for Leeds Bradford Airport the three routes currently operated by Yorkshire / Flying Tiger are contracted by way of permission to access the Airport land. YT won it from First who started a competitive service but then was barred from entering the Airport. Transdev have gained the concession / contract from YT.

    1. Quite - and I'm sure there are other examples where operators have been willing to enter partnership with local authorities (LA), but the LAs have not either not been willing, or not fulfilled their side of the bargain, or actively work to the detriment of buses with road layout changes.

      Interestingly, the correct timetables are on the Yorkshire Tiger website, but not the Flying Tiger "sub site". Perhaps someone was just human and forgot to update both locations? Incidentally, the correct timetables are also available on the West Yorkshire Metro website.

    2. Technically First were never banned from LBIA, it was on the cards but never taken forward before First decided to withdraw the competition with Centrebus (it was actually won by Centrebus Holdings, the joint venture between Centrebus & Arriva that was relaunched as Yorkshire Tiger after Arriva bought out the Centrebus share-holding) though the limited and controlled access would subsequently have been put in place.

      As others have commented whilst the Sheffield Partnership has been pretty weak, neither side has really delivered improvements, there are numerous examples of successful partnerships across the country at various levels of formality. The West Midlands is probably the most clear example of a long term and successful scheme, Merseyside was working until the City Mayor withdrew many of the bus lanes with limited notice - often the weakest point in such schemes where the control of roads rest with a different authority to that responsible for public transport and sufficient commitment is not shared across all authorities.