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 

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Weekend Variety (1)

Church Link
(here) at approx 1015
LIVE on Sunday morning
thereafter "streamed"

A Hulleys Hidden Happening
It appears that the opportunity for an Adveture (sic) ...
... with Hulleys has been expanded. The company web site (accessed yesterday at 1030) was encouraging travel to Derbyshire destinations ...
... whilst still threatening (incorrectly) dire retribution for non mask-eraders!
Welcome to Hulleys of Baslow indeed!

But what were these, photographed passing through Woodseats in Sheffield yesterday morning at about 0850?
The X71 was a generic route number for a swatch of tourist-related services due for introduction back in March but postponed with the onset of lockdown restrictions. There was a Saturday round trip to Alton Towers ...
... and a wider selection of Advetures on Sundays.
No mention of the service's restart from Travel South Yorkshire ...
... but that would not be a surprise. No mention in the timetables page from Hulley's ...
... but a copy of a tweet was posted on their "travel updates" page.
There is a timetable hidden within this Facebook "quote" showing that the service is far less extensive than originally shown.
fbb's correspondent suggested that the second bus in the picture above was a duplicate - or maybe potential duplicate. It's blind was showing "Not in Service".

In a shock report, fbb's correspondent thought that both vehicles were utterly devoid of passengers, although he was pre-occupied with taking the picture!

but, of course ...
It's all on-line (but you have to forage!!)

Some On-Line Headlines
Delayed Watford Clicks Into Place

Apparently passenger numbers are to be limited to 4 per bus. Rather more of a challenge than a limitation if other similar services are considered. Roger French reveals that this "Click" is on a different App from other Arriva "Click" services, so if you are rushing to try to get a seat, make sure you are clicking on the correct "Click".

Farewell Citycoach
There will be many more.

Will The Bubble Burst?
School kiddies will be separated into year group "bubbles", so says HMG. How will that work on school buses?

Has our noble Minister for Education thought this through? Perhaps he doesn't realise that schoolchildren in one bubble do not all live at the same bus stop.

The 3 Becomes City Red 3 ...
... with buses painted all-over red in a radical First Bus change from the previous branding and livery.
Will anyone notice?

Go For A (Socially Distanced) P, Bob
Or, how daft can you get?

fbb and Mrs took a trip to Sidmouth on Thursday to purchase fresh fruit and veg from a wonderful (and at present socially distanced) traditional shop.
The strawberries were wonderful!

Next call was the White Horse chippy for take-away ...
... to be chomped cheerily at Connaught Gardens.
What encouraged the fbbs to make this trip was the good news that "the usual offices" would be open, so no scurrilous skulking behind a rhododendron bush. Changes had been made, it was revealed, to ensure "social distancing".
This is how it works. You "wait here" for a while, get bored, then nip in furtively to see how many are "standing" and guess how many might be "sitting". If there IS somebody there you nip out smartly by which time you have lost your place in the queue. If you are "standing" and someone appears from a cubicle to wash their hands, you must stop what you are doing immediately and run out back to the queue where you stand (cross legged) until you get another chance.

A warm thanks to East Devon Council for their thoughful provision!

fbb ignored the dots and stood closer than 2 metres to a fellow performer who was just completing the disposal of his liquidity.

Needs must, the old man fears.

By the way, the dots are already wearing off. They'll be gone in a few days.

Good Work, Son
With profuse apologies for losing his name, First Bus' apprentice engineer, allocated to Weston super Mud depot has been doing his stuff.

It is a splendid and joyous addition to the office frontage.
Neat rivet work!

And in full Badgerline retro livery to match the local branding, way back when ...
... and now.

No 1 son asked how many words fbb had written in his 3,500 posted blogs. Hard to even guess, son, and it depends on what you count. Headings? Quotes?

A realistic guesstimate is in the region of 2,000,000!

Now that is really sad and VERY scary.

And The Control Tower?
Work has started..

 Next Variety blog : Monday 6th July