Tuesday 14 June 2011

Hairy Fair-y Berks Larks [3]

for our regular daily readers:-
after publication of yesterday's blog (read again),
Travel South Yorkshire have found service 69.
It was in the cupboard under the stairs!

Back to today's blog.

An Ode to the Slough Slug

By Joe J Bethmann [$$]
Poet Laureate to the Public Transport Industry
A World Premiere Publication

Come friendly buses, call at Slough
Your dark and drear bus station's now
A slimy slug; and this I vow,
It's not all right.

Pre-change, one supped a cup of tea
Newspaper bought, the sport to see
And even went to have a pee
Not on this site.

The cafe doesn't yet appear
The shop, "it's not yet ready, dear"
Bus times leaflets? Oh, no fear!
Oh, what a plight.

Sliding doors where each bus loads
But some routes missing, no abodes?
You have to look in nearby roads
Well out of sight.

The slug sits sombre in the sun
Herschel inspired design is (?) fun
Will it work when building's done?
Perhaps it might.

The friendly "bombs" did fall on Slough
You've got a new bus station now
But does it make you shout out "wow"?
Oh dear, not quite.
Oh dear, not quite!

[1] fbb visited the new facility on June 4th one week after opening and was, frankly, disappointed.  The old bus station, buried beneath a multi storey car park, was not that bad. Its replacement looks dramatic, but does it, asks fbb, do its job;  i.e. does it serve the public as well as its predeccessor?

[2] The old Brunel Bus Station (what a noble name) had, at fbb's visit some years ago ["Come Friendly Bombs" - read again], a good set of passenger facilities; even if signwriting was not always the best!
[3] There was nothing, zero, zilch when fbb called this time.  An empty office with a photocopied label "Travel Office" was an indication of start-up inadequacies.  No refreshments, no toilets and no shop, despite promises in pre-opening publicity.  Not a timetable book or leaflet to be seen.  Presumably you have to guess!

Each stand has a nice map, of which this is an extract ...
... and each stand had the usual list of departure times, not very helpful unless you are a regular traveller.  This information was duplicated by electronic screens which did not appear to be "real time", just output from the usual database.  One stand showed three service 8 departures to the Wexham Park Hospital leaving at 1241. Not good for confidence in the system, unless huge crowds were expected!

[4] Some buses leave from Brunel Way, literally outside the new bus station entrance ...
... whilst others leave from Wellington Street, on the other side of the old building and reached by an off-putting circuitous trek. It looks close on the diagram, but ...
... it is far from obvious! Buses have always used Wellington Street, but previously it was directly outside the old bus station entrance, as here.
[5] William Herschel, scientist, was a local lad [**], having emigrated from Germany at age 19.  His greatest fame is the discovery of the planet Uranus and a significant number of galaxies.  He was also a composer of symphonies. One of his lesser known pieces of research led to the realisation that infrared "rays" existed.  The wobbly roof, the tail of the slug, is supposed to be redolent of Herschel's waves.  A bit of a thin link?

[6] An opportunity missed for public transport to wow the public?  A danger of vandalism in what is a very open site?  Chilly and soggy waiting when Slough's Scirocco swirls and sharply slants the sleet!? [@@]
Confusion for the unwary as they struggle to find the hidden stops? Time will tell, but please, please, PLEASE, make some useful information available.  There were plenty of staff skulking in their comfortable rest room, well away from troublesome Joe Public. It's hardly too difficult to put out a rack of leaflets, is it?

Contrast Slough with Havant, as depicted in a very early ffb blog (read again).

So far, only 5 out of 10.

[$$] "Collected Works" edited by Anne Agram and available from very few booksellers.

[**] William and Mary Herschel's only son was born in Slough in 1792; William's biggest, but least successful, telescope was built in Slough; William died in Slough in 1822 but much of his early work was carried out in Bath.

[@@] "Galoshlessness is foolishness when sharply slants the sleet" a celebrated line by Australian author Paul Jennings.

Next blog : due Wednesday June 15th  


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This Paul Jennings is the celebrated English humourist, and not the Australian children's author.