Sunday 28 August 2011

Vectensian Gnosticism

   A special "stop press" Bank Holiday weekend blog    
  "Euston we Have a Problem" continues tomorrow   

"Gnosticism is the knowledge of transcendence arrived at by way of interior, intuitive thought.

Gnosticism begins with the fundamental recognition that earthly life is filled with suffering.

Indeed, one finds that most Gnostic writings take the forms of myths."

Intuitive thought, suffering, myths? Welcome to public transport information on the Isle of Wight. 
Tourist information Centres were closed throughout the Island as a cost cutting exercise by the Council. Showing consummate political and practical skill and an astounding outburst of UNcommon NONsense, (?) this decision was implemented right at the start of the tourist season.

This was the press release as the parties announced that bus company Southern Vectis would be taking over the provision of VIPs. 

Visitor Information Points will be created from April in Newport Bus Station, Ryde Bus Station and Yarmouth Bus Station in a move that will offer a combination of tourist and travel information in these key entry points to the Island.   [Newport, key entry point by parachute or jump jet - fbb]  In Newport the current bus travel centre and waiting facility is set for refurbishment, and in Ryde the former information office is set to be refitted to re-open after Southern Vectis agreed a lease for the office and the bus station itself with Islandline trains.

There are also plans to open an office within the Bus Station in Shanklin [Really? : see below - fbb] subject to planning and highway approvals.
In Cowes and Sandown, Visitor Information Assistants [That's a man with a bag containing an incomplete set of leaflets - fbb] will be provided in the Pontoon and in the High Street area respectively, providing a presence on the street in the busiest areas.

fbb was accosted in Shanklin on Saturday afternoon; that's the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend when the Island was thronging with happy holiday makers all trying to avoid the myriads of scooter fanatics ...
... driving their sit-on spin dryers around in slightly threatening flocks. The lady approached and asked,

"Can you direct me to the bus station. I've seen signposts ...
[like this one, far right of the picture above - fbb] ... but I can't find the bus station"

Not surprising, because there isn't one!  There is a collection of bus stops outside a supermarket ...
... erected where the bus station was! The lady had walked past those shelters not realising, silly woman, that she was exploring the hidden depths of Shanklin bus station at the time! This is what used to be available; a picture taken from more or less the same vantage point as above.
And there used to be a posh enquiry office; it's now just a shop.
Instead of helpful information it's just a load of "Cobblers"!

All the dear lady wanted was a bus timetable (what a pathetically stupid idea, a tourist wanting to travel by bus); so she could plan the rest of her holiday weekend. She also asked about the railway station as a possible source of information.
Chortle chortle! Unstaffed on Saturday afternoons; unstaffed most times!

Of the Shanklin VIP [Visitor Information Point, remember?], not a sign; not even a roving adviser or a clapped out minibus. Three ancient minibi have been converted into mobile VIPs, perhaps more correctly VIBs. Sadly fbb has been unable to source a photo; possibly because they only appear unpredictably and rarely.

So two questions for Mark Morgan-Huws, big cheese of Southern Vectis.
AND for Edward Giles ...
... IoW Council Chairman for Transport and, appropriately, Rubbish:-

Do you want people to use public transport?

Do you want visitors to come to the Island?

Call in to any Island Tourist Information Office with your answers. Sorry, forgot; you've closed them all, Councillor Giles. Silly me.

"Island thinkers think Island buses."  Oh yes?

Received from chum Alan at 0905 this very (Sunday) morning : A VIP outside ...
... and inside.
Compare and Contrast with  a REAL Tourist Information Centre! Thanks, Alan.

Next blog : due Monday August 29th  


  1. Are these 'VIBs' possibly a replacement for WightBus?:-)
    The attitude of most councils and tourism bodies toward public transport is lamentable.
    Keep up the good work ... one day someone will grab the 'failed-technology' bull by the horns ... hopefully within our lifetimes!

  2. Sadly I doubt it! I have worked, been made redundant and kept trying - to get some sense into public transport information generally - for nearly 15 years. It gets worse every year.
    Never mind - keep trying.
    Only 3 years to my Biblical sell-by date!

  3. It's not Edward Giles you should blame for closing the Tourist Offices. The closures were all down to the whim of a rather senile and totally dismissive Councillor called George Brown who euphemistically holds the Isle of Wight Council's portfolio for Economy, Tourism and Regeneration (I think he's still trying to work out what the title means!). He's also Pughnocio's deputy, so of course he wasn't going to upset our dictator (oops, sorry, I meant Leader) was he! Roll on 2013 when hopefully we can put the whole lot of them out to grass. Sadly though, the next lot waiting in the wings probably won't do any better, or am I being too cynical?