Tuesday 17 July 2012

From Kent to Aix [3]

Nice Information : Network Intriguing
There is no doubt that public transport information in Aix-les-Bains (France) shows a "panache" that is rarely present in the UK. But the network that is publicised has a very different feel from that back in Glorious Albion.
The political attitude to public transport is revealed in the concept of  network tendering. In this case the local authority invites companies to operate the "Ondéa" network. The current holder of the franchise is Keolis, owned by (nationalised) French Railways. See "From Kent to Aix [1]" (read again).

There are only two "normal" services; Route 1 (ligne 1) referred to yesterday which runs every 20 minutes on its central core section but is extended significantly every 40 minutes at both ends.  See "From Kent to Aix [2]" (read again).  The full ligne 1 timetable and route map can be viewed (here).

And ligne 2 ...
... which operates roughly every 30 minutes from about 0600 to 2100 Monday to Saturday.

There are no later evening services at all and not a single bus runs on Sundays  [see "whoops bludner" below]  anywhere on this network. Services 3 to 20 all, without exception, revolve around the provision of transport for schools. That is not to say that they are school buses; far from it. BUT the service pattern is defined by schools' requirements. Table headings for ligne 3 may confuse a bus travelling Brit ...
... Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday schooldays (période scolaire) ...

... Wednesday schooldays ...

... Saturday schooldays, and ...

... Monday to Saturday NON schooldays. The little telephone symbol means that journeys have to be booked "at least half a day in advance". So during the school holidays, you only get a bus if you ask for it! Not much good for last minute decisions if the timescale is rigidly enforced.

For those francophiles amongst fbb's readers this will come as no surprise. In the past, all French schools were usually closed on Wednesday (afternoons, even all day), but open on Saturday mornings. Nowadays, new timetable ideas are being introduced in many areas, for example with a longer morning Monday to Friday and physical activity every afternoon. In Aix-les-Bains, however, early academic closing on Wednesdays and lessons on Saturday mornings are reflected in the bus timetable.
Route 3 wends its way southward from Collège Garibaldi alongside the Lac du Bourget on a largely unpopulated road ...
... then turns north on relatively narrow roads through the community of Tresserve (pop. 3303). This is pretty, village-like, but hardly "good bus territory".
Finally the route turns south and enters built-up Aix-les-Bains and terminates, once again, at Lycée de Merlioz.
Certainly, on the evidence of Google Streetview, it is not surprising that the service runs as it does.

Finally, fares! Tomorrow, we examine the range of offers available in Aix-les-Bains. Once again, UK bus operators please note, everything is publicised there. No secrets from Joseph Publique! Of course, it is easier if you have only one basic fare for the whole network.
 "whoops bludner"  One Sunday bus route runs (thanks comment writer Stephen). It is a mixture of lignes 1 & 2 running from Plage du Bourget via Aix-les-Bains to Lafin. fbb missed it because it is shown in a blindingly obvious fashion on the Ondéa web site (!) ...
...  but without a route number. It is called "DIM" - which is what fbb was to miss it! [DIM = dimanche, french for Sunday] Leaflet available (here). The service may not run in the winter months.

 Next Blog : Wednesday 18th July 


  1. I think the comment on no Sunday buses is incorrect - the Ondea website does show on a separate page a 'Diim' service on one core route.

  2. As for Kent....
    Not to bad in the eastern area served by Stagecoach but the western Arriva area is patchy where information is concerned. TIC's and libraries may or may not have timetables and for smaller operators its usually not! You need to know where you want to go and who operates it. Even the local area maps seem to have been dropped by KCC (apart from on its website) and I haven't seen the county one for a while.

  3. The publicity is definitely to be commended, but having looked at both Aix-les-Bains and neighbouring Chambery, the overall service level can only be described as leaving a lot to be desired, even when compared to some of our own worst areas. And don't even mention the trains...

  4. Yes I didn't see the timetable straight away either but the first thing I looked at was the network map which does have a separate Dimanche et jours feries section so I hunted it down.

    Sorry my first comment on this daily-read very interesting blog had to be a bludner-pointer.

  5. Oops no it doesn't sorry - there is a separate Sunday plan

  6. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  7. Nice publicity, cheap fares, high subsidy and a very limited network designed around the schools, I know where I would prefer to travel. There is a lot of comment on how good European Public Transport is (not so much this blog, you haven't hidden the downsides here) around but when you consider the coverage I'm not sure you can fault the network provided by Britains commercial bus services in comparison. Frequencies and routes are just much better for the majority of the population, only in the biggest cities can a case be made and the cost to the taxpayer is at a level that British voters have shown no willingness to accept.

  8. Congratulation,for the post.This is a very costly present.I am so satisfied to get this
    post article.I was anticipating get such a post which is exceptionally useful to us.
    Keep it up. .I know something data, to know you can click here
    Truck Driving Jobs