From last weekend, First Bus introduced a new network in Taunton; so fbb decided to visit (Monday 29th July) to see what has happened and, in particular, to see if roadside information has improved. Although the changes were dated from Sunday 28th, most routes don't operate on the Sabbath, so Monday was, effectively, "First Day".
So what has happened?
For those unfamiliar with the geography of the town on the Tone, here is an fbb map of the new network.
Each route is about 15 minutes long from the centre to the outer terminus. Until this change services ran cross-town as follows:-1/1A Wellsprings to Calder Crescent or Lime Crescent
3/3A Priorswood or Nerolls to Bishops Hull or Hospital
4 Lane to Galmington
A full pre-change map can be downloaded (here)
First's description of the alterations is overly verbose, so here follows fbb's expurgated version, enhanced by a few pretty pictures! Old route numbers are shown in Grey , new in Red .
Service 1 : Wellsprings every 10 minutes improved
Sunday service 1 no longer runs via Priorswood
Service 1 : Calder Crescent every 30 mins
renumbered 5 see below
Service 1A : Lime Crescent every 30 mins
renumbered 6 see below
Service 3 : Priorswood every 30 mins
Service 2 : Priorswood every 30 mins
The route changes slightly in Priorswood
the Sunday service (route 1 diverted) is withdrawn .
Service 3 : Bishops Hull every 30 mins
Service 3A : Hospital every 30 mins
Service 3 : Hospital and Bishops Hull every 30 mins
Service 3A : Nerolls Farm every 30 mins
This service ran mostly on the countryside edge of newer housing; newer and car owning! Passengers can walk through to the Priorswood route.
Service 4 : Galmington every 20 mins
diverted via Hospital
renumbered 7 and reduced to every 30 mins
Service 5 : Calder Crescent every 30 mins
replacing service 1
Service 6 : Lime Crescent every 30 mins
replacing service 1A
Service 7 : Galmington every 30 mins
replacing service 4 but diverted via Hospital
Services along the main Exeter Road south-west to Wellington are not shown on the fbb map; but he has classed them as Taunton "local" routes.
Service 22 : Wellington and Tonedale
Service 22A : Wellington and Tonedale
improved to every 30 mins
Tonedale is a "suburb" of Wellington, with the terminus located just beyond the site of the former railway station (closed 1964) on the Great Western main line.
Only the goods shed remains today, seen here courtesy of Google Streetview, also showing the additional footpath bridge.
Service 22A : Welllington and Rockwell Green
three buses an hour
Service 22 : Wellington and Rockwell Green
reduced to every 30 mins
Occasional extra journeys numbered 22 run to Tiverton. It is unclear why the main service numbers have been swapped round, 22 for 22A and vice versa. But this is what First says on its web site!
The current Service 22 between Taunton and Tonedale will be re-numbered as Service 22A, while the current Service 22A between Taunton and Rockwell Green will be re-numbered as Service 22.
Maybe this a slight First Bus bludner? Or did First want its deplleted service to Tiverton to show 22 rather than 22A; the routes are identical as far as Rockwell Green.
Service 92 : Tiverton every hour
Replaced by journeys numbered 22 (four trips only). This represents a big chop and will have not gone down well with regular passengers. Buses used to run all the way to Exeter as shown in the Great Britain Bus Timetable for 2001:-
The secateurs have been in use on some of the other services with a trim here and there. First's policy seems to be to put their buses to bed at about 2000. This does mean that, if you wanted to go out for the evening (by bus) you can't get back. So you don't go out OR you don't go by bus. That's return fares lost every time! It also means that early evening journeys are less well used. Do they get the chop next time?
Generally, the new set-up represents good housekeeping for the company; tomorrow we see how well this has been publicised.
Next Bus Blog : Thursday 1st August