Sunday 15 September 2013

On the Red Bus (not quite Flanders and Swann)

In case the allusions mystify our readers, here (again) is Flanders and Swann's "The Slow Train"; a lament for some of the firewood from the Beeching Axe.
Yesterday, First ran their last ever buses in Northampton. Many former residents find it hard to come to terms with the way in which a huge national operator could have squandered the excellence of Northampton's once-proud bus service. 

These words fit (almost!) the Flanders and Swann music and the sentiment and memories couldn't be more appropriate.
The Red Bus

Abington Park and Pleydell Road ...
Weston Favell ...
Five Bells and Dallington Green ...
No more will I go to Abington Street or Mercers Row
On the Crimson-Red Bus that I used to know.
No leather seats and Daimler's roar
No paper tickets on the varnished floor
They won't be seeing any of us
On the Red Bus.
Privatised politically by the Grampian Scots.
At interchange stops no Bundy Clocks. 
No white-striped bodies, no civic crest
No municipal service that was clearly the best.
They won't be seeing any of us
On the Red Bus.
Now at the depot with First Buses biding
The cast-offs are parked.
We'd love to give FirstBus a hiding
Northamptonians narked.

The acres are silent at Spring Park (or Acre Lane)
No Bush Hill buses pass that way again.
No "one" departs, no "one" arrives
At "The Trumpet" daily enhancing our lives
They won't be seeing any of us
On the Red Bus.
Eastern Avenue, Queen Eleanor Cross, 
Cottarville and Bants Lane ...
... on the Red Bus ...
Military Road and Kenmuir Avenue
Midsummer Meadow and Jimmys End
... of the Red Bus!

Northampton Corporation Transport buses operating yesterday and today! It is the annual Heritage weekend, with town tours on Saturday and Sunday starring NCT 154, 246, and 267 with United Counties Bristol RE 311 (NBD 311F) and a visiting WMPTE Metrobus; what Wifred Pickles used to call "a spot of homely fun". 
fbb is always happy to be even-handed in his blogservations; so, on a more positive note, herewith a picture of the bright new un-First livery for service 40, Aberdeen's Park and Ride.
The illustration is an oil rig ...
... but "PrimeFour" may be a mystery.
It is a developing office "park" near the Kingswells terminus; apparently populated by shadowy ghosts!
"bringing death to work"?

The new image also heralds an increased frequency for Kingswells P & R (and thus PrimeFour) from hourly to every 20 minutes; further enhanced to every 15 at peak times Mondays to Fridays. There are no Sunday buses. This may look like a spiffing and positive frequency increase but, in fact, the 40 is extended to Kingswells (estate) and has replaced a 30 minute frequency route 11. Sadly the new on-line timetable is accompanied by an old (and thus out of date) map which mentions neither Park and Ride nor PrimeFour.
Such a pity to spoil the good ship 40 for a ha'porth of artistic tar; especially as it's so very easy to make amendments. This was produced by fbb in all of five minutes ...
... without the aid of a safety net and, significantly, with no published bus map available as a guide!

Correction. fbb was intending to show that the Aberdeen network diagram had not been updated (which it hadn't when this piece first flowed mellifluously from the fbb keyboard) but a revised version has now been published ...
... showing the 40 replacing all but an occasional peak hour trip on service 11. The service 40 route map is, however, unchanged.

So that's at least one good house point, cancelled out by one or more black marks.
 Next Bus Blog : Monday 16th Sptember 

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