Saturday 19 April 2014

Improve the Service : Make it More Complex [3]

 fbb had intended to publish this blog later on in May, but a comment on "Improve the Service : Make it More Complex [2]" (read again) encouraged a touch of "bringing forward". Service changes herein discussed start on Sunday 25th May.
["thinks" similarly, methinks] So, the answer, of course, is:- not very long at all!

A package of "improvements" to the X53 and its associated service 31 has been announced in the excellent Weymouth area timetable book.
An advertorial panel hints at the changes ...
... by bringing the former 31 into the "refreshed" Jurassic Coaster Brand as X31. The present 31 has become very unreliable of late and has often failed in one of its advertised purposes, namely to give a rail link from Axminster to Lyme Regis and from Dorchester South to Bridport. fbb reported on atrocious late running last Summer.
See "Loitering Ruefully in Lyme Regis [1]" (read again)
See "Loitering Ruefully in Lyme Regis [3]" (read again)

To address this, so says the publicity, the 31 ...
... becomes the X31 ...
... and will no longer run to and from Weymouth. What the blurb does not say is that daytime buses (with a couple of peak hour exceptions) will not run via Matrinstown ... 
 ... but whizz direct along the A35.
From an hourly service to very little seems a bit of a downer for the regular bus-riding Martinstowner.
A petition is already underway. This from Andy Canning's local blog:-

First Bus Group have recently announced plans to withdraw their hourly bus service from Martinstown and Winterbourne Steepleton and run the 31 service along the A35 instead. First Bus are proposing just one early service to Dorchester for workers and one return at the end of the afternoon.

This will cause real problems for local residents who don’t have access to a car and need to get into town for shopping or medical appointments. Please sign and return my petition which I am delivering to every house in both villages. If we can get a really big response I hope we can change First’s decision. I will also be pressing First to come to a local Public Meeting so they can hear first-hand the problems this change will cause.
X31 timings at Dorchester South and Axminster stations are similar to the previous offering, so it remains to be seen whether the unreliability problem has been tackled by these "improvements".

So what about the X53? Presently this offers a splendid run between Poole and Exeter every two hours.
Last year the vehicles gained a new branding for what has become a fully commercial service ...
... once supported by Dorset and Devon Councils. It, too has an "improved" timetable Over part of the route the frequency is "upped" to hourly ... 
... namely over the busiest section between Weymouth and Lyme Regis. fbb is not yet sure how buses will turn in Lyme; let's hope that First's planners have worked it out! But in the other direction ...
... the through route is severed. This means that passengers from west of Lyme Regis seeking to enjoy the whole run eastwards beyond Weymouth will have an hour's wait somewhere along the middle section. This makes such journeys far less attractive and may be confusing for interepid travellers attempting a return journey.

But look at Bridport to Lyme Regis! An X31/X53 bus every 30 minutes (approx) must be the best frequency there has ever been.

So, as with the Stagecoach route 700 blogs last week, there are winners and losers in these enhanced services. Three rousing cheers for First in their attempts to do some positive things, but a word or two of caution. Will customers be lost (for ever?) as a result of the disadvantages?
fbb doesn't see much hope for the Martinstown petition considering the other needs of the revised X31. Maybe the villagers will also decide to settle on one name for their community. Its historic title is Winterbourne St Martin.

 8 of 9 Easter Oddities 
Easter Saturday? No. no and definitely no! Pedants unite!

Today is "Holy" Saturday. Easter Saturday is the Saturday of Easter Week which starts on Easter Sunday. Easter Saturday this year is 26th April, by which time most of us will have forgotten chocolate eggs and fluffy bunnies. Many of us will not even have remembered what Easter is really about.

Today is the day when nothing happened!
To avoid breaking Sabbath Rules (Jewish Sabbath is Saturday which starts at sunset on Friday), the body was hurriedly removed from the cross and taken to a borrowed tomb by arrangement with the Roman Authorities. The tomb was sealed and guarded, just in case.

In case of what?

The people were still marvelling at everything Jesus was doing, when he said to his disciples, “Don't forget what I am about to tell you! The Son of Man is going to be handed over to the power of human beings.” But the disciples did not know what this meant; they could not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about the matter.

He also told them, “The Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. He will be put to death, but three days later he will be raised to life.”

No serious reader would deny the existence of Jesus [although a few "fruitcakes" might!] ...
... the evidence for his life and work is far stronger than that that for any other historical figure of the time; stronger even then many more recent big hitters. Bill Bryson's excellent book on his playwright namesake reminds us how little we know for certain about Shakespeare ...
... far less than we know for certain about Yeshua bar Yusuf, the historical Jesus. But the real challenge begins on that Sabbath Saturday evening, or overnight, with another thought provoking incident.

Why did highly trained guards, armed and responsible for their entombed body with their lives on the line, simply run away?

Very odd.
 Next bus blog : Sunday 20th April 


  1. You can't spell Martinstown. I thought FBB was perfect when it came to publication!

  2. Of course I can spell Martinstwon - it's my computer that gets the letters in the wonrg order. Typical Microslop.

  3. Lyme Regis turning buses will run up the hill to the Holmbush car park, turn right along by the hospital and the turn right to run down to the Post Office stop.

  4. Overall I'm impressed - First have clearly made a big success out of the two services. It will be interesting to find out if no through Exeter to Poole journeys matters to passengers.

    As for Martinstown, which I guess is being ditched by First to benefit the majority of passengers, have residents there approached the County Council for a replacement bus service?

  5. Yes, First has done a good job but TBH that's what happens when you have Stagecoach watching, ready and waiting at one end of the X53 route and Yellow Buses doing the same at the other end. Indeed, IIRC, didn't Yellow Buses win the last 31 tender until First decided they could take it commercial?