Wednesday 24 December 2014

Christmas Presents? - Isle of Wight and Edinburgh

Ho Ho Ho

Tomorrow, in Paris, the métro will be running a normally frequent Sunday and "jours fêtes" service between about 0530 and half past midnight. And the trains will be comfortably full.
And just in case you are shouting "New Year's Day is much more of a celebration there" ...
... you would be right. But overnight from 31st to 1st selected metro and RER lines will run all night ...

Pour vous faire profiter pleinement de la Nuit du Nouvel An, des Métros, Bus, RER et Trains fonctionneront toute la nuit du 31 décembre 2014 et leur accès sera gratuit du 31 décembre 17h au 1er janvier 12h.

Yep. FREE TRAVEL from 1700 on 31st through to 1200 on 1st.

Meanwhile, in London, multicultural capital of the world and 24 hour city of pulsating life and activity ...
All Underground lines, Christmas Eve, New Years Eve
A reduced weekday service will operate from mid-afternoon and the last trains will run earlier on a Sunday timetable

Christmas Day
There are no public transport services on this day.

New Years Eve
Between 23:45 on 31 December 2014 and 04:30 on 1 January 2015, travel on the bus, Tube, tram, DLR and London Overground is free and on us. But what is running doesnt appear on the headline web site.

New Years Day
A normal Saturday service will operate. 

Not bad for new year; but nowt on Christmas Day.

So, if you are reading this reasonably early, where might you go tomorrow if you want to enjoy some bus rides instead of over indulgence, trashy TV, family party games and an indigestion tablet-fest.

For residents north of Hadrians Wall there is a good network in Edinburgh ...
... operating generally hourly.
A quick glance suggests that you can do the lot!

But treat the map (above) with polite suspicion. Four services (26, 29, 44 and 114) join the fray on Boxing Day, not Christmas Day. DRIVEL, see comment below.

Meanwhile, over in Glasgow:-
Christmas Eve
Most services will be withdrawn
from around 2100hrs approximately.

Thursday 25 December 2014 Christmas Day -
No services will operate

Oh so very festive!

If you live in the south, the answer, as always, is the Isle of Wight ...
... where buses will be running between 0800 and 2100/2200 on three main routes and five trips between Newport and East Cowes and Newport and Totland. With a bit of determination you could ride from Newport via Ventor, Shanklin and Sandown to Ryde ...
... returning direct.
... a trip to East Cowes and back ...
A trip to West Wight and back ...
... finishing with a round tip to West Cowes.
And there would still be time for a jolly good Christmas lunch.

Meanwhile, in Portsmouth and Southampton ...
And a very happy Christmas to you, First Bus.

For those in between, there is the special service run by the Keighley bus museum people.
This consists of three lollipop shaped routes ...
... and an "out and back" to the hospital.
And the routes are short enough to "cop" all four before the festive feast! The bonus with these "bus museum" services is that they are FREE and operated by "heritage" vehicles, so a treble Christmas Day treat.

But Santa is coming tonight (hooray!). fbb was delightfully amused by a picture on a Christmas card of an apprentice Santa saying to the old man himself, "so let me get this straight; you want me to break into people's houses and put stuff in their socks?"

 fbb telly tecommendation for tonight 
Skyfall (2000, ITV) : not for the plot or characterisation but for the utterly ludicrous scenes on the London Underground. The best laugh on Christmas Eve. Ho Ho Ho!
 who was he? 
Santa comes tonight!
 WARNING : not suitable for young children 
Oh dear! He looks more scary than jolly. 

The modern figure of Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, whose name is a dialectal pronunciation of Saint Nicholas, the historical Greek bishop and gift-giver of Myra. Nikolaos was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra (Demre, part of modern-day Turkey). Because of the many miracles attributed to him, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, a practice celebrated on his feast day, 6th December.

So we are 18 days too late for him!

But what about ...
... this scary bloke. He was invented/imagined by artist Thomas Nast in 1881 to illustrate a poem by Clement Clarke Moore, but it was still based on St Nick.

How about this equally scary guy?
He, dressed in GREEN, is Father Christmas aka father OF Christmas. His origin is pagan, either as a derivation of the Norse god Odin; or from "The Green Man" (yes, of pub fame). He came to bring jollity and general feasting at the midwinter knees up. He may also owe something to "The Lord of Misrule", part of a festival in which folk were encouraged to have their one day of unfettered naughtiness (e.g. the office party???). The mind boggles!

Either way, the modern Santa/Father Christmas has no place in the celebration of the birth of Jesus; he a concatenated character, a callous commercial contrivance, designed to encourage us all to spend more money than we have.

There is a better Christmas gift that lasts for ever!

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.

An fbb scrolling bludner! See comment and reply below.
 Next bus blog : Thursday 25th December 


  1. Think your confuser must be confused FBB. My Lothian Christmas leaflet does show 26, 29 and 44 on Christmas Day, plus 113 (not 104 it is true). See page six of the Lothian leaflet. Happy Christmas to you

  2. Quite right Tim : thanks for the correction. My slidey thing must have slipped a page. I have now found the rest and added then to the blog.

  3. Innacuracies again. Good job its not you publishing transport information.

  4. fbb would have a team of sniveling minions to do the checking OR a very expensive computer system. He might even be paid to get it right. Hang on, though. He's nearly 70; he would have been made redundant YEARS ago.

  5. Once again on Merseyside there are free bus services operating on Christmas Day afternoon - as there have been every year since 1986. The routes are designed principally to serve the major acute hospitals.

  6. At first glance I thought it was excellent that Southern Vectis had maintained the Christmas day services for yet another year without the acccountants getting involved but, on closer inspection, I realised that there has been some careful pruning that makes the network a lot less attractive. The 5 and 7 are now only of use to those who really can plan their day and that is unlikely to make them attractive to people who want them for work and two hourly or wider frequencies and shortening of the operating day are much more likely to make leisure travel difficult as well. I suspect that this is the beginning of the end and the circle of decline in use caused by the cuts will see the eventual demise as a very short sighted look at spreadsheets makes them 'unsustainable'. I hope I am shown to be wrong but the publicity around the 'consultation' and changes coming to route 1 suggests that there will be some cutting there as well.

    1. I think 'Redone' is being unduly negative here without looking or understanding the detail. Had 'Redone' compared previous years timetables for Southern Vectis bus times on Christmas day with previous years in more detail they would have learned that running times are considerably different.
      Previous years used running times which Ayrton Senna would have been proud of which produced a timetable that looked pretty on paper but didn't work on the ground.
      Whilst I find it unlikely that the Traffic Commissioner and her merry men would have been out counting buses on this special day knowingly running timetables where drivers found themselves an hour or more late doesn't make sense. The whole thing was recast using feedback from the staff who actually drive the service.
      This years timetable uses no less resource from previous years yet allows drivers to keep within the speed limit and drops the quietest journeys on the quietest routes. The main routes 1, 3 and 9 all keep their hourly service up until gone 10pm, 11.30pm in the case or route 9.
      The service provided is truly remarkable given so many other places don't even try.
      As for route 1 consultation, 'Redone' is doing the company down for actually talking to their customers and making vehicle investment based on what customers tell them and this is considered "cutting"? If this is cutting then its a breath of fresh air and I'll have some more please!

  7. It's Cowes... not West Cowes!

  8. Who mentioned West Cowes?

  9. It's in the blog... somewhere.