Monday 16 February 2015

Can We Fix It?

Yes We Can!
It is, just about, possible to travel from Seaton, Devon to Mylor Bridge (near Falmouth) by bus all the way mid week and using an old codgers' get on the bus free card.

But don't ask Google Transit! A week ago this appalling system had "lost" all bus services and sent the hapless traveller via a combination of taxi, train and National Express via Panzance. The latest outpourings on Google offer these choices in response to a "prefer" bus only option.
None of these would get free travel all the way. Useless.

Thankfully the oft-maligned Traveline does a better job.
A pleasant top deck trundle via Beer and Newton Poppleford to Exeter. Here at the bus station (complete with excellent caff) we change to the 510.
In happier times this was the prestigious Western Greyhound route, compete with posh double deckers and running all he way to Newquay. Now it only goes to Wadebidge.
In theory this should be a double deck tide as well, but the trip fbb spotted on his Friday car journey was a poorly loaded Dart. One like this ...
... although this actual vehicle has transferred to Plymouth City Bus.

Five journeys run all the way Monday to Saturday, three of them fast via the dual carriageway A30.
The WG timetable shows connections to Truro and this forms the third leg of fbb's theoretical free ride from home to holiday cottage.
A quick nip through the streets of Truro centre to the bus station and we can board our U1 double decker.
Once route 88, the U1 is one half of the new routes branded for the huge college campus at Penryn aka Falmouth University.
Traveline suggests changing at Penryn Bridge ...
... but fbb would ride into Falmouth and back. From Mylor Bridge there is a challenging uphill walk ...
... to the luxurious barn conversion that is the fbb and family home for the week (pink blob top left). Frankly, fbb would not be too keen on that walk; in February, in the dark, in the wind and in the rain; but it might be do-able in summer.

But there may well be another snag with the schedule.
Click on the "changes" text and you get this:-

Service 510 changes from 21.02.15
Service 510 will be revised after operation on Saturday 21st February 2015. Details are unavailable at present, please re-plan any journeys using service 510 from 22nd February 2015 onwards at a later date.

A Traveline click for one week hence reveals (a) no departures available on OAP card and (b) journeys via Bude.
The 510 has disappeared. That is because the 510 has disappeared. The whole service is withdrawn without replacement. Western Greyhound is not telling us about this with just one week to go.
To find the awful truth we need to happen upon Stagecoach's service X9 and X10.
From Sunday 22nd February we're making some changes to our existing X9/X10 bus service. These have come about following Western Greyhound's decision to withdraw the 510. Since we first learned of this we've been working closely with both Devon and Cornwall County Councils to see how we could ensure local residents still have access to a regular, reliable bus service.

The new timetable maintains key journeys from the existing 510 timetable in addition to our existing X10
On the 6 there will be two Sunday/Bank Holiday journeys between Bude and Exeter
Unlimited travel between Launceston and Exeter - and on all other Stagecoach South West buses - is just £7.50 a day or £26 per week
Unlimited travel between Okehampton and Exeter - and on all other Stagecoach South West buses in the Exeter 'Plus' zone - is just £5.50 a day or £20 per week

What the new service 6 and 6A doesn't do is go to Wadebridge ...
... which is why fbb can't do the journey free from Seaton after Saturday 21st February. It is a bit naughty to call it a "Brand New Service"; it is a slightly rejigged and renumbered clone of services X9 and X10.

As an further indication of WG's problems, the Stagecoach web site also has the following note (click on graphic for a larger view):-
The WG mess seems to get no better. Journeys withdrawn from early November last year are still not re-instated, yet the company has registered many changes, including (reportedly) a new route into Falmouth to compete (?) with First. Should a company that is failing to run its current registered services be allowed to start competitive new ones?
Talking of Model Making
No 2 grandson (aged 11) has just finished making a kit motorbike (small).
Amazingly it is powered by salt water. Has he inadvertently discovered the solution to the world's depleted stock of fossil fuels? It could save the bus industry millions!
Sadly fbb suspects that the fuel cell itself might be a tad expensive scaled up to power a bus.
 Next bus blog  : Tuesday 17th February 


  1. DVSA could call WGL to PI and enquire why they are failing to operate their full registered mileage. The fact that 'new' registrations are being accepted in these circumstances leads me to conclude there needs to be a change to the legislation to allow the TC to prevent any acceptance of a new registration where the operator is unable to operate it's current registered mileage.
    WGL will have presumably notified the TC of their issues providing late evening services, so no one can argue that they are unaware of the issues. Bus users must have confidence in the services they use.
    If WGL can't run these 'suspended' services then they should alter the registration or cancel it accordingly and leave the road clear for someone else to provide a service.
    At the what is surely forthcoming PI I would like to see WGL prevented from registering any new service until it has dealt with it's issues.

  2. slight correction - the dart above is NOT with Citybus- only 8 Optare Solos have joined Citybus