Friday, 6 May 2016

9A? Which Way? That Way? No Way! [2]

And It's Not Only fbb that Grumbles!
An interesting email was waiting for fbb this morning from correspondent Brian.

I’ve been reading your musings about the new 9A and thought you would be interested to know that yesterday, Wednesday 4th May, the 1335 from Lyme Regis Square pulled out with 25, yes twenty five, passengers on board!

Encouraging for Uncle Brian's team!

The good news does not continue however in regard to buses in the area as the 0930 X53 from Exeter had only 2 passengers upstairs (0 or 1 downstairs) when I joined at Clyst St Mary for my journey to Bridport.
The timetable case opposite the Nurseries there (picture, left) had been updated with the new 9/9A timetable AND the new X52 which starts on Sunday 8th May – no use for anyone travelling yesterday!

The busy little bunnies from Devon County have been at work! Or have First been along?

Hoping to find the new timetables for the X52 and the X51/X53 and X54 on board this bus I was extremely disappointed to find none! Only 4 days left before the revisions on Sundays and First Dorset have not managed to provide anything yet!

Showing true impartiality, fbb has emailed the boss of First in Hampshire, Dorset, South Somerset and Ulan Bator (Ulaanbataar) making the same offer as he did to the Stagecoach Devon lot; an offer to distribute leaflets widely throughout Seaton. Despite promises from both, not a single leaflet has yet arrived at fbb mansions.

fbb has just heard that the Customer Services department that deals with the X51/2/3/4 has been moved from Portsmouth (awful) to Norwich (just plain stupid!). For the record, Norwich (top right) is approximately 300 miles from Exeter (bottom left).
So the team in Norwich will be at the forefront of hour-by-hour information for the X52, seven days a week; absolutely essential when Summer traffic delays disrupt the (poor) service.

Talking to the driver revealed that there were none available anywhere and that proved correct as I checked other buses on the X51/X53 group, called at Bridport TIC, Lyme Regis TIC and Exeter TIC during the day as well as the Stagecoach Travel Shop in Exeter Bus Station!

However all was not lost as when we turned outside the Village Stores in Beer (substantially refurbished since Street view viewed) ...
... I noticed in the window of the shop a rack of the new Devon CC East Devon timetable book starting on 29th May, so with the X53 driver willing to wait for me whilst I nipped inside I obtained a copy which includes the X52 timetable that starts next Sunday.

None were however available in either of the TICs in Bridport nor Lyme Regis  (I know they are in Dorset!) though in Lyme the September 2015 East Devon timetable was still available!
Upon my return to Exeter I visited the TIC there and whilst there were no new East Devon books for 29th May on display when I asked** I was rewarded with another copy and also the new Mid Devon book too (no others had been delivered)!

** Another case of the "if we put them on show, people keep taking them" philosophy of Public Transport Information? That would never do!

Nothing has been updated on-line, however.
Talking to the staff in the Bridport TIC revealed that Dorset CC are apparently not going to produce any more timetable books though the staff in the Lyme Regis TIC were not quite so sure about that! If it is true I do feel that bus use in Dorset will continue to decline, Devon CC fortunately clearly adopt a different approach and do all they can to encourage public transport use.

My prediction for next winter is that the X52 will be withdrawn completely and permanently leaving Stagecoach in sole charge of the Seaton to Lyme Regis road!

The death of the X52 was inevitable once First made their foolhardy cuts to the X53 last October.

To complete this poor picture of First's acknowledgement of the change to the X routes ...
The rather feeble X53 app was still being advertised yesterday.
"A treasure trove of fossils", namely First Bus publicity for its new service. 

This app of sorts provides a sort of commentary for the full route from Exeter to Poole ...
... and will of course, be replaced by an updated version before Sunday.

Also on First's main web site, wee are told that the sun is shining ...
... and that the X53 runs every two hours along the Jurassic coast. Please Mr First Bus - it doesn't today and it won't be from Sunday. Your web site is a lie and a delusion.

What about the First Bus app?
Nope. Not a sausage.

To summarise the First Bus PR hype for the revised "Jurassic Coast" (?) group of non-connecting services: there isn't any.

NO leaflets
NOTHING on line
NOTHING on app

Of course, there is no rush; the change only happens on Sunday 8th May and today is Friday 6th. This blog was written yesterday at about 1400, so maybe through some miracle of management and electronics, stuff will appear on web sites and apps today and, as we speak, a little First Bus van is scudding around Devon and Dorset delivering packs of leaflets to TiCs, libraries and key shops all along the routes between Exeter and Poole.

Will it be coming all the way from Norwich?


A quick nip down the road at 1600 yesterday reveals that First have indeed posted X52 timetables and they look ...
... really tatty.
At the same time the chubby one called in to look at the Tourist Information Hideaway at Seaton Jurassic. And there he was able to get a May 2016 East Devon bus timetable book.
Grasping his copy, fbb spent a few moments counting the remaining copies in the teetering pile.


 the Lost in Lyme blog will follow next week 
Prophetic blogging department:-
STOP PRESS (again!)
incoming e-mail at 0803 today
"Marc" is the big boss of First in these yur parts; the email was from Simon Newport i/c the Weymouth bit. Better late than never?
 Next model and big train blog : Saturday 7th May 


  1. According to the Bristol, Bath & West section of the First website there are some big changes on 8th May including changes to Buses of Somerset services, however the BoS website has no information as of 10:15 today.

  2. First still has a long way to go to cure all of its ills. I recently had cause to email BoS with a straight-forward fares enquiry. It took them five working days to reply by which time I'd been, come back and whilst there had used the services of another operator as they hadn't answered my question. Yes, the reply came from a lady in Norwich, who presumably had to telephone or email BoS to get the answer for me. Utter madness - this is not customer service in the same way that not making available copies of timetables isn't either. None of this is difficult stuff, it should be ingrained and as fundamental as running a bus on time.