Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Pause for Breath ... (2)

The Truth is Out
An email reveals all.
It's the commuting back and forth that is exhausting!
It was blog reader Mike who spotted the part-time activity!

Vantage Celebration!
First's PR machine has been hard at work again.

First Manchester has welcomed the 150,000th customer journey on board Greater Manchester's Busway service Vantage. 

Atherton resident Yvonne Sixsmith boarded the V2 service at Bag Lane this week (Monday 9 May) heading towards Manchester and became the 150,000th customer to board Vantage since services were first launched on 3 April. Presenting Yvonne with a Vantage goody bag and a month's free travel was bus driver Phil Ainsworth from Tyldesley who is one of the seventy-five specially trained Vantage drivers.

Customer Yvonne Sixsmith said, "I love the new Vantage service, it's fast and reliable and I can even charge up my phone." 

How very clever of First Manchester to turn up at Yvonne's stop at just the right time with a completely empty bus. It would have been awful if someone else had boarded at Leigh a few micro seconds earlier, thus making Yvonne the 150,001st passenger!

Fight Delays Bus In Stalybridge
We are, sadly, used to occasional mayhem on our buses, particularly after the pubs wind down on a weekend evening. But this fight was between two males over a girl. Not that unusual you might believe.
But the combatants were geese. The lady (right) looked on disdainfully while the lads battled for her wing in marriage.

For more on the big fight go to the paper's web site ...
...and use the little table tennis bat ...

... to search for "Stalybridge Geese".

Now ... And Then - to Tesco, When?
Alan, our Northampton correspondent gets about a bit. He kindly sent this nice piccy of one of Uncle Brians's never vehicles in Winchester.
It is on route "The Spring", seen here passing the much loved/loathed Winchester bus station, still awaiting development. Accompanying the modern motor was a joyous bit of nostalgia.
This, one of King Alfred's single deckers would have been seen trundling around the City many moons ago.

Whilst in Winchester, Alan was befuddled by the bus stop near the hotel.
At first glance it appeared really odd. On the right were buses to what appeared to be the outer extremity of the service, namely Tesco at Winnall.
Whilst on the left were many many more buses apparently going in the opposite direction, namely into the city.
The solution would have been more obvious had Stagecoach added a map to the frame or even a proper timetable. Although, hang on a minutes, Hampshire County Council's timetable is also a bit confusing.
Shepherds Road (Alan's location) appears twice. Uh? The timings are daft as well. Four minutes from the bus station to Shepherds Road or seven minutes for the same journey. Weird.

A map does, at least, make the route clear.
Shepherds Road is on a loop and at certain times, buses peel off from the loop to nip to Tesco, returning to rejoin the loop at the same place.

Neither Hampshire's timetable nor the bus stop display is clear on what happens.

Public transport simply isn't easy for the uninitiated.

Anyway, fbb must rush off to catch his flight to Delhi ...

 Next bus blog : Thursday 12th May 


  1. No. Still don't understand it. The timetable suggests buses call at Imber Road 2 minutes before Shepherds Road but the arrows on the map suggest the opposite!

  2. I suspect they serve Shepherds, then Imber, then Shepherds again en route to Tesco - but the first Shepherds is not used as a timing point hence the blank...

  3. I don't think a map, or a timetable would really have helped here.

    1. When buses do not serve Tesco, they travel in a simple, one way loop, from Shepherds Road via Imber Road into the city.

    2. When Tesco is open, buses to Tesco serve Shepherds Road, then Imber Road, then Shepherds Road again, then Tesco, as Mitch suggests.

    So far, so good. The Imber Road loop is ALWAYS served in the same direction, the direction the arrows show.

    3. On the way back, the routing is quite simple. From Tesco, direct via Imber Road, NOT serving Shepherds Road, into the city.

    The difficulty comes in the timings. The timings for the Tesco direction are the first pass of Shepherds Road (so via Imber Road), the timings towards the City are the second pass (so on the way to Tesco, as you have to travel to Tesco to get to the City from that stop) - I presume so that they don't really confuse things by having the same timings from that stop for both directions - the ONLY stop on the route that this would actually apply to.

    I presume Imber Road is one of those roads that can only be served in one direction because it it is either physically or car-parkingly unsuitable for two-way buses, which is a good thing for residents of Shepherds Road, because if it was they probably wouldn't have a service.

    Thanks to Traveline's "all stops" timetables for working this out!

  4. I think that Anon 1230 is right. In which case, the map could make it (slightly) clearer, if the junction at the end of Firmstone Road was shown as a splay to the north in outline (off peak) style, while the splay to the south remained in solid red.

    Makes sense ?

  5. From what I remember from visiting my grandparents in Winnall, many many moons ago, the bus route has always done a loop like that. Though I'm certain there after Hants and Dorset took over King Alfred Buses in the 70's, they might have done one each way.

    But back to this one. The timetable from Stagecoach doesn't show the first Sheperds Road stop, only the second after Imber Road, before heading our to Tesco (the bus only goes here between 9:30am and 3pm).

    I think there is method in their madness. Alot of older people live in Winnall, and the first loop is designed to pick them up from within Winnall, and drop them off at Tesco, and the second loop back, is to drop them off within Winnall.

    It's very much a local service for local people, and there's nothing for you there!!

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  7. Yes, I get it now. Thanks everyone!

  8. "How very clever of First Manchester to turn up at Yvonne's stop at just the right time with a completely empty bus."

    It's at Bag Lane in Atherton - the first stop of the V2. You wouldn't expect the bus to be anything other than empty!

  9. Sorry FBB but I take it from the last few posts, you and G XXXX don't like anything from Best Inpressions??