Friday 5 August 2016

A Tale of Two Cities (2)

It is a Far, Far Better Thing That They Do ...
An update from yesterday's blog, where fbb was contrasting the availability of printed information for the passenger. First Bristol had an excellent leaflet for their 8 and 9 service ...
... which will be changing on 4th September. Thanks to a comment from a reader, we know that this leaflet is still available.
But in Sheffield, there are NO LEAFLETS for any exclusive First Bus services; none at all. The only printed publicity available is two or three service leaflets under the banner of the Sheffield Bus non-Partnership produced by Stagecoach.

On-line, search for services 35 and 69 on the Travel South Yorkshire web site and there was no mention that either of these routes is changing ...
... although since compiling yesterday's blog, the 69's successor X1 has now appeared.
There is still nothing on First's site. We do have a "planned change" ...
... which, we are helpfully told, will happen on 13th June (that's 2016, of course!). The "change" referred to was the one covered by an fbb  blog and it wasn't in the City Centre - a minor point.

In the "news" section an "easier" fare structure is revealed ...
... from 27th March. This "hot off the press" news item is undated, but might also refer to 2016.

Faced with this underwhelming volume of helpful literature in Sheffield, it is worth examining in more detail what is proposed for Bristol.
The long-standing "circular" (actually two conjoined lollipops with a wiggly stick) ...
... via Clifton or Cotham is, in essence split into two separate services. The 9 will loop via Cotham, Redland, Blackboy Hill and Whiteladies Road returning via Pembroke Toad to Blackboy Hill and "as outward route reversed" to City.
This loop is drastically reduced from every 12 to every 30 minutes. But in a clever move, the half-hourly 72 will run via the University and Redland Station ...
... also every 30 minutes giving four buses an hour over the busiest section of the 9.

The new "Clifton Circular" 8 will be increased to every 10 minutes.
The frequencies are being changed from the present every 12 minutes both ways round. Both services use Pembroke Road allowing interchange for passengers who have lost their through link between Cotham, Redland and Clifton.

Ironically, when fbb delved back into his last set of xephos data for Bristol the Cotham/Redland side of the loop was every 20 minutes and the Clifton bit every 10.
What goes around, comes around.

But not quite as "around" as it used to.

One bonus point for the new timetable leaflet is that it shows the service 72 journeys on the 9 side.
And as a passing reminder of the longevity of the route, here is an 8 (or was it a 9) snapped by fbb at a friend's wedding held at Clifton Church in 1988.
Rolling stock from here on looks like a potted history of First's bus purchasing policy. Darts, of course ...
... then these Wright bodies standards.
Ending, pro tem, with the ubiquitous Streetlites.
fbb wonders, in passing, what will appear from September 4th.

But back to Sheffield. It would be really good for the bus passengers of the great Steel City if the information for their September changes were even approaching the quality of that in Bristol.

But is most definitely isn't.

fbb is battling with his brain and his local northern knowledge to complete the picture. Suffice it to say that the 69 to X1 transmogrification is reasonably straightforward BUT ...

... when it comes to replacing the service voa Tinsley; that is a very different story.

We'll take a breather over the weekend and return to Tinsley on Monday. By then various emails to correspondents and to First Bus might have answered several currently unanswerable questions.

Or they might not!

 Next Radial blog : Saturday 4th August 


  1. First of all, congrats to FBB for recognising that Bristol have been very much on the front foot in publicising the upcoming changes. There are some improvements but a number of cuts. Most of the latter are actually eminently sensible (like the 379) though some are perhaps more contentious (like the 51 going). However, they are very much in the public domain a full month in advance.

    The South Yorkshire thing seems to be First waiting for the PTE to do what they signed up to do... and haven't. In which case, First really should say "stuff this, if you won't do it, we will". That means notices on buses and bus stations, on the net and social media, and printed timetable leaflets (though roadside publicity should still sit with the PTE).

    Some additional info on the rolling stock for FBB. Whilst various minibuses were the regular transit on the 8/9, there has been a number of different types in the period since then. Ex London Lance SLF's operated the 180 (that worked across part of the 8/9 route), ex London Marshall Darts
    and whilst new fleet appeared in 2009 with B7RLEs, they were too long for the congested back streets of Clifton and so Darts quickly reappeared.

  2. Streetlites are staying on 8/9. They may receive branding too. 72 should be run with deckers from September (has the 2 Electric E400s on at the mo), so should compensate for drop of 9.

  3. I think the suggestion that some of the cuts being made by First Bristol are "sensible" is fairly galling for those who use those services. Admittedly the 379 has been pumped with cash by B&NES in order to try and establish the route, but changes to 17 and 178 will cut many long established links. In particular, changes to 17A in East Bristol cuts a link to Keynsham which has existed in various forms for well over fifty years. This was only "commercialised" by First in the past couple of years in order to erradicate a supported service being operated by Rotala and now the funding which had been used to support it has gone elsewhere. It is a shame that whilst First WoE can get their leaflets and maps right, their lack of planning and obsessive tinkering in the suburbs is causing severe damage to the reputation of the industry as a whole locally.