Monday 1 August 2016

Don't Put All Your Xs in One Basket [2]

X6 Xcised at Bradford?
Amongst all the hype for the new buses on the X6 ...
... was an almost throwaway remark that the service would now run every 10 minutes to Bradford. The word "only" was omitted. It was necessary to search elsewhere for some indication of what ahd happened to the bit between Bradford and Huddersfield; now apparently removed.
If we happen to look at the list of service changes, all is revealed.
Service X6 - will now run Leeds to Bradford only It will be increased to run every 10 minutes with new double deck buses with free Wi-Fi and USB charging points for your convenience on most journeys. Look out for the distinctive new blue and gold livery. Customers between Bradford and Huddersfield can use improved service X63. Through fares will be available at £2.80 single, £4.70 day or £20 week for customers travelling across Bradford.

fbb thinks (?) that the X6 was introduced as a result of the construction of the Stanningley bypass, started in late 1968.
... and now a zippo dual carriageway ...
... bypassing Staningley; there's a clue in the name. Whilst the (ab)normal 72 sticks to the traditional route ("ab" because it is the home of the bendibuses), the X6 speeds along with very few stops (click to enlarge the map below).
72 dark blue : X6 lighter blue

But where does it stop. First Bus doesn't tell; perhpas people might get on and off and that would never do.
Of course the ever helpful Traveline thinks it still goes to Huddersfield which was part of fbb's confusion.
But the actual timetable is correct and, at first, is an unhelpful as First's. But do a bit of clicking and you can get a full list.
 Presumably times at these intermediate points are estimated.

One of the growing diseases of modern bus publicity is the coarseness of timetable information. Is it really fair on the passenger to only abide by two times 40 minutes apart? Is this really the way to encourage passengers from Armley or Thornbuty?

The old X6 was equally spares in its "time points" but did at least add Brighouse between Bradford and Huddersfield. Back in those lazy hazy xephos days there was no X63.
The 363 was all that was available.
Later, daytime Monday to Saturday journey became "Limited Stop" leaving the 363 to cover early morning, evemings and Sundays when other services along the road did not run. 

Readers will not be surprised to note that the First Huddersfield route map still shows the X6. Clearly the company is incapable of updating maps, a task which any passing seven year old could do with his eyes closed and at least two hands tied behind his back. Ah, but our contractors take time ...
X6 dark blue : 363, X63 brown

... Sack the contractors and bring it "in house".

Like the X6, the X63 has been increased to every 10 minutes.

Which begs the question. Why not leave it as a ten minute frequency X6 all the way from Leeds to Huddersfield via Bradford as it ever was? Why make it difficult for cross-Bradford passengers? Change for change's sake? Not willing to buy enough new buses?

Strange are the way of bus service planners as we shall see in tomorrow'as blog.

But here, as a whistle wetter, is a headline from a local paper.
Where might that be?

At least they are admitting it. But to whom? and why?

fbb will reveal all!

P.S. Remember that Stagecoach journey planner FAILURE (this blog : Friday 29th)?
Stagecoach's web site was still advising unsuspecting passengers to catch Stagecoach's own service 88 between Brackley and Bicester, a bus withdrawn over a week ago. Enjoy your wait folks!
Brackley Market Place bus stop
Wait here NOT for Bicester

 Next "badly explained" blog : Tuesday 2nd August 


  1. Your attitude to the X6 change seems a little churlish. You posed the question yesterday as to why anyone would catch a bus from Leeds to Bradford taking up to 45 mins when a train takes as little as 21 mins. Even less likely then to use a bus which hitherto took 77 mins from Leeds to Huddersfield when trains take as little as 17 mins - unless of course like fbb you have an OAP free bus pass! The separate X6 and X36 operations are more likely to operate more reliably than the through service - to the benefit of the majority of passengers, accepting that a minority of cross Bradford passengers may be inconvenienced. The fact that running times have been increased on both of the new services suggests reliability problems with the previous through journeys. I am sure that most "real" passengers will welcome the doubling of frequencies as well as the other add ons about which you sneer!

  2. From memory (which may be wrong) the X6 is much more recent in origin than 'the opening of the Stanningley by-pass'. In the early 70s the only service using the by-pass was a peak hour X72. I have a feeling that in PTE days this was withdrawn entirely, as the rail service was built up uunder PTE auspices. I think an all-day service via the by-pass is a post-dereg development. Just to emphasise the point made above, the X6 effectively served the two long sides of a triangle; no-one (except an enthusiast?) would use it as a through service.No doubt a local reader can correct/amplify this.

    1. It was actually a 272 that first ran limited stop from Bradford to Leeds from late 1971 I believe. I lived in Bradford and could walk to Laisterdyke to catch the morning journey to Leeds Town Hall when I was starting my CILT studies.
      Ken Traveline Dorset

    2. I don't know exactly when the X6 started, but from living in West Yorkshire in the 1980s I remember its existence, and I still possess a West Yorkshire MetroBus timetable from May 1986 (before deregulation!) which records the X6 as running every 30 minutes from Leeds via Bradford to Huddersfield: the subsequent issue (October 1986) immediately after deregulation shows little substantive change other than slightly revised timings.

  3. The X6 always seemed popular from Huddersfield to Leeds as it was faster than the Arriva offerings and did not suffer from the regular overcrowding as the train did / does. As regards to the maps, First seems a bit hit and miss in PTE areas, the Leeds map was out of date when I last looked the other week whilst Bradford had been coming soon' for a while. Meanwhile Manchester is not blessed with a network map just a few specialist route maps.

  4. It all depends on how many twirlies use the service.... Even if people DO like to cross Bradford, it is in first's interests to split the service if it's popular with the free pass brigade, as they'll then have to catch two buses and hence first collect two re-imbursements!!!

    Stagecoach even admitted this was a major factor in recasting the Brighton to Portsmouth 700 into 3 overlapping sections, which doesn't inconvenience too many fare payers, but means they get 3 twirly reimbursements from an end-to-end OAP instead of one!

    1. Ditto Exeter/Poole... Was 1 through bus with 3 drivers, later became 3 buses with 3 drivers, so 3 OAP reimbursements where it would only have been 1 before, for the SAME trip!

  5. Of course, if the OAP reimbursement had been properly thought through and funded correctly, we wouldn't have all these shenanigans now!!!!
    In this case . . . it IS broke, so someone PLEASE fix it!!

  6. Best not mention the saga of the (forthcoming) changes to the Bristol Xs, or is that to come?

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