Wednesday 12 July 2017
Not Fair? Where? Ayr? (Part 4)
More Like A Bus-Mageddon?
The Daily Record coined the term when referring to "proposed" changes in South Ayrshire upon which Stagecoach is "consulting". Yesterday's blog looked at Ayr town routes an concluded that most of the "scything" was relatively low-key with only one group of two services suffering a major cut back.
But for the interurban services it is very different matter. The map below summarises the current network. (click on the map for an enlargement)
Solid lines represent a bus every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday, dashed lines show and hourly service. Grey lines indicate services that have no change of frequency from the 13th August, the start of the Autumn school term in bonny Scotland.
58 and 50, diverted in Ayr and away from Culzean were covered in Part 2 (read again) but retain their combined half hourly frequency as far as Girvan.
52 has been a bone of contention since changes in June and featured, in passing, in Part 1 (read again) but remains half hourly to Dalmellington.
Service 4, the traditional all-stops route into Glasgow ...
... and the prestigious motorway X77 ...
... also to the capital city, are both unchanged each offering a bus or coach every 30 minutes.
So to the areas where cuts are "proposed" but will, of course happen despite the "consultation"!
Currently this runs every half hour between Ayr and Irvine.
Alternate journeys divert to different locations and, in the traditional past, the service would have warranted two numbers, but not so in today's unhelpful thinking.
They are all 14s/
Under the plan, these will continue to run every 30 between Ayr and Barassie ...
... but an as yet unnumbered hourly route with provide a totally separate link between Troon and Irvine.
Next, we need to examine the complicated set of routes to the east of the town.
This runs every 30 between Ayr and Cumnock via Drongan. The link between Cumnock and Muirkirk is hourly with a connecting through bus (!!) for most of the day, but a connecting non-through bus in the evenings.
Peak hour X42s omit Drongan and the evening Muirkirk non-through connecting buses are numbered 42.
Under the cut-back plan the half hourly frequency will only run to Drongan, anything beyond that is scythed to once an hour. Map to follow below.
Currently every 30 all the way, a similar chop is applied here.
This time, Tarbolton is the limit of the "every 30 minutes".
Currently every 30, again ...
... gets chopped to hourly.
The results for this group is shown below with hourly route shown as dashed lines.
The Cumnock to Muirkirk link remains unchanged.
The net effect of these "timetable adjustments" is to halve the number of uses to large swathes of the Ayrshire hinterland. Of course there is a bus policy gamble here.
By chopping services to "more closely match demand", i.e. to increase profits, is there a danger that even more passengers will desert the humble bus, buy a car, buy a bike or simply shop locally and not travel so often. In other words the net result of the cull may well make the hourly service unviable and we all know what happens then.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the Stagecoach crown!
But lest we may be forced to weep copiously at the sadness of things for the residents of Cumnock (as opposed to the New variety), it is worth remembering that they also have to buses and hour to Kilmarnock (X50/X76) ..
... one of which continues to Glasgow (X76).
Well, they have at the moment!
A Pleasurable Aside
One of the privileges of occupying fbb mansions in Seaton is the enjoyment of Mrs fbb's horticultural skills. Here, for example, is the scene on the back fence near the tradesman's entrance.
Sadly, the matching pots on the other side of the gate are rather spoiled as someone has left a currently unkempt model railway in the corner!
If only Mrs fbb (or even her chubby hubby) could remember what the pale blue potted flowers are called.
Next variety blog : Thursday 13th July