Tuesday 27 November 2018

Who Would TRY To Run Buses (2)?

Which Stop For The Non-Stop Stopped Service?
We saw yesterday that road resurfacing on the A621 had resulted in the withdrawal of evening and early morning bus services from large chunks of south-west Sheffield.
The feeble alternative (actually no alternative at all) offered by First ...
... took buses up Dobcroft Road (served by route 82), left into Whilowdale Road (never served by buses) ...
... through Ecclesall woods, left into Abbey Lane (never served by buses) ...
... across the A621 at Beauchief (see a 97/98 zooming past, the Beachief stops are to the left) ...
... continuing along Abbey Lane, once blessed with a tram every 8 minutes on reserved track (for years since with no bus service at all) , now the "service road" (left) ....
... to terminate (stop or "safe location", according to First) at the Bocking Lane/Abbey Lane roundabout.
And here, thanks to Sheffielder Roy, is one at the "terminus".
Did buses stop at Beauchief crossroads, the former tram terminus? As there are no designated stops on the diverted route you might expect temporary "dolly poles" somewhere at the junction.
There were none. The notice at the Beauchief shelter ...
... offered no alternative (click on the pic below to enlarge the unhelpful information).
To compound the potential confusion some buses were showing "Abbeydale" on their blinds ...
... a destination which First and the PTE explained would NOT be served.
The yellow "diversion" notices were not stop-specific, so there was no effective guidance as to where you MIGHT find your bus. Also, the notices were printed on thin paper, encased in thin plastic sleeves and, by last Friday morning many had vanished from the stops - either through rain and wind or at the hands of Sheffield youff having a jolly time!

On the Friday evening/Saturday morning the section of road between Beachief and Millhouses was resurfaced and open ...
... but some buses still obediently followed the diversion!

By yesterday, however, the notice on First's web site had been changed.
Buses, we were told, would run all the way up Dobcroft Road ...
... returning to the normal route via Abbeydale and now continuing Totley and Totley Brook.

Sadly, Roy does have a life and was not able to stand at Beauchief every evening and early in the morning to see what actually happened, but the extended diversion, if it was ever followed, would still miss the stops at Beauchief!

Roy confirms that he was on a diverted 97/8 crossing on Abbey Lane on its way to the Bocking Lane roundabout which stopped about 200 yards beyond the traffic lights to allow a passenger to alight  ...
... and, as confidently predicted, there was no temporary stop in either direction.

First was showing the revised diversion (as per map above) as this blog was being composed (1000 yesterday). The PTE note - if you could ever find it - was unchanged.


Whatever the rights and wrongs of the resurfacing schedule, the travelling public were served badly by both First Bus and the PTE.

There were two possible ways of getting buses through to Totley (dotted lines on map below).
Buses could, in theory, continue from their pointless Abbey Lane terminus via Bocking Lane, Greenhill and Twentywell Lane ...
...to rejoin the Abbeydale Road near Dore and Totley Station. Of course, this would add significantly to the scheduled running time and might require a temporary timetable. This might mean dropping an extra bus into the schedule which of course the resurfacing contract would pay for.

Fat chance!

Twentywell Lane was, briefly a Stagecoach bus route (Sheffield to Dronfield Woodhouse).

There is a route through from Dore village via Church Lane ...
... but it is narrow in places and would arouse the ire of posh car-owning and car-using Dore residents. Maybe an hourly portmanteau 97/8 shuttle via Dore operated by a small single decker "paid for" by the costs saved by turning the big buses short.

All too much trouble for a brief interruption to service?

Readers who get fed up with Sheffield posts will forgive the detail - but surely the Council, the PTE and First Bus should be working hard to keep their customers happy. If that costs a few quid it is surely money well-spent. The alternative is unhappy (angry? furious? cold and wet?) passengers who will seek to desert public transport at the earliest opportunity.

The policy of  "there ain't nothing we can do, mate; tough luck" seems to be far too prevalent in today's go-getting, passenger-declining bus industry.

 More  frustration elsewhere : Wednesday 28th November 

1 comment:

  1. Quote "The policy of "there ain't nothing we can do, mate; tough luck" seems to be far too prevalent in today's go-getting, passenger-declining bus industry."

    But has FBB considered the cost incurred against the revenue foregone? In an ideal world of course bus companies would make the effort, but in an ideal world roads wouldn't wear out and need resurfacing.

    Sometimes the best answer is to widely publicise that "sorry, due to these works there will be no service" especially for overnight works at the far end of a route.

    All too often tortuous and expensive diversions are put on, shuttle buses added and so on, but almost no one travels as the alternative is so inconvenient that they cadge a lift, work on different days, etc etc.

    We've had a number of night time closures on various parts of one of our most successful inter-urban routes, and extra resources have, on each occasion, been used to "bridge the gap" around the road works, the cost being shared between pro-active operator and council.

    But the operator can see that evening patronage isn't showing anything like the growth that the daytime journeys are. The three year average for evenings is growing, but only just and certainly not in the double figure sizes that the daytime service is managing. The operator lays much of the blame at the road closures, but since the route feeds out of rail services at both ends recognises that poor rail performance and the decline in rail commuting is also affecting his numbers. But despite all the effort and cost road work revisions seem to have a disproportionally high cost, which bring little in the way of return.

    Sorry FBB, but reality means a line must be drawn, even if doing so does provide you with material to fire at the industry.