Monday, 3 December 2018

Mixed Bag Blog (2)

What A Jolly Good Idea (1)
The weekend was based in the Premier Inn at Lake, Isle of Wight - very pleasant!
But what did fbb espy in a rack near the deception desk?
Did fbb's weary eyes deceive him? No they did not. Here were copies of the current Southern Vectis timetable book.
Now this is, indeed, something of a novelty - a bus company placing its key publicity in places where visitors might pick it up and use the buses.

Of course it is a lot easier if you publish a timetable book but where the area is too big to do that, a good map, fares information and a frequency guide is better than nothing.

What A Jolly Bad Idea (1)
What does this display tell you, the anxious passenger, planning to travel on Sunday 2nd December?
It tells fbb that you are in for a long bus ride from Ashford International to London Victoria because the latter is closed.

This Sunday, there will be no Southeastern trains from London Victoria.

Services will run from Blackfriars, Charing Cross or Cannon Street instead of Victoria.

Mainline services from Victoria to Ramsgate, Dover & Canterbury West will run from Cannon Street.

Metro services from Victoria to Dartford will run from Charing Cross, and Metro services from Victoria to Orpington will run from Blackfriars.

You will be able to use your ticket at no extra cost on Underground services between Brixton, Victoria, Charing Cross, Cannon Street  Waterloo, Southwark, Elephant & Castle & Blackfriars.

Yep. Victoria was, indeed, closed but TRAINS were running to other London termini. Buses, however, WERE be running; but in the opposite direction, from Ashford to Canterbury West and Margate ...
... a much shorter bus ride.

Buses replace trains between Ashford International and Margate via Canterbury West on Sunday 2 December.
So committed are South Eastern that there were no timetables on line or in printed form. Yes, the Journey Planner would show you one particular journey at a time - but of only limited use if you want to consider other options.

Correspondent Dave offers his view as a local train user:-

What A Jolly Bad Idea (2)
Noel Edmonds has stirred things up a bit in Bristol ...
What is, or is not allowed in bus lanes varies nationally; a situation which is not at all helpful. It would appear that buses actually running on service (plus cycles and genuine taxis) are all that is allowed in Bristol. But in London ...
Bearing in mind the appalling congestion that is challenging First Bus in the city, it is hard to see how Noel at the wheel of a Routemaster is going to get anywhere very fast.

A bit of PR nonsense?

What A Jolly Good Idea (2)
James Freeman, boos of First Bristol, has announced what the company intends to do to try and compensate for the horrendous traffic in the city. As Christmas approaches it is reasonable to assume that more cars will clog the roads and more passengers will want to use the bus to do their Christmas shopping.

It is a double whammy!

But there is a way ...
... as announced in the Firsdt Bus staff newsletter. You can click on the graphic to enlarge it; but, if that proves impracticable, here is a summary.

Twenty extra buses (five from Leeds, 15 from Dawsonrentals)
Six extra supervisors EACH on 1/2 and 75/6 (12 in all)
  divided between on-street and in the control centre

This is very expensive but very necessary to allow is to counteract the appalling effects of congestion.

So much better a response than the usual "there aint nuffin we can do mate."

What A Jolly Good Idea - Perhaps?
300 signs are going up all over London to warn folk of an impending restriction.
The ULEZ zone will start off by having similar area to the congestion charge.
The scheme means that if your vehicle does NOT comply with the ULEZ emissions standards you will have to pay a fee. This is IN ADDITION to the congestion charge but will replace the present T-Charge (for emissions).

In 2021, the fee will apply to every vehicle within the North and South Circular roads.

As fbb drives a dreaded death-delivering diesel car, he had better keep very quiet indeed.
It doesn't take much knowledge of Church History to guess that this bod is a representation of Saint Nicholas.
Very little is known about the historical Saint Nicholas. The earliest accounts of his life were written centuries after his death and contain many legendary elaborations. He is said to have been born in Patara, Lycia in Asia Minor to wealthy Christian parents. In one of the earliest attested and most famous incidents from his life, he is said to have rescued three girls from being forced into prostitution by dropping a sack of gold coins through the window of their house each night for three nights so their father could pay a dowry for each of them.

So not much about dropping down chimneys, swigging sherry, riding a sleigh and giving presents to all children!

What is even worse, his "Saints Day" is December 6th - so absolutely NOTHING to do with CHRISTmas.

Saint Nicholas was jazzed up as Sinterklaas in the Netherlands ...
... and made his way (virtually) to the USA with Dutch immigrants and sort-of emerged as Santa Claus. Sinterklaas rides on a horse, not a sleigh and has one or two assistants (NOT gnomes), one ominously called Black Pete.

So no Ho Ho Ho!

Of course, there is one specific gift at the centre of CHRISTmas.

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah was quite clear about God's future gift to mankind.

A child is born to us!
A son is given to us!
And he will be our ruler.
He will be called,
Mighty God,
Prince of Peace"

Surely a more lasting gift than most!!
 a further mixed bag clear out : Tuesday 3rd December 


  1. The Southern Vectis booklets are also regularly (usually) stocked in the information racks by the ticket office at Hythe Pier (pier tramway and ferry to Southampton). Just a shame they never stock the local bus timetables except for the New Forest Tour.

    All credit to First re Bristol.

  2. It's not just London where FBB won't be welcome in his diesel, many other cities are doing something similar.

    In Bath it is known as a 'Clean Air Zone' (CAZ), but the effect is the same - have a "clean" engine or pay to come in, £9/day for a car, or £100 for a bus/HGV. The zone has been carefully designed to prevent rat-running around it, but it will affect those passing through as well as those actually going to Bath.

    So that's another cost for James Freeman to cover, even with the promise (note: promise, not guarantee) of some grant funding from the council for updating and/or converting his fleet.

    I'm sure that there is huge scope for marketing based on "bus fare vs CAZ charge" and revenue may well increase in time, but they'll be no "hire in from Dawson Rentals" if things overload, not unless Dawson have Euro6 or First WoE are willing to pay the £100 daily fee. One to watch, maybe.

  3. Here's a rail replacement story for Clive's acquaintances who think everything is so much better organised in Germany.

    Yesterday, some of the local trains on the main line through this part of south west Germany were replaced by buses, including one that I needed to use. The information was available on the DB website, so I was aware, but for anyone who simply turned up at the station, there was a scrolling notice on the one line electronic display, advising passengers to check the poster.

    The "poster" consisted of a single sheet of A4 paper, with the details of several journeys, that were replaced by buses, or just simply cancelled. The engineering work has been taking place over several weekends, so the "poster" has to cover some variations. The poster just covered one one direction, displayed on the corresponding platform, but all of the buses departed from one side - southbound - so if you were unsure of the time for a northbound bus, you had to go to the other platform via the subway. There was no information on the bus stop.

    Now for the hardware. The trains consist of 4 double deck carriages, worked push-pull. The standard carriages have 160 seats; those with a first class section or the driving trailers have a few less. Thus, it is safe to say the train has at least 500 seats, and they are generally well used, even on a Sunday. Yesterday, the Christmas Market in Freiburg was in action, potentially increasing the demand. So what combination of buses did the DB offer to replace the train?

    Just one Citaro artic. I think the Freiburg depot of the DB Bahn Bus company only has one, number 273. I confess that I don't know the exact numbers, but I believe such vehicles have around 60 seats and a claimed standing capacity of 80. Needless to say it was full and late by the time it reached the station where I boarded, and by the time it departed it was "wedged". I suppose with so many sweaty bodies in a confined space, the DB bus company can save heating energy, so they were doing their bit for the environment. I guess there were perhaps 40 people standing - the figure of 80 is no doubt a theoretical maximum which represents the load that the axles can tolerate, but is really completely divorced from practical reality.

    I guess that I eventually reached my destination station about 40 minutes later than the train would have done. If the rail replacement is running next week, I'll be using the car. Well done, DB!

  4. I do wish you wouldn't refer to them as my acquaintances!

    I appreciated the problems involved in the repair but others often do not and make stupid comments like that which get reported as I indicated, in local media.

    1. Well Clive, "acquaintances" are specifically not friends, so I had thought I was safe!