Saturday, 31 August 2019

Dark Doings in Danubia (2)

We saw yesterday that the long-standing 30/31 between  Gloucester and Coleford ...
... vanishes completely from the Stagecoach Forest of Dean network from Sunday 1st September. This seems a tad on the drastic side and fbb was anxious to see what will replace it.

The combined services (GREEN) currently provide a 30 minute service from Gloucester via the A48, and Westbury on Severn.
Also via Westbury on Severn is the hourly 23 via Lydney to Coleford (BROWN), giving three buses each hour as far as Elton Corner. Store that in your personal memory bank.

But the 30/31 continue to Cinderford with alternate journeys via Cannop (30) ...
... and Brierley (31).

Both these intermediate communities fall into the "blink and you'll miss 'em" category, although, of the two, the northern route 31 via the A4136 passes more of the less populated communities.

The replacement from Sunday is new route 22 (GREEN).
This is now only every hour to Cinderford (a halving of the old 30/31) but retaining something broadly similar to the 31 onwards to Coleford; but now via Ruardean and Lydbrook where, presumably more passengers may lurk!

The last leg of the 30 (via the fleshpots of Cannop) is now service 25 (ORANGE) ...
... something of a come-down compared with the hourly 30!

The new 23 is still hourly via Lydney to Coleford (PURPLE) but via a slightly different route from its current version.

In a desperate attempt to confuse passengers, Stagecoach is presenting the 22 and the 23 in one single timetable.
That's because 22s become 23s at Coleford and vice versa; the whole thing is one giant lollipop. It would be better shown as a complete loop with one number all the way round. The full but reduced service to Westbury on Severn could be shown on both lollipops.

This is clever timetabling, agreed, but unhelpful presentation and, remember, it represents a REDUCTION of service between Gloucester and Cinderford direct and a slaughtering of the service via Cannop.

Stagecoach make no mention of the withdrawal of the 30/31 in their publicity for these changes; quelle surprise!.

fbb hinted at the other bus change in yesterdays blog when he referred to the gluing together of former Bevans Coaches 755 (Chepstow to Lydney) and 717 (Lydney to Cinderford) with the current 24. This runs from Gloucester to Ruardean (MID BLUE) ...
... and Joys Green.
Currently this service is, to say the least, "occasional" during the day ...
... but leaps into life in the evenings to cover for route 746 which does not come out in the dark. The 24 used to be very different!
The new 24 (RED) runs as now to Drybtrook then direct to Cinderford leaving the Ruardean area to the re-routed 22.
It then ambles on (Bevan style) to Lydney and Chepstow.
The timetable is not hugely frequent but it does open up a whole range of new links.
Note that schoolday journeys are shown in BLUE whilst non-schooldays timings are highlighted in BLUE. Wouldn't it be less off-putting to customers to show just one journey in each case and offering a note at the foot of the table?

In the evenings the through links no longer apply.
Locals will understand why the 24A exists - fbb doesn't have a clue! There is a "commuter" Monday to Friday journey from Ellwood to Gloucester in the other direction.

These represent the big changes in Danubia with other alterations being merely tinkering.

As usual, Stagecoach is to be complemented for promoting a reduction in service as "improvements".

Forest of Dean Service Changes - 1st September 2019
Following feedback received from members of the public during our consultation in March, we will be making significant changes to buses in the Forest of Dean.  Most customers will see a change to either their route or timetable, with  new links created to improve access to education, work or leisure.

But not in frequency!
It's not just the Buses
Yesterday fbb had cause to visit the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital but no for personal reasons. He was acting as chauffeur to Mrs fbb and a chum, the latter needing an out patient's visit. fbb took along his trusty laptop with the intention of settling in the Restaurant and doing a few more bits and pieces for GoTimetable Sheffield to while away the happy hours of waiting.

But where was the Restaurant?

The on-line site plan made no mention of a source of nice nibbles ...
... although enquiring virtually about the restaurant itself revealed that it was on area D level 2.
But where was that?

But there was a grand plan near the entrance which did not mention "Area D" but told fbb that the Restaurant was "P".
But where would you go for a "P", Bob? A look at the site plan ...
... and you get a Restaurant but no "P". Indeed the only place where "Restaurant" and "P" appear together on signage is ...

... at the door of the Restaurant. Obvious but only when you get there!

And then you realise. O and P are "block" numbers, each block being two storeys high. You also might realise the blocks O and P slot in, unlabelled of course, betyween blocks N and Q. The "P" for the restaurant is indeed on "Level 2" opposite but not part of  "area D".

Seemples? NOT!

fbb did find it; there was free wifi and he was able to uncircularise route 26 and 26a and complete the "stop names standardisation" list! Job done!
 Next Weekend Headlines blog : Sunday 1st September 

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