Sunday, 5 January 2020
More Of A Trim But More Of A Mess (2)
In yesterday's blog, fbb took his readers from Dronfield's civic/shopping/leisure centre down the steep and wiggly hill to the station on the old A61, the "down the middle" route from Chesterfield to Sheffield, no longer served by a simple direct bus.
There is a slightly better route between station and community facilities but it, too, is spurned by bus services.
We pick up the story at the bottom of yesterday's Soaper Lane.
Straight across is Snape Hill Road which is the bus route up the hill opposite to the Coal Aston area. But we turn tight, towards the station; but before we get there, we turn right up Lea Road.
(pause for fbb to apologise for mis-reading the map for yesterday's piece. Access to the station can be achieved by the footway from Lea Road, not Soaper Lane).
The corner over the railway bridge is tight and there is a sharp right by the Oaks Community Church ...
... takes you back up the hill to the Civic Centre. The high Street is narrow but there are plenty of bus routes serving equally narrow roads. It is not clear to fbb why small buses have not used this route. perhaps someone knows why.
There is a bus service that crosses from east to west, but not the way fbb has taken his readers.
The 14 and 15 run from the Civic Centre via Wreakes Lane (pronounced Rakes Lane), then along Sheffield Road, missing the station, before turning up to Coal Aston. The 14 and 15 have arrived at Dronfield as 16 and 16A.
Derbyshire's timetable explains "the join" by cross referencing notes, whereas the operator, T M Travel, shows how the through journeys work.
If ever you are in Chesterfield with just over an hour to spend, the round trio from New Beetwell Street or Packers Row via Holmesfied, Dronfield and Apperknowle and back to Elder Way is a picturesque and enjoyable ride.
Historically the two services were separate (Chesterfield to Holmesfield and Chesterfield to Apperknowle and Dronfield) but common sense has joined them together. T M Travel's map is a little economical with the truth on both sides of the town (click on the map for a larger view) ...
... but it's better than nothing and detail is available from Derbyshire and, of course, the timetable.
So, back to the 43 and 44 and present ...
... and from Monday 27th January. Through journeys on the 43 are reduced to half hourly, but at inconsistent times past the hour, and an extra journey running from the Civic Centre to Sheffield ...
... which, with the 44, provides a fifteen minute frequency between Sheffield and Meadowhead but an unbalance headway everywhere else.
Here is Stagecoach's combined version taken from their raw CSV files, hence crude layout.
So we have a nice tidy 15 minute frequency from "Woodseats Library" (actually applicable from Meadowhead roundabout) but nothing neat and tidy anywhere else.
Passengers like a nice tidy and menmorable frequency and the 43 and 44 don't achieve that anywhere except in Sheffield itself where there are oddles of other buses. fbb guesses that the short workings from Dronfield will be lightly used and withdrawn at the next re-jig.
On Saturdays there are no short workings so the ends of the route have a 20 minutes frequency but still with a 20/40 spit in the middle on the 43, the middle being the main source of passengers one would think.
fbb would suggest running the 43 every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday, the 44 every hour and IF demand requires it, something different every hour to enhance the service to Gosforth Valley.
There is also another problem with the 43.
Coming from Sheffield, for example, it climbs Wreakes Labe and stops near Sainsburys ...
... then a few yards furthger on it turns sharpe right ...
... doubles back on itself and never actually reaches the Civic Centre.
Deatil above, overview below.
At the other end of the "estate loop" it beetles off down Gosforth Lane and Hollins Spring Avenue to Unstone, again missing the Civic Centre at the other end of the loop.
Apologies for an old overview map, there is now no 43A.
fbb is sure that Stagecoach have cosidered all these options and come to the commercial conclusion that this is the "best way of matching rescources to demand" (a k a making a profit!!!) and any further decline in passenger numbers can be solved by yet more trimming.
Again, the question has to be posed. If we are really keen to save the environment, the planet, ourselves (mostly the latter!), is the commercial model of bus travel really thee best way to achieve it?
Of course it isn't.
BIG RE-THINK NEEDED!
Next Monorail blog : Monday 6th January