Friday, 7 February 2020

Aim To Arrive At Terminal 5 (Part 4)

Hopes Come Alive - A Leaflet for Iver?
So it was, on Monday last 3rd February, that newly introduced route 459 from Heathrow Terminal 5 to Iver and Langley changed from being a few off-peak journeys on Mondays to Fridays to being an hourly service seven days a week with the first round trip from the airport at 0400 ...
... and the last at 2338. The journeys which had been running since last November remain as before with the double run to Langley before looping anti-clockwise via Richings Park and Iver. On Saturdays there is an equally generous service ...
... with more journeys via Langley twice. Amazingly a similar profusion of travel opportunities is offered on a Sunday ...
... with even more Langley double-direct trips.

In view of the limited passenger numbers spotted by two correspondents so far, fbb does wonder where the customers are coming from. Even more worrying is why Heathrtow is shelling out substantial sums on running empty buses. Is there really enough demand? Or has someone just drawn arbitrary lines on a map to fill in some gaps?

Thames Valley / Courtney Coaches has even branded a bus!
YJ66 AEZ was previous in an all red livery ...
... tagged for "Buses around Slough".
Time, as fbb often avers in these blogs, will tell - but the chances of long-tern survival, if and when Heathrow decides to check on value for money, seem limited.

But it was correspondent James who directed fbb to what could be a very useful printed leaflet, very useful indeed.
It has a detailed map of Heathrow Central ...
... and terminal 5.
These are part of a very detailed map of Heathrow and its immediate surroundings; and from it you should be able to find a location for any bus creeping across the airport boundary.

There is also a much wider geographical map which makes interesting reading.
It seems that the main purpose of what could be an excellent source of information for the average passenger is really intended for employees. There is a huge chart explaining, in meticulous detail, about availability of Staff discounts and the "Free Bus Zone" - which is far more complicated that appears at first.

Not all buses within the boundary fence of the airport are free of charge, oh no siree - despite what general publicity might suggest.
The above is just part of one of three such tables!

If this leaflet were to be of more use to the normal punter, you would need at least a frequency chart, plus more detail about stop locations, particularly those in the Terminal 5 wind tunnel.

But, if at first fbb was revived by this publication, he was soon deflated (emotionally, not physically!). The leaflet was published in July last year.
Since then we have had the X140, the X442 and changes by the "villages" routes from Windsor and Slough and, of course the 459.

Without doing a detailed evaluation, fbb thinks that the newest Heathrow route in the leaflet is First's RA2 from Guildford. If you are willing to check more carefully than fbb, you can find the leaflet on the Heathrow web site.

Enjoy the search!

It is, after all, ALL ON LINE!

There is, however, a snippet of good news for the 459. Counrtney Coaches (a k a Thames Valley) has produced a printed leaflet. How does fbb know?

Yesterday afternoon he emailed the company to ask (a) whether there was a leaflet and (b) from where ot could be obtained. 

Within 30 minutes fbb received as follows:-

Dear fbb

We have tried twice now to send over an electronic copy of our leaflet but both times it has bounced back as undeliverable. Despite reducing the size of the pdf attachment

I would be grateful if you could provide your address and I will place a leaflet in the post to you

Yours sincerely

Karen Runacres
Office Administrator

fbb declined the offer, but thanked young Karen for her EXCELLENT Customer Service. Non only a leaflet but a willingness to post a copy.

This compares very well with First Bus, for example, that only offers an email reply "withing 14 days". In maybe a dozen or so email fares enquiries to various First Bus companies, fbb has NEVER received a reply within any timescale!

Now all that Courtney / Thames Valley needs to do is to find some way of getting their information into Heathrow enquiry office(s) and displayed at Terminal 5. That may yet be beyond the skills of the excellent Karen!

 Next Catch-Up blog : Saturday 8th February 


  1. As part of the LHR Ltd Green Travel Plan (an essential segment of receiving funding for Runway3), the Airport is charged with reducing car travel, and the initial schemes are more to do with encouraging staff travel by bus.

    I daresay if your correspondents travel at staff shift change times, they'll see more passengers travelling, hence the "very" early starts of the service (day shifts start from 0400 onwards, and the night shift starts around 2200).
    Why did you decline the posted copy of the leaflet? That seems a tad churlish when they've made the effort to offer such a service!

  2. Is this the leaflet to which you refer?

    1. Unless I am very much mistaken this has appeared since somebody sent an email to Heathrow last Tuesday.

  3. Funnily enough I was at Heathrow last Saturday and picked up a copy of the Local Bus & Coach Guide. Having checked it is Edition 3 dated 3rd November 2019 with an RA2 and X26 on the front cover. The one linked above appears to be still Edition 2 - so much for being all online.

    That said, I also picked up a Tube Map dated May 2019 not the latest one available!

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