Thursday, 4 June 2020

Frequency Uplift In The Far East

News From Norfolk
fbb is often criticised ...
... indeed particularly criticised for being horrid to the hard working lads and lasses at South Yorkshire PTE, a k a Travel South Yorkshire. Either that or it is the near bankrupt local authorities who fall foul of your blogger who then falls even fouler of the blogging venom of a multitude of anonymice.

There have been several good responses to fbb's appeal for information concerning publicity for the return to something like normal services, albeit socially distance equipped.

This piece came from correspondent Graham, in Norfolk.

So you've been asking about the uplift of bus services following Mr Schapps £283 million injection of cash to get things moving. I live in rural northwest Norfolk so without going into or even knowing much detail here is an appraisal of what seems to be happening here.

First of all Norfolk Council website, probably one of the poorest in the land; have a look it takes seconds!!
No maps, no time tables, no updates, no info except links to the various operators with an unhelpful notice ...
... (i.e. we have no interest although we financially support a few) There is a link to Traveline which the County seems to think knows everything; but I think we know differently!! 
Traveline service 505 - every two hours, see below!

Having retired here several years ago, being a keen bus user, enthusiast, & until recently a parish councillor, I think I can honestly say Norfolk CC seem to have little or no interest in public transport.

So we start by saying there seems no backing for or interest shown in promoting public transport so that must be borne in mind when reading my blurb.

First Eastern Counties.
Norwich, Gt Yarmouth & Lowestoft areas.

Services returning to pretty good frequencies this coming week.

Go Ahead Konect.
Norwich & Mid Norfolk.
Limited uplift in the coming week but mainly for urban services.

Stagecoach East 
Only one service in Norfolk.
Stagecoach web site - search for Spalding or Kings Lynn

505 Kings Lynn to Spalding was cut from half hourly to 2 hourly (as on Traveline - see above : fbb). Now up to hourly; so 50% of normal service.

Kings Lynn community transport.
Kings Lynn town services & infrequent rural services in NW Norfolk.
Very limited uplift from 1st June. New timetables state they run from 1st June to 14th June, so perhaps more improvements then??

Coastal Red t/a Lynxbus.
Kings Lynn & main rural provider in NW Norfolk.
No uplift information on website; but presumed changes due from 14th June.

Sanders Coaches
Main rural provider in N & NE Norfolk.

No uplift information on website.

All websites checked 03/06/2020.(by fbb)

Comparing around, in my view Norfolk had some of the poorest lockdown service around & to an extent this looks set to continue in some areas. Taking a very quick tour of the country it does seem that the big groups are much more able & ready to restore services than their smaller independent relatives are.

In a rural areas with a multiplicity of different operators, the customer really does need a one-stop-shop for bus information. In today's uncertain times this is even more important.

It seems clear that in Norfolk there is no such information source. 

This is not acceptable, neither is a cop-out list of operators and links to non-updated Traveline.

If bus companies are unable to update their information quickly, then the changes should be postponed. If Traveline cannot be kept up to date then it should be closed down.

No service change should be implemented until all information souces are ready to be updated - and that should include printed notices at least giving basic information. Old stuff needs removing from on-line and bus stops. A blank bus stop frame is better than one showing wrong times.

There is no excuse. Confidence in the bus industry is disappearing by the very large bucketful. Will the passengers ever come back? It may be too late to rebuild confidence but the companies should try.

It simply is not good enough to say "it's all on line" even if it is. On-line only works well if you know what you want before you look for it.

Norfolk is a fine example of how NOT to attract people back to bus services!

Buxton Bafflement Yet Again!
A chum emailed fbb to mention, helpfully, that  Stagecoach route 65 had been re-instated from 1st June but GoTimetable was still showing it as "suspended".

fbb had made a big mistake!

Stagecoach's web site listed all services and their timetables from 1st June and, for Sheffield, there was no mention of 65.
So the 65 did not get updated!

This is where fbb had been very, very silly! What he did not realise was that the 65 was listed with Chesterfield data. Foolishly, the old man did not understand that a bus service that did not run via Chesterfield, indeed went nowhere near Chesterfield, would be found in a list of Chesterfield data.

Stupid fbb!

The 65 has now been added to the Sheffield list.

Of course, you frustrated blogger could have looked at the Travel South Yorkshire site.
Sadly the "full normal timetable" only showed buses between Sheffield and Tideswell ...
... with no service further west to Buxton.

You see, yet again, it simply is NOT all on-line.

Beyond belief!

And Shed Part The Third.
A coat of paint makes a slightly shiny plastic toy into a better, more realistic model of a shed.
Midnight, one more night without sleeping
Watching till the morning comes creeping
Green door, what's that secret you're keeping?
Green door, what's that secret you're keeping?
Green door!

Maybe it will be an OO scale model of and OO gauge model railway?

 Next Tunnels blog : Friday 5th June 


  1. Stagecoach has more than one route in Norfolk, as there are three that serve Wisbech as well as the 505 (and it's East Midlands, not East, but I accept that it is less than obvious to customers why this is so). Nevertheless, current timetables are listed on this page:

  2. Andrew Kleissner4 June 2020 at 07:43

    A huge contrast to neighbouring Suffolk who, although they stopped printing timetable books some years ago, run the excellent "Suffolkonboard" website. They aren't at the moment updating their usual "forthcoming changes" but instead have a dedicated Coronavirus page which seems to be up-to-date:

  3. Wisbech is in Cambs, so I think the only Stagecoach route in Norfolk is the 505 which is indeed run by Stagecoach East Midlands not East. (I was surprised when the Long Sutton operation moved from East to East Midlands, as the parent depot at Skegness is further away than Peterborough, so perhaps it was done to concentrate the support from Lincs CC on to a single Stagecoach subsidiary.)

    1. Yes, my mistake, though in point of practice two of the three routes listed *do* enter Norfolk, albeit briefly. One of these is the town service...

  4. My comment on the 65 accidentally landed on yesterday's page - apologies.

  5. On 4th June Sanders posted details on their website of their revised services, most of which commenced from w/c 8th June.