Monday 14 September 2020

A Very Courageous Policy (1)

Do bus companies make courageous and innovative decisions these days? What brave innovations do our loyal and omnibologically savvy readers recollect from the bus industry over that last, say, ten years? And which of these developments has survived to become a permanent part of the industry's oeuvre?

We have plenty of new liveries and plenty of new technological advances; but new services, breaking new ground and commercially sustainable?

Uber-style routes have risen spectacularly to ignominy; Section 106 type services ("supported" buy estate developers and/or large employers) have come and gone.

Some purely commercial routes have failed to make it financially. Stagecoach M2 from Canterbury to North Greenwich ...
... did not last, neither did the X1 from Chesterfield to Nottingham ...
... despite calling at an exciting (?) "Designer Outlet".

The South West Falcon (also Stagecoach) represents one of the greatest developments of recent years. Running hourly between Plymouth, Exeter and Bristol ...
... it appears to have survived the Virus and recently added a stop at Wellington (well on the edge of Wellington) ...
... it appears to be here to stay. fbb thinks "Cades Farm" is a nip off the motorway, round the roundabout for zero customers and back to the M5 pdq!
Whatever, the Falcon has been one of most innovative and possibly courageous brand new services for many a long year - and it is still going strong (?).
Always on the lookout for positive public transport proposals and production, fbb was gobsmacked ...
... to receive this snippet from a correspondent.
Hold on. Hulleys is a well respected but relatively small independent operator based in Baslow, Derbyshire and mainly serving the proliferation of pretty villages around Bakewll. But a short while ago the company changed hands and has already started a faster service between Chesterfield and Bakewell ...
... effectively doubling the frequency, later incorporating the X71 weekend buses From Sheffield, Chesterfield and Bakewell to Alton Towers.
But the X57 is, as they say, "something else"!

Every two hours Sheffield to Manchester?

At least two buses required Monday to Saturday running well outside Hulley's geographical comfort zone?

And starting at the end of October, running on into winter thus losing potential walkers, ramblers, strollers, hikers and "isn't the view nice"-ers as the nights become dark and the icy blasts blast icily over the Pennines.

And with the evil Virus lurking threateningly over the lives of possibly brave passengers?
Commercially courageous or a lemming-like leap via Longdendale?

So, tomorrow, when fbb has recovered from the shock, he will look in more detail at what is there now (more pointedly what WAS there!) ...
... and go on to examine the detail of Hulleys new X57 timetable.

In case you wondered about the tease on Hulley's Facebook page, the new X57 (following the A57 - clever eh?) will passssssss the Sssssssnake Inn.

Odd Overscale Station - Odd Over Scale School
fbb did report that one of his low relief buildings was constructed from bits of old Hornby station and  signalbox kits, having received same in a bag of model railway junk unwanted by a Seaton Charity Shop.
The station, readers may remember, was quite a strange building.
But as the old man was expounding yesterday, Hornby used to be very good at re-purposing models to become something else. So leave out a few bits of the station and add a second gabled upper storey and you have - tada ...
... St Michael's School!

A neat way to make more money from the deep pockets of railway modellers.

Keeping Us All Safe!
It has become a bit of a one-upmanship competition, seeing how "safe" transport operators can make their passengers. The railways have come up with something like this, as reported by correspondent Dave.

South eastern have started a wonderful new facility telling customers how busy trains are...

The implication, especially if you read the media stories about it, is that their trains are clever enough to “weigh” the passengers and report back loadings etc, but this is, actually, total hogwash, as no southeastern metro or Mainline stock can do this... so it’s not live at all, at best it’s a guess, and not from "today’s" service of course ...

Here is what they say:-
Dave had a look, and allowing that the software may have improved since he contacted fbb a week ago, here is one station's sample.
Some trains are run by S**th*rn, so their passengers don't matter; but note that only one train has a little green icon meaning "seats available". For everything else there is no information.

The downloaded page is from a station so obscure that you can understand the lack of data - it shows departures from the little-used halt called London Victoria!

Why bother?

 More Courageous blog : Tuesday 15th September 


  1. The X57 is called the snake because the road it uses is called the Snake Pass.

  2. There are eight trains on the screenshot. Five of them are operated by Southern, and of precisely zero interest to a SouthEastern passenger (because if you wanted Southern information, you'd use the Southern version... or does FBB ask his fishmonger how busy the baker is?).

    Of the three SouthEastern services, One has the information: 33% seems about fair for what is openly admitted to be a pilot, especially as they all operate along the same main line.

    Once again, FBB rants before considering the facts.

  3. Yes this is a pilot, but when customers read the exciting news that there will be information for “most trains”, but then after several weeks still find that at the very best less than 20% have any details at all, then I think they are entitled to be disappointed...

    FBB’s example including southern services maybe a little unfortunate, but your own examination of ANY page of wholly south eastern services from London terminal or main station will not achieve a better result...

    ....perhaps the reality should have a been brought a little closer to the aspirations of the marketing hype before the idea was actually released to the public.... I think this is the perfectly valid point that is being made here.....