Wednesday, 9 September 2020

fbb Makes A Ghastly Mistake (3)

In a surprise move this has appeared in the First West Of England Newslatter - Special Edition - yesterday. From James Freeman.
Time Keeps Rolling
In May next year I reach the age of 65. I have decided that it’s the right time to retire from my position as Managing Director of First West of England, a role that I have filled since October 2014. and to leave First Group.

It will of course be a wrench, as I have come to feel part of the team over these past six years and have made some wonderful friends amongst colleagues and customers and in the areas that we serve.

It really is a privilege to work with all of you and I shall miss the camaraderie and the sense of achievement when we get things right, as we have done on many occasions.

Still, it’s time for me to move on and find something to do elsewhere that will keep my cogs turning but give me a bit more time to do my own thing.

Besides, the business needs constant regeneration as we face the challenges of the world after Covid.

I am just the latest in a run of MDs in this business. When I first arrived, I was constantly asked how long I’d be staying. We need continuity, people would say! Well, by next May I will be well into my seventh year in the job.

I like to think that working as a team we have achieved a good deal over recent years. I am proud that together we have raised the reputation of First West of England and earned respect from the community we serve. The general public, as well as local leaders nowadays regard us an important player in local life, con-tributing to making the West of England a place where people want to live, work and enjoy themselves.

There are many months until May, so it’s very much business as usual meantime, with lots to be done. We still have to get through the here and now of the pan-demic and navigate a path to emerge from it in the best possible state. I look forward to working with you all through these critical weeks and months.

Keep going and thanks for all your efforts!

Back To The Blog As Planned

A reminder (you'll need it soon!) that buses to Shiregreen were 150 and 151 and then became 47 and 48 but the route did not change. The 150/47 ran OUT via Bellhouse Road and BACK via "Sicey Avenue" whilst the 151/48 ran OUT via "Sicey Avenue" and BACK via Bellhouse Road.
For the punciliously pedantic, fbb has put "Sicey Avenue" in inverted commas because the huses actually used two bits of this long "spine" road. Traditionally the routes have always been defined by how they left Firth Park, but, at the Butterthwaite Road time point end, the 151/48 used a bottom bit of Sicey Avenue on its way back "via Bellhouse Road".
From the "Butterthwaite Road" stop (which is actually on Sicey Avenue!! Even Streetview agrees.) ...
... the 150/40 continued via Sicey Avenue and Beck Road before joining the long climb up Bellhouse Road.

The only notable change to the 47/48 was when thy became cross city continuing to Herdings - but fbb will spare his readers the complex details.
At some stage in this process, dewstination blinds changed from showing a helpful 'via Bellhouse Road" ...
... or "via Sicey Avenue" to a far less helpful "Circular".
But more recently the Sheffield Bus (NON)Partnership burst upon the scene, "improving your service" by reducing frequencies and changing routes for no obvious reason (except, presumably, to save costs). No attempt was made to merge 47, 48 and the competitive Stagecoach 88 into some kind of joint service.

Shiregreen became served by the First Bus' former tram route 75 (remember?) and its close buddy, the 76. It no longer ran "the back way" into town but followed the main road via Burngreave ...
... and continued southbound to the "normal 75/76 termini.
But the good news is that things at Shiregreen were unchanged for these First Bus exclusive services.
For 150/47 see 75 and for 151/48 see 76 and 76a.

A minor confusion is added by Stagecoach whose competitive service 88 blasts down the full length of Sicey Avenue, a service which predated the "Partnership" and remained with Stagecoach.
... but the intruder does not affect the relative simplicity of the 75 and 76; simple, but not well presented. Travel South Yorkshire makes no attempt to show the loop in its not-printed timetables. On the interim Virus schedule from July, service 75 terminates at Butterthwaite Road outwards ...
... and leaves thence on its return journey.
To find the routes and maybe that it is a loop you have to join together the route descriptions for "out" and "return" services.
Firth Park
Bellhouse Road
Beck Road
Sicey Avenue
Butterthwaite Road 
Hartley Brook Road
Gregg House Road
Sicey Avenue
Firth Park 
But back in July it was much the same as ever for the 15 minute frequency uplift.

So far, so good. But the inexorable route to fbb's ghastly mistake is slowly but oh so surely moving towards disaster.

In case you wondered (can't think why you would) Traveline shows information in the same way as Travel South Yorkshire - two totally separate routes with no hint of their loopiness. The "every stop" version of the return version of the 75 does, however confirm that the loop is complete and simple (?).
Traveline is, of course out-of-date. From Sunday 30th, the Monday to Friday services on 75 and 76 were each increased from every 15 minutes to every 12, almost back to pre Virus frequency.

Thus it was that fbb needed to prepare this new timetable for GoTimetable Sheffield.

We will see what happened in tomorrow's blog - the final episode of this Tale of Tragedy and a broken man!

Readers who have lost the will to live may yet survive!

Meanwhile, Buses For Trams
The contract for the tram replacement service passed from Powells to Stagecoach, possibly because the engineering works were extended by two weeks. The negligible number of passengers using this service have, so far, had the pleasure of Manchester Magic Buses.
But from today, fbb has been informed, something just a tad unusual has arrived at the depot.
These are from Lothian Buses and have been in use in the fleet of their East Coast Buses subsidiary.

Here is SN53 AEX in its original attire for Edinburgh City services ...
... and here, the same bus repainted for further use on the country services (mostly ex First Bus!) to the East of the City.
On Tuesday 15th, the tram works change again and the replacement service becomes BL3 but remains with Stagecoach.

 Next Ghastly Mistake blog : Thursday 10th September 

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