Friday 9 October 2020

On Line - In Print - On Screen (3)

 The Good (Part 2)

Before your brave blogger continues to unravel the contents of the Ensign bus timetable book, it would be worth taking as step back to understand the wider picture. Geographically and adminstratively Thurrock is a "Unitary Authority" within the boundaries of the "ceremonial" County of Essex.

It borders Greater London on the west, the "rest" of Essex north and east and a wiggly River Thames on the south. We could, if we so wished, regard Ensign as being the modern equivalent of Thurrock Corporation Transport, running, as it does, the network of largely local routes centred on Grays.
Significant intrusions from outside come from Stagecoach London's 372 ...
... running every 20 minutes ...
... between Romford and the Lakeside shopping centre, home to the joys and thrills of Essex retail therapy.
The route runs south to Rainham, then east-ish to its Thurrock terminus.
In so doing, it does impinge slightly on Ensign's route 22 to Aveley Usk Road.

From the east, via Basildon, comes a substantial onslaught from First Essex. Service 100 travels south from Chelmsford to Basildon. then into Grays and forward to Lakeside.
Posh buses ...
... run every 15 minutes ...
... with some snazzy publicity.
Also approaching from the orient is the slightly more mundane 5 and 5A (wIth a 5X at peaks).
The 5 group starts at Pitsea and provides a Basildon Town service before striking out to Laindon (5) ...
... and Grays (5A and 5B).
Four other "lesser" routes enter the Thurrock area. They are:-

NIBS (Nelsons Independent Bus Service) 11, 269 and 374.

Stephensons 265

Readers may amuse themselves by researching these services but Stepehnesons bought NIBS in 2018  ...
Eastern Transport Holdings, parent company of Stephensons of Essex, has purchased 30-vehicle NIBS Buses of Wickford. NIBS was previously owned by directors Steve and Janet Nelson. It has a turnover of £2.5m and it runs a mixture of commercial and tendered school and stage carriage services. Vehicles will retain the red and yellow livery and it will be “business as usual,” says Stephensons MD Bill Hiron.

... and Ensign sold its Brentwood area routes to NIBS in 2019.

NIBS Buses of Wickford has agreed terms with Ensignbus to purchase its seven-vehicle Brentwood network. Subject to regulatory approval, the transfer will occur on 17 June. No staff will move, although four buses will form part of the purchase. Ensignbus says that pressures on the rest of its business – growth of its core Thurrock network and high demand for used buses – contributed to the decision to sell the Brentwood network.

So now you know!

Having mentioned Stagecoach 372, we could now move on to look at Ensign 22 ...
... which runs every 20 minutes (every 30 on Saturday, every hour on Sunday) from Grays to Aveley, Usk Road.
But the 22 becomes part of the great 73, 73A. 77, 77A, 83 complex, so we will hold back until a later blog.

We met the 33, X80 and 99 in yesterdays blog, so next on our list is service 44.
Ensign's diagram is adequate for generaL use, but we might need an insight into reality for a more detailed understanding of where the bus goes. Regular users will be fine, newcomers may struggle.

The 44 sets of westbound from Lakeside using the RED A1306 ...
... then follows the YELLOW road past Purfleet Station ...
... before joining the RED A1090 and its derivatives all the way to Grays Station. Or so fbb thinks! The 44 runs every 30 minutes.
Then there is the 88.
It leaves Grays like the 33 (which you remember, of course - it is going to Chafford Hundred Station via the wiggliest straight line route imaginable!) THEN turns right TO get to the well known "Oak" at Socketts Heath, 
... on the RED road near the roundabout.
It then turns north passing the leisure centre (near the "k" of Little Thurrock) and the hospital before serving a loop on the Stifford Clays estate.The 88 runs hourly with extras at morning and evening peak Monday to Friday.
All this means that, with the help of a well produced timetable book, a route diagram (that could be much better) and a human brain, we can begin to find our way around the Unitary Authority of Thurrock. Try doing that with a journey planner!

fbb will leave the complexities of what remains for a day or two, but, suffice it to sat, Ensign make a fair job of showing what the public needs to know on each timetable - a rare quality in today's technological world where operators just throw the working timetable at the public and expect them to understand it.

We've had lots of "The Good", we have experience Oxford Bus as "The Bad", so how about a recent outbreak of ...

The Ugly At Northampton
This is Northampton Station - it says it on the front door. It also says it on the roof ...
... although you have to be some distance away to see it.
Alan reckons you would be well aware of where  you were if you were waiting for a bus into town.
Alan was returning from one of his many trips to Milton Keynes when he observed one of the town's new departure monoliths (monolith from the Greek mono - one and lith - stone!)
Alan writes:-
The monolith (obelisks, Alan, from the Greek for "needle" as in "Cleopatra's" have a pointy top - Mr Gregor, classics teacher at the Grammar School, would have been aghast!) was, indeed, completely blank.
Below; a monolith being consulted (NOT) at St James The Square. Thew two ladies have forgotten their portable step ladders! the bottom of the departures display is between 8 and 9 feet above ground.
Meanwhile, on the outbound stop at the station (where you are more likely to need a monolith than the inbound) ...
... Alan muses:-
Neither does fbb! 24 and 54 minutes past each hour from The Drapery; neither of which would get to the station a 1655 or even 1657!

But then the timetable doesn't get you any further that Timken Way which most definitely isn't "Duston" although the bus is actually going much further ...
.... to, erm, Duston!


 Next Mixed Bag blog : Saturday 10th October 

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