Saturday, 20 February 2021

Saturday Variety

Things Ain't Going So Well, Then?
fbb cannot remember the detail, but Del, Rodney and Granddad are sitting in a cafe while some hare-brained scheme is collapsing around them. As doom and disaster multiply, Grandad utters the above one-liner understatement!

And so to Manchester ...
It is always difficult to understand the roots of an industrial dispute from the outside. But it appears that things are not going so well financially for Go Ahead with the business that they eagerly bought from First Bus.

Bus drivers at Manchester-based Go North West have announced they will commence an all-out continuous strike from February 28.

The Unite trade union says staff are walking out “as a result of the decision of Go North West (part of the Go-Ahead Group) to fire and rehire its workers on vastly inferior contracts”.

Well they would say that, wouldn't they?

Go North West described the decision to strike as “disappointing” and claimed the company had ongoing losses of £1.8m a year, a recurring deficit “directly caused by outdated working practices. Over the last 11 months we have been attempting to agree a package of operational improvements to keep the depot open, which Unite is opposing,” said the company in a statement.

Well they would say that, wouldn't they?

It says its offer ensures there will be no cuts to drivers’ pay or working hours, includes a ‘no redundancies’ undertaking, and guaranteed ‘inflation-proof’ pay increases in April 2021 and April 2022.

Well they would say that, wouldn't they?

The company continued: “In addition, each of our drivers would receive an upfront payment of £5,000 in anticipation of the future savings improved productivity could deliver.

“Go North West bus drivers are already among the best paid on the region.”

Well they would say that, wouldn't they?

It added the alternative to finding a solution would be to close the depot with the loss of 600 jobs.

Maybe First were wise to pull out? The threat of closure would suggest that things are far less rosy than their "aren't we doing well?" publicity might suggest. The strike threat follows an "incident" at the depot where supporters of the aggrieved drivers blocked the exit and disrupted services.

Things Ain't Going So Well, Then?

Another Joyful Jab Journey?

Stagecoach are using deckers that whizz to and from Aberdeen Airport to convey Covid customers to get their "jab". 
The 727 runs every 20 minutes between Aberdeen bus and rail stations and the airport, but also serves P&J Live.

P&J Live, we are told, is Aberdeen's prestigious "Event Centre" ...

... now a mass vaccination station.
The buses have been decked out with a snappy slogan to entice those considering a Jab Jaunt by bus.

Buses Of Somerset "Refreshed"?

When buses of Somerset started, it really looked as if First Bus were distancing themselves, their staff and their passengers in the Taunton area from corporate Barbie. The livery was very different, it had its own web site with only a passing "brought to you by First Bus" note here and there.

Slowly, but surely, things began to revert, such that the independent web site is now part of First's over-engineered corporate world, albeit with a few local touches.

First Bus in Cornwall seemed to be doing the same with the use of the name Cornwall by Kernow. But it is still very much First corporate territory on line.
Bus Stations (how many are the in Cornwall?) get the corporate treatment ...
... while most of the site is in Barbie pink.
Now the "Buses of Somerset" are getting a fresh "new" look with Kernow spots.
Spot (indeed!) the difference!
A chum, who has connections with the "industry" responded to fbb's recent blogs about Manchester and the extracts from the Passenger Transport article from Nick Richardson.
Here is how chum responded.
Why cannot web sites give the customer what they want, namely infromation about when and where there buses run plus how much it will cost?

Boryspilska Street Kyiv

We know the city as Kiev - of "Chicken" fame.

Chicken Kiev (Ukrainian: котлета по-київськи, kotleta po-kyivsky, Russian: котлета по-киевски, kotleta po-kiyevski; literally "cutlet Kiev-style") is a dish made of chicken fillet pounded and rolled around cold butter, then coated with eggs and bread crumbs, and either fried or baked. Though it has disputed origins, the dish is particularly popular in the Post-Soviet states, as well as in several other countries of the former Eastern Bloc, and in the English-speaking world.

Boryspilska Street has a tram terminus, devoid of trams when Streetview viewed the street.
A little further along the road is a bus and tram stop ...
... which looks suspiciously like a terminus, at least for the 516.
It looks like it is empty, waiting to do a U-turn to get on the stop.
There is also a 51 passing by.
Nobody seem to bother with destination blinds, so they? 

But what is this behind a fence, near this potentially busy stop?
It is a large circular building ...
... which needs an aerial view to work out what it is.
Those things that look like ants eggs are, in fact, withdrawn buses awaiting their fate. Commentators suggest that they are stored here because they have no value and scrapping them would cost more than they are worth!

Some slightly dodgy folk who enjoy "urban exploration" have taken a look inside and twittered their findings.

Here is the depot soon after it was built.

... with drivers eagerly waiting for their shiny new buses.
The latest fleet is proudly displayed.
But that was then. Now the building is crumbling with the inspirational carvings now ignored by all.
Where once was a busy, well equipped bus depot is now what is dubbed the "Bus Graveyard" and there are plenty of unburied bodies just lying on the floor!
The unofficial twittering visitors reckon there is space for 300 buses under one roof.


No one seems to know what will become of the building or the buses. But, if you are ever passing through Kyiv (Kiev, capital of Ukraine) you might be lucky enough to find a peephole or two in the fence.

And, courtesy of Streetview, a Kiev tram on its way to its terminal loop just pass the Bus Graveyard.

More variety tomorrow.

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 21st February 

1 comment:

  1. Didn't Arriva have a similar problem in Guildford due to the pay and conditions they inherited from London Country which made it difficult for them to compete with other operators for contracts? Was that ever resolved?