Monday, 17 May 2021

Courageous & Confrontational in Cornwall (1)

Problems With The Penwith Peninsula

It is the sticky-out bit of Cornwall that includes Penzance, Lands End and St Ives. Readers may be familiar with the reduced First Kernow network in the area.
Last Summer (but much reduced in the winter season) We had:-
  A1 - Penzance and Lands End (MID BLUE)
  A2 - Penzance and St Ives via Marazion (ORANGE)
  A3 - St Ives to Lands End (CYAN)
These three operated as an open top "circular".
A17 - Boscaswell and St Ives via Penzance (ORANGE)
 M6 - Penzance and Mousehole (PINK)

Then, under the Transport for Cornwall (TfC) disintegrated policy we have a separate map.
These are the routes operated by Go Ahead (and some subcontractors). The colours are, of course, difficult and slightly more troublesome to reproduce using the limited capabilities of "Blogger". Three routes consist of "extra bits" as follows:-
  A1 - Penzance and Lands End (MAROON
          two journeys each way early morning and early evening
A17 - Boscaswell and Penzance (LIGHT BROWN)
          hourly evening service Monday to Saturday
 M6 - Penzance and Mousehole (RED)
          one school journey each way

The rest are tendered services, most of which are much improved in frequency when set against their previous timetables (mainly First Bus), also tendered.
5 (PINK) becomes  a very tidy hourly schedule, previously a bit of a mess

7 (GREEN) is a bit of a "mop up" route having its tendered origins in the days when no First buses ran along the northern coast of the peninsula in winter.

8 (DARK BLUE) offers a significantly improved service via Sancreed, previously covered by oddments.

16 and 16A (PURPLE) are really very different routes with not much commonality, but they were traditionally shown in one table by First, presumably to convey the mistaken impression that there was a better service together! Under Transport for Cornwall ...
... we have an unheard-of hourly 16 ...
... and a tad better than before on the 16A.
There can be no doubt that TfC has delivered on its promise to improve services; but some of their improvements seem extravagant and, of course, expensive. It will be interesting to observe loadings when (according to Boris) all restrictions are removed and normality returns.

What is particularly potty is for TfC to fail completely to deliver one integrated network. What is the use of publishing two disjointed journeys on the A1 ...
... without reference to the full daytime service? Crackpot! Likewise what use is and evening service on the 17A ...
... without integrating with the daytime frequency. Utter nonsense.

fbb understands that, in the early days of discussion, First Kernow offered to include the tendered bits and pieces on their commercial timetables and even print them in their book (shock horror!) but the Council politely declined in the interests of providing a unified picture (of an very much non- unified network).

But, from yesterday, it becomes really silly.

We know that First has taken the "courageous" step of developing a huge swathe of "tourist" routes, no doubt to the anguish of TfC and the Council. Whether by accident or design is not known officially (fbb has a view and what follows is no accident!) but the "conflict" between the two non-united operators becomes even more dis-united from yesterday.

Here is First's summer network map extract for the Penwitn Peninsula.
The former Atlantic Coaster linked routes are now branded as the Lands End Coaster (MID BLUE) ...
... showing route designation "LAND" in the on-line timetable list with a correct but hard to unravel presentation.
Will "connected" potential passengers be able to find "LAND" as they benefit from the joys of on-line public transport information?

Thankfully the timetable book (remember them?) ...
 ... and the splendid leaflet (of fond equally memory in some places) make a much better job!
There are a few gaps to aid the brain!
Needless to say, TfC's odd journeys between Penzance and Lands End do not appear and, to keep the integration flag (not) flying, they will remain as route number A1.


The A17 has been dropped from the scheme; understandable as it could just about be an Atlantic Coaster (hence A17 - clever?) ...
... but a Lands End Coaster that never gets to Lands end might not be the best brand for passengers. 

So the section from Penzance to St Ives becomes plain unlettered 17 (ORANGE).

But, in another twist of fate (maybe deliberate?) the section from Penzance to Boscaswell becomes 18 (PURPLE) and from Penzance to Madron becomes 19 (DARK BLUE).

Meanwhile the TfC evening service from Penzance to Boscaswell via Madron will, it appears, continue to show A17.


Far more wonderful is the map on the Lands End Coaster leaflet. It's too big to show in the limited confines of a blog, but and extract will delight those who like to understand where bus routes actually go (again nostalgia remains of days when a printed map was always part of a company's printed timetable)
The leaflet also includes a summary for route 18 (was A17) - very useful short cut for those whose bladder and buttocks preclude doing the whole round trip in one go.

And this is just the first of many astounding developments from First Kernow.

Next we search for a Cornwall speciality!

 Next First Kernow blog : Tuesday 18th May 

1 comment:

  1. No new First timetables available in Penzance office today & yesterday some buses still displayed old A17 route number when all Lizard L1, around half of the Atlantic Coasters and one of the Land's End buses were operated by closed-tops instead of the advertised open-tops.