Sunday, 1 August 2021

Sunday Variety



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Building Back Better (3)

A new Exeter Bus Station will open in the winter of 2018, at the same time as Exeter’s new state-of-the-art new leisure centre St Sidwell’s Point, which is also being developed by Exeter City Council.

Well, it seemed a good idea ast the time!

Running a little late, the new bus station opened on Siunday 25th July, although it wasn't quite finished. It opened with plenty of razzamataazz; face painting (whet else?) ...
... goody bags ...
... and via Radio Exe ...
... free tickets for the Falon (whatever that might be). This, of course, was on a Sunday when there are only a few buses trundling in and out, so there is plenty of room for the festivities.

So what will the worthy burghers of Exeters gain from the huge heap of money spent on this "state of the art" facility.

It will be less draugtly than the old; less chance oif raindrops as they keep falling on your head and less chance of other nasties as they exude from the rear of columbia livia.
The old bus station was open to horizontally blowing elements but it had a fair sized waiting room adjecent to Bay 16.
In latter years this was neglected with doors left open to the gales and the aforementioned avian poo producers! There were also seats along the back wall opposite other stands, but not enough!

The new bus station has three seats per stand, usually bagged by waiting passengers who sensibly arrive early.
The old bus station had plenty of queueing and circulating space; the new has an inadequate supply of both - with queues impeding the progress of entering and exiting passengers and vice versa.
The old bus station had an excellent enquiry office staffed with knowledgeable Stagecoach employees and with vast racks of timetable leaflets and maps. It was well used by the public and a real asset to the city and its visitors. When it was closed, leaflet racks were available on the wall outside the doors. Stocks were maintained by keen members of staff.
In recent months, leaflets have disappeared as has the enquiry office, now being barred to all except "drivers".
Welcome to the joys of 21st century public transport.

In the new bus station we are provided with an "information point", as yet unlabelled.
This was what was on offer early last week, despite the enthusiastic pictures on Stagecosch's own "social media".
Again, early last week three area guides were on display ...
... but nothing for Exeter. The excellent Devon timetable books had all gone but boxes of them were hidden behind a screen to prevent anyone obtaining them.
Whilst searching for your area booklet, you could do a bit of floor polishing!

But Devon County Council's excellent booklets do not include Exeter City services. 

So the new bus station had no paper timetable information about local services - which don't leave from the bus station so it doesn't matter.

The area guides are just that ...
... a crude frequency guide of not much use to any man nor beast in making a journey for real. In fact it would appear that Stagecoach are so anxious to lose passengers that thery will not provide them with any tangibler infromation whatsoever. All you get now are departure lists; at the shiny new bus station ...
... or at the bus stop.
But (wait for it) ITS ALL ON LINE!

And where were the network maps that used to adorn the walls of the old enquiry office? Where are ANY maps?

And where were the large numbers of helpful posters telling adventurous Exeter folk at which stand they might find their bus?
There was one! In stand number order, so faily useless in a new bus station. Where was the alphabetical list of destinations with their stand numbers alongside - designed to help the passenger?

fbb has not (yet?) found a bus station plan - or a list of what leaves from elsewhere. There are plenty of rural routes that are banned from the artless state of the art new bus station. Ki

Will the window next to the "infromation point" ...
... reveal a real human being?

The departure screens are excellent for those folk who already know what they want ...
Questions for the uninitiated.

When is the next bus to Exmouth?
If I have a quick swig of coffee how long do you have to wait for
    a bus to Cullompton?
Is there a bus to Cranbrook soon?
Which stand do I use for the 52 to Beer?
Which stand will my National Express coach use?
Where is Totnes Royal?
etc. etc.

There is another "improvement" comparing new with old. You can get refreshments actually on the bus station concourse ...
... including something for French speakers!

What is amazing is that the Stagecoach people seem proud of this poor service.

If the building were the right size and in the right place and big enough for all the routes that should be using it - it might have been a good project.

But Stagecoach Is On A Downward Spiral
Arriva has already sunk!
Corporate stupidity rules OK!

Adeiladu'n Ôl yn Well
How to get people back on the buses? MAKE THEM FREE!
No, it is not a joke. Within the city boundaries of Swansea ...
... all buses are FREE for everyone from Friday to Monday inclusive for the month of August.

They aren't joking!
Who is paying?
What a brilliant idea. It won't cost much as goverments are already paying most of the bus business bills.

Best Impressions In The Netherlands
fbb was amused (blog yesterday) to discover another (surely unrelated?) Best Impressions tradiung in the Netherlands. It looks as if the Dutch company does print-based publicity. It might be fun to work it out for yourselves.  Here is what they sell.
banners, brochures, flyers, magazines, placemats, USB sticks and with-complements-cards seem very straightforward in the Dutch language. But how about sleutelhangers? Spandoeken? Polsbanjes?

Have fun; and the use of Google Translate is banned.

Hardulph Hall Happening
Regular readers who are as sad as fbb may remember that the old man's model railway is based on the premise that Lord Hardulph gave his community a worked-out quarry and lots of cash after selling out to Hansons.

His Lordship needs a family seat.

Hardulph Hall Is Under Construction ...
... via a bodged plastic kit with dainty wondows ...
Paint the walls grey and the windows pale grey ...
Stick th windows into the walls ...
... and its OK; they look right from the front!
The beginnings of a palatial mansion for his lordship. 

But the benefactor of Peterville Quarry Railway must be some kind of midgets? Has fbb got it all wrong?

A Bus For The Garden?
Thanks to correspondent Michael, fbb has a great idea to improve the frontage at fbb mansions.
It's a bus-shaped planter, innit? Available from Homebase.

Only £15.95.

Michael suggests that it is probably (?) based on a Routemaster but with a centre exit for very small people. (!) Michael further suggests that fbb's modelling skills may come to the fore as he makes improvements. Sadly fbb has zero pottery skills!

Mrs fbb thinks "lump hammer"!

Should Stagecoch Be Doing This?
Blasphemy should NOT be used to sell bus rides!

Shameful and offensive to Christians who take God's Commandmens seriously.

Unless, of course, the purpetrator of the tweet is really thanking God for the gift of a new day. fbb does that in his prayers every day.

We stay with Stagecoach tomorrow.

 Next Kentish blog : Monday 2nd August 



  2. Exeter Bus Station Information

    I paid the new bus station a quick visit the other lunch time. It was very pleasant and with stand doors an indoor waiting area. There are some teething issues, but they will settle down.

    The old bus station had a Travel Office but mainly swamped with National Express and Megabus ticket sales - the commission probably didn't cover the cost. The waiting area was also primarily for coach passengers.

    In addition to the main electronic departure board, each stand door has a board with the next 3 departures from that stand, which is thus more comprehensive.

    The information area could have a staffed desk in due course - it did have the Exeter Guide, plus the other 3 and the open-top routes leaflet. The Devon books needed refilling, but the map was there. There were also temporary screens with posters.

    If you do have a question, there were at least 6 stagecoach staff present who could be asked - just like the old bus station - much quicker than queuing for the travel office counter and possibly more accurate from the drivers / supervisor.

    With all these things its money - bus stations are expensive. Who pays - Exeter City residents or passengers (bus and/or coach) and for what facilities and for whom?

    1. Thanks for this useful and balanced overview from someone who's visited the new facility. It's not clear whether FBB has done so yet - the photos used in this blog have been lifted from Roger French's Bus and Train User blog - indeed for a fuller and more nuanced review of the new facility I'd recommend a read of Roger's original blog.

    2. Staff only there on launch day

  3. New bus station too small, no room for independents & National Express. Exeter map guide was full of errors claiming many Stagecoach key services still only left from city streets! Also all guides are poor quality & hard to follow. New bus action further from shops. Toilets will charge 30p per pee. Buses on layover now mainly dumped outside people's flats in residential streets. A poor show all round!