Sunday 12 December 2021

Sunday Veriety

And A Really Big Surprise - NOT
Mr Vidler is big boss map of the Confederation of Passenger Transport.
The shortage just includes those local authorities (just over half of those surveyed) who put a price on their claim. So the shortfall will become an even longer fall as the revelations that the DaFT scheme for building a new-look bus industry slowly crumbles into service reduction dust and fares increase chaos. Then follows the consequent loss of passengers and more panic from the "Save The Planet" brigade.

Dear HMG (and DaFT), WE TOLD YOU SO!

Another Arrival
To deal with fbb';s total ignorance, the above volume, in near new condition but at and excellent second-hand price, duly popped through the letterbox at fbb mansions a couple of days ago. It is a fascinating read and your better informed author will review the book in due course.

In the meantime it does resolve the problem of the posh blue tram.
It was bought for a tramway extension along King George's Road in parallel with housing development.
Trams continued to run to Ridgeway after most routes were converted to trolleybus operation.
After the route succumbed to tyre on road with the trolleybus, the tram moved down the road a bit to Sunderland.

Emerald Electric
McGills, a k a Xplore Dundee, launched their shiny new electric double deckers a few weeks back on social media.
It started with "artists' impressions" and was followed by occasional photos of buses that had arrived.
Then, at the end of last week, we had the real launch complete with green floodlit RSS Discovery.
VERY green!
All the important people were there, plus green "batteries" ...
So having launched on line, and launched again next to the green boat, the final job will be to launch them in service - which is due on January 3rd.

Certainly they "cut a dash".

Is ToTo A No No?
Correspondent Peter has done a fair bit of work with his local authority on the vexatious problem of fares, fare collection, speeding up bus services and the like. Peter is also a retired and respected bus manager/director. Hus response to fbb's struggle with West Yorkshire's ToTo is apposite:-

As usual, expurgated by your elderly blogger!

Thanks for your piece on ToTo in West Yorkshire, I had spotted the table where some tickets are only available on the app or from the driver, rather than as a ToTo transaction.

ToTo is being seen as a way of simplifying bus travel for new users who do not need to understand the complex ticket range often offered or to sign up in advance for a ticket they may not get full value from if their travel plans or work patterns change. ToTo, I believe, is a part of many Bus Service Improvement Plans. But in the WY example, and in Brighton & Hove, intending passengers are told that ToTo is not always the best choice.

Some schemes have daily limits but not weekly ones, none seem to allow for returns, does this mean that what should be the simple choice may not be the cheapest choice because of a limitation in the software?  ToTo apparent;y cannot cope with family or group ticket purchases or child fares.

Can it not cope with our modern fare tables? 

If ToTo cannot offer a best value guarantee, it is not the breakthrough some have been hoping for

We need to know more. Could it be a re-run of those magnetic card validators which briefly flourished at the millennium because many operators lack expertise in ticket systems even if their accountants understand revenue collection.

Many modern ticket machines are much cleverer but much slower than the best of some earlier magnetic designs. 

Perhaps that’s why 30% of end to end journey time is spent at stops and why civic engineers doubt the benefits of time-saving bus priority measures which whisk the bus through a junction only for that bus to sit at the next bus stop while passengers board?

Maybe there is an answer?
Certainly a "traditional" bus conductor beats any electronics for speed. Perhaps, on busy city routes, a "clippie" (they haven't "clipped" for aeons!) combined with electronic download from a Setright Speed clone together with fast cash counting might not be so much more expensive. And if it reduces running times, it might even save the odd bus or three.

One simple set of fares and a published fare table (in the same printed leaflet as the timetable!!) and everybody would be deliriously happy.

Nipits Testing Regime
 Despite being made in Sheffield ...
... fbb prefers the stronger flavour of Mighty Imps. But he LOVES Simpkins travel sweets, all brewed in a small "back street" factory ...
... just up the hill from Malin Bridge tram terminus.
Needless to say, Rails of Sheffield will sell you a tin of Simpkins mixed fruit travel sweets with their very own Rails label affixed to the tin.
But beware - the postage will probably be more than the sweets!

More assorted stuff tomorrow.

 Next Variety blog : Monday 13th December 


After the split of the kingdom, it was not long (in historic terms) before the Assyrians conquered thr northern "half". A few more generations passed by and the Babylonians invaded what remained, the much smaller "half" that surrounded Jerusalem. Anyone who was useful to the Babylonians was taken into exile.

The  nation of God's chosen people no longer existed.The ultimate disaster has happened. 

It was the lowest of the low.
Boney M recorded their song based closely on Psalm 137, written almost certainly for worship whilst in Exile. Also in Exile the prophet Ezekiel had one of his weird visions. (he had plenty!)

Then the dazzling light of the Lord's presence left the entrance of the Temple ...
... and moved to a place above the creatures. They spread their wings and flew up from the earth while I was watching.

He saw that God's LIGHT was LEAVING his "home" in the Temple! Was there really no hope? Had their disobedience opened up an uncrossable gulf between God and Man, with a painful LONGING for something better. Was there no way back?


1 comment:

  1. My employer has just rolled ToTo on their main City Network as part of a council funded initiative covering single, 2 trip (we don't have returns in the city as the day ticket is the price of a return but some routes have 2 trip tickets), day, 3-day & weekly caps so it can be done relatively easily, it takes a bit of work in the programming & testing to make sure it all works but the system can do it. It is only if you normally travel long period season tickets that it will be cheaper to not use ToTo. ToTo systems are aimed at the regular & frequent travel, the majority of whom are travelling alone, whereas Group/Family tickets are targeted at infrequent or irregular travellers who will probably still need to interact with the driver for advise/reassurance. There would simply be no way to easily translate a system that identifies a single payment device as a person to allow that to cover multiple people in the same system without risking overcharging the majority.

    I've used ToTo systems a couple of times and it is as fast as just showing a bus pass and alighting on most operators isn't slowed as a seperate tap-off reader is installed in the saloon so customers can just do it as you walk off with barely a break in stride, contactless didn't speed up as claimed as the steps to take a payment aren't fast. In an industry where we are struggling to get enough staff with just a driver, or enough income to pay that member of staff as much as they probably deserve, adding a second member of staff to the bus is hardly going to help matters.