Sunday 17 July 2022

Sunday Variety

Depressing Or Just Depressing?

Buses magazine dropped through the letterbox at fbb mansions yesterday mornig - and it makes grim reading. Whilst the shareholders of Go Ahead and Stagecoach are happily counting the proceeds from the sale of these two groups, observers are still struggling to understand why anyone would want to buy into bus operation in the UK.

There is a general article summarising just a selection of areas where services are being cut ...
... whilst the picture in London goes from bad to worse.
Meanwhile the three mayoral Busketeers in Merseyside, Manchester and West Yorkshire are still telling the weary voters that they will soon be getting a London-style bus system! Be careful what you wish for!

Some of the detailed reports elsewhere are beginning to look like a Buses magazine version of The Sun on a bad day!
It is First Bus (Buses of Somerset) that has "slashed" several town services in their area. Meanwhile, shock horror ...
Keen bus watchers may struggle to identify Stagecoach's massive network in Dorset!

There isn't one. 

The article refers to the curtailment of fbb's local 9A from Exeter to Seaton only. Stagecoach will no longer run to Lyme Regis ...
... as seen above at its Lyme terminus.

The whole Dorset operation is just over one mile in length ...
... the thick dashed line marking the boundary with Devon! For the record, the replacement service 378 from Axe Valley Travel will be five journeys a day ...
... one of which is schooldays only, so four on Saturday an nothing on Sunday - currently two hourly. It is rumoured that, after the end of October, the winter timetable will be two return journeys. 

Perversely, the the Exeter to Seaton Sunday service 9A, which used to be every THREE hours and is currently every TWO hours, INCREASES to every HOUR.
To fbb's pea-like brain that makes no sense whatsoever.


But, if you want DAFT, how about this. What bus service might this paragraph be about?
Sounds very encouraging, until you read the accompanying headline.
Yes, every passenger on this successful North Yorkshire (?????) Demand Responsive service is subsidised to the tune of £17. Repeat seventeen pounds.

Surely it would be cheaper to send a FREE taxi?

As an "envoi" about the state of the industry, Roger French ends his column with this paragraph. He is writing about the current fad to appoint senior managers from outside the bus industry.
Too true, Rog!

And equally depressing ...
... is the full retail price for a bus model of £67! OUCH!

Rush out and buy one quickly at ONLY £52. You can add that to your shopping list for OO railway models; a wagon at £50, a carriage at £100 and a loco at £300.

Time to take out a second mortgage or a heap of equity release cash?

Yes, Depressing!

P.S. If you can override the feelings if impending doom for the industry, at least MOST of Buses magazine makes an interesting read, and even the depressing bits are depressingly interesting!

Well worth buying as part of your beach-bound holiday reading.

A Tester From Leicester
An anguished and elderly chum, David, who lives in Groby, emailed fbb as follows.

Arriva have changed our local timetables but I can't find them on-line and there are no printed leaflets, apparently.

Coincidentally, Roger French's blog from yesterday is about the magnificent rebuild of St Margaret's bus station in Leicester. It is still BIG! Magnificently cavernous would be an apposite description.
There is an enquiry office ...
... again staffed by a man in a hi-vis vest - presumably to mitigate attacks from his computer screen? - he was answering questions when Roger passed by.

There are electronic screens listing departures and large poster panels at the stands each with a crude route diagram ...
... and another departure list.

But nowhere on the bus station could you obtain a timetable or a network map.



But, based in Sunny Seaton, fbb set about trying to find David's local timetables on-line.

fbb loves a challenge.

It's The Heat!
It's a funny old world when public transport companies tell folk NOT to use their trains!
The reason was succinctly explain by the BBC News reported who opined that "trains have to go slower so they don't buckle the track". Thanks for the technological explanation, Beeb!

 Next Leicester timetables blog : Monday 18th July 


  1. Let's see now . . . buses are for taking people (passengers) between places. Home to school; home to shops; home to leisure . . . that's what they're for.
    Home to school . . . road traffic in the school peaks is up; hence scholars travelling by bus must be down.
    Home to shops: more and more people have food shopping delivered to their door (I know, I'm one of those deliverers!), hence shopping passengers are down . . . as an aside, people will only go to the shops if the shops are worth going to, and as I travel around, many town centres are not really worth visiting (and sorry, Yeovil, but your town is one of them).
    Home to leisure: if a town has an out-of-town leisure centre/cinema, that would demand a separate network to serve the location properly (at an extra cost). Additionally, seniors are travelling less (Covid, or just going out less), which used to be a goodly chunk of passenger numbers.

    The conclusion? Services have to be cut back, unless subsidy increases, and there's no money for that. {And, let's be honest now . . . with Boris gone, what hope for "buses back better"? Watch the funding get scaled back . . . }.
    I don't like it either, but pragmatically . . .

    1. 100% agree Greenline727.

      And whilst school, work and shopping journeys have reduced, some routes are showing encouraging signs on Sundays, hence the uplift on the 9A. And whilst hourly is far from "turn-up-and-go" it is more memorable, and therefore attractive, than trying to remember which hour the bus runs.

      Times have changed, the bus industry to do so too.

  2. Regarding the limited Saturday service on the 378 (formerly 9A) between Seaton and Lyme Regis this is a summer only Saturday service! This weeks N&P gives Mon to Sat from Easter to October - and Mon to Fri from November to Easter.

    1. Yes & considerably less weekday journeys in winter too!

  3. Got me thinking about Stagecoach in Dorset. Ran from your way commercially to both Bridport & West Bay on 152. Then ran to Bridport on supported ex Cooks Coaches route (can't recall number right now). Also operated the Dorset 14 contract. Its Somerset 99/99A also served parts of Dorset. Have I missed any others? Of course it no longer serves Somerset either (except for Falcon motorway express coach)

    1. Don't forget Stagecoach bought the independent Landylines which ran in Dorset, Somerset and Devon