Monday 24 October 2022

Something Old, Something New

Something Borrowed, Something Blue Green!

Actually this week as fbb copied an old headline. There is even an impressive video ...

... and some equally impressive stuff on-line, all under the name of Leicester Buses - a partnership, what else!.
It is all VERY green ...
... with new buses and a trendy livery. The route starts with a basic service ...
... which turns out to offer a modest hourly frequency. Phase 2 ...
... seems a bit less certain - pending funding. Phase 3 ...
... and improved frequency. The conclusion is Phase 4 ...
... with an uplift to every 15 minutes!

We are given no dates for these "phases" so it is not clear whether they will happen, they might happen or whether they are enthusiastically optimistic!

The "New" Orbital is a two hour long circular running right round the suburbs of the City of Leicester. For those who know the City, fbb has downloaded the map in two sections. Here is the western bit ...
...and then the eastern "half".
This would be truly impressive at every 15 minutes with all he bells and whistles. It would be a real "line in the sand" as operators and local authorities grapple with tender money, declining ridership, fuel costs and staff shortages.

The "! what you get for your money" is equally impressive!

Fully electric buses for cleaner, healthier air quality, helping us to move towards a net zero City.

Fully branded buses in an eye-catching greenlines livery.

USB charging points so you can charge your phone and laptop whilst on the move.

Passenger information displays to keep you better informed and improve accessibility.

Next stop audio-visual announcements helping to make travel more accessible.

New bus shelters so you can wait for your bus with ease.

Real-time information displays to help you plan your journey better.

Text-to-speech facilities at bus stops to make travel more accessible.

Tap on Tap off best fare capping contactless, easy to use and no fuss travel.


But something niggles in the disyty and rusty cogwheels of the fbb brain. Somwewything didn't sound quite right - but what?

Press on with the blog and see if fbb can match the new route to the existing Leicester all-operators network map. Here is a little chunk thereof in the Oadby area, south of the city centre.
Can you see that dashed line in
PALE BROWN? And what route number accompanies the dashed?

And what route number (conceptually, if not factually) is the Orbital.

Yes, indeed, the Orbital is most definitely NOT a new route. Here it is on the Centrebus web site ...
... bearing a remarkable similarity to todays Orbital. Here are a coiuple of Centrebus vehciles of old ...
... both bearing the brand "Centreline' ...
... and both bearing route number 40! Here is an extract from the pre-Orbital timetable on the Centrebus web site ...
Whilst the new buses are smart, the electric power is supposedly "green" but isn't if the volts come from conventional generating stations (which most of it will!) but it is, without a doubt, the old 40 rebranded.

If it happiens as proposed it will eventually be, as they say, something else!

The new timetables is, however, disappointing in its presentation.
It's a right mess!

Whoever decided to mix up Monday to Friday times with those on Saturday all on the one table needs they omnibological design brain cell (probably only one!) replacing!

When Mavis Migins of Mowmacre Hill is musing over a maeander home from Meridian  Business Park she will be mithered by the multiplicity of duplicate mentions. In  some cases they are at different times, and other timings are the same.

Please, please, Mr Orbital, a table for Monday to Friday and a table for Saturday with a clear table label and a different table colour are all essential 

And what will these super new bus shelters look like when (or if?) they arrive?
Bee friendly? Lets hope that the waiting passengers don't get stung!
And one point needs clearing up. The hyyoe claims that the "new" 40 (NOT) is the longest circular bus route in the UK. Some readers will be screaming, "How about Birmingham's 11A/11C?"
Alas, the buses no longer circle!
Whilst lamenting the Brummy disgrace and lack of respect for an honoured history for the 11, fbb will also keep a close eye-out (unfortunate phrase in view of the old boy's vision problem and eyeball stabbing!) for Orbital's Phases 2, 3 and 4.
And beware of the Circleline on Traveline. It does find the correct and direct journeys ...
... but has a daft habit of sending you the wrong and long way round!
Enjoy the Orbital riyse!

Well done, Leicester for bright and cheery livery and promotion which could be described as "Creating Desire" - but the real Ray certainly did NOT create those awful timetable pages!

Must try harder, Leiceysters Buses!

 Next Exeter Exploration blog : Tuesday 25th October 


  1. A couple of comments. The map of "the Oadby area" is actually of Wigston; and the Birmingham 11 is not an electric bus route.

  2. I don't think Birmingham's 11 was ever actually the longest, it is just no one was that bothered to argue. Given the 40 Orbital is just over 30 miles (so just under the tacho threshold) whilst Birmingham claim 25 miles (the Coventry 360 when launched was longer than Leicester). Though as the other poster has said LCC are only claiming electric which Birmingham isn't.

    In terms of the timetable what FBB is seeing is the roadside display (where space constraints mean they need to be combined to allow it to fit in all cases & a map to be included on the bigger cases), the printed leaflets (I have one next to my computer at home right now) have the weekday & Saturday timetables seperately, though unfortunately it appears LCC have used the roadside version as the basis of their pdf on the website rather than the leaflet version.