Thursday 15 December 2022

This Man Talks Sense (1) ...

... And Always Has Done.

Photos of Julian Peddle are hard to come by. You can find the above on-line or the same pictures cropped back to a white background.
Or you can have the same picture flipped left to right. Note the shirt.

But his most interesting appearance on-line is at the start of privatisation and or deregulation when he became GM of Stevensons of Uttoxeter (or Spath, depending on your pedantry for geographical accuracy).

On 11 September 1926, John Stevenson commenced operating a bus service from Uttoxeter to Burton upon Trent. In 1971, the business passed to John's son George, who was shortly joined by his son David. In 1977, the fleet comprised 40 buses.

In 1983, George sold his 50% share of the business to Julian Peddle. On 1 October 1985, Stevensons merged its bus operations with that of East Staffordshire District Council (formerly Burton on Trent), with Stevenson and Peddle owning 51% and the council 49%.

In June 1994, the business was purchased by British Bus who operated it in conjunction with their Midland Red North business which today is part of Arriva Midlands.

Under Arriva, the Stevensons name was phased out from the end of 1997 and the original Uttoxeter (Spath) garage closed in 2000, before the Burton operation was sold to Midland Classic in 2016.

Midland.  Classic is now part of the Rotala Group a k a Diamond Bus.

Since young Peddle's paeon of praise for new-found omnibological freedom, the deregulated bus industry has been floundering in a morass of regulation almost as bad, if not worse, that before 1986. fbb does wionder whether our Ju would be as enthusiastic for today's "challenging" bus industry as he was back in the bloom of youth.

But fbb has always had great respect for Mr Peddle for, unlike many bus bosses today, he has pretty much done a bit of everything in the industry. He knows about stuff from very personal experience.

His column in the January edition of Buses magazine is a case in point. The headline looks as if it might be positive ...
... but the opening paragraph gives a hint as to the content.
... happening (missed off the screenshot!)

fbb is not going to quote extensively from the Buses column; to get that joy (?) you need to buy the magazine! BUT, your aged blogger will review some of the subjects that Julian feels are inadequately reported and discussed.

fbb will add his three penn'orth.

Much of the industry is in a state of ...
... reactive negativity. Apart from taking over other operators' cast-off routes, when was the last new initiative you have seen in the industry? 

And that is not electric buses or tap on tap off, but some route or customer service development which makes passengers shout out their effusive praise.

Yes, fbb thought there wasn't!

So who can the industry blame?

Driver shortages?
Fair dos, but has anyone worked out why.

Oxford Bus thinks it knows.

But is there a survey to say whether this idea is the right answer. And why Brexit? And if Covid, are we really saying that bus drivers are now totally terrified of the dreaded virus, a terror created entirely by mishandled Government "buses are DANGEROUS" policy? 

They weren't. By far the most dangerous place was your own home!

Here is First in Bristol.
But why have drivers jumped "ship" from bus to HGV? What is wrong with bus driving? Or is something wrong with bus managers?

In his most cynical moments, fbb wonders whether one downside is the management and control of bus operation by technology rather than real people. 

Canteens are largely a thing of the past. Inspectors "on the road" and therefore at the sharp end have been replaced with radio control and, of course, all schedules are created by a computer which, as we all know, is always right and knows far more than an inspector or a depot manager.

fbb remembers talking to a top manager in a certain Metropolitan County, working for a larg national bus company. fbb mentioned a bus service to F*lw**d, where he once lived. "Where is F*lw**d?" asked the boss. The bus service ran every 10 minutes and was one of the best performing in the area.


Generally, people do a better job of man management than machines. (person management?)
When did the big boss of First, Arriva or Stagecoach last do a tour of depots to meet staff as they came off-shift? They would learn so much.

fbb has just heard a comment from the back row. The young lad, under manager to the assistant manager of the depot manager, stage-whispered, "we've got the £2 flat fare coming in January. So that is something positive."


More tomorrow.


 Advent Calendar Day 15 

Outstanding Opportunity?

"I can accept that Jesus was a Good Man - but Son Of God? No way!" So say some.

But he was NOT a "good man", was he? He made some stunning promises to those who followed him, who accepted his way of life, who obeyed God and repented of their sins. He offered a contented secure life now and a perfect life in eternity.

If he wasn't who he claimed to be, he was a cruelly deceitful liar!

You cannot have it both ways.

Once a man came to Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what good thing must I do to receive eternal life? "Keep the commandments if you want to enter life," Jesus replied.
"I have obeyed all these commandments," the young man replied. What else do I need to do?"

Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me."

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he was very rich.
Jesus then said to his disciples, "I assure you: it will be very hard for rich people to enter the Kingdom of heaven."

When the disciples heard this, they were completely amazed. "Who, then, can be saved?" they asked.

Jesus looked straight at them and answered, "This is impossible for you, but for God everything is possible."

Therein lies both the challenge and the opportunity. The Outstanding Offer of eternity is, as they say, "on the table". All we have to do is to accept it and accept the consequences.

Nothing can ever be more important than doing things God's way. The rich man's wealth was more important to him that God. So he chickened out.

We will never "obey God" fully because we are human! But God can, and will, help us.

That is what CHRISTmas is about/
Well, it's a start!
 Next Inustry/Politics blog : Fiday 16th December 


  1. To answer your questions on why these reasons given for driver shortages are valid:
    1. Brexit - You no longer have unrestricted access to staff from Europe to fill gaps, though this actually drives more from HGVs (point 3)
    2. COVID - It isn't that drivers are scared of COVID it is that during the furlough period the already emerging move to a better work/life balance (I was already adjusting schedules I do for my employers towards shorter days at some of our depots in 2019) has sped up. Drivers want shorter days, less anti-social hours & less weekend/evening work which increases the driver requirement just to stand still and makes it harder to recruit as fewer people outside the industry see the shifts on offer attractive anymore.
    3. HGVs - The big thing here is wages, logistics companies just wacked up their wages when the driver shortage after Brexit hit as they could just pass the costs onto their corporate customers on a pay or the deliveries get disrupted due to lack of staff argument (bus companies can't do this as our customers are councils who are already running out of money and passengers for whom even a 5% fare increase is seen as unfair). Many of these extra drivers came from older bus drivers who held dual vocational entitlements and whom the government wrote to asking them to become truck drivers. There is also the idea that truck driving is easier as you don't deal with passengers and Euro hours are tighter than domestic driving hours used on buses - this emerges as less valid when you look how truck drivers are scheduled with driving time maximised and all driving pauses deducted leading to longer days than you would expect. We are seeing some drivers returning as the drivers experience the reality of truck driving.

    Companies do ask staff why they are leaving, they also know where they are going and the operations staff do know what issues the drivers/unions raise.

  2. 4. Delays in processing PCV licences, without which prospective bus drivers cannot work or even commence training. By the time the licences come through many potential bus drivers have secured alternative employment.

  3. What would make the public sing the praises of a bus service? Exeter's free weekends, new 10 minute cross town service, Bristol's metrobuses?

    They sang in Okehampton when the bus was replaced by the train - quicker, regular, longer hours and reliable and for a similar price.

    Buses are seen as slow, uncomfortable and unreliable and particularly outside of short urban journeys. Fbb does not used the bus from home to Exeter - a 1.5 hour run in a rattling and bouncy tin box. I cannot sit square in a bus seat except by the emergency exit so it is uncomfortable.

    The driver shortage was managed very badly certainly to begin with. How many consecutive journeys can you cancel and how do you tell the passengers. Once a nearby newly reduced service from hourly to just 5 a day had 3 out of 5 cancelled. It is a council contract and I suspect they got strong words, because it has never been cancelled since.

    The ownership and management of buses are in themselves irrelevant, but the bigger the better for flexibility. Car use is cheap, convenient and door to door and today most adults outside the big urban areas drive. Buses today are mostly used by the under 25s.