Friday 27 January 2023

Is It A Train? No, It's A Bus! (Part 3)

KThe Trains : A P.S.

The 777s were due to start service early in 2020, so they are now somewhat older 777 units. Their first duty is on trains to Kirkby.
A little more about batteries in the item below.

The Bus - Route 319

"If we can't have a train" says Lancashire Council, "we can have a bus." Of course, it will take about two times longer than the train, but, maybe, it is better than nothing. It starts from the bus station at Skelmersdale, runs via the M58 and finishes at Kirkby bus station ...
... calling at Kirkby "interchange" on the way. A new bus station is in the offing at Kirkby (town) ...
... which looks a bit better. 

The railway station is a sweet little hut at the top of a down ramp to the single platform.
Whether that one shelter ...
... is an adequate qualification for an "interchange" is a bit dubious. But buses do stop right outside the station.

In a typical example of the utter wastefulness of the bus industry, there are THREE sources of local information for new route 319.

fbb could add Traveline but won't.

Third Place - Lancashire County Council
For a council that is desperate to improve public transport to/from Skelmersdale, this offering is appalling. Once upon a time Lancashire printed a comprehensive set of timetable leaflets ...
... and some good local maps.
Now you get two versions of the on-line timetable, for looking at (presumably) ...
... and for printing out.
The "print-out" version is the same style as the old leaflets, so it would be a low-cost doddle to tweak them for printing. No one seems to know (or care?) why every journey has to have the same column head notes. Potty.

There is, of course, no mention of the stated purpose of route 319, namely to provide train connections at Kirkby. Well, there wouldn't be, would there, as Kirkby is in M*rs*y*d* - where be dragons.

And there is an on-line route map for the 319 which is, of course, computer generated uselessness.
It is still useless if you enlarge it.

Second Place - Merseyside Metropolitan County
fbb assumes that Merseyside still prints leaflets. The on-line versions are clearly printable. But these days you never know, so successful is the trend of utter secrecy in useful Public Transport information.

The 319 leaflet is in the County-wide standard form, informative but hardly inspirational. The front cover has a simple (very simple) line diagram of the route ...
... followed by a detailed description of roads served. Then comes the timetable ...
... but with no mention of rail connections. There is a more detailed map, shown by fbb in two chunks ...
... omitting the non-stop M58 bit.
The map doesn't call the Kirkby station stop an interchange! 

The Liverpool network map is excellent, but really only shows buses to and from Liverpool. The 310 to Ormskirk and Skem fades out into a grey expanse of nothingness where the 319 might appear.
Railway services are shown but very faintly; it is a bus map, innit? It also shows buses to Kirkby which reveals service 20 to Headbolt Lane ...
so that's where it is! Will the 319 appear here? Unlikely.

First Place - Stagecoach
The operator of the 319 has done a great deal better than the two local authorities that should be promoting it. 

The buses have an attractive livery ...
... with a powerful and clear brand.
It is actually quite hard to see who operates it ...
... and the leaflet is superb!

The front cover is bright and attractive, creating desire, one might say.
The map is far batter than those provided by the two councils ...
... again shown in two chunks by fbb.
And, shock, horror, knock me down with a wet kipper, every stop is shown.

But there is one extra and stunning feature, studiously ignored by Lancashire and Merseyside ...

... wait for it ...


Now, isn't that a good idea for a bus branded as 'Trainlink"? Perhaps the two councils have yet to grasp the 319's "raison d'etre" as they say on Penny Lane.
So fbb will end with a rather difficult question.

Which of the three contenders wants to make a success of the 319 bus?

Clearly the question is far too difficult for the two Councils!

And a thought for the minion who has put the mockers on the rail line to Skelmersdale.

The through bus and rail journey from Skem to Liverpool Central, change at Kirkby, takes just under 50 minutes.

The proposed train service would take approx 25 minutes.

Which version would encourage you to leave your car at home?

Tricky question, isn't it?

  Next Variety blog : Saturday 28th January 

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