Tuesday 28 February 2023

It's All On Line ...

Roger French, A P.S.

Last week, Uncle Rog was extolling the virtues of five new bus routes from around our nation. On 22nd inst his eager eye hit on two linked services operated under the auspices of Oxfordshire County Council. Of course they are not NEW new services, but a rejig of something that was running as recently as last year.
The 250 ran hourly between Bicester and Oxford via a selection of villages west of the A43 (as it was before it was renumbered and rerouted). These included Heyford Park ...
... a new 'village" on land beside RAF Upper Heyford. As its name suggests it was a base for the United States Air Force where they operated very noisy fighters and bombers used in many recent conflicts or near conflicts.
Roger's enthusiasm seems to be based on the joyous fact that Oxfordshire's transport boss decided not to go down the route of "uber-style" demand responsive and offer a replacement real bus.
So Roger's blog offers a very thorough and well reasoned review of the TWO "new" services to the area.
The 24 is the nearly direct replacement for the 250 (but not quite) and the 25 goes unimpeded to Heyford Park, now eschewed by the new 24. Simple isn't it?

fbb was wondering whether to augment Roger's wisdom and write about these services; when he received an e-mail from a chum, Woodford Lynn. Now, as an evangelical Christian, fbb would not countenance Woddy's actions, but he is sort-of happy to pass on his chum's findings.

Woodford has relatives in the area, viz an elderly Aunt Aggie who lives at Heyford. actually a cottage about half way between Upper and Lower of that ilk.

It so happened that Woodford was enjoying a visit with his kiddies, to the peripatetic fairground that was operating near his outer suburban village. So he decided to "experiment" with the surprisingly modern services of Gypsy Queen and her crystal ball. Instead of a mysterious tent shrouded in thick curtains and flickering LED candle light, she uses a "consulting room" in her well appointed mobile home.
Gypsy Queen was initially edgy about answering bus timetable questions, indeed so uncertain was she of the ley lines' fluence on public transport that she offered to have a go for the bargain price of a fiver.

Some cynics, on reading this report, may suspect that the Gypsy royalty had an i-pad screen secreted below her "output device" ...
... but Woodford was all too ready to be utterly convinced of her potential powers.

"Ooooooh," quoth her Romany majesty, in ominous plangent tones [look it up], "the mists are dark and doom-ridden today. The messages from beyond this world are cloudy and indistinct." 

There was a long pause during which the queen's hands were fiddling with something under the table.

"I see a coat of arms, resplendent in glorious heraldic colourways!" She knew all the latest tech jargon!
Eager for a reply from "the beyond", Woodford cried out, "And where are the Bicester bus timetables?

"Alas," hissed Gypsy Queen menacingly, "nothing materialises and the signal is fading fast. I will refresh my receptory nexus." And she nipped out of the emergency door for the lavvy, a bevvy in and a faggy.

A few minutes later she returned, accompanied by a slight whiff of some smokable "substance" and an additional tinge of supermarket brandy, then gazed into the globus once again.

I see a river, maybe the Styx, the route to the Underworld." She rubbed her eyes. "Ah, no; as the miasma clears it is the Cherwell," she croaked as only a crone could croak. " It is the Cherwell, river of death."

Woodford shuddered.
"Well it's a bit polluted in places, but it is near Bicester, so the spirits may be guiding us thither." After caressing the ball with her wart encrusted hands (she uses rice crispies, PVA glue and lipstick!) she continued quickly ...

"But there are no timetables there." After a bit more fiddling below the table, she announced truculently, "The image has changed again, we are now entering a world of gleaming spires and ivy covered professors of academe."

Woodford looked perplexed.

"It's Oxford innit," she announced thoughtlessly reverting to her natural Hackney patois.
'And the timetables?" muttered Woodford Lynn, voice barely perceptible in his near tearful disappointment.

"Yer'll 'ave to 'ave a butchers f'y'self, mate. I ain't seein' none!"

Could it possibly be, thought our determined dabbler into "the dark side", that none of the local authorities involved in the Bicester area actually tells you about the buses?

"But wait!" Gypsy Queen regained her composure. "I have found a map of destiny showing buses in Bicester on-line. I mean in the crystal ball. It has appeared from ..."
"... times past, happier times, joyous times, times when you could see clearly through the aura." She was well into her "art" by now and added, "it's dated 2012!"

Our depressed enquirer opined that a map over ten years old was unlikely to satisfy his thirst for public transport information in 2023.

By now the Hackney Gypsy was becoming desperate. "There's another map from the town of dreaming academic spires ..."
Woodford was almost delirious with excitement. Was he on the verge of accepting supernatural help to find a map showing the bus that passed close by Aunt Aggie's cosy cott?

No he wasn't. The Unclairvoyant reported that it was dated 2013.

So, it would have to be an act of utter desperation and self sacrifice for Woodford if he were to have any hope of finding the new bus services to take him Aggie-wards. 

He would have to try Traveline!

He handed over his fiver to the Gypsy Queen and drove, a sadder mortal, back to the Bunyanian Slough of Despond, a k a Milton Keynes.

The search for omnibological truth continues tomorrow in the similarly unreal world of 21st century public transport information.

 Next Bicester Bus blog : Wednesday 1st March 

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