Wednesday 8 March 2023

Autono muss Omni buss : What a Fuss (3)

Remember Children's Favourites?

Ah, the contented days of listening to the Light Programme on Saturday mornings on the wireless, enjoying Children's Favourites with "Uncle Mac". It morphed into Junior Choice with Ed "Stewpot" Stewart and became more pop-music orientated. But occasionally the good old songs re-appeared. 

As a little urchin, fbb was captivated by Danny Kaye and the naivety of the king and the ludicrous response of the crowds to the self sustaining stupidity of his regal majesty! (Although your author didn't know these long words then!).

The start of the UK's first passenger just carrying driverless bus service with driver in Milton Park, Didcot, has been greeted with great enthusiasm, notably from the various organisation which have got it going.
Needless to say, Roger French has been and gone and done it. fbb has based some of his thoughts on Roger's experience (with many thanks).

But first we need to know where this driverless bus with driver actually runs.

It starts from Bee House, sadly lacking any bees ...
... which is actually an office block bringing together numerous small businesses.
There isn't much flying either!
Here the posh minibus festooned with huge amounts of expensive technology, battery powered and with so-called zero emissions, awaits its customers on the Bee House private car park, well off the public highway.

Terminus Technology Trouble
Which means that the driver of the driverless bus has to use steering wheel and pedals etc to drive it from the road to its terminus. 

Here there is a trendy bus stop sign.

The Driverless (not quite) Drive Begins
The leaflet has a map ...
... which shows three "key locations" with trendy computer style thingies (are they called "pins"?) in green. One is the Bee House itself, then further along the main road is the "Innovation Centre" ...
... which is another office block with a trendy name accommodating multiple small businesses,

After turning right into Western Avenue ...
... you come to "Milton Feast".

Yes ?

It's "street food", innit? 

On Tuesdays and Thursdays you can enjoy such things as ...,
... or, nowadays absolutely essential.
For the gastronomically less discerning, there are burgers, fish'n'chipd and lots of yummy fattening cakes!

Presumably on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays you starve; or grab a bite in one of the pop-down facilities dotted around - or at the supermarket down the road. The post office has migrated here from Milton Village.
fbb reckons it doesn't quite do the same job as it did in "the good old days".
But back to our driverless bus.

It continues along Innovation Drive where the passengers can watch all the innovation taking place to the left and to the right ...
... and, whilst marvelling at the innovation, they can also espy the acres of car parking space under the shade of the tree-lined avenue.

The green trees wave cheerfully at the green minibus painted blue as it trundles sedately back to Bee House for its next load of eager passengers off to buy their street food!

So the 001 route is, currently, almost useless!

Of course its use is as a test bed for the technology and the resilience of the whole caboodle. For this, Roger's experience was telling.

First, The Fuse!
Michael was he driver - very necessary it appeared.
Tim was the "second man", minder of the technology. Thank goodness for Halfords!

Bother At Bus Stops
The trouble with technology is that it is intrinsically intellectually inadequate. It has to be programed, i.e. told what to do. As any driver will know, roads in the UK are alway throwing unknowns at the man/woman behind the wheel. One problems then, is bus stops.
Roger suggested that a request push button on each stop might be an answer - that would be fun for the youff on the estates of Wigan would it not?

Temporary Traffic Light Trouble
Also, inadequate pre-programming means that sudden road works will simply cause the bus to stop - full stop,
Might make for a slow journey!

But let's be fair (if we must!) this is a trial run and the results will lead to improvements - possibly!

Peak Hour Progress Halted
Once this non-route has done its stuff as an evaluation exercise, the service will be extended to Didcot Parkway station.


Milton Park is quite quiet once the innovators are in their bunkers busily innovating; but getting out of the bus stands at Didcot Parkway will be fun fun fun.
It looks innocuous in the above Streetview snap, but, be assured, autonomous enthusiasts, Station Road gets well clogged at commuter time.

How long will the technology have to wait to escape the clutches of the station stops?

Another job for the driver of the driverless bus!

The current service runs every 15 minutes with a two hour gap in the afternoon (for an interim recharge?) It is free to all and does run to a "proper" timetable.
In theory.

In his blog, Roger expresses the considered view that autonomous buses will never run on Britain's roads without a driver, which, if his thinking is right, would seem to make the whole thing utterly pointless and hugely expensive.

So ...

A view of the future or the king's new clothes?

(No reference is intended to any real king and his particular attire to be worn in a  just under two month's time.)

Look! They've got a bigger bus as well!
And a little video ...
And you all really believe that?

A view of the future or the king's new clothes?

As Danny Kaye did not quite sing:-

Th'electric bus is all together
But all together it's altogether the most ridiculous bus that I have ever seen.
These eyes of mine have once determined the speed is slower
It's not a goer; the paintwork's blue but the publicity claims it is "green".
(Lovely shade of green)
Whatever does it all mean?

Th'electric bus is all together
But all together it's altogether the most ridiculous bus that I have ever seen.
These eyes of mine have once determined it stops when no one's waiting;
It simply ain't relating when lights are red for roadworks where it's once been.
(Does it really amuse?)
Have you got a spare fuse?

Tomorrow we pay a visit to Norwich.

 Considering Cringkeford blog : Thyesday 9th March 

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