Wednesday 24 May 2023

Bemused By Border Buses (3)

For Better For Worse?

We now know that service 865 from Clifton  tram terminus via East Midlands Parkway station has been withdrawn. We also know that this occasional Monday to Saturday service did not serve East Midlands Airport; the only link from train to plane being a taxi.
This is confirmed by the National Rail station information pages ...
... which are now out of date anyway with the demise of the 865 and will remain so until someone thinks of updating. The information on such pages is rarely reliable.

While we are talking about withdrawals, mention should be made of the Skylink Nottingham "branch" to Loughborough.
This has also been withdrawn although, as usual, there is a copy of the leaflet which includes it still available on-line!
The leaflet also includes fares ...
... which, fortunately, do not stray beyond the Nottingham to Airport core - but may well be out of date anyway.

TrentBartonKinch did have a go at withdrawing this hourly link back in 2022 but it was saved, for a while.
This beneficent offering of alms to Trent from Notts County ran out at the end of April, so this section of route has now gone.
But weep not for the worthy burghers of Loughborough - they skill have the Leicester to Derby Skylink ...
... it is the "back road" villages that suffer.

A look at the Notts network map ...
... shows that these settlements only have the Soar Valley community bus left - which seems totally inadequate.

But in rides the knight on his white charge in the form of ...

... Tada ...

... yet another "Uber-Style" demand responsive bus service. 
Yes, folks, it is just that same as all the other "Uber-Style" demand responsive services that have come, carry no-one, cost a fortune to run, then disappear as quickly as they appear when the money runs out!

And, in case you didn't spot it, the home page (above) has the brand name FOUR time on one phone screen.

An interesting use of the word "simply". Is it as 'simply" as turning up at a local bus stop, climbing on the bus, paying the driver (or showing your pass) and getting off at your destination. And throughout this traditional "simple" process you have a timetable (ideally in print) to allow you to plan your journey.
Another interesting use of the words, "more frequently". The 865 was every two hours, the Skylink Nottingham was every hour. The hours of the ...

... now what is it called? ...

... nearly forgot, Nottsbus On Demand ...

 ... are, admittedly, somewhat better than the normal buses they replace, but that's about it. Two minibi whizzing around these villages in a fairly arbitrary manner will never offer a better service that the buses they replace.

New destinations? 

Some journeys will be possible by the new service which would have involved a more complex journey, so crowds can now flock fron Zouch to Gotham or from West Leake to Hathern! So some will benefit - but how many and how often?

By the way, do not seek the hidden bat cave at Nottinghamshire's Gotham - it is pronounced "Goat'm" - and lacks even a peek at Robin and his chums.

It seems to fbb that Nottinghamshire has saved the subsidy on the Skylink link and the 865 by replacing them with an inadequate service expensively provided by (amongst others) fbb and the Mrs - i.e. general taxpayers.
Poor deal all round!

Incidentally, Rog reports that the bus used to be provided on an Arriva Click service - which has failed/ceased depending on your thought processes. fbb wonders who will be running it round empty next?

One incident, reported by Roger French when he rode the service (Bother, fbb cannot remember what it is called!) illustrates the problem with these less than helpful schemes.

His report concerned Patricia.

She had actually booked by phone but, for whatever reason had spotted the bus and decided to run a couple of hours early. But Marcus (the driver) said she couldn't travel early and would have to enjoy two hours at Clifton tram stop until her booked steed arrived, probably driven by Marcus!

Now fbb enjoys a good bus and tram terminus, but he has to admit that two hours at Clifton South ...

... would rapidly degenerate into mind-crushing boredom. fbb thinks there is a bit of a caff there but hardly a place to relax over a latte and danish. 

fbb would always prefer a tea and a hot pasty.
Perhaps fbb imagined the luxurious catering service on his last visit.

But Patricia's misfortune was soon dealt with by Uncle Roger.

It all sounds slick and efficient (yeah right!) , or as the web site explains, "simple".

Snorts of derision from fbb!

What would have happened had nice kind Rog not stepped in?

And why couldn't Marcus have done what Rog did?

And why couldn't Patricia catch her 865 that she was used to, and thus make a "simple" journey?

And what will happen to the many Patricias when my donation to the cause (tax) runs out and the Notts Bus On Demand is withdrawn and becomes the Not Bus On Demand? Will the 865 come back - of course it won't.

Questions that could be posed to the local MP who would probably not know what the questioner was talking about.

However, fbb did not imagine the Clifton caff! 

A blogger reports:-

And just part of the extensive menu.
And even "meal" deals ...
... although "meal" is another of those words for which the meaning has been somewhat "stretched"!

 Nex Bus Fares blog : Thursday 25th May 

1 comment:

  1. The issue is always, demand.

    East Midlands Airport is about Parcels. It needs staff buses from the surrounding towns.

    The holiday flights again need buses from the surrounding towns. London trains are of no interest and local buses are better than the local trains. There are always a few exceptions, but not enough for a regular bus covering 4am to midnight.

    East Midlands Parkway station was seen as white elephant when it was built. The shuttle bus to the airport lasted for 1 year.

    Rural villages now have most households with one or more cars. The bus is not required. Demand responsive might work, but most find friends and neighbours better.