Friday 3 November 2023

From Our Man On The Spot


This weekend brings our monthly Fellowship meetings on Sunday and Monday. Either there are a lot more months in the year due to the ravages of inflation OR months are a lot shorter, mirroring the reduction in sizr of  chocolate bars! Either way, months appear with alarming rapidity.

To add to the fun (?), after disposing of the Scottish mega cold, just over a week ago the East Devon germs stepped in to fill the gap. The snoitery snuffles, dry cough and general lethyrgy are back in place but slightly less debilitating than the Caledonian version!

But we  soldier on, dutifully!

The consequence is that Monday's and Tuesday's blogs may be significantly curtailed if the energy needle drops rapidly into the sector painted red.


Daventry Changes - First Working Day

It is worth remembering that, way back in 1989, the United Counties direct route between Northampton and Daventry offered an hourly service. Two hourly route 41 (the rough equivalent to todays' hourly D2) was augmented by the two hourly limited stop route X64 to Birmingham.
The route map on the leaflet was, erm, basic! Until last weekend, and since the Daventry Dart brand and timetable, there have been two buses an hour fast (ish?) between the two towns. 

So things weren't always better in the good old days!

Alan write s:-

First journey   0958, Service D4, Long Buckby railway station to Daventry Bus Station.

This is the infrequent service further reduced as part of the "improved" timetable.

The stop for buses towards Daventry still has the now out of date timetable. 

The one across the road for buses into the village has none.  
On the journey to Daventry the five passengers already on the bus were joined by three of us at the station and one more at Buckby Wharf.

Like the new "improved" hourly frequency between Northampton and Daventry,, the kindest word for Daventry’s bus station is basic. However nearby there are toilets, and town centre shops, including providers of coffee and cakes. 

Timetable information has been updated, except for the 200 ...
... to Banbury which now departs at 32 minutes past the instead of the previous 15. That’s Stagecoach Oxford so “nuffin to do with us, guv”.
At least the web site is correct so "IT IS ALL ON LINE"

The only persons available to help passengers at the bus station were the bus drivers.

The D1 to and from Rugby went straight back there ... 

... no longer running to Northampton!

And a past example of Stagecoach's strict adherence to the correct brand!

Route 4 is a Rugby town service.

Northampton buses were operating in a complex quadrille of interworking.

xx05 depart Northampton as a D3

xx11 arrive Daventry (past the next hour.)

xx15 depart Daventry as a D5 (town service)

xx38 arrive Daventry

xx42 depart Daventry as a D6 (town service)

xx17 arrive Daventry (past the next hour)

xx22 depart Daventry as a D2

xx01 arrive Northampton (past the next hour)

xx07 depart Northampton as a D2

xx47 arrive Daventry

xx52 depart Daventry as a D3

xx59 arrive Northampton (past the next hour)

And the fun and folic continues!

I calculate that five buses are needed for a five-hour circuit. No route branded identical vehicles are used this time. 

fbb must congratulate Alan on working this out!"

He continues:-

Vehicle allocation is the “it has a wheel at each corner, send it out" system so we have two Enviro 300 single decks, two gold branded double decks and an 04 registered Trident double deck 18408.

While Gold liveried bus 15845 (originally branded for Gloucester route 10) ...

... has leaflets about the shiny new buses on Northampton services 1 and 2 on board; apart from the posters stuck on the bus shelters and the council press release reprinted by the “Daventry Express” there is nothing else printed to be seen. 

While younger folks are permanently attached to their smart phones, none are to be seen among the more mature clientele at the bus station on Monday morning. 

This is causing a certain amount of, - no quite a large amount of, - confusion.  This is not helped by the driver of a bus being rather tardy in changing the destination to service D5, resulting in several passengers being left behind, to wait another hour for the next.

Not very shiny or new Trident 18408 ...

... or its drivers had problems with its dot matrix destination screen and could only manage to show “Stagecoach” as its destination.

Bus preservation groups can arrange printed destination labels or even correct roller blind displays for one day events Stagecoach could not even produce handwritten signs on bits of cardboard for this bus. 

Later in the day it did finally mange to show D3 Northampton on the screens.

West Northants council also reports. Bus punctuality continues to be one of the top priorities for bus passengers.

Observations at Daventry confirm that they might have something to complain about. Any delay on that complicated five-hour circuit is going to delay every other journey.

Alan's conclusions are probably to be expected and are similar to fbb's. The difference is that Alan is there shivering on Daventry bus station seeing it all for real. fbb is sat a his desk/dining table/modellers bench/model paint shop in considerablr comfort looking from afar.

Overall verdict for Stagecoach and West Northants Council - on how the change to service patterns was managed on Monday - 6 out of 10, must do much better

As a model of indifference to passengers, preventing passenger numbers returning to pre-covid levels and discouraging people from using the bus it was perfect.

fbb reckons 6 out of 10 is overly generous!

Storm Ciaran Seaton Consequences 

Wednesday Night - VERY wndy! - heavy rain lashing against the front of fbb mansions.

Thursday Morning - the road outside fbb mansions is only just above high tide level, hence three steps up to the front door! So at 0820 yesterday winds and the tide overtopped the sea wall just up the road from the fbb residence.

The lake in front of the wall is the Esplanade. Normally the sea is nowhere near the Spot On caff.  It is not open at this time of year. Can't think why.

The surplus then ran down the slightly sloping Trevelyan Road and began to threaten properties including fbb mansions. Once high tide had passed however, the encouraging fluid ceased to encroach and by 0930, the road was clear of  H2O. It never got higher than kerb and pavement level.


 Next Variety blog : Saturday 4th November 

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