Sunday 31 December 2023

Post-Festive Pot Pourri (5)

Edinburgh Excitement

fbb has commented before on the excellent CHRISTmas Day network of services operated in Edinburgh by Lothian Buses, still owned by Edinburgh Council and therefore, one must presume, keen to offer support to its residents!

But there is more.

The two "country" operations of Lothian buses also publish a festive timetable and have buses running on Christmas Day. The first batch (Lothian Country) are for an area where the upstart has now seen off the incumbent with the pull-out of McGills (formerly First) from routes where Lothian has competed.

Here is a route diagram ...
... omitting Livingston, just off the map to the left. And here are the Christmas Day servicers.

and here is the diagram for Lothian East Coast Buses ...
... and the three routes operated.

Good, innit?

Ah but, we hear you cry, everybody knows that Scots place more emphasis on New Year than Christmas! 

Actually they don't; they just have two knees-ups with much celebration each time!

But Edinburgh's New Year's Day services are just the same as on CHRISTmas day with an excellent set of routes serving the city and out of town buses identical to the above.

But here is the thing, Just along the A8 in Glasgow we find ...

... joyous festive buses (?) ...

And Seasons Greetings from all at First Glasgow

Joy or Jeopardy in January?
We know that Lothian Buses has cornered the market for travel between the city and Edinburgh Airport. Service 100 Airlink ...
... runs frequently, every 10 minutes, during the day and seven days a week.
It is the obvious way to get from Airport to centre although the tram is a viable alternative but possibly slower and certainly with more stops, so it will feel slower even if it isn't! But there is a tram-shaped information "lounge"!!
fbb would always take the tram!

For a very long time service 100 has been the service to take.
In the past there has been competition for airport business, for example from Guide Friday ...
... but Lothian has had the vehicles, the "presence" and the frequency to overcome any attempt to muscle in on its business. And if the competitor won't go away, Lothian just buys them out!

That domineering approach has always applied to its city tour business as well.

But along came First Bus, intent in giving Lothian a bloody nose in response to competition on the Livingston routes. Needless to say, First's very first Bright Bus leaflet is still on line for anyone to find ...
... and spread confusion over the current fare. Mind you, McGills, current Bright Bus owners, don't help; this from their current web site:-
One offers a fare at £15, the other at £18 with no explanation!

But, to the point, fbb.

From January 1st Bright Bus (i.e. McGills in an orange skin) ...
... will start a competitive service  between Edinburgh and the Airport.
The price compares VERY favourably with Lothian's £5.50 ...
... and the route and stops are similar.
The buses are not super-posh, being recycled single deckers from McGills take-over of First.
They certainly look the part on the outside - BUT ...
... will they match Lothian's posh interiors ...
... with oodles of luggage space and "leather" seats?
Bright Bus is not as frequent as Lothian and doesn't run all night ...

So, it's a gamble!

Can McGills establish a "presence" quickly enough and before their budgeted "investment" runs out? Lothian are good at this game as McGills have already found in the Livingston area.

Expect fireworks!
Quality - or Price? 

Or Tram?

The tram is £2 dearer than the Airlink bus - at a whopping £7.50. OUCH!

  Next Pot Pourri blog : Monday 1st January 2024 

Saturday 30 December 2023

Post-Festive Pot Pourri (4)

Antipodean Adventure Part 4

The globe-trotting pair called in at Singapore on the way to NZ and Oz, as you do. The above is just one of the spectacular terminals at Changi Airport. But if you look closely behind the waterfall you might just spot ...
... the "Shuttle" LRT train which will link you with Singapore's MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) network.
The shuttle runs from the Airport via Expo to Tanah Merah where it connects with the full-sized GREEN MRT route. This video shows improvements at the "junction" which may presage extending proper trains into the airport, although current thinking is that this improvement is not due until 2040.
After Expo station ...
... the shuttle drops into tunnel under a runway and into the terminal building.
A glance at the network map extract shows more connections via the BLUE line at Expo and via proposed routes on the BROWN line and the LIME GREEN line all still at the planning stage.

The MRT is not ancient like London's Underground. After much political kerfuffle, the first five stop section (map below [1]) opened in 1987, followed quickly by the extension into the city centre [2].
This formed the basis of a North South Line, a name still used today. Next came the cleverly named East West line ...
... opened in stages [3] [4] on the west and stage [6] with a bit more ....
... on the end of the eastern section [7].

On the west a branch was added [8] which ultimately joined to the north of the North South line..
All of that was opened in just THREE years although work had been going of for many years earlier. This, then was the network in 1990.
But look at it now on a map of pf current lines and those proposed up to 2040.
(click on the above map for an enlargement)

There must be more money in Singapore than in London or, perhaps, a better focussed political will to do right by the people and for the environment.

Of course trains are fully automatic with platform doors ...
... and frequencies are between every 5 min at peak and every 7 min off peak! Stations are well "signed".
Note the MRT logo, the station name, the entrance number (4) and the colour coded lines served. 
As well as line colours, each set of platforms had a number code (EW17 is station 17 on the East West line) which must help with Singapore's multi-lingual society.

By No 1 son and wifey did have a complaint (and not "Delhi Belly"!!). Whilst the full line diagram was consistent throughout the system ...
... station plans were very much not cartographically to a standard compass rose orientation. 
North could be any which way!
It means that No1 son and his Mrs found their personal street orientation sort of ...

... disorientating!!

Trains are simple in style ...
... and not designed for comfort ...
... or long journeys! There is also plenty of standing room ...
... which is probably needed at peak times!
But the Antipodean Adventurers were impressed with Singapore's quirky mix of the traditional and oriental, matched everywhere by the modern and high rise!
fbb quietly, but unrealistically, wishes he were 40 years younger.

And there are loadsa buses as well!

Tomorrow we go to Edinburgh. And there is other stuff.

 Next Airport blog : Sunday 31st December