Friday 29 March 2024

By Stagecoach To Unuversity (2)

 Half Empty Or Half Full? (B)

The more you think about it, why would the University of Northampton want to run a bus every 20 minutes serving two sites (Avenue Campus and Park Campus) that have been demolished and have no students. OK, Park  Campus has the figure-of-eight halls of residence ...
... but, is that enough demand for fir three buses an hour?
And now Stagecoach is also running three buses and hour. 
On a change from an earlier update, Stagecoach is showing the buses to the halls of residence in a different colour from the original route 4.
That might help the confusion that Alan reported on the first few days with regulars baffled by the change for which there were no maps and no printed timetables. Flo Wadworth of Obelisk Rise (DARK PURPLE loop) found herself at the Uni site whilst Emily Cudforth of Eastern Avenue North (BOTH routes) was very unwilling to board a 4A/4B (PALE PURPLE) and was adamant thay her bus was number 4.

In term of the business plan, Eastern Avenue North ...
... ex Coumcil estate, would be considered reasonable "bus territory" but Obelisk Rise ...
... and Scholars Green (ex Uni campus) would be less lucrative.
fbb guesses that the bean counters at Stagecoach are getting less than Uno did, but gaining from full integration with their Northampton network.


So, on the first days, Alan reported on an uninspiring mix of buses drafted in from elsewhere ...
... a view supported by Roger.
Did the take-over come as a surprise? Was the Stagecoach paintshop clean out of the correct colours?

This mess contrasts significantly with Uno whose livery is brighter and more attractive and was displayed on all vehicles operating all services.
Uno once had at least one artic in the Northampton fleet.
A small Uno bus usually sufficed for the non-passengers on the useless Park and Ride 18 ...
... whilst Roger's picture implies that Stagecoach hoped for higher loadings!
Fat chance!

Alan was less than impressed with the "poster" (don't laugh) informing confused passengers of the changes in departure stands at the far-too-small bus station.
Roger found something better ... 
... but obviously temporary and probably hidden away in the evenings when the town's "youff" would be looking for the vicarious excitement of playing "trash-the-banner".

There was no information of any use at any bus stop or bus station stand; not even a departure list. Mostly only this was displayed ...
...which fbb believes concerns discounted student travel,

As an aside, Roger French in his Bus and Train User blog of yesterday, reported on the welcoming entrance to the new Stockport bus station "facilities".
After a full interview" in the interrogation room ... 
... he was permitted to proceed to security as illustrated above. Unfortunately access was by cash only (20p - that's four shillings in pre metrication money) and he had no cash! 

In his blog, Roger did not reveal how his "needs" were dealt with.

In Northampton, Roger also photographed a very nice general poster.
The building in the background is, indeed, part of the new campus ...
... and, from the angle, you wonder whether the bus company sourced its sketch from the same place as fbb; i.e. the wonder that is Wikipedia!

In general, Roger was somewhat more positive than Alan - but then Alan lives there and has to use the services and deal with the cramped conditions at the bus station whenever he ventures forth!

Of course, Alan is thoroughly competent at coping with the "it's all on line" philosophy, but you would hazard a guess that there are thousands of Northamptonians, particularly those "of a certain age" who desire, nay need, a timetable leaflet and a map.

It is wholly short-sighted of Stagecoach not to provide them.

Maybe Stagecoach should take a look at East Yorkshire ...
... and Cardiff ...
... both companies that DO believe in telling ALL their passengers when and where their buses run.

It is worth quoting Alan's conclusion in full.

The University’s website has been updated, except for -
"Further information about bus timetables and maps for services operating in Northampton can be found on the Northamptonshire County Council website."
Oops! Northamptonshire County Council was replaced by two unitary authorities in 2021.
As, apart from traffic notices on the buses, there is no other printed information it is left to drivers to explain to passengers what has happened. To reduce confusion it would have been better to retain the route numbers 19 and 19A for the buses to Scholar’s Green. To add to the fun, departure bays at Northgate have been rearranged and the lads were digging up the road at the junction with Barrack Road preventing 4B making the turn into St. Georges’ Avenue.
The changeover is low key so far and probably likely to remain that way; but now you have no competition in the town to keep you alert to the needs of your client's. Also, local councillors lack any effort to improve the local environment by encouraging use of public transport.
More effort and attention to detail needed,  ?? out of 10  
At the "Last Supper", Jesus gave the Old Testament Passover meal a whole new meaning. Instead of "remembering" the escape from slavery in Egypt and the trek to the Promised Land, the new "Passover" woud be Jesus' death on the Cross for the redemption of sins. 

Instead of the blood on the doorposts in Egypt, the blood would be on the Cross and now offered for the salvation of all God's people.
A powerful and meaningful statement of the new COVENANT between man and God.

The "Good" celebrated at a modern communion service is the good of ...

 Good Friday 

But its didn't seem good at the time as all branches of Jerusalem "Authority" sought to eradicate the one who was  the Son of God.
We know the outcome.
Word puzzles will return on Monday

 Next Weend Variety blog : Saturday 30th March 


  1. Shiny leaflets should not be taken as a be all and end all. Go North East issued lots, but was busy losing money hand over fist; East Yorkshire has only been profitable with extra government cash, and Cardiff had to sell its depot freehold.

  2. Andrew Kleissner29 March 2024 at 15:55

    And the Cardiff leaflets aren't that easy to get hold of (and what's the point anyway? - we've already had one major timetable change this year with another coming on Sunday).