Friday 31 May 2024

Nice in Nice : Can you in Cannes? (5)

2B and Not 2B : that is A Question (2)

Palm Express B (DARK BLUE with dots) leaves Cannes due north via Boulevard Carnot which appears to have an exclusive lane for buses down the middle.
It veers off left onto Boulevard Paul Doumer which wiggles westbound ...
... until it comes to a sort of sausage shaped two way bit ...
... after which it joins route 2 (LIGHT BLUE without dots) which has also travelled northwards but via the Cannes Hospital.
Both routes then run, still northbound along the Boulevard Franklin Roosevelt.
The two routes (plus others) run alongside one another until reaching a stop called La Blanchisserie.
That's yer actual French for "laundry", literally "whiteness-ery".

Here is the junction on the network map.
Route 2 turns right to terminate in its own layby ...
... whereas Palm Express B continues north to a stop just beyond the junction.
Route B then leaves the geographical map and becomes diagrammatic as far as its terminus at ...
... Mouans Sartoux Centre - above c/o Streetview and below on the map.
We are told, geographically, that the SNCF station is just four minutes walk from the bus terminus.
It is a sweet and classic station retaining much of its historic origins.
And from the platform side ...
... it is not too different from the steam days of old.
And here it is again, on the map of the branch line fom Cannes to Grasse.
An hourly service of stopping trains runs to Cannes. Nice and on to Monte Carlo and beyond ...
... two hours of Cote d'Azur ferroequinological delight!

But, as ever, fbb digresses.

The purpose of this blog was primarily to answer the burning question of how Express "Palm Express" buses are.

They aren't!

Here is the Palm Express B all-stops route map showing its commonality with "ordinary" service 2.
And here is the all-stops route 2 map showing its commonality with the B.
Les memes arrets, exactement!

fbb is sure that Palm Express B offers more trendy buses in a posh livery with pointless discs over the front wheels ...
... but it looks much like all the other bus services in Cannes but with newer, better equipped vehicles!

For the record, ligne 2 (ordinary buses) runs every 12 minutes ...
... whilst "Express" B (posh buses) runs every 15 ...
... approximately!

 Next Variety blog : Saturday 1st June 

Thursday 30 May 2024

Nice in Nice : Can you in Cannes? (4)

2, B and Not 2, B : that is A Question (1)

Ligne "A" is branded "Palm Express" which is French for "Palm Express". It is often pictured with articulated Heuliez buses and sometimes some without articulation.
Note the less than legible route letter! At some stage a clearer version was shown.
The route starts at Gare SNCF and strikes westbound, calling at the Hotel de Ville bus station on the way.
The road is inland from the coast ...
... and somewhat more "interesting" at its western extremity direction.
Here is the outer terminus at Centre Commercial Minelle where you will find said dread red shed ...
... which, it claims, is an assemblage of all that is great in retail therapy.
Bus (sorry, "Ligne") "A" can be found at the very outer edge of the car park and a good toddle from one of several entrances to the rubicund remover of any remaining riches!
At least one picture has its route letter not in green on green, not in red on black but in white on blue!
Palm Express A runs every 12 minutes ...
... in the usual erratic definition of any frequency of Cannes buses.

But the question we are all asking is this:-

How express are the Palm Express lignes A and B?

fbb will tackle that vital question in tomorrow's blog. 

Meanwhile let us go to La Plage de Bocca (Bocca Beach for linguistically challenged Anglophiles). We can travel via bus route 22 along the coast road westbound from Cannes Centre. Our friend Palm Express A is futher inland ...
... beyond the railway.
The beach area is a more recent development ...
... where many of the naturally growing palm trees ...
... have recently been planted! There are some super-posh apartment blocks!
Whilst long distance access is OK via ligne 22 (ORANGE) ...
... local links are not so good, there being some hulking great railway yards in the way.

Undaunted by this geographical problem, Palm Bus has introduced a Summer "Shuttle" which doesn't appear on the current map and is not obviously listed in the web site.
Say hello to the Bocca Cabana! In 2023 it ran from 21st June to 10th September - which is probably why it remains secret at the moment. Frequency was every 15 minutes seven days a week ...
... and the timetable showed every stop. The route was an anti clockwise loop round the railway yards (!) with an interchange stop at Resistance Coubertin (map, top left) ...
... outside the Renault dealership.
Whilst the "normal" bus services whizz happily round the roundabout a few yards ahead of the Renault stop, as here with our favourite Express A ...
... stops in both directions on the main road are in the middle of the busy carriageway on reserved track ...
... but some distance east of said roundabout.
The Renault shed is centre left; the bus stops are by the greenery, upper right.

Zut alors.

In an attempt to resolve the Expressness of A and B, fbb will do a contrast and compare of two "lignes" running side by side, as it were, for part of their routes.

The "Nice" part of this series of blogs, nice though it would have been, is postponed for operational reasons!

 Next 'Can Do in Cannes' blog : Friday 31st May 

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Nice in Nice : Can you in Cannes? (3)

DRT a la Cannes

The one thing you can say about Cannes is that there are lots and lots of buses. When No 3 Son was working there and using the buses to get from his accommodation to his work location, he was overwhelmed with the choice and variety of service available. It was also very cheap and it was quite hard to untangle the payment system, especially if several chums were travelling together.

Such is the benefit (?) of a heavily subsidised and non "commercial' transport network!

Because Demand Responsive in the UK usually involves minibuses standing around empty or, in exceptional circumstances, carrying Roger French on free rides thus making the idea an expensive joke, fbb decided to look at its implementation in Cannes.

The map above is just one example of four such areas within the Palm Bus operating area. fbb decided to look at what appeared to be the smallest and simplest. Ha, jolly ha!
The web site has a whole section headed "Palm a la Demande" and delving therein, fbb easily found the Capitou service.
It had its own PDF leaflet which included a slightly more revealing map of the area.
Reference to both sources implies connections with routes A, 17, 18 and 23 at a stop called Capitou ...
... although the DRT service was shown as stopping at the Cemetery (below upper left) ...
... and NOT at the village centre stop (bottom right), although it is not far to walk. But the leaflet had a big surprise.

A timetable!
Notably, the timetable DID show a stop called Capitou in addition to the cemetery halt on the map. So it does connect, possibly.

So how does it work? Does the bus miss out stops if they are not booked? If so why is there a detailed timetable? Will the bus pass all stops allowing you to flag it down even if you haven't booked?


The "terminus" is given as Gare Routiere (bus station) de Mandelieu ...
... where you will find routes A, 17, 18 and 19.  And to challenge the fbb brain, this connection is not shown on any map!

But it is, after all, DRT!

And then there is route 13 and, like it, the 7A. Route 13 is a delight (?) as it wiggles and loops in a magical and mysterious manner.
It is something like an incredibly distorted figure of eight with a tail. Well, something like it, anyway.
As you can see, it is a numbered route in the normal Palm Bus series. It is run by a small minibus type vehicle ...
... and you have to book!
There is, however, a timetable and fbb has stitched the two unequal halves together so his inquisitive readers can work out exactly where the 13 goes!
And the best of "entente cordiale" luck! 

Maybe a simpler map will get you started or maybe it will put you off completely!
And gaze, mistifyed, on that dotted line. It shows buses going to Centre Helio-Martin.
It's a residential health spa - innit?
There is even a bus stop with pole, flag and timetable frame with timetable outside the main gate.
The appurtenances look posh and expensive BUT ...

... the DRT buses only offer journeys there (and back) in the afternoon and early evening.
At a guess, the bus is provided for staff only - spa customers would not descend to the indignity of using a bus; and certainly not at Cannes.

But that is not the end of the DRT investigation - but it is for today. 

This terminus ... 
... needs a further investigation. It looks quite well equipped with network maps ans timetables.
Here it is on that network map, not far from route 13!
It shows FIVE routes of which THREE are DRT. One of the "normal" rout s (28) doesn't get a mention in the terminus label!


Yet again, fbb's brain is going to hurt!

But tomorrow he will look at more "normal" services.

And a special thanks to correspondent David, who kindly sent fbb a correctly downloaded  PDF of the Palm Bus network map.

 Next Can in Cannes blog : Thurs 30th May