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All across the Great Western territory => Buses and other ways to travel => Topic started by: Timmer on January 22, 2022, 12:10:16 pm



Title: Bath & the surrounding area service changes from 30 January 2022
Post by: Timmer on January 22, 2022, 12:10:16 pm
Sad but not unexpected news that service D1 will no longer operate between Warminster and Salisbury.

https://www.firstbus.co.uk/bristol-bath-and-west/news-and-service-updates/planned-changes/bath-surrounding-area-service-changes

Quote
First West of England is making some changes to its Bath services from 30 January, to address services that are financially unsustainable and introduce a number of timetable revisions to improve punctuality and reliability.

Following long-standing issues with commercial viability and detailed discussions with the West of England Combined Authority and Wiltshire Council, Service D1 will operate hourly, Monday to Friday daytime, from Bath to Warminster (Boreham Fields) via Trowbridge with the aid of short-term financial support from the Combined Authority. The D1 will operate hourly on Saturday and there will be no change to Sunday and Public Holiday services. 

Service D1 will no longer operate between Warminster and Salisbury due to low passenger numbers but Wiltshire Council is working to source a replacement. In line with the changes to Service D1, Service D1x between Bath and Trowbridge will also be withdrawn due to very low passenger numbers.

Amongst a number of changes to improve reliability and punctuality, all journeys on Service 19 between Bath and Cribbs Causeway have been re-timed. Revised timings will also apply to Service D2 between Bath and Frome, which will also benefit from an additional afternoon peak journey to cope with high demand…
continues to list other changes in the Bath area.

Quote
First West of England’s Managing Director, Doug Claringbold, said:

“We already made changes to some of our Bath timetables earlier last year, with frequencies reduced slightly on selected routes in response to the nationwide shortage of bus drivers, which has exacerbated existing difficulties with recruiting drivers in Bath and was impacting our ability to maintain service levels.

Unfortunately this comes on top of issues with the viability of some Bath services that pre-dated the pandemic and will not therefore be resolved by any recovery in passenger numbers. Although regrettably we have had to reduce service levels between Bath and Warminster and will no longer operate to Salisbury, the West of England Combined Authority has been able to provide financial support to a number of services to limit any changes coming into effect on 30 January.

We will continue to work with Mayor Dan Norris’ team, as well as Bath and North East Somerset Council and other stakeholders, to explore further options for protecting services. The challenges are significant, but we are committed to try and find the best solutions to keep people moving.”


Title: Re: Bath & the surrounding area service changes from 30 January 2022
Post by: wiltshirebloke on January 23, 2022, 12:45:18 am
Beeline are picking up the replacement Service 24 between Warminster and Salisbury. Fingers kept crossed that connections will be kept, but are not guaranteed. 9 min turnaround at Salisbury end, 13 min at Warminster

Timetable reported to be as attached.


Title: Re: Bath & the surrounding area service changes from 30 January 2022
Post by: grahame on January 23, 2022, 08:23:00 am
Beeline are picking up the replacement Service 24 between Warminster and Salisbury. Fingers kept crossed that connections will be kept, but are not guaranteed. 9 min turnaround at Salisbury end, 13 min at Warminster

Timetable reported to be as attached.

Timetables from Wiltshire Council at http://option247.uk/timetables.html for both the 24 (Salisbury - Warminster) and D1 (Warminster - Bath) as they will run after next weekend.   Other timetables with short term changes are there too - TransWilts rail timetable as running at the moment thinned out due to Covid, and Melksham Town Bus running on a single vehicle, due to driver shortage.  Big thanks to Lee and Wiltshire Council for helping put these together in one place; various bits of social media publicity in the individual towns to let as many people as practical know what's happening.

First had planned to pull out of the whole D1 route - Bath to Salisbury.  In December, they registered plans to provide a very much more limited service out of Bath.  It follows a pattern that we've seen over a number of years as the old Bagerline services in Wiltshire have been lost and so I would characterise my (personal) reaction as "resigned to what they are doing" rather than shock. 

The way these things retrenchment things work is:
* A bus operator decides they don't want / aren't making [enough] profit on a route
* They register at 70 or 56 days notice a change with the commissioner
* The local authority is alerted, lets others know there's going to be a gap, and also works out if a service is socially necessary and if so if and how it can be funded
* The local authority sees if the original operator can be persuaded to carry on, or run something else to meet the needs, at a price
* Others are invited to bid / provide too (and it can be hard to find bidders)
* Bid(s) come in, contracts are worked out, and the service changes are publicised.

Lots of rumours can end up flying around (which worries the passengers) even for a service which is pretty darned vital to the communities served - and indeed past record is that it's far from certain that gaps will be filled.  It's also a bit of a panic to plan what should be long term provision over a very few weeks.  In this current case, I would like to record my admiration of the work done behind the scenes by the teams at both Withshire and WECA - Option 24/7 (http://options247.uk) has been somewhat in the loop in helping to explain the above process so we're aware of various "it might be [only] this" stuff which I do not propose to document here as it would confuse now that we have something worked out.   Which is:

* An hourly bus from Bath to Warminster on the same D1 route that has been running until now.  Funded with support from WECA until April (so it's a short term contract) and operated by First (West of England) from Bath.  With low bridges at Limpley Stoke and Yarnbrook, the route is limited to single decker vehicles.

* A bus ever two hours from Warminster to Salisbury on what will be known as route 24. Funded with support from Wiltshire until April (so also a short term contract) and operated by Beeline from their headquarters in Warminster.

The timetables are co-ordinated to that the incoming bus from Bath drops off through passengers in Warminster who have a few minutes to connect (alternate hours only) into the Salisbury bus. The bus from Bath then provided a loop around the suburbs of Warminster.   In the opposite direction, the bus from Salisbury arrives and drops people off a few minutes before the return D1 journey, starting in the 'burbs, calls.

The theory is "good connections" but if one vehicle or the other is significantly late, the connections will be broken. My understanding is that under traffic commissioner rules, delaying the onward bus by waiting could lead to penalties, and in any case you would be "robbing Peter to pay Paul" with what could well become a knock on delay, especially on the 24 which has quite a tight turn around - indeed it's probably OK in the winter, but if the roads in Salisbury get very busy in the summer, or there are significant road works, or indeed if there are lots of passengers adding to the time spent at stops, it gets tight.

And ... I am not sure what's happening on through fares - I know it has been looked at.  In Utopia, both services would call at Warminster Station to connect all ways with trains, and journeys like Codford to Bath and White Horse Business Park to Salisbury would be single-ticket, multimodal, advertised, marketed, guaranteed, co-ordinated. But this in not Utopia - it's Wiltshire.  The desire is there, but the vested interests enshrined in law have made it impractical thus far.

We are in for a further round of this saga over coming months as the various parties look to sort out the spring and summer service on the corridor, not helped by the lack of any clear joined up direction from HMG / DfT on funding bus services after March.

 



Title: Re: Bath & the surrounding area service changes from 30 January 2022
Post by: grahame on January 23, 2022, 08:36:10 am
To add ...

As their (First's) route and depot network has been of late, the D1 has been a long, thin branch out of Bath.  With their Westbury depot shut down, the "far end" of the route in Salisbury has been prone to extended delay when a vehicle has problems out there during the day, having to get an engineer / new vehicle / recovery crew all the way out from Bath. 

Operation from a depot in Warminster, actually right beside the route, makes huge sense. Even if the "incident rate" is the same, incident resolution should be so much quicker!


Title: Re: Bath & the surrounding area service changes from 30 January 2022
Post by: grahame on January 30, 2022, 11:31:50 am
I have posted some general thoughts on most appropriate (most useful) discussion and campaigning at http://www.passenger.chat/25953sanityneeded which included a hefty chunk on "D1". January changes are done BUT they are only short term and we need to monitor progress and help work out the next stage ...


Title: Re: Bath & the surrounding area service changes from 30 January 2022
Post by: Mark A on February 03, 2022, 09:42:05 pm
Sad but not unexpected news that service D1 will no longer operate between Warminster and Salisbury.

https://www.firstbus.co.uk/bristol-bath-and-west/news-and-service-updates/planned-changes/bath-surrounding-area-service-changes


Thanks for posting this, it helped me find out what's happened to Bath's 6/7 buses serving Larkhall as its not easy to find the timetable on their web site - they previously ran to/from the bus station, but to assist timekeeping are now turning round at the Guildhall. So, a seven minute walk between there and the railway and bus station & bus/train connections rather weakened, especially if encumbered.

In the evenings from 8pm they *do* still run from the railway station (evening runs funded by the local authority) but as they're only hourly by then, connections from trains are likely to be grim.

Just from the point of view of people travelling within the city and making connections by bus, the 6/7 services are now a less attractive proposition, given that Bath has a largely hub-and-spoke model of services, and the days of me taking a bus to the station for the 9:08 train to Waterloo seem very distant.

(The enquiry desk at the bus station's also gone - though still physically present and accessible. There's no notice on it to say that it is now unstaffed, so I stood by it being ignored by all and sundry for a few minutes till a driver passed by and kindly sorted my enquiry - but if I'd been a visitor and not known in what direction to walk for the bus, this would have been a bit of a challenge. It's also a challenge for people who need to catch one of the services to, say, Twerton that run from something called 'Ambury' as many Bath people don't know where that is, let alone visitors...)


Title: Re: Bath & the surrounding area service changes from 30 January 2022
Post by: grahame on February 03, 2022, 10:13:44 pm
(The enquiry desk at the bus station's also gone - though still physically present and accessible. There's no notice on it to say that it is now unstaffed, ...

No, but there's a notice on the outside inviting you in:

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/binfo3.jpg)

They'll tell you what you can do at Christmas (last year? this year?) on another notice:

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/binfo0.jpg)

And the route map (last Saturday) was showing routes than had already seen their last service.  Only slightly out of date - some of the maps in the buses showing routes that cease in April 2020

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/binfo1.jpg)

while directly across on the same bus YOU are extolled to keep up to date

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/binfo2.jpg)

Public transport has cut its costs to the extent that is turning off its business - new users will be put off by things like the above; they may make one Journey if they can work it out, but they're likely to be put off, and they're likely to share their stories with friends.





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