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Author Topic: MetroBus  (Read 154363 times)
Reading General
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« Reply #915 on: November 28, 2019, 11:26:47 am »

With all the short termism for the bottom line on buses, I have to wonder at the costs elsewhere in the First group - does it really take 100 people to design a triangle?    Would any of them be capable of driving a bus?

From the Guardian

Quote
Avanti West Coast will also have a new logo: an orange triangle. According to the train operators, the triangle was designed by an independent creative team of more than 100 people working in two locations: an old pickle factory in London and a theatre in Amsterdam.

The triangle, First Trenitalia said, symbolised how their train service will bring communities across England, north Wales and Scotland closer together.

I found the industry to be full of things like this. The actual day to day running of buses and planning better corridors for the future didn’t interest the management but networking and contracting fashionable companies they would love to talk about. Modern bus management see the service as a sellable product rather than a reliable form of transport, meaning that the image of buses, mostly directed towards those who don’t and will never use them, is far more important than recovery time for a vehicle. It’s too easy to suggest that traffic holds buses up and that’s to blame, but in reality this was never the main cause of late running in my experience driving them in Reading for 20 years. They generally were not concerned at how it could be improved, having the correctly branded vehicle on the route however was enormously important and occasionally journeys would be missed simply because the available vehicles were the wrong brand. Image led. Of course all this would go out of the window when a lucrative rail replacement job appeared and the old vehicles wheeled out for the town services, again for the benefit of the company’s image to other transport based organisations.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #916 on: November 28, 2019, 01:23:20 pm »

That's 100 people in "an independent creative team," ie Avanti WC hired a design company to come up with a logo for them (and a story behind it, and different uses and so on). That company happens to have two offices employing 100 people in London and Amsterdam. So no reflection on First.
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rogerw
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« Reply #917 on: November 28, 2019, 01:51:35 pm »

Fuller details of bus changes in Bristol have now been published.
https://www.firstgroup.com/bristol-bath-and-west/news-and-service-updates/news/first-west-england-announces-january-service
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I like to travel.  It lets me feel I'm getting somewhere.
mjones
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« Reply #918 on: November 29, 2019, 08:52:50 am »


"Service m2 (Long Ashton - City Centre) will continue to operate every 10 minutes during peak times on weekdays but will run at a slightly reduced frequency of every 20 minutes during off-peak times "

'Slightly reduced'? Halved! Average waiting times doubled! That moves it from within what is generally considered to be a turn up and go service to one where you have to consider the timetable.
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Reading General
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« Reply #919 on: November 29, 2019, 12:38:14 pm »


"Service m2 (Long Ashton - City Centre) will continue to operate every 10 minutes during peak times on weekdays but will run at a slightly reduced frequency of every 20 minutes during off-peak times "

'Slightly reduced'? Halved! Average waiting times doubled! That moves it from within what is generally considered to be a turn up and go service to one where you have to consider the timetable.

Clever isn’t it?
 This is what the managers do best, wording things to sound positive. You’ll find many buses in Reading with ‘every xx minutes’ written on the side. Look a bit closer and written in smaller writing before it will be ‘up to’. Check a timetable and you will find that the frequencies vary wildly to suit the operator. Reading’s ‘flagship’ route 17, the only remaining crosstown route established as a tram then trolleybus route, has an ‘every 7 minutes’ poster instead of a timetable and it’s generally believed that this is true. However driving it, it’s clear that only a couple of hours in the middle of the day is this true, with 12 minute gaps at some points. Other routes quoted frequencies are only true in the middle of the day and the frequency is reduced at peak time so an extra vehicle doesn’t have to be added to the cycle, this has occurred since the route branding and run cards were unable to do multiple routes, a disadvantage of branded vehicles, so a 15 minute quoted frequency can end up being a 24 minute one.

The Bristol metrobus is the proof needed that we cannot manage bus rapid transit in our towns and cities mostly built pre world war 2. For serious change in people’s habits on moving around urban areas, the mode needs to change and at least have a fixed path, even in places where it shares space with regular traffic. Clever marketing lies do not get people to change habits.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #920 on: November 29, 2019, 02:55:00 pm »

This is what the managers do best, wording things to sound positive. You’ll find many buses in Reading with ‘every xx minutes’ written on the side. Look a bit closer and written in smaller writing before it will be ‘up to’. Check a timetable and you will find that the frequencies vary wildly to suit the operator.

It won’t be long before GWR follows suit:

From December trains every 17 minutes from Melksham*

* The gap between the 15:16 to Swindon and the 15:33 to Westbury on Saturdays.
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« Reply #921 on: November 29, 2019, 08:02:32 pm »

Further to my previous post on this thread they must really bestruggling to get pax on the m3 off peak, new fare to be introduced off peak, £5 for 5 pax single fare traveling together I understand.
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martyjon
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« Reply #922 on: November 30, 2019, 05:15:44 pm »

New Metrobus vehicles to be named all begining with a G, so far names reported are Gonzalez, Gandulf, Ginny and Gabrielle.
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martyjon
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« Reply #923 on: November 30, 2019, 05:31:56 pm »

Seen a report claiming from next April m2 will run on Sundays. Does this mean that BCC have finally pulled their finger out and agreed with the neighbouring parish council or is there a caveat only until the Portishead line is reopened, well that sorts that out for the next 30 years at least.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2019, 05:38:45 pm by martyjon » Logged
martyjon
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« Reply #924 on: December 01, 2019, 10:56:45 am »

Seen piccy of one of the new gas fuelled vehicles to be used on the 42 route, colour all over red not dissimilar to the red used on the LA P&R when previously operated by First. Also no window on the staircase or the double exit doors contrary to the spin put out by the LA when the bus order was announced.
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« Reply #925 on: December 01, 2019, 11:06:42 am »


"Service m2 (Long Ashton - City Centre) will continue to operate every 10 minutes during peak times on weekdays but will run at a slightly reduced frequency of every 20 minutes during off-peak times "

'Slightly reduced'? Halved! Average waiting times doubled! That moves it from within what is generally considered to be a turn up and go service to one where you have to consider the timetable.
That's a P&R service isn't it? That makes it even more inconvenient.  Every 10 mins it doesn't matter if you're slightly delayed by traffic and miss the bus, but if you have to wait 20 mins for the next one, that's a real pain.  So now when setting off people have to leave much more margin for error, which increases their journey time.  Or they just don't bother and decide to drive in and pay for parking instead.
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TonyK
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« Reply #926 on: January 19, 2020, 05:25:19 pm »

And now, courtesy  of the  Bristol Post comes a comment from  the local top man  in First  Bus. James Freeman has probably  scuppered anny chance of the coveted spin doctor job at MetroBust, acting  as deputy to  Comical  Ali, but he  has clearly  had enough of  MetroBust.

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First Bus boss blames 'appalling' metrobus delays on roadworks
He says the £230m spent on metrobus is 'largely wasted', as the service isn't running as it should

The £230million of public money spent on Bristol’s metrobus project has been "largely wasted" because the buses are getting stuck in roadworks, congestion and traffic.

That’s the admission of the man in charge of making metrobus work, made in a startling open letter to the people of Bristol apologising for the ‘appalling’ service.

Last week Bristol Live reported passengers were left with long waits at bus stops, with one slamming First Bus for an "exceptionally rubbish" service.

The delays coincided with new timetables being introduced, but First West of England’s commercial director Rob Pymm blamed delays on congestion as he apologised to passengers.

Now the firm's managing director James Freeman has spelled out in detail how and why the two main Metrobus services have been so bad, and issued a ‘sincere and heartfelt apology’ to everyone who has been affected since the start of last week.

Mr Freeman’s First Bus runs the m2 and m3 metrobus routes, and loans buses and drivers in a deal with Bristol Community Transport, for the m1 route.

In a strongly-worded attack on those responsible for the metrobus project in the first place, he said the services aren’t working because the buses just keep getting stuck in traffic, roadworks and terrible congestion.

“£230million of public money was spent on creating metrobus, on top of which the operators have invested £10.5million on top-of-the-range buses,” he said.

“It’s largely wasted if we can’t run the service properly or at all. Not only that, if our much-vaunted metrobus system, by which so much store has been set, is not to be entirely discredited as an alternative to driving cars, then somehow the way has to be found to make these metrobuses able to run through these areas of increasingly chronic congestion.

“This approach has started to be recognised in Bristol but metrobus can’t work if we don’t realise that we must take urgent action,” he added.

There has been traffic chaos and gridlock in large parts of Bristol’s ‘northern fringe’ - from Filton, Patchway and Bradley Stoke, round the Avon Ring Road to Emersons Green and down the M32 since the start of the post-New Year ‘return to work’, a week and a half ago.

That has been down to a number of factors, including the start of several major roadworks projects across South Gloucestershire and north Bristol, that have effectively caused rush hour gridlock.

Metrobus was supposed to be a stand-alone project to bring fast and efficient rapid transit bus services from the outer areas of Bristol into the city centre.

Metrobus was supposed to be a stand-alone project to bring fast and efficient rapid transit bus services from the outer areas of Bristol into the city centre.

But while some sections have taken buses away from the rest of the traffic congestion - for instance the expensive and controversial metrobus-only exit and entry onto the M32, and the guided rail route in south Bristol, from the Long Ashton park and ride - metrobuses are still part of the traffic congestion for large parts of their journey, especially across north Bristol and in Bedminster.

Mr Freeman’s open letter outlined exactly how that gridlock stops his metrobuses, and said he understood why people were so angry.

“Here we are at the start of a new decade and no more than a week into it we are confronting appalling disruption to our lives as a result of traffic congestion particularly in the northern fringe of the conurbation,” he wrote.

“While this affects many people, it particularly impacts people who have made the lifestyle choice to use public transport to travel, particularly to their work.

The m3
“Last Monday we introduced a fleet of eight brand new bio-methane fuelled double-decker gas-buses, replacing diesel buses, on the m3 metrobus service between Emersons Green and the city centre.

“This is an investment of £2.4 million in the buses alone. By Tuesday, these splendid new vehicles were utterly gummed up in appalling delays on the A4174 Ring Road. A journey that normally takes about 35 minutes was taking an hour and 35 minutes.

Not only is that frustrating for those on board, arriving at work late, in all probability, but it also means that the buses weren’t getting back to Emersons Green to operate their next trips. So, the bus to operate the 8.15am departure from Emersons Green was actually only getting back there after 9am. Thus, the 8.15am journey only ran when we found another bus and driver (over and above the eight that we bought).

“Then the buses were actually proceeding so slowly that they were picking up more passengers at each stop, so that there was no space left for people wanting to board at places like Hambrook – those people finding themselves left behind.

The m1
This is technically run by Bristol Community Transport from a new depot in south Bristol, and goes from Hengrove and Knowle West all the way to north Bristol.

But the cross-city nature of the route means any delays anywhere in the city have a knock-on effect far away.

“We introduced a carefully-planned change to the peak-time timetable last Monday,” said Mr Freeman.

“This was designed to re-assign some capacity to cope with the extra people that we have attracted to metrobus in the Bradley Stoke and Stoke Gifford areas.

“The new arrangement provides a 7/8 minute peak time frequency between Bradley Stoke and the city centre – increasing the number of seats per hour from 450 to 600 over this section.

“But on Tuesday South Glos Council started long term road works at the Great Stoke roundabout on Bradley Stoke Way.

“The resulting congestion has delayed buses by up to 40 minutes on each journey at the key morning peak times. This has totally disrupted the rest of the service straight through the morning, all the way to the very south of the city.

"So not only did this mean that the many people who have adapted their lives to picking up the bus at Begbrook near the new bridge over the M32, but even worse it meant that buses didn’t turn up on time at stops all across the route in south Bristol.

“For these people, the delays and disruption are completely inexplicable to them. You can forgive them for thinking we’re useless,” he added.

Passengers have been deluging First Bus, social media and Bristol Live to complain either the buses don’t turn up, or when they do, they are full and no one can get on.

Mr Freeman claimed this is part of the bigger problem.

“When the buses have been turning up at Begbrook, they are so delayed that they have picked up extra people and are therefore unable to collect any of the people waiting.

“The m3 buses, similarly if not worse delayed on the A4174, are also full when they reach this point. Small wonder then, that social media was full of angry entries last week – the one that caught my eye was from a customer who waited more than an hour to get onto any bus – long gaps being followed successive fully-loaded buses. No wonder these people were angry.” he added.

Mr Freeman said all he has been able to do is find extra buses and get managers to drive them. “But this is a sticking-plaster approach and very expensive as well,” he said.

“In the meantime, we must offer our riders, not just on metrobus but on the many other routes that are affected, especially from Thornbury and Bradley Stoke, Yate and Emersons Green, a most sincere and heartfelt apology if you have been affected this week.

“My fear is that, despite our attempts at mitigation, these problems will repeat next week and the week after and on until half term.” he added.

Harsh words indeed from the Managing  Director of the bus firm, as MetroBust continues to pick up spurious awards. It hasn't come as a shock to me.

« Last Edit: January 19, 2020, 05:30:29 pm by grahame » Logged

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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #927 on: January 19, 2020, 11:03:27 pm »

Full text of letter is here: http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=22752.msg280397#msg280397
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TonyK
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« Reply #928 on: January 19, 2020, 11:19:57 pm »

Thanks,  Red Squirrel, my comms staff didn't  notice the  new  thread, given that we are away from our normal tech hub at present.
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TonyK
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« Reply #929 on: January 24, 2020, 09:45:10 pm »

It  never rains but it pours for poor old MetroBust. Part of the river wall alongside the New Cut has collapsed, and Cumberland Road is shut. It could be a long job, as part of the Harbour Railway went with it, as well as the Chocolate Path.

The closure of Cumberland Road means that M2 services have to use the A370, and are doubling back to follow Coronation Road, not known for free-floating traffic. It can't use any of "special" bit, because once into the guided bit, the only way out is into Cumberland Road.

It seems Bristol Water had to fix a burst main in the road the day before. They believe that movement in the road probably caused the burst, rather than the other way around.

I can't do my usual quoting, having only my phone for access to the web, but the link to the story.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2020, 09:50:59 pm by TonyK » Logged

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