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Author Topic: State of the Nation - transport, Cornwall  (Read 3271 times)
grahame
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« on: August 31, 2017, 06:56:51 am »

Two Facebook posts - a bus and a train one - on Cornwall, part of a series designed to provoke thoughtful conversation and help engage individuals and groups across the South West in looking forward from a customer viewpoint.  Facebook members - your help in sharing these to appropriate places would be appreciated.   Comments welcome here too, of course.  Some members may not agree with everything written ...



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Cornish Main Line. Pictured on the 06:00 Penzance to Cardiff in early July 2017, between Saltash and Devonport.  Passenger numbers on trains across the South West have rocketed over the past 10 years, with the UK's railways now carrying as many passengers as they did at their peak, although there's now only half the route mileage left open.  The rate of growth has been far higher than was planned for, resulting in overcrowded trains like this one, as new capacity is for the most part still a promise / in the pipeline rather than being with us yet in the South West.  In the last year or so, growth has slowed down - but that's probably not due to a lack of demand.  Rather that you can't get more people on the train!

The Cornish main line - Penzance to Plymouth - currently has an irregular service, with gaps between trains of up to 80 minutes.  Plans are that in the not too distant future, there will be a regular 30 minute "clockface" service - so that the gaps will be filled - and that trains will be longer.   This 06:00 off Penzance is currently scheduled to be the first service on the line replaces by a "pocket rocket" - a 4 carriage train that uses the the locomotives and some carriages from a pensioned off High Speed Train, fitted with automatic doors (to reduce the time spent at stations making sure it's ready to restart) and disabled toilets (for, obviously, disabled people - and also to ensure it's still legal to use beyond 2020).

We look forward to the increase in capacity - passengers cannot travel on promises, and we've had promised / scheduled dates for extra capacity broken far too many times to totally believe what we're told now.   The proof will come when extra capacity is actually delivered on a daily basis, with minimal cancellations and reductions of train length due to "shortage of drivers", "shortage of train managers" or "more than usual trains requiring repair at the same time"




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Prestige bus fleets. The Tinner bus fleet - running services T1 and T2 from Truro to Penzance - is an example of a fleet branded and promoted to a route. These 20 ADL Enviro 400MMC buses were all new in 2016 and are being used in promoting this route; although operated by First Kernow, they boast their own branding rather that the new green of First Kernow, or a standard First livery.

Where a route justifies frequent, quality buses, such branding is not uncommon. Other examples in our area are Oxford to Swindon, and Bristol to Wells. Reports suggest that on the right route, such a marketing and sales operation can be an excellent investment for the operator, with traffic growing well (and beyond the growth of seating) as a service that can be used on a "turn up and go" basis reaches people that less frequent, and less distinct, buses don't.

There is a concern with a "prestige route" that traffic may be sucked like from a sponge from adjoining routes, to their detriment - that the route will become an entity in its own right rather than part of a network. Current comment in Swindon and Royal Wootton Bassett about the services between those two points are showing that a fast, frequent service may be great, but West Swindon to Royal Wootton Bassett has has a lessening of service due to a concentration on the main flow to the exclusion of other, but significant, opportunities.

The Tinner bus in Cornwall is a case in point of this lack of integration. The author of this post was due to catch a train from Hayle to Penzance on a Sunday in July ... train cancelled (First group train), and advise was to wait for next one two hours later ("no alternative available" say the chap on the help point). But this bus ran just a few hundred yards away. Guess what - First group company too, but not integrated or branded into the network.

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Cornish bobby
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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2017, 12:48:59 pm »

During times of severe disruption to rail services in Cornwall rail tickets are sometimes valid for travel on local bus routes.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2017, 01:42:26 pm »

During times of severe disruption to rail services in Cornwall rail tickets are sometimes valid for travel on local bus routes.

But why only during times of severe disruption?   Wouldn't it encourage more people to use public transport if they could go out on the train and back on the bus or vice versa?
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ChrisB
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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2017, 02:06:10 pm »

Because there's no way of sharing the fare box(es)
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2017, 02:18:55 pm »

During times of severe disruption to rail services in Cornwall rail tickets are sometimes valid for travel on local bus routes.

But why only during times of severe disruption?   Wouldn't it encourage more people to use public transport if they could go out on the train and back on the bus or vice versa?

Because there's no way of sharing the fare box(es)

Two possible scenarios:

a) Shrug your shoulders and don't bother about the extra business that would be available

b) Do something about it.  With the same parent company, how about "whoever takes the money keeps it"?   Come to think of it, that would be a rough and ready way with different parent companies and might not be far out!
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ChrisB
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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2017, 03:04:26 pm »

Cheap way of travelling by train - buy a bus ticket. No, I don't think that'll catch on somehow.
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RichardB
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« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2017, 03:13:24 pm »

During times of severe disruption to rail services in Cornwall rail tickets are sometimes valid for travel on local bus routes.

But why only during times of severe disruption?   Wouldn't it encourage more people to use public transport if they could go out on the train and back on the bus or vice versa?

Because there's no way of sharing the fare box(es)

Two possible scenarios:

a) Shrug your shoulders and don't bother about the extra business that would be available

b) Do something about it.  With the same parent company, how about "whoever takes the money keeps it"?   Come to think of it, that would be a rough and ready way with different parent companies and might not be far out!


Cornwall Council are working up the "One Public Transport Network for Cornwall" concept, anchored around the greatly improved Plymouth - Penzance rail service.  The vision is one network, one timetable, one ticket so they are aiming for interavailability.   
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2017, 03:26:07 pm »

Cornwall Council are working up the "One Public Transport Network for Cornwall" concept, anchored around the greatly improved Plymouth - Penzance rail service.  The vision is one network, one timetable, one ticket so they are aiming for interavailability.   

Yes - and I love that vision.  Seems to make sense!

Cheap way of travelling by train - buy a bus ticket. No, I don't think that'll catch on somehow.

In some places "cheap way of travelling by bus - buy a train ticket" though.   It's not uniform!
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trainbuff
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« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2017, 05:14:52 pm »

Cornwall Council are working up the "One Public Transport Network for Cornwall" concept, anchored around the greatly improved Plymouth - Penzance rail service.  The vision is one network, one timetable, one ticket so they are aiming for interavailability.   

Yes - and I love that vision.  Seems to make sense!

Cheap way of travelling by train - buy a bus ticket. No, I don't think that'll catch on somehow.

In some places "cheap way of travelling by bus - buy a train ticket" though.   It's not uniform!

Yes indeed. Train fares are cheaper between Redruth and Camborne than the buses. The service is also quicker than the bus! Grin
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« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2017, 07:37:42 pm »

Cheap way of travelling by train - buy a bus ticket. No, I don't think that'll catch on somehow.

Opposite way round in Cornwall. The train is considerably cheaper than the bus. A railcard holder can travel from Penzance to Plymouth for cheaper than a bus from Penzance to Camborne. Or Liskeard to Plymouth.

Take a regular journey I make to Plymouth by bus is 7.50, or by train 5.95 (3.95 railcard)
I often use the bus as despite being 3.55 more expensive it's a regular and reliable service. It's also clockface. The bus is always busy all the way into Plymouth. We've been upgraded recently to longer buses- double deckers can't operate the route 11 due to a low bridge.
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grahame
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« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2017, 09:09:11 pm »


Take a regular journey I make to Plymouth by bus is 7.50, or by train 5.95 (3.95 railcard)
I often use the bus as despite being 3.55 more expensive it's a regular and reliable service. It's also clockface.


It's going to very interesting to see what choices people make when the train goes clockface and (I would hope) reliable. Of course, reliability may be more difficult to achieve where there's trains running as far as London and Scotland into Cornwall.
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« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2017, 02:30:26 am »

In some places "cheap way of travelling by bus - buy a train ticket" though.   It's not uniform!

Even in commuter land that can still be the case.  Oxford to Radley return on the train is peak 4.50, or off-peak 3.80, but it's 4.80 on the bus.  Mind you a single on the train is 3.60, but only 3.20 on the bus!
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« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2017, 08:02:54 am »

Another "Cornwall post" [here].  I'm somewhat nervous about posting too many thoughts about Cornwall's transport knowing what expertise we have here, but it's part of the overall TWSW role to know / inform / promote / help groups all across the South West - and "seeding" discussions in places like this forum seems to be a good way of encouraging people to talk, discuss, learn.

I know a little more about Cornwall now than I did before my July holiday down there.  Having said which, that's only a little more and there is a lot more good practise to learn from!
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« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2017, 08:38:48 am »

The first pic is perhaps disproportionate. It is the Devonport High school for Boys 'school bus' from most stations between Liskeard and Devonport. It is normally rammed with school boys. DHS has a great reputation and attracts kids from as far away as liskeard.
The 0600 from Penzance calls at Devonport so is the train of choice.
The 1557 from Plymouth is the same coming back after school.
Two services I know to avoid! I've used the 1557 a few times and hundreds of kids board at Devonport. Gwr regularly use bus dupes for the 1557 from Plymouth calling at liskeard and Bodmin parkway only, to keep the train free for Devonport pick ups.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 01:55:05 pm by richwarwicker » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2017, 01:02:34 pm »

The first pic is perhaps disproportionate. It is the Devonport High school for Boys 'school bus' from most stations between Liskeard and Devonport. It is normally rammed with school boys. DHS has a great reputation and attracts kids from as far away as liskeard.
The 0600 from Penzance calls at Devonport so is the train of choice.

Let's say that when I got on that train at 06:12 at Hayle, I hadn't realised just how busy it was going to get.   Mind you, from Hayle there was a long gap and little choice if I was to make my Taunton meeting. It's also just about the only choice, as I recall, from Menheniot where we picked up a substantial load too.   Good train to select to go up to 4 cars when it can.   Almost as packed as the 17:53 Chippenham to Melksham  Cheesy

Huge flood off, as you suggest, at Devonport.     Traffic on and off at the other stations between Saltash and Plymouth was light, but then their main service is the Gunnislake train.
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