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Author Topic: First to revise services in West Wilts  (Read 2975 times)
grahame
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« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2018, 02:03:46 pm »

Launch event, Monday, Trowbridge







Representatives of Trowbridge Town, Wiltshire Council, and First Bus pose for publicity pictures.   Buses look quite nice too !



Written for elsewhere and shared ... "Bus Wars" rear their head again.

What does the public want for their public transport?  May I suggest an an answer. A reasonably frequent, reasonably fast, safe, reliable, sensibly priced, comfortable and stable network of bus services on which they can travel where they want, when they want.  And a system about which informaion is easily to hand - routes, timetables, operational changes on the day, and under which travel can be planned and amended at the last minute.

All those elements should be "no-brainers" - not only for the people who use public transport, but also for the people who drive it, the people who maintain it, the people who's communties and businesses it serves, and the environment and quality of life too - even for the people for whom a bus or train journey is never appropriate, as more people on public transport means less congestion on the roads.   Problem is, though, that the long term goals on who's principles we can probably all agree get overshadowed by the shorter term josting for position and passnegers on the more lucrative routes as operators compete with each other rather than the private car, and look to maximise their income rather than their passenger numbers, while on the borderline parts of the network and at marginal times of day, services are trimmed back to - and sometimes beyond - what people will actually use.

First bus - and before them Badgerline, and Bristol Omnibus - have been running Bath - Melksham  (and beyond) services for over 50 years. The 271 route number which ceases this Saturday night dates back to 1967, though there has been much change - see http://bristol-re.co.uk/bvbg/routes.asp?opt=S&IL1=3100 .  According to that page, Faresaver (an independent operator) ran some services in 1995-97, in 2006/7, and then from 2010 onwards.  Whether the earlier dates were in the nature of competition with the incumbent operator, or timed to knit in with the First services to make a better complete service, I do not know - but certainly the services as they have grown back from 2010, and the two different fare regimes, have lead us to a situation where better use could be made of the resources to provide an overall service of the sort I decsibed at the top of this article.

How you aportion "blame" for the bus service not being ideal is up to you, dear reader. Six of one, half a dozen of the other, with a further couple of handfuls of blame on "the system" - the system is the main culprit for sure, as these issues of what I describe as "bus wars" not being unique to Wiltshire, or to these two companies.

So - what is the prognosis for the bus route from Melksham to Bath?  With 4 vehicles per hour, we have an excellent service that for most of the day actually leaves at 15 minute intervals.  Returning it's not quite so good, with Faresaver leaving 10 minutes in advance of First. Faversaver's final bus back is 17:40 ... First offer later journeys at 18:05, 18:45, 20:00, 21:30 and 23:20.  If people use it and make the modal shift, I believe the  corridor can support 4 vehicles per hour. Without the modal shift, I fear that we might see yet another line in that history line in the listed 47 services/operators that have run over the years!  As a user of the evening bus to get back to Melksham when I'm working away, please forgive my preference - should we have a shakeout - for the operator with whom I can leave Bristol with up to 22:40, arther than the one I would have to be away by 17:06 for the last bus.   

My real preference ... I can point you to further details elsewhere ... would be 3 rather than 4 services an hour, on somewhat varied routes to replace some spasmodic other services with a regular bus and (pie in the sky time!) people who buy a ticket to go into Bath with one operator able to return with the other.

My worst fear ... that the company running a daytime only, never-on-a-Sunday service will come out as victor, and the bus service from Melksham to Bath will be reduced to a service for pensioners, school traffic, and a few who work very near the centre of Bath only, just like happened when the same two companies competed on Melksham to Chippenham.
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grahame
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« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2018, 10:39:01 am »

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bignosemac
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« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2018, 01:04:54 pm »

The beginning of the end for Faresaver on this route then?
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« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2018, 01:21:40 pm »

The beginning of the end for Faresaver on this route then?

Not necessarily - see my comments upthread at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=19537.msg236563#msg236563
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« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2018, 02:39:13 pm »

I have now seen a copy of the timetable leaflet covering the D2 service Bath to Frome. The previous 267 service has been reworked to a half hourly frequency during the day (now in direct competition with Faresaver), and alternately covering slightly varying routes within Frome. This provides for access over a wider area with the evening services still retained. I trust most people will welcome this as a great improvement. The leaflet is also very well produced with good maps and historical/tourist information which is all designed to increase ridership.

I assume the D1 and D2 have similar leaflets but for Frome, FAVBUG and the Bus Queen together with First Bus should be congratulated on a great effort. This shows what can be done with some adventurous thinking and marketing to develop bus services where the pattern can tend to become fossilised. 
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grahame
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« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2018, 06:15:42 pm »

I have now seen a copy of the timetable leaflet covering the D2 service Bath to Frome. The previous 267 service has been reworked to a half hourly frequency during the day (now in direct competition with Faresaver), and alternately covering slightly varying routes within Frome. This provides for access over a wider area with the evening services still retained. I trust most people will welcome this as a great improvement. The leaflet is also very well produced with good maps and historical/tourist information which is all designed to increase ridership.

I assume the D1 and D2 have similar leaflets but for Frome, FAVBUG and the Bus Queen together with First Bus should be congratulated on a great effort. This shows what can be done with some adventurous thinking and marketing to develop bus services where the pattern can tend to become fossilised. 

The D3 (Bath to Melksham) leaflet is similar (and of good quality) to the D2 (Bath to Frome) and likewise is stepped up to half hourly.  It too has a slight route variation - this time in that it now serves Batheaston rather than (!) queueing to get off the Batheaston Bypass.  Congratulations indeed to the Frome "end" who have been the lead at the launch stage.

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« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2018, 07:47:13 am »



From https://www.facebook.com/melkshambus

Quote
Melksham to Bath. Day return 6.50; Bath outer zone travel card 7.00; Group of 5 for 15.00 (after 09:30 on Monday to Friday, any time Saturday and Sunday).

Why not leave the car at home and take the bus into Bath? Services on route D3 every 30 minutes from Melksham Forest, Queensway, Bowerhill, Town Centre and Shurnhold / George Ward. (less frequent on Sundays and in the evening). Last bus back 23:20 (Monday to Saturday), 19:00 (Sunday). Up to 2 additional services per hour, Monday to Saturday daytime, on route X72 operated by Faresaver - different prices and most tickets are not interahcnageable. Bus passes accepted on all buses after 09:30 and at weekends.

Melksham to Swindon (via Chippenham) or to Westbury (via Trowbridge) - take the train. 25 minutes to Swindon, 7.40 off peak day return, 3.90 off peak day return, 17 minute journey, to Westbury. A third off for groups of 3 or more. Runs 7 days a week, every 2 hours.

and from TWSW also on Facebook

Quote
This is about Melksham ... but it applies to Frome too and it could apply to so many other places. An opportunity of an improving bus service to have a real modal shift and get people to leave their cars at home. It may be that encouraging people who have a choice to use the bus is less important that having buses for those without a choice, but if we can persuade everyone to share a bus, it's in everyone's best interest. The optional travellers help keep the service running for the hardcore who have no choice.
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