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Author Topic: Catch the Bus Week 2-8 July 2018  (Read 612 times)
bobm
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« on: July 01, 2018, 08:05:24 pm »

This coming week is the latest annual Catch the Bus week.

http://catchthebusweek.co.uk/

The website is a little thin on any specific events set to happen however......
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ellendune
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2018, 09:27:30 pm »

A bus that would do my 10-minute drive to work in under an hour would be a start. 
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2018, 09:55:37 pm »

A bus that would do my 10-minute drive to work in under an hour would be a start. 

Similarly here for my daughter's commute from Pinhoe into Exeter city centre....
 Bus: 45 minutes £3.80 single; no return available, but Day Rider after 9.30am £4.80);
 Train: 5 minutes £2.90 return (£1.90 with railcard)
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2018, 06:18:30 am »

Indeed in order to Catch the Bus, there has to be a suitable bus service ...

I was very thankful for the Faresaver bus on Saturday at 17:29 from Trowbridge Station to Melksham where it arrived at 18:03 - a 34 minute journey which would have taken 10 by train had it not been cancelled. 

As the crow flies, the journey is about six miles; as the bus drives, it must be double that, at a single fare of £4.50.  It gives a lovely tour of the 'burbs of Trowbridge which accounts for just under 50% of its patronage (Town centre and station to outer Trowbridge) including some of the new-build at Leap Gate with a route that goes through then back through the same way; glad to see it dropping off passengers there, and even picking one up. Once clear of Trowbridge, it's as direct as the road network allows - even to the extent of having  bus gate to use between Semington and Berryfield on the was-A350 (bus gate to discourage use of the old road as a rat run).

Suitable for a daily commute?  For a short distance, yes.  For a longer distance, no.  And it did remind me of the discussion ongoing about the Cross Country rail franchise and its purpose - longer distance travel, linking all the places along the way, or both.

1. Birmingham New Street, Cheltenham Spa, Bristol Parkway, Bristol Temple Meads, Taunton, Exeter St. David's, Newton Abbott, Plymouth

or

2. Birmingham New Street, University, Bromsgrove, Worcester Parkway, Tewkesbury, Cheltenham Spa, Gloucester, Bristol Parkway, Filton Abbey Wood, Bristol Temple Meads, Worle (for Lulsgate), Weston-super-Mare, Bridgwater, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St. David's, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbott, Totnes, Ivybridge, Plymouth

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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2018, 11:34:35 am »

As part of Catch the Bus week, the Campaign for Better Transport have published an update on their "Buses in Crisis"

http://bettertransport.org.uk/buses-in-crisis-2018

http://bettertransport.org.uk/sites/default/files/research-files/Buses-in-Crisis-2018_0.pdf

The data for Wiltshire in this report is curious ... and I was asked to take a look and comment ... following may make interesting reading

Quote
Iíve had a look through the report and the figures Ö and I have to conclude there some sort of data blip for Wiltshire - expenditure on bus support was certainly not zero in reality last year,though it could be been that there was some budget juggling of pots and so youíre seeing a true accountantís view.   Reported figures were:
   Wiltshire     £7,077,866   £4,593,562   £0   £2,595,500
with the £2.5 million being the budget for this financial year.   and then looking back at actual spends in previous years.   I would hazard a guess that around £3.6 million rather than 0 was spent last year.

The Wiltshire figures do NOT represent a drop in busses running in the country to just 36% of what they were, or even that just 36% of the routes / services that were supported 4 years ago continue to run.

There are some services - examples are the weekday 33 from Devizes to Chippenham and the Sunday D3 (formerly 271) service from Bath to Melksham and on via Devizes where the formerly supported routes have been able to go commercial because of their very success and the ability for efficiency changes to be made.   This is broadly positive, but isnít always painless; within a couple of months of the 33 going commercial, the operator thinned out the service and the removal of the first morning bus prevented people getting to the jobs they had Ö

Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge, Westbury, Warminster, and Frome (over the border in Somerset) are all rapid growing towns, and that helps make the commercial case for bus services - as Wiltshire becomes less of a rural county, and towns become larger, the proportion of buses on none-viable routes reduces.  I was struck last Saturday when I cause the bus from Trowbridge to Melksham (6 mies) that we took nearly half an hour from joining the bus to leaving the town, exploring old housing and new estates and dropping off a person here and a couple there.   Then a short hop through the countryside to Melksham - 40 minute total journey time for something that the train does in 9 minutes.   But the bus being viable precisely because it visited all those spots and had multiple traffic on a single vehicle / single driver costs.   There are also examples where new residential developments support bus services for initial years, and Iím not sure if such support is included in figures given to CBT

I mentioned some pain above - and undoubtedly there is pain.  Even if a bus is just carrying a handful of passengers, the social and/or financial exclusion suffered by each and every one of them if the service is withdrawn should be considered far more that it feels it is. It seems perverse to cut bus service and subsidy in a way that creates isolation with costs falling on other budgets which may outweigh the bus costs.  And a passenger who uses a quiet outbound service may return on a busier service which breaks even only because of that passenger and others competing their round trip.  Take out the loss making services and you turn other services that are part of the network of use into the new loss makers.

So whatís needed?   In my view, a planned public transport network;  there are some good examples above, but they have largely come about from a narrow very localised approach.  And they leave significant and irritating holes and complexities which - for people working together for the common good of the public transport industry - could be solved cheaply and lead to significant passenger growth.    Itís no use to me to be on a train arriving into Chippenham Station and seeing my bus pulling aware from the forecourt as the train draws to a halt.   Itís irritating to have to take only alternate buses back from Bath to Melksham because there are two operators and most tickets are not interchangeable on most services.    And wouldnít it be good (and cost saving) if each of those alternate buses ran a planned varied route to allow the  heavily supported but in that varied route section to be withdrawn; problem under the current setup that the commercial operator would loose some commercial traffic to his competitor.

Enhance Bus partnerships under the Bus Services Act allow for better co-operation and network planning.  But they need the organisers of services (operators and local government) all too want to do it, and to be prepared to put in the effort to make it work and take the risk of moving away from what they have always done.  Letís see what the future brings in that direction Ö and perhaps work actively to encourage it.   It should be possible to provide Better Transport without it needing higher subsidy!
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2018, 11:47:37 am »

Iíve had a look through the report and the figures Ö and I have to conclude there some sort of data blip for Wiltshire - expenditure on bus support was certainly not zero in reality last year,though it could be been that there was some budget juggling of pots and so youíre seeing a true accountantís view.   Reported figures were:
   Wiltshire     £7,077,866   £4,593,562   £0   £2,595,500
with the £2.5 million being the budget for this financial year.   and then looking back at actual spends in previous years.   I would hazard a guess that around £3.6 million rather than 0 was spent last year.

I have a note from Campaign for Better Transport.  "They [Wiltshire Council] did not have their budget figures ready for 2016/2017 and did not supply an estimate, so we've recorded it this way."  I stick by my guess and suspect I'm within 10% either way.
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