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Author Topic: Where does my time go - 24 minutes moving but 68 minute journey  (Read 945 times)
grahame
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« on: March 24, 2019, 08:51:27 am »

An 09:30 appointment in the centre of Bath, a 24 minute drive time, yet a need to walk out my front door at 07:54 if I'm going by bus, or 08:35 if I'm driving.  Why?

This post is inspired by the view from the operator thread looking  at modern day bus operation from the bus company's view.   Here's my passenger analysis ... my example journey

First Bus journey D3, Monday to Friday
07:53 - Bowerhill, Kingfisher Drive (Passes Coronation Road stop near to my home about 5 minutes later)
08:59 - Bath, Bus Station



In that pie chart ...

No allowance for onward walk to final destination
No allowance for bus arriving earlier that I really need to be there / hanging around (next arrival is 09:57)
Pie chart generated through https://plot.ly/create/pie-chart/#/

Raw data for bus journey (educated estimates in minutes):
2,walking to the bus stop
5,waiting for the bus
15,in traffic / road control
24,on the direct move move
14,at intermediate stops
8,serving backroads
Total - 68 minutes

Raw data for equivalent car journey (educated estimates in minutes):
2,walk to car; get in; turn on; leave property
19,in traffic / road control
22,on the direct move
7,finding parking
Total - 50 minutes

For an 09:30 appointment 10 minutes walk from bus station / 5 minutes from nearest car park
Need to leave home 07:54 (bus), 08:35 (if driving)

- broadly repeated on way home
- note gaps of up to 2 hours in evening and Sunday buses home.
- Favesaver bus also available Monday to Saturday, daytime; may cut wait but ticket may not be transferrable



When driving by car, just as on the bus, I find traffic congestion really frustrating. Traffic / road control time includes things like traffic lights, which delay too, yet somehow feel less frustrating if the light sequence is not painful  slow. A bus lane on this particular route reduces the bus congestion time and frustration ... and increases driver frustration in the oft-jammed car lane alongside. A bus-only section of road also means that the bus can go through a way that cars cannot.

So - how do we make for shortening bus end-to-end journey times, with a gain for passengers and for bus operator vehicle efficiency??
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martyjon
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2019, 09:16:11 am »

But, Grahame, you haven't included defensive scheduling, you know, when the bus doesn't show up and if the bus you planned to take is the first of the day do you travel the day before and book a night in a budget hotel ? In cases like you describe the car wins every time.
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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 09:18:34 am »


So - how do we make for shortening bus end-to-end journey times, with a gain for passengers and for bus operator vehicle efficiency??


An example, between Newquay and Truro there are 4 buses an hour, all by different routes.

85 - via crantock, cubert, Holywell Bay, newlyn east, shortlanesend - 78 mins
87 - via perranporth, st Agnes, threemilestone - 81 mins
91- via Indian queens and Fraddon -55 mins
93 - via St. Columb major, Indian queens, Fraddon, Mitchell - 75 mins

The 91 and 85 leave within 5 mins of each other from Newquay yet the majority of passengers go for the 91 for speed. Interestingly the retired generation often go for the longer routes. All carry reasonable passenger numbers, the 91 is effectively the fast express route with limited intermediate villages served. The other 3 routes pick up their loads at intermediate villages and housing estates, but carry less end to end passengers.

In your route, would an express route and a slow route serving all the villages and housing estates. Route 1 serving end to end and the larger settlements in between. Route 2 servicing all villages and housing estates? Route 1 being a fast option would probably attract new passengers end to end as a viable alternative to the car, building passenger numbers if advertised well and a fair fare.
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bobm
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2019, 09:32:02 am »

The 91 and 85 leave within 5 mins of each other from Newquay yet the majority of passengers go for the 91 for speed.

..and both say Newquay on the front - none of this Ealing Broadway, Radley or Cholsey nonsense....
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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2019, 09:47:27 am »

The 91 and 85 leave within 5 mins of each other from Newquay yet the majority of passengers go for the 91 for speed.

..and both say Newquay on the front - none of this Ealing Broadway, Radley or Cholsey nonsense....

Truro* they’re leaving Newquay Wink
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2019, 09:53:49 am »

But, Grahame, you haven't included defensive scheduling, you know, when the bus doesn't show up and if the bus you planned to take is the first of the day do you travel the day before and book a night in a budget hotel ? In cases like you describe the car wins every time.

I considered that ... and if the 09:30 was an appointment which was time-dependent, I would suggest the bus 30 minutes earlier. But then driving I would also leave 30 minutes earlier.   And a further 30 minutes for either mode for a critical appointment.   Car is not immune from problems - I drove to the RUH (Royal United Hospital) in Bath about 10 days ago; on 9 out of 10 occasions I would take the bus but this one was different.  Dropped off [name] near the door, then took 45 minutes to get parked up and back in - when I should have been offering support during [whatever], I was playing "hunt the space" with many others, the driving elsewhere / off site to park and walk back.

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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2019, 09:54:15 am »

Grahame, your very lucky if it only takes 7 minutes to find a car park space, pay and start walking to your destination.  When I try to park I often end up driving around for half an hour (depending on time of day, of course).  Since I've had my bus pass, I have used the bus into town (city centre) more often than not as its MUCH quicker.
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2019, 10:07:22 am »

The 91 and 85 leave within 5 mins of each other from Newquay yet the majority of passengers go for the 91 for speed.

..and both say Newquay on the front - none of this Ealing Broadway, Radley or Cholsey nonsense....

Do not make the mistake of taking the no. 46 bus to Paddington from King's Cross (56 minutes) - wait for the 205 (26 minutes)!
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grahame
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2019, 10:12:17 am »

Grahame, your very lucky if it only takes 7 minutes to find a car park space, pay and start walking to your destination.  When I try to park I often end up driving around for half an hour (depending on time of day, of course).  Since I've had my bus pass, I have used the bus into town (city centre) more often than not as its MUCH quicker.

Specific example and time.   

I think my other follow up talking about 45 minutes to get parked was written in parallel with your writing - I am very much aware of the problems.   For Bath City Centre, early appointment at [place], short term car park before all the short term visitors for the day fill it, car park that's pay before you leave (so the extra pay time is there) - yes - I have a lucky example.
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2019, 10:47:06 am »

In your route, would an express route and a slow route serving all the villages and housing estates. Route 1 serving end to end and the larger settlements in between. Route 2 servicing all villages and housing estates? Route 1 being a fast option would probably attract new passengers end to end as a viable alternative to the car, building passenger numbers if advertised well and a fair fare.

I understand the question / thought.  I think for my specific example the compromise chosen is about right - I estimated (just) 8 minutes for the two sections of village / housing that could be bypassed.  Without those sectors, and moving a half hourly service to two less frequent services, I'm unsure of the commercial viability.  In fact I'm tempted another way if asked to suggest ... replacing those (total) 8 minute mid-route diversions with a different 8 minute diversion in alternate services. D3A via Whitley and Batheaston, D3B via Corsham.   As ever with what [is / should be] a network, lots of ripples to consider.
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jamestheredengine
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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2019, 11:03:54 am »

I imagine less than half one's time actually being on the move is pretty typical. For instance, here's my journey into work:

Raw data:
Walking from my house to the station   13
Waiting for the train   5
On a moving train   40
Intermediate stops   3
Changing trains   4
Walking from the station to my office   8
Being early for work/desk breakfast   24
(for a total of 97 minutes)

Interestingly, Google predicts enough traffic to think that driving from my house to my office would take 75 minutes to get there for my start time (going up to 85 on the way back). So once one adds in finding a street just far enough out of town not to cost some extortionate daily rate in parking, then walking back in, driving would be a very slow and not very practical option. (But when having a nice commute by train is a factor in where one lives and works, this was probably going to be an inevitable consequence.)

As for improving bus journey times, I don't know Bath well at all, but if it's anything like Cardiff, the key issues will be bottlenecks on the outskirts of the city centre. For instance, Cardiff Council could improve bus journey times no end by banning cars from all of the bridges over the Taff except the A4232 and the M4 (and any council that tried this would immediately lose the next election).

The other thing that makes buses really unattractive is the way that so many British cities have radial routes that get into the centre and terminate, rather than continuing out the other side. This gets particularly ridiculous when one throws in pedestrian zones, so that buses will tend to terminate from both sides on the near side of the centre (forcing a long walk to interchange) or on silly one-way loops with a massive layover half-way round (a recipe for circuitous and slow journeys – I don't know why bus companies don't understand the basic point that most passengers do not want to travel in circles).
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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2019, 12:00:44 pm »

I imagine less than half one's time actually being on the move is pretty typical. For instance, here's my journey into work:

You're on the move for 61 out of 97 minutes ... that's assuming that "walking" is all movement and not too much waiting for pedestrian crossings or chatting with folks you bump into.

Quote
The other thing that makes buses really unattractive is the way that so many British cities have radial routes that get into the centre and terminate, rather than continuing out the other side. This gets particularly ridiculous when one throws in pedestrian zones, so that buses will tend to terminate from both sides on the near side of the centre (forcing a long walk to interchange) or on silly one-way loops with a massive layover half-way round (a recipe for circuitous and slow journeys – I don't know why bus companies don't understand the basic point that most passengers do not want to travel in circles).

I suspect they're damned if they do and damned if they don't.   Sorry you don't know Bath but it's my local example. Some of the routes are joined, others not ... but then which route do you link to which other route?  And how do you keep delays on one side of the city being reflected into delays on the other side?   Where you get a city centre one ways system (often cursed by the bus operators as much as by the users!) and cross-city buses are both on the same city loop, how do you ensure that people - especially visitors - catch the right direction?

All you points are excellent ... sadly, we're short of magic wands, and everything needs to be done while not offending the average voter - who drives the average car ...
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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2019, 02:21:31 pm »

All of these centre diversions took place in the low point for transport, the 1990's. The rush for the fad of pedestrianisation without thought for public transport has left almost every town and city in the country with this same cross town route problem, of course as always with the exception of london. Almost every single Reading Corporation route was cross town mainly for operational reasons, but lives revolved around them after they had been running for so long. For example kids from an estate to the south would go to school in the north of town. Crosstown routes have problems with what operators like to call cross contamination, but then again in Reading, when the routes were severed neither side was any more reliable and on most occasions it would require more vehicles to run split. The balance I have noticed is that routes that cross town should have a frequency of at least 10 minutes to work, those with less work better as a radial route. High frequency routes doubling back and running the same direction in both route directions (phew) should always be avoided as it causes nothing but confusion and annoyance. As great as it is to not make the public walk and drop them to places as close as possible, the majority do not like doubling back as no progress is made on their journey. A two minute diversion into the new station northern entrance by the north Reading routes put many people off using the bus to get to town as well as the addition of terminating in the town centre away from other bus routes simply to please a particular group of passengers who wanted it to stop immediately outside the town centre Sainsbury's

Cheers
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jamestheredengine
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« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2019, 02:57:42 pm »

The 91 and 85 leave within 5 mins of each other from Newquay yet the majority of passengers go for the 91 for speed.

..and both say Newquay on the front - none of this Ealing Broadway, Radley or Cholsey nonsense....

Do not make the mistake of taking the no. 46 bus to Paddington from King's Cross (56 minutes) - wait for the 205 (26 minutes)!

The weird thing is that the 210 makes the mirror image to the 46's hairpin turn a little further north in Hampstead. It's as if someone's perversely mismatched the route segments.
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grahame
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« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2019, 05:40:48 am »

I observed during the journey at the top of this thread - Melksham to path last night; I had a 6 p.m. appointment actually at the bus station.  Left home 96 minutes before 6 p.m; the following bus actually scheduled to arrive at 18:00 was too risky.   Contraflow service, so few passengers to slow it at stops. But noticeable how one or two individual passengers joining / leaving took significantly longer than the average passenger.

16:24 - 16:27 - walk to bus stop

16:34 - join bus

17:33 - bus arrived at Bath Bus Station
- at a dead stop of 17 minutes and 20 seconds of that journey (mostly congestion, lights and some waiting time)
- 13 minutes spent off the main route; guesstimate that it would have taken 5 or 6 mins on direct roads
- bus felt like it was dawdling at times (and it probably was, to keep to timetable)



Homeward journey - finished at 19:42, bus at 20:00 - only as far as Market Place then walked via Chinese takeaway; was checking email rather than observing on the bus; getting used to typing on the bus without feeling sick!.
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