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22 October 2014

Solo Swap Shop Etc

First have been swapping Solos: 53110 and 53111 have transferred to Yeovil - in their place Plymouth has received 50279 and 53005 from First Cymru. First 50279 ©Richard Smith

Some interesting news about a temporary route that Plymouth Citybus are running:
The 11 between Oke & tavi can't run via it's normal routing via Brentor at the moment due to one of the cattle grids having collapsed big time. It is going to be some weeks before it it repaired, and in the meantime traffic is diverted through the side gate used by horses. This is too small for the Scanias on the 11, so they are doing a doubleback at Lydford and running direct down the A386 to Mary Tavy. Meanwhile DCC is funding a shuttle to run between Lydford and Mary Tavy via Brentor using Citycoach's minibus. Sadly I couldn't get a photo yesterday as the minibus was away on a private hire so a Holman's minibus was in use (though it failed to arrive at either Mary Tavy or Lydford on my trip back north in the afternoon ...) Thanks to Richard Stedall for the update. He adds... If might be worth mentioning this shuttle on you blog to see if anyone can get any photos ... after all it's not every day Citycoach gets to run a rural bus service like this !

Tom Michaels updates us on Blue Flash 42: All the Blue Flash single and double deckers are having their branding changed to read City – Derriford – Tamerton/Tavistock. This is because in the new timetables the Tamerton runs will interwork with the Tavistock runs. 103 is in the paintshop being resprayed into Blue Flash livery. Sounds strange, though as detailed in my comment is far more efficient than the current workings with an extra bus which sit in Bretonside for 30 minutes a trip. Note also the every 30 minutes branding at the rear has been removed too for the Tamerton runs.
Citybus 504 has receieved the new lettering so far. Photo Here. 501 and 503 have not been changed yet.

Recommended Reading

  • BRITISH BUS BUGLE: Tyne & Wear votes to de-deregulate The North East Combined Authority has voted for Nexus to be given TfL-style powers over the buses in Tyne & Wear. The matter now passes to an independent review board
  • IAN VISITS: Passenger services could be restored to Southall railway line This weekend, a cargo railway in West London saw humans transported instead of waste as the local heritage railway laid on shuttles using a restored steam rail-motor engine. A rare chance for train geeks to ride along a bit of track, but one that could see a lot more traffic if plans by the local council are approved.
  • IPSWICH BUS BLOG: 32493 BACK IN TOWN AND IB X3 TO OPERATE ON SUNDAYS Many thanks to James Long and the depot team for allowing him to take this picture of 32493 AU53 HKL which has returned to Ipswich with sister 32489, leaving only 32488/91/94 of the 66 Deckers to be done taking her place for refurbishment 69422 AND 69425 IN SERVICE First Ipswich Volvo B7RLE 69422 AU58 FJJ entered service today on the 60/61, complete with full branding to front and sides while sister 69425 AU58 FFM here on the 88 still has no branding.
  • NORWICH BUSES: The early days of President's in Norwich - Part One Anyone who has taken photos of buses in Norwich any time in the last four years will have noticed the masses of ex-London President's in use
  • PUBLIC TRANSPORT EXPERIENCE: 1952 : London, Then and Now The MX5 service polarised opinion in the town. There were those who were 100% in favour of coach travel and, equally, those who were utterly committed to rail. Ne'er the twin would meet! Good News for Rail Passengers? Or is it? Without the inclusion of returns, there is a very real possibility that people using the new site will pay more than they need. All credit to the sponsors of the site for trying their best but fbb would advise EXTREME CAUTION in taking its advice.
  • STEVES BUS AND TRAIN PAGE: Unity Lems Prob Conti I could scream when in pre- and post-WW2 shows they go to enormous lengths to get things right regarding period, buses are usually so inaccurately portrayed. With so many correct vehicles available they invariably get it wrong. Weekly News Round Up There have been many pics in blogland of freshly repainted buses in Ipswich with bright shiny silver wheels. Sadly these wheels are getting less silver and dirtier by the day. Is it too much to ask that the wheels are kept clean? It's little features like that which makes vehicles stand out and shows a real pride in the fleet. NURSE - Please Help!! As regular readers will know I don't normally do short, one item posts these days, but there are exceptions to every rule and this is one. I had to go to Norwich today and hoped I might just see freshly painted PURPLE - remember that colour - it's important

20 October 2014

Considerably Reluctant Hound

The problems continue at Western Greyhound : It is with considerable reluctance, as a result of an unprecedented driver shortage that we are forced to suspend some rarely, or lightly used late afternoon or evening journeys on Mondays to Saturdays for a period of time as we seek to recruit new drivers. We have carefully selected the journeys to cause the minimum of disruption to our passengers. The services affected are the 521, 529, 555, 556, 587 and 597. In many cases it is only 1 or 2 journeys on each service that will be affected.
521 - Newquay - St Dennis - St Austell The following journeys will be suspended from Monday 20th October 2014 until further notice. 1925 from St Austell to Newquay via St Dennis 2030 from Newquay to St Austell via St Dennis 2330 from Newquay to High Street via St Dennis.
529 - Bodmin - Roche - Bugle - Penwithick - St Austell The following journeys will be suspended from Monday 20th October 2014 until further notice. 2125 from St Austell to Roche and the 2200 return from Roche to St Austell.
555 - Padstow - Wadebridge - Bodmin - Bodmin Parkway Station The following journeys will be suspended from Monday 20th October until further notice. 1830 from Padstow to Bodmin Parkway and 1930 return from Bodmin Parkway to Padstow. the 2030 from Padstow to Bodmin Parkway and the 2210 return from Bodmin Parkway to Padstow.
556 - Padstow - St Merryn - Newquay Airport - Newquay the following journeys will be suspended from Monday 20th October until further notice. 1705 from Newquay to Padstow 2310 from Padstow to St Merryn
587 - Newquay - Perranporth - St Agnes - Truro The following journeys will be suspended from Monday 20th October 2014 until further notice. The 1905 from Newquay to Truro via Perranporth, and the 2205 from Newquay to Perranporth.
597 - Newquay - St Columb Major - Truro The following journey will be suspended from Monday 20th October 2014 until further notice. the 2045 from Truro to Newquay via St Columb Major
Western Greyhound 817 MX55WCT

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  • ANDYS BUS BLOG: Showbus Norfolk Green's latest additions begin to enter service our regular correspondent David Bell was lucky enough to photograph one of the vehicles in the fading afternoon light on his return to the town yesterday. Rail Replacement special... Three Bridges - part 1 the large scale closures which take place there always turn out an interesting selection of vehicles and operators covering the lines South to Brighton and Eastbourne Rail Replacement special... Three Bridges - part 2 Today we are concluding our latest two part Rail Replacement special, it's one that has been featured on the blog in the past - Three Bridges
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  • EAST NORFOLK: Route Branding One of the perils of route branding is the possibility that the said bus may appear on other routes
  • FOCUS TRANSPORT: Government Reveals Plan to Sell off the UK's 40% Stake in Eurostar The chancellor will say he is looking for bids by the end of the month and is hopeful the privatisation of the Channel tunnel train operator will raise up to £300m. Doubts Expressed About Driver's CPC Following an investigation by the Transport Select Committee here doubts are being expressed by MP's about the effectiveness of the Driver's CPC. Currently all new professional PCV &HGV drivers must pass an initial qualification, and all existing professional PCV & HGV drivers must take periodic training on a five-yearly cycle. New Tube Trains Revealed The Mayor and London Underground (LU) have revealed stunning new designs for the 'New Tube for London' - the next generation of Underground trains, which will come in to service from the mid-2020s.
  • IAN VISITS: 200 years ago — the London Beer Flood 200 years ago a tsunami wave roared down several streets in central London laying waste to the area and drowning a number of people. The tsunami wave was made of beer Weekly round-up of London’s railway transport news Tube passengers left ‘screaming in terror’ as window ‘explodes’ on Piccadilly Line 60 mini Boris Buses to be deployed across London A display of some of the 60 new mini Boris Buses took place in central London this morning causing more than a few heads to turn and people to point and giggle at the sight. Disused tube station tours to resume in January Next January, the public will be let back into Aldwych tube station for guided tours led by the Transport Museum.
  • LANCASTER OMNIBUS: Bus User Group Launch Sparks Media Frenzy The projected launch of a Bus User Group for Lancaster has led the Lancaster Guardian newspaper - on what was obviously a slow news week - to lead with a front page splash attacking Stagecoach's fares policy and service delivery in the city.
  • NORWICH BUSES: Dominating Norwich "there is only one in service and that's at Greatt Yarmouth, the others have been black listed by the unions for diesel fumes within the bus" 33163 returns in the new Norwich livery As I'm sure you are all aware, First Norwich have begun to paint the fleet into their new livery, which features bright colours at the front and on the rear (depending on route colour branding) as well as corporate colours towards the rear of the vehicle.
  • PUBLIC TRANSPORT EXPERIENCE: An Open Letter to the Minister [3] It is worth repeating the fbb mantra for journey planners. You can either be comprehensive or comprehensible, never both. Try to include all options and you will, inevitably, increase confusion and lead customers into unworkable journeys 1952 : Pub Crawl and Public Transport As part of his own downsizing he has supplied fbb with some really juicy timetables for areas of the chubby one's particular interest. This reduction of clutter c/o Clive has now increased clutter c/o fbb towers much to the chagrin of the domestic authorities! But what superb clutter it is!
  • SOUTHAMPTON UPDATE: 13 cut back from Central Station / Romsey revamp First 13 is being cut back from Monday 27th October, so that it will no longer serve Central Station. Merry Oak and Harefield will therefore lose their direct link to Central Station, but can still use the 13 to catch the train from Woolston
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17 October 2014

Swooped: 204

Its been a while since the last swoop, but there is a new swoop on the block: Plymouth Citybus 204

© Richard Smith

Recommended Reading

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  • IPSWICH BUS BLOG: FIRST IPSWICH DRIVER ON TV AND IPSWICH BUSES FEATURE IN BUSES MAG Following on from my article on Saturday about Double Amputee driver Justin Pearson, ITV Anglia news was filming yesterday a piece presumably for that nights program
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  • PUBLIC TRANSPORT EXPERIENCE: An Open Letter to the Minister [2] fbb Investigates But didn't fbb promise that he would investigate WHY answers were (a) daft and now, additionally, (b) different? Any why is the East Midlands Traveline site the only one that gets it RIGHT?
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15 October 2014

Citybus Changes Part Two

The next set of timetable changes have been announced by Plymouth Citybus : Plymouth Citybus Service changes to commence from the 23rd November 2014. Plymouth Citybus is to make a number of changes to its bus network from the 23rd November 2014. Many of the changes being done to improve overall reliability in particular Services 42, 29/A and the Service 34. Below are details of our changes:

Service 34:

Route changes: None. Time and Frequency changes: Service 34 has found it very challenging keeping to time during the Monday to Friday peak travel to work times. To address this, up to an additional 10 minutes per journey has been applied to a number of peak time journeys with a number of early morning and mid evening journeys having their departure times adjusted in order to fit in the extra time. Evening services reduced from around 19:00 as part of our changes to the service 29 and 28B Monday to Saturday.

Service 42

Route changes: None Time and Frequency changes: Plymouth Citybus changed this service from the 31st August and despite conducting extensive time trials we have found the section of route between Derriford Hospital and Tavistock very difficult to keep to time. The changes to the timetable in the main add an additional 5 minutes in each journey allocated to the section of route between Tavistock and Derriford Hospital. This additional time has been put into the Service Monday to Saturday. Service 42A/B Route changes: None Time and Frequency changes: Some journeys have needed to move by a few minutes as a consequence of the changes to the Service 42.

Service 43

Route Changes: None Time and Frequency changes: Service frequency adjusted Monday to Saturday to operate up to every 15 minutes for most of the day, with buses providing through journeys on the Service 50 to Derriford Hospital via Prince Rock and Estover. Through journeys available Sunday to Saturday across the day with through fares available. The change in frequency on the Service 43 provides a frequency of up to every 5/10 minutes Monday to Friday and 7/8 minutes Saturdays along Victoria Road. There would also be 14 buses an hour operating between St Budeaux square and the City Centre Monday to Friday and up to every 5 minutes on Saturdays with Services 5/A and 29/A.

Service 45

Route Changes: No Change in the route between the City Centre and Ivybridge Town Hall. From the Town Hall the service is to be withdrawn from Exeter road and Rail Station and instead is to operate up to every 30 minutes along Hartford Road, Cole Lane, St Peters Way, Woolcombe Lane, then into Leonards Road past the Town Hall around the roundabout then back to Plymouth as per the current route. Time and Frequency changes: Sunday and Bank Holiday services are to be withdrawn. No changes to the frequency of Service Monday to Saturday with an additional journey to Ivybridge leaving Plymouth at 20:25 Monday to Saturday.

Service 50

Route Changes: Service to be withdrawn from Charles Street and Mayflower Street and will instead operate from Exeter Street to Royal Parade via Exeter Street Viaduct and St Andrews Cross Time and Frequency changes: No changes to the frequency with journeys from the City Centre generally operating 8 minutes later than current and departing 5 minutes earlier than current from Derriford Hospital with buses providing through journeys to Western Approach, Milehouse and St Budeaux on the Service 43 Sunday to Saturday with through fares available.

Being totally selfish, I have to say its the changes to the 50 which have most of my attention as this is the service I catch everyday. I must admit to being nervous at the through running with the 43 as I can see problems keeping to time. Having said that there is a 5 minute turn around time built into the timetable at Derriford which might help. Not running through Drakes Circus / Mayflower Street will also help. I will keep an open mind on this for now...

Recommended Reading

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  • PUBLIC TRANSPORT EXPERIENCE: Combative Cornwall Confrontation Confirmed [2] This change happened at the beginning of September with a revised map included in a new timetable book. Sadly the wheels of First's web site management grind very very slowly and no-one has told the technical troglodites that there was a new version
  • STEVES BUS AND TRAIN PAGE: When Ipswich Went To London One of the periods of my life I look back on with the most fondness was the early days of my driving career with Boro'line in London. Although based in Maidstone, now part of Arriva, Boro'line had two London depots - Crayford, near Daetford where I worked from