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27 November 2014

Citybus Satisfies

Plymouth Citybus has recently published the results of the annual Passenger Focus survey which shows things are moving in the right direction...It is interesting that the biggest rise is in the value for money category. So many of the anti Citybus comments which get posted here from time to time are keen to point out fares difference between First and Citybus would be the undoing of Citybus. I was watching departures from Derriford into the City Centre last week when both Citybus 42s and First 15s were standing at the bus stop at the same time. First are certainly picking up plenty of passengers on this busy corridor but the higher fares on Citybus are not putting people off yet - there are still more passengers for the 42 than the 15. (Personally I still prefer to catch the 15 if I go into town as I have more of a chance of getting a decent seat)

Plymouth Citybus Passenger Satisfaction Rises Again! Plymouth Citybus’ overall passenger satisfaction continued to rise this year to 91%. Results published by independent watchdog Passenger Focus shows that the overall passenger satisfaction of Plymouth Citybus services increased from 90% in 2013 to 91% in 2014.
One of the big increases has come from how passengers rated the services value for money, which rose a whopping 8% overall, which included a 10% increase in commuting passengers. The survey measures all aspects of a passenger’s experience, from bus stops to the overall bus appearance, the driver to reason for travel.
Other notable increases have come from the overall cleanliness of the bus, up 4%. This was teamed with driver helpfulness and attitude up 5% and smoothness of the journey also up 5%. Looking at what passengers use the bus for, the research shows an increase of people using the bus for both shopping and leisure purposes.
Plymouth Citybus’ Managing Director Richard Stevens said: “It is clear to see from the independent research that those areas in which we have focused and invested in have shown the highest increases. Over the last 12 months we have revised our fares offering and the channels in which passengers can buy their bus tickets. This clearly shows in the 8% increase in customer satisfaction when it comes to value for money. We have also invested in training, which in turn has paid off seeing both driver helpfulness and smoothness of journey increase. We can see that there is still room for improvement and will be putting systems in place to make sure that our score continues to increase year on year”.
Councillor Mark Coker, Plymouth City Council Cabinet Member for Transport said “I welcome this result and my congratulations go to Plymouth Citybus on their improved customer satisfaction ratings, a reliable customer friendly network meets with our vision for transport in the city to provide users with a better journey experience.”
Bus Passengers Survey  Spring 2014 Results   Plymouth Citybus

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  • TRANSPORT ILLUSTRATED: Kingsbridge Vintage Bus Running Day Every September comes the difficult choice - Devon or Showbus? In recent years I've tended to favour the latter, although I'd really prefer not to have to make a choice. Yes, it's possible to do one on the Saturday then the other on the Sunday. Possible, but not entirely practical, sadly. This year the decision was made for me with the opportunity to take a very cheap ten night holiday in Brixham so the delights of Kingsbridge beckoned.

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25 November 2014

Marjon Link: Coming very soon

Following on from yesterdays news from Plymouth City Council we move North to another major transport scheme. This one is much more advanced in that the work itself is about to start.

Work to build a new link road between the University of St Mark and St John (Marjon) and Derriford Hospital will get under way on Monday 8 December. The Marjon Link Road scheme will widen the existing road between Plymbridge Lane and Derriford Road to provide a new two-way link for buses. This will reduce journey times and improve reliability by allowing buses to access the university and hospital without using Derriford Roundabout.
Developed in partnership with the university and Derriford and Nuffield Hospitals, the scheme also includes a shared pedestrian and cycle path and will provide better access to the university campus. Plymouth City Council was awarded over £1 million for the scheme through the Department for Transport’s Local Pinch Point Fund, boosted by an additional £745,000 of developer contributions. The remaining £600,000 of the scheme cost is being funded by the Council.
The new link road will make it easier to access Derriford by bus, help to ease congestion on the main route into Plymouth from the north and, together with the recently built Runway Road, provide some of the strategic transport infrastructure needed to support Derriford’s future growth.
As part of the scheme a dedicated lane will be provided on Derriford Road for traffic turning right into the hospital, which will not only reduce delays for buses serving the hospital but also other traffic wanting to travel straight on at this junction, towards Estover. This should improve journey times for people needing to access the Plymouth Science Park and other business sites.
The layout of this junction will be improved, with better facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, including safer crossings. A new roundabout will be installed at the northern end of the link road and new bus stops with shelters will be provided.
Councillor Mark Coker, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “The new link road will make a big difference to people living, working and studying in Derriford, as well as those travelling in and out of Plymouth along this busy route.
“It will help to reduce congestion at Derriford Roundabout and improve the reliability of bus services – which should encourage operators to extend more of their services to call in at Derriford Hospital and the University of St Mark and St John.
“It will also provide better and safer facilities for pedestrians and cyclists and form part of the new north-to-south cycle route between Derriford and the city centre.”
Work to build the new link road is being carried out by the Council’s highways contractor Amey and is expected to take around 39 weeks. The existing road will be closed for all users (including buses, cyclists and pedestrians) between Thursday 11 and Friday 19 December and then from Monday 5 January for the duration of the works. Alternative routes, which will be via Derriford Road, will be signposted.

People are advised to allow extra time for any journeys being made in and through the area.

Some sections of footpath near the works will be closed during the works but alternative routes and crossing points will be provided. Vehicle movements in the area will be controlled with traffic lights at times. Plymouth City Council News Room

A few images from 2002 to show how awkward the current road layout can be, buses often grounding on the exit before swinging across to get into the Derriford site:

Plymouth Citybus 1204L124YOD First Western Nationa 4615 N442BKY Plymouth Citybus 182 G621OTV

The line highlighted in blue above is the main point of this post! As anyone who travels, or tries to travel, through this part of Plymouth at peak times will know this area is prone to traffic congestion on an epic scale. Derriford Hospital is the focal point for all of this chaos.  It can only take one minor accident or even an awkwardly placed breakdown anywhere in the North Plymouth area to completely seize up the whole road system. It can be guaranteed that once these roadworks start on the main Derriford Road on this junction then there will be major problems. As well as the road up to Majon, this whole junction is being remodeled. There is no way that can be done easily! Watch this blog for frequent updates on this major project...

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  • RANDOM STREETS: Jersey, Channel Islands Although Jersey has had railways, these were never a success and had closed before the Second World War. Today, Jersey's public transport system is provided with buses. Since January 2013, bus services on Jersey have been provided by LibertyBus under contract to the island's government, the States of Jersey.

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24 November 2014

Coach Station: One step nearer

Today we have the first of two unrelated news updates from Plymouth City Council. Both will have quite an impact on the transport scene in Plymouth. We start off with this update on the new Coach Station. Tomorrow we move North…

Plans to build a brand new coach station in the heart of Plymouth city centre have taken a major step forward with the approval of Council funding. The £4.17 million project will provide a new facility for long distance coaches and a surface-level car park with around 100 spaces on the site of the former Mayflower West car park in the city’s West End.
It will also include an indoor waiting area in the former Lloyds Bank building, with toilets, comfy seating, ‘real time’ information screens, a ticket office and a food, drink and newsagent concession, as well as:
  • a sheltered outside waiting area with information screens, luggage lockers and a customer help point
  • a passenger drop off/pick up area improved paving, CCTV security, lighting and planting
  • a drop-off bay for blue badge holders
The new coach hub will replace the tired outdated coach station at Bretonside, which is being redeveloped as part of a major investment package proposed by British Land, the owner of Drake Circus and the UK’s largest listed retail landlord. The proposed Drake Circus Leisure development includes an 11-screen cinema complex, 13 restaurants and parking for over 400 cars, as well as extensive improvements to public areas with features, seating and planting. The scheme would transform the link from the city centre to the Barbican and the Waterfront, making it more attractive and easier for visitors and shoppers to move from one to the other.
Subject to planning permission being granted for the redevelopment of Bretonside and other conditions, British Land will contribute £2.1 million towards the design and build of the new coach hub and car park. The remaining £2.07 million will be funded from the Council’s capital budget.
Councillor Mark Coker, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “The new hub will provide a modern, high-quality facility for long distance coaches and a much better welcome to Britain’s Ocean City. It will also increase footfall in the city centre’s West End, which can only be good for local businesses.
“The scheme has been specifically designed to meet the needs of long distance travellers and takes into account feedback received during our recent public consultation. It will make travel in and out of Plymouth more attractive and convenient for visitors and residents and create a gateway the city deserves.”
The planning application for the new coach station is expected to be submitted towards the end of the month.
Plymouth City Council News Room

Good morning Plymouth
Photo credit: © Nick Rice under Creative Commons Licence.

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    22 November 2014

    New Timetables First Devon 79

    This coming weekend sees quite a few timetable changes for both Plymouth Citybus and First. We now turn to First Plymouth for theirs, covering all their changes over a few posts during the day...

    79 Tavistock - Gunnislake - Callington

    Service 79 Callington - Gunnislake - Tavistock (from Monday 24 November) Following on from the introduction of the school service earlier this year , this route has now been extended to provide a daytime link between Callington and Tavistock. The service will run approximately every 2 hours.


    First Service 79 Leaflet

    First 79 Fares

    This is by far the most interesting change as its a direct fight with Plymouth Citybus' own service 79. First only operate every other hour with just 6 runs in both directions against Plymouth Citybus every hour providing 12 runs each direction and also five runs on Saturdays. The First service leaves Tavistock 5 mins before Citybus from Tavistock, and taking the direct route so arriving at Callington almost half an hour quicker. It does seem an odd route for such competition!