10 January 2006


I am a bus enthusiast. I ride on buses because I like to ride buses. I would rather ride a bus than take the same journey in a car. I am not your usual passenger. However, once and a while I get the sort of bus journey which makes you wish you had another way of getting there!
I had to get to The Goschen Centre for 9:15 this morning so I could leave home a bit later. I like to arrive in plenty of time to get a coffee etc. before I enter the classroom. According to the timetable a number 11 leaves Derriford Hospital at 08:24. It reaches Ham Green at 08:41 and will reach Goschen by 08:50. Perfect. Well, if only it was like that in real life!

The number 11 arrived at Derriford at 08:36. 11 mins late. Its timetabled to take 12 mins to reach Ham Green so that would make it 08:48. More like 08:53 by the time it got that far. I actually reached Goschen at 09:10. Twenty minutes late and no time for a drink.

The photo above gives a bit of a clue why. You might just make out the cars to the left and in front of the bus. We had sat in this queue for traffic lights at Cherry Tree for 10 Minutes. You might also make out cars through the right hand windows. These are queued heading away from the traffic lights heading back towards Derriford. Another long queue of traffic and more long delays. Sadly this junction is well known for this problem and late running is a major problem on this route - and any routes running through this area.
If you are in a car - you might be able to avoid these jams. In a bus you cant. Although it cant be easy you would think that the council might be able to do something about getting the buses through regular jams like this. They have made progress in some areas - Derriford is one area where major gains have been made for public transport users. All it means though is that buses coming into Plymouth just reach this set of jams a bit quicker than they used too!

Well, rant over for now. I post a photo of my bus for this morning below. As can be seen above it has the standard First Group interior d├ęcor which is quite pleasant although the seats can be on the hard side. I have to say that in this bus they were quite comfortable though. However, these brand new buses are not the quietest buses. Sitting at the back can be quite a noisy experience. These also have loud bleeps every time the indicators are on. This is really loud and extremely irritating. The drivers must hate them. It might help the driver remember to switch them off when thay have made the turn - but it could also encourage drivers not to bother to signal at all!
All in all these are not bad buses. However - try a ride in one the Citybuses new Mercedes Citaros and you quickly realise just what an 'old' design this Dennis Dart is and how poor the ride, noise and general ambience of the whole passenger experience is in comparison.


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