01 March 2011

Ugo on time?

Is been just over one week since the new timetable was introduced on the 15 in an effort to improve punctuality. As a result we have lost the nice easy to remember twenty minute timetable with all buses running the same route all day.
Apart from the odd timings in the morning and evenings the biggest change is that one bus an hour misses out Mainstone. It is timetabled to sit at Asda for 6 minutes instead. This is built in so that each bus has a chance to catch up if its running behind. Of course this only works if the bus is only running 6 minutes late!
The downside of this is that the Asda bus stops can get very congested. Any more than two buses at the stop at the same time causes problems. It seems to combat this buses are waiting time at the stop before they turn into Asda if possible. 42947 is seen below on the 22nd. It sat there for five minutes while the driver had a fag break. I was waiting for this bus to go enter the Asda loop and then come back and take me into town. At least I knew it was on its way. Its only possible to take the break here if there are no passengers actually wanting Asda. If thats the case then I guess they just wait time there and hopefully dont get in the way too much. Of course in April the 46/47 gets cut so thats less buses likely to turn up at the same time.
First 42947 WA56FTX 22 February 2011
The other slight change is that now buses from Mainstone come into Asda from the bottom rather than from Dover Road around the back. This does mean that I get a bit of advance notice that the bus is coming at my stop, the one after Asda.
The big question though has to be, has it helped with time keeping? My initial experiences seem to suggest no it hasnt. My morning bus to work is now due at 07:52 instead of the 08:01 I have been catching and that was dead on time yesterday, in fact it had to wait at Marjon for a few mins so it wasnt early at Derriford. Trying to catch a bus into town after 4pm my bus was almost 15 mins late from Derriford. The next 15 was only five minutes behind by the time I reached North Hill. On the same day I took the above photo I had to wait over 40 mins for a bus from town. It appeared on the Real Time Display as running 12 mins late and then slowly counted down (and up!) until it got down to 'due' and then disappeard from the screen. The next 15 was then showing as being due in 10 minutes and did eventually appear 20 minutes later. Interestingly shortly before arriving at Estover a Trident double decker was coming back the other way, which should have been the bus I was waiting for in the first place which suggests it turned short somewhere along the way as it certainly didnt come my way.
Of course I may have just been unlucky with these journeys so I will give it time before coming to a full verdict on the timetable.

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  • Today is the first day in earnest of Wilts & Dorset’s new X5, the latest of its so-called “cross country” routes established as a sub-brand in November 2011. Not that the X5’s actually new, it’s just nicely repackaged. Dorset Bus Blog

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