21 May 2012

Promises Kept

It was back in March that Citybus made changes to the 21:

Service 21

Service generally re-timed to adjust for the improvements now in effect in Prince Rock. To improve the overall efficiency of the service the service will no longer service Steer Park (See Service 20). Instead the service is to start and terminate at the District centre Chaddlewood. A couple of the very early morning journeys on Saturdays are to be withdrawn. For Steer Park the alternative fast bus provision would be either walk to the District centre or catch the Service 20 to Ridgeway and then change to the Service 21.

Why the change?

Service 21 has been something of a success story both for Plympton and the wider network in general. Despite the improvements in traffic flows, the service is unable to sustain the high level of resource required to maintain an up to every 10 minute service into Steer Park. This together with the reality that 1/3 of all customers using the service are in possession of the free travel pass which in turn severely restricts the overall income potential of the service and upcoming substantial changes to the price of fuel used for buses, especially in the area of fuel tax. These combined pressures means that the service is simply unable to generate the income needed to sustain the resources required to maintain a high frequency service running all the way into Steer Park and as such we need to reduce down our driver and vehicle commitment to the service meaning we can’t quite reach Steer Park on the new times and levels of resource.

Is the change to the Service 21 permanent?

We hope not, as more of our customers move to the smart card, boarding times will further improve (tap and go as opposed to paying the driver the fare). We may also see further improvements to running times in Prince Rock once the scheme is completely finished and enforcement of the bus priority takes effect. These changes alone may be enough to give us the extra time needed to reach Steer Park on a sustained basis. Once the change takes effect we will rely on feedback from the regular drivers to let us know when returning to Steer Park is possible.

Its nice to see the company keep its word …

Local bus Service 21 returns to Steer Park.

From Sunday the 20th May 2012 Plymouth Citybus Service 21 will return to Steer Park.
In March this service was withdrawn from Steer Park and terminated at the District Centre. However thanks to Driver and Customer feedback saying that the Service 21 would still reach Steer Park on the same end to end times, from this Sunday the Service will return. There will be some minor time changes between some stops along the route, but there are no changes to the number of journeys or to the frequency.
Peter Oliver Commercial Manager for Plymouth Citybus says, “We are really pleased to be putting the Service 21 back into Steer Park, this to a very large part is due our drivers and customers feedback. On the back of this we have high confidence that the new timetable will work”

The other thing worth mentioning is that Citybus have now tidied up their timetables on the internet and present a much more professional and consistent look across all their routes. On a less positive note it seems they no longer have current and upcoming timetables on the site and the timetables are not dated at all. Normally this wouldn't be a problem but as I type this up the timetable for the 21 is as below with no mention of Steer Park yet. I am sure the new times will be there shortly. Top marks for having the fare chart on each timetable now!

Plymouth CityBus A4 Landscape Timetable
  • Route 21 Plymothian Transit Extra

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    • Last month our regular correspondant David Bell visited Watford to take a look at the local bus operations there, he sent us this short report and selection of interesting photographs Andys Bus Blog
    • In 2012 fbb takes approx 5 hours for a Cross Country Trains journey from Southampton Central to York. In 1903 PRG would be travelling for 7 hours and 40 minutes on the "direct route" via Cheltenham departing at 1025 Public Transport Experience
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