26 October 2012

Not Chaos but still a bad day

Well that was the morning tweet from This is Plymouth which was really overstating things by quite a bit!

The actual news item which was linked to in the tweet was slightly less dramatic:

Major disruption as bus strike hits Plymouth   This is Plymouth

As usual there are many comments on the This is Plymouth article including…

  • It's 8.22am and I am at Crownhill lower level - there is no disruption at all”
  • “I was expecting major traffic on the roads this morning, but actually had the easiest drive into town I've had all week. No sign of any disruption at all, major or otherwise!”
  • “Had to wait a little bit longer for a Park & Ride bus this morning but no real inconvenience.

I think the excellent Omnibuses Blog made the point very well yesterday

“Yes, it’s all a little inconvenient but people, most people most of the time, will get by. What does this say? That buses are perhaps not quite the lifeline we all think that they are. What a strike tends to do, from my own observation, is galvanise those who do have alternatives to the bus to use those choices more often in the future. A lift offered tomorrow might turn into a lift next Friday and the Friday after. And although after a strike things tend to get back to relative normality, a small percentage will never return. And this threatens both drivers’ jobs and management positions.” Omnibuses

First did their best to communicate the changing position throughout the day on Facebook:

Plymouth - Tavistock School bus is running am and pm - nothing else - Service 93 is not running. Park & Ride - Coypool, The George & Mile house P&R up to every 15 minutes Tavistock - Most services rush hour this morning - 83 & 86 is running during rush hour

As with This is Plymouth there have been some interesting comments left on Facebook. Many of them along the lines of “what about my bus” when it had been made clear what was running. There have also been a lot of comments on the rights and wrongs of the strike action for and against the drivers, many of the comments have been quite angry and there are one or two which should probably be removed due to bad language etc.

I have deliberately refrained from commenting on the rights and wrongs of the dispute as there is a lot of conflicting information being given out by the company and the unions on what the pay offer actually means for drivers. I suspect that the actual true position lies somewhere between the two viewpoints. The pay offer probably not being as good as the company state but then not as bad as the union says it is.

One day of strikes has certainly not caused chaos as suggested by the local press. Many people have been inconvenienced though and may well return to normal bus usage tomorrow but too many strikes like this as as Omnibuses says, passengers will look for and find alternatives, and wont come back to the buses. Lets just hope for all concerned that both sides now get back to the table and thrash out a settlement sooner rather than later. I leave the last word to First who make the point that its not been a good day…



  1. This was blown pout of all proportion by the media once again.

    Caught the 43A this morning, mega rammed out and into Saltash but there was nompanic, drivers informed people there was a strike, others had printed out timetables and my driver ensured no one was left behind.

    All ran better without First to be honest. Buses on time, cheaper fares, worked out well in my opinion...

    Disruption? What disruption.

  2. It should be remembered that there was very few schools open in Plymouth on Friday. Add in the normal school run and things would have been far worse, congestion wise.

    1. yes, you do have a point there!
      However within the city of Plymouth there are not so many areas exclusively First bus these days so more people would have access to alternative Citybus routes even if they have to walk a bit further. If Citybus didnt go into Plymstock, Barne Barton, Saltash then the strike would have hit a lot more passengers.

      I bet the passengers of Ivybridge are even more happy to see Citybus now than they were before!

  3. The Ivybridge passengers would've certainly been glad to see the 45 yesterday. As Anon said if this had been on a normal schoolday it would've been much worse. Still, the 42 in the evening peak from Derriford must've been absolutely packed what with no 15. A few weeks ago the 1645 from Derriford City bound 42 was a B7 decker, and all the passengers must've thought thank god it was - it was full and standing, yes, every single seat was taken along with about at least 25 people crammed in standing downstairs. Thursday evening saw a load of people cram into a 15 at around 5.05, though the 1715 42 still managed to be full to the brim too! Seeing as it's a duplicate yesterday would've probably been the one and only time the second bus came in use.


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