09 February 2013

Why not use smaller buses off peak?

Thanks to the interesting Human Transit blog for bringing this little video to my attention. Its nothing to do with Plymouth as such but it does answer a couple of questions you often hear people ask. Some parts of the answers are particular to the USA but the general points are pretty much the same for any Citybus operator.

I mainly bring this to you attention though as a nice example of how bus companies can make use of social media to get their message across. These days a simple short video news letter like this can be a very cost effective medium. Plymouth Citybus for example is so much better at self promotion these days and does make good use of social media along with its own comprehensive web site. Maybe a few short videos from time to time can be added to their sites? Would certainly make a change from all the usual comments on Facebook about buses ALWAYS being late and bus drivers ALWAYS being rude which people like to leave so often…

So what do people think? Is this a useful tool or just a gimmick?

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  1. While yes, there are some grumpy Citybus drivers who are always like that whenever I catch a bus with them driving, there are some truly exceptional ones - some of the Schools drivers in particular are quite possibly the nicest drivers I've met - really friendly, always happy to pause at Derriford or wherever for a photo, have a quick chat with you about the B10Ms and how much they prefer them to just about anything, it's just little things like this that make the difference!

    I do think Citybus need to make it easier to make a complaint; their complaint form is very basic and could be loads better - take a look at the TFL one, for example:


    Perhaps re-design it to something like this quick mock up I made thismorning, and post a link to it on their Facebook page too, e.g. 'Have a complaint'? Then a link to a re-designed contact us form like this:

    http://sdrv.ms/Z1ez8x (hopefully it'll work!)

    I do think they need to separate out the contact us form into complaints, enquiries, and compliments to be passed on about a driver etc. I'd love there to be something where you could pass on compliments to a driver easier, as most people won't be able to remember a fleet number etc when saying thanks to a driver - perhaps make them wear a badge with a visible number on it or something, then if they re-designed the contact us form it could just say 'Driver Badge Number' - this could also make it easier if a passenger wishes to make a complaint about a driver.

    They do seem to have given up on advertising the key in favour of the new M-Ticket app (which would be brilliant if it worked for me! - the problem is my phone's screen resolution is too low to display the moving/animated 4 letter word GIF at the top, so drivers are told if its not moving it most likely is a screenshot of a ticket and can't be accepted - to be fair to them they did an excellent job at attempting to fix the problem and provided me with some 'compensatory' dayriders so I'm not complaining!), the key site even has the old Citybus logo on it!
    Just my thoughts!

  2. Yes, it's a nice clear video, which explains the bus operators' problems, which are much the same the world over. I always cringe when our transatlantic friends use the word ROUT (meaning defeat, overthrow, tumult, disorder to us English), but I know they can't help it! ;o)

    It would be even better, if a British operator put out a similar message. Perhaps Plymouth CityBus would like to be the first one?

    1. Indeed it would be great to see Citybus do some videos to things like this, e.g. 'why can't we have a double decker on the... at ...time ' and so on - perhaps a 'proper' FAQ page? Not just some rubbish someone's made up in the space of five minutes - actually look at what customers are enquiring about and go from there. Yes, that will take some time, although if they do it properly, they'll have a lot less emails and phone calls to return.

  3. a nice over elongated post by Tom again, do you need to hog every post?

    1. Yes, I do cover some things in quite a lot of detail; my reason for doing this is I assume other readers are interested in what each other have to say. I do aim to keep comments relevant to the post although there are occasions where another reader has commented something off topic and I have replied to it – that happens just about everywhere on blogs/forums etc. There is no ‘rule’ stating that you must read all comments/posts here (or anywhere for that matter) and naturally, not every single post Graham does is of interest to me, in the same way as it is to everyone; something that you find really interesting may not be of any interest to me and vice versa – if you’re not interested in the post or comments don’t read it! There are plenty of other great blogs Graham actively follows and posts links to – even on the rare occasion a post on here isn’t of interest there’s always something on other blogs to read.

  4. Good video indeed. Seems the US has a much better system in place for handling passengers and cutting costs. Perhaps reduce the 21/43's to every 20minutes from say 1100 - 1400?

    Would no doubt save a bit of money I'm sure.

    1. Certainly would - although it would be a pain to actually implement - they'd be left with a load of buses sat in the depot not required until later in the day. It would also probably mean drivers would have to go to work in the morning, have the middle of the day off, and go back later; I can't see many drivers liking that, as you'd always have to keep an eye on the time during your 'break' during the middle of the day, you wouldn't be able to properly relax.

      Reducing the 43 at least to every 12 minutes off peak would certainly save quite a large sum, although it does appear the Company is looking to expand rather than cut back, plus it would make the timetables quite hard for passengers to remember. Some routes do need extra trips in the peaks though; the 16s at around 1645 are close to full and as I said the other week the 1655 21A was completely full by the time it got to Astor Field. The 1715 21A appears to be a duplicate; typically a Citaro and a B7 then there's the 1720 duplicate 21 (used to be 21B). An extra trip at 1700 is much needed - what's the point in having four 21s leaving Royal Parade within five minutes?

  5. Take a look at Bus Buzz Episode 1 too, I'm amazed at how they both fit Plymouth, yet several thousand miles away in a different culture. Would be good to post these on the PCB FB so passengers can geta few tips on how buses work. i.e, if they drive past.

  6. I think that the videos are a great idea and could hopefully be used to good effect here to explain why buses run late, why they bunch, why you can't fit an infinite number of prams onto one bus... the possibilities are endless!

  7. I very much doubt such a thing would do anything to pacify people, let alone if they bother to read/watch it in the first place.

    Look at how many times the same question is posted on facebook when it's already been answered or a problem has been broadcast. Even today there are people complaining that Citybus have done nothing to publicise the fare increases when there have been warnings on each bus, at the main stops, on facebook and the official website for weeks.


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