Who’s running the railway?

Saturday 7th January 2023 Listening to Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport and Mick Lynch, General Secretary of the RMT doing the media rounds during this week’s strikes brought home the dysfunctional state of Britain’s railways. There seems no hope of an early resolution to the current industrial disputes while a state of paralysis... Continue Reading →

100 Bus and Train Events in 2022

Sunday 18th December 2022 A blog link to a vlog. 100 Bus and Train Events in 2022. 100 clips in 10 minutes. See how many you recognise. A listing of all 100 events is in the comments. Click here for the video. Roger French Blogging timetable: 06:00 TThS

TfL’s bus cuts cut

Thursday 24th November 2022 After all the hoo-ha in the summer over TfL's proposed severe cuts to central London’s bus routes reflecting its target to reduce mileage by 4%, better match service provision with reduced numbers travelling, simplify the network and reflect strains on TfL's struggling finances, it was announced yesterday almost all the proposals... Continue Reading →

10 Show cases

Thursday 3rd November 2022 The Euro Bus EXPO 2022 show is on at the NEC over three days this week (it ends today, Thursday). I popped up for a quick look round on Tuesday’s opening day to check out what’s new since the last exhibition four years ago which I blogged about here. Back in... Continue Reading →

10 takeaways from young managers

Sunday 23rd October 2022 I had the pleasure of jointly hosting another Young Bus Managers’ Conference last week with Martijn Gilbert. Held in Sheffield it was another inspirational event over brimming with energy and enthusiasm emanating from around 60 keen young people from whom I’m sure senior industry leaders will emerge in the future, bringing... Continue Reading →

Serco’s sleeper nods off

Sunday 9th October 2022 Last week's announcement that Serco will be ending their franchise for the Caledonian Sleeper next June came as no great surprise. I won't be shedding any tears at the company's departure. Unlike Merseyrail where this giant global monolith of an outsourcing business seems to be doing a good job running the... Continue Reading →

Northern’s new slogan: DO NOT TRAVEL

Sunday 25th September 2022 Weekend rail travel is booming. Fortunately for the rail industry the post pandemic reduction in five day week commuting has been offset by huge growth in leisure travel especially at weekends. In my experience trains at the weekends are now the busiest of the week. I recall Sir Peter Hendy opining... Continue Reading →

Useless platform announcements

Saturday 20th August 2022 Southern and Thameslink seem to be going through a bad patch lately with cancellations and delays for a whole variety of announced reasons including “due to more than the usual number of trains needing repair at the moment”; “due to a shortage of train crew”; “due to a problem under investigation”... Continue Reading →

What next for HCT Group?

Thursday 18th August 2022 HCT Group, the country's leading social enterprise bus operator, posted an ominous update on its website a few days ago. It announced last Friday community bus route 812 in the Borough of Islington will cease operation after Friday 26th August. Although not a headline grabbing seismic development in the grand scheme... Continue Reading →

Transport turmoil

Saturday 13th August 2022 Let’s take stock. The battle for TfL is ominously sliding towards a possible nuclear option of bankruptcy and Government "taking back control"…… Rail strikes are continuing with more trains in the sidings than on the tracks today with ASLEF drivers’ turn to stop work and RMT and TSSA members out again... Continue Reading →

More more in Bournemouth

Sunday 7th August 2022 Thursday 4th August 2022's stark announcement Bournemouth’s buses dramatically changed colour yesterday following the sad news on Friday 29th July the town’s Yellow Buses had called in the Administrators. The company ceased trading less than a week later at 18:00 on Thursday 4th August leaving the town without its familiar bright... Continue Reading →

Not another extension

Thursday 14th July 2022 There have now been 11 deadlines for Government funding support for TfL since the pandemic began in late March 2020. That’s an average of one deadline every 78 days. Or one very two and a half months. Bearing in mind the first funding settlement lasted for six and a half months... Continue Reading →

To cap it all … a £2 limit

Sunday 3rd July 2022 Speculation is growing of an imminent announcement of a £2 cap on all bus fares throughout England to apply for six months from October as part of Government plans to help with the cost of living. Such a plan has already been announced by West Yorkshire Combined Authority Mayor Tracey Brabin... Continue Reading →

A reverse move for First

Saturday 2nd July 2022 First Bus has announced a major shake up of the management structure of its subsidiary companies which will cut costs particularly senior managers and overheads. It's a laudable aim as Government Covid financial support comes to an end in a couple of months time and with passenger numbers still 80% of... Continue Reading →

Dear Grant and Sadiq

Saturday 25th June 2022 Extract from Grant Shapps' letter of 23rd June to Sadiq Khan. Dear Grant and Sadiq I was intrigued to be quoted in Thursday’s letter (from you Grant to you Sadiq) so wondered if I could help by acting as a bit of an ‘honest broker’ between the two of you as... Continue Reading →

Restoring Your Railway update

Thursday 23rd June 2022 Last Saturday Minister of State for Transport Wendy Morton announced “a further £15 million in funding to develop nine Restoring Your Railway schemes across England to reopen disused railway lines, services and stations, including some that were axed in the 1950s and 60s – with one station taken out of use... Continue Reading →

My verdict on TfL’s bus cuts (Part 2)

Sunday 19th June 2022 Following yesterday's blog here are some more thoughts on TfL’s proposed central London bus cuts based on my recent travels and observations on the ground. First up let's take a look at a couple more “over capacity” corridors into central London from the north. Firstly Edgware Road which will see the... Continue Reading →

My verdict on TfL’s bus cuts (Part 1)

Saturday 19th June 2022 Next week isn't going to be a good week for public transport. As well as strikes on the National Rail network on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with knock on impacts on other days there’s a strike on the London Underground on Tuesday continuing into Wednesday morning and by Friday TfL’s current... Continue Reading →

Carnage on the buses (in central London)

Wednesday 1st June 2022 A blog post extra. Route 14 will be axed TfL’s much anticipated six week consultation about its "central London's bus review" began today. It’s going to take that long to work out what’s planned if you rely on TfL's website. TfL's consultation portal - and there's more - Equality Impact Assessments... Continue Reading →

A long time coming

Saturday 14th May 2022 Running almost four years late and over budget by £4 billion but all the trials and tribulations of this unduly long gestation period will soon be forgotten as today's the day TfL finally launches its programme of bus service changes in south east London centred on Abbey Wood, Greenwich and Lewisham... Continue Reading →

Printed matters

Thursday 28th April 2022 I had an enjoyable evening last Saturday at The Hawth Theatre in Crawley (Tony Blackburn's Radio 2 Sounds of the Sixties Tour since you asked - highly recommended for those of us of a certain age). Whilst there I couldn't help but notice in the foyer and throughout the theatre were... Continue Reading →

Suggestions for TfL

Saturday 2nd April 2022 Palestra Twitter followers will know I was privileged to be asked into TfL Towers (Palestra in Southwark) on Tuesday afternoon to share ideas on how to improve revenue and grow the number of passengers using its bus network based on best practice pursued by the country’s leading bus companies in the... Continue Reading →

Clear Bluewater

Thursday 31st March 2022 Bluewater's bus station is next to Marks& Spencer in the south east apex of the complex. Out-of-town shopping centres can be extremely difficult to serve by bus. Only the very large ones like Bluewater have anything like a decent service. But they're a mecca for car users. Bluewater opened its swanky... Continue Reading →

Is there a place for travel shops?

Tuesday 29th March 2022 It's not often a bus company opens a brand new travel shop these days. Many bus companies have been only too pleased to save costs and close down any ‘High Street’ vestiges they once had which provided helpful face to face contact with the travelling public. Arriva's former travel shop in... Continue Reading →

All across Dalcross

Tuesday 22nd March 2022 Photo courtesy Network Rail Aside from the shiny new mega-size stations about to open in the Crossrail core there are quite a few other brand new stations currently under construction on the national network which are due to open during 2022. It’s a bit of a sweepstake to see which will... Continue Reading →

Kent’s summer bus cull

Saturday 19th March 2022 Kent County Council launched a consultation last month seeking views on a raft of cuts to bus services it funds across the county which will be introduced this summer. Notwithstanding Bus Recovery Grant 2 and Bus Back Better’s vision of a wonderful utopian future for bus provision the reality in Kent... Continue Reading →

TfL’s “bold vision for buses”

Thursday 17th March 2022 TfL launched a"long-term plan for buses" last week. The press release headlined it "TfL sets out bold vision for buses in the capital" with the new Bus Action Plan aiming for a "modern bus network to attract more customers and help the capital become net zero by 2030". The 94-page Bus... Continue Reading →

The cost of a rail ticket refund

Tuesday 15th March 2022 I’ve been ‘off the road’ for operational reasons since last Monday (otherwise known as testing positive for Covid) which has given me an opportunity to reflect on the rail industry’s policy on ticket refunds. It’s all very simple if you’re a Marks & Spencer customer. Famous for its no quibble policy,... Continue Reading →

A new chapter for Stagecoach

Thursday 10th March 2022 A new sister company for Stagecoach - Belgium's Hansea. Forget that proposed merger-come-takeover between Stagecoach and National Express. That was last week’s news. It turns out while those board room discussions had been going on including a deal with Comfort DelGro to offload Stagecoach's share of Citylink as well as handing... Continue Reading →

Impenetrable buses in Dublin

Tuesday 8th March 2022 I’ve been visiting friends in Dublin over a weekend in early March for many years and after missing out in 2021 due to Covid was back on the Emerald Isle once again on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a great city to visit and I always look forward to my annual trip... Continue Reading →

A few updates

Thursday 3rd March 2022 Cambridgeshire Guided Busway Looking south I was in Cambridge briefly over the weekend so took the opportunity to take a look at the interim safety measures now installed between the public footpath/bridleway and the northbound guided busway on the one-and-a-quarter mile stretch between Addenbrooke's Hospital and Cambridge railway station. It had... Continue Reading →

London matters

Saturday 19th February 2022 I'd planned to use this blog to write about the fourth funding settlement agreed between DfT and TfL yesterday including the controversial stuff like Travelcards ending. But I guessed a settlement wouldn't be agreed. And instead there'd be a further extension from last night's midnight expiry of the already twice extended... Continue Reading →

The crazy world of rail ticketing

Tuesday 15th February 2022 As a Brighton Main Line regular I’ve long been used to playing the ‘Thameslink only’ ticket game to save myself money on travels to and from London, not least during the current hiatus when my local station Hassocks is only blessed with trains to London Bridge and at that a Southern... Continue Reading →

Banking on an upgrade

Thursday 13th January 2022 This Saturday sees the closure of London Underground Northern Line's city branch between Moorgate and Kennington for the next four months**. This will allow the £655 million 'Bank Station Capacity Upgrade Programme' to enter its final stages. Specifically it will allow for a new southbound platform and 570 metre tunnel, which... Continue Reading →

Crisis cuts at Southern Rail

Sunday 2nd January 2022 What on earth is going on at Southern Rail? There we all were making alternative arrangements for travel between Christmas and New Year while Network Rail carried out resignalling work closing all lines between East Croydon and Victoria for nine days .... .... when on Thursday it was announced these arrangements... Continue Reading →

Let’s hope it’s a good one

Saturday 1st January 2022 A Happy New Year to all readers. As John and Yoko remarked in 1971, “let’s hope it’s a good one” especially for public transport. (I added that last bit, but I’m sure they were thinking it too.) And what a year it promises to be with lots to look forward to... Continue Reading →

I’m a Bus Manager, Get Me Out of Here!

Sunday 28th November 2021 Life is tough at the top, they say, and it’s never more true for bus company managers wrestling with continuing pandemic pressures of running a bus company. Not enough passengers; not enough bus drivers; not enough financial support; no certainty of future Government funding; poor reimbursement for concessionary travel on the... Continue Reading →

“London-style” bus cuts continue

Friday 12th November 2021 Tomorrow sees TfL's route 414 cut back from its current terminus at Maida Hill (that's close to Maida Vale in the Edgware Road area) meaning it will only run from its unchanged southern terminus at Putney Bridge station via Fulham, South Kensington and Knightsbridge as far north as Marble Arch. It... Continue Reading →

LCBS reflections 51 years on

Wednesday 10th November 2021 It's been almost four weeks since the team completed our four part tour around the outer edge of the Polo mint shaped operating area served by London Country Bus Services belatedly marking the fiftieth anniversary of its formation in 2020. It's now time to summarise the many discussions and reminiscences we... Continue Reading →

It’s a fair COP

Sunday 31st October 2021 While I was in Scotland on Monday and Tuesday after my Lumo journey north to Edinburgh I took a ride over to Glasgow to see how preparations for COP26 were impacting the city. Unsurprisingly, it was huge. And this was still a few days away from today's start of the summit's... Continue Reading →

Young bus managers take on BSIPs

Thursday 21st October 2021 Eighty-five enthusiastic and energised young managers from across the bus industry gathered in the Royal Beach Hotel on Southsea’s sunny seafront for around 24 hours last week and among a packed programme of speakers and site visits found time to draw up a comprehensive Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) which local... Continue Reading →

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