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 →

Three refunds and a bouquet for TfL

Wednesday 13th October 2021 As promised last month, a further quick update on my recent experiences with customer service teams in the public transport sector. In my Sunday 19th September blogpost I explained how I’d encountered a problem at Tottenham Hale Underground Station on Friday 17th when the ticket gate ate my rail ticket and... Continue Reading →

You can’t panic buy bus journeys

Monday 27th September 2021 Temporary reduced frequencies in Harrogate with fewer journeys than on display in the timetable case. It was inevitable. As soon as Ministers appeared in the media on Thursday afternoon telling us “there’s no need to panic buy petrol as there’s no shortage” you just knew Friday would see motorists queuing at... Continue Reading →

Customer service resolutions (or not).

Sunday 19th September 2021 I thought I should provide a few updates after my post a month ago about unsatisfactory experiences at the hands of various rail companies and their hard to reach customer service departments, or often, their sub-contracted outsourced companies. I explained how South Western Railway had twice declined my delay repay claim... Continue Reading →

The Naked Truth about bus advertising

How that campaign should have looked Friday 3rd September 2021 Instead of this.... This.... This week’s controversy over Channel 4's national advertising campaign for Naked Attraction using T shape bus sides in major cities around the country reflects more on the attitude of media giant Global who signed off the campaign and those bus companies... Continue Reading →

TfL’s downward spiral continues

Saturday 28th August 2021 Sooner or later the bubble had to burst. For years London's buses have been hailed as an exemplar for how bus networks should be across the country. It's a favourite bleat of MPs used to flotillas of red buses passing up and down Whitehall as they attend their Westminster offices that... Continue Reading →

A Cannock update

Wednesday 23rd June 2021 Following the recent post describing my travels between Cannock and Telford with D&G Bus's new Chaserider branded route X14, I received some feedback from Centrebus/D&G Bus owner and bus industry entrepreneur, Julian Peddle, who’d leapt into action to pursue my reported lack of information at Cannock bus station and why I... Continue Reading →

What’s the Standard for a Premium?

Monday 24th May 2021 Avanti West Coast’s latest wheeze to squeeze a bit more money from passengers is their new “Standard Premium” Class pitched between Standard Class and First Class. I'm guessing it ticked the box marked ‘innovations to be introduced if successful’ in the franchise bid; and from last week it became a reality.... Continue Reading →

Great British Railspin

Thursday 20th May 2021 It's definitely not a return to British Railways, Grant Shapps was at pains to point out on this morning's media circuit. This is going to be very different. It's "simplification" not "re-nationalisation". Because it's called Great British Railways. Not British Railways. But it'll bring back control of tracks and operations together.... Continue Reading →

Barking up the right tree

Wednesday 28th April 2021 It's all happening in Barking. And it's looking pretty good for the potential 26,000 public transport using residents the development known as Barking Riverside is hoping to attract as the promised 10,800 new homes planned for the next few years come on stream. Rail operator c2c has just started work on... Continue Reading →

Manchester DisUnited

Saturday 24th April 2021 It’s uncertain times for buses in Greater Manchester. Assuming Stagecoach and Rotala’s legal challenge against the Mayor and Combined Authorities’ decision to introduce franchising fails, the next few years are set to bring many changes, not least the current variety of liveries replaced by one unified brand. If TfGM’s promotional media... Continue Reading →

Week 12: Flagging

Saturday 27th March This week's decision by Mayor Burnham to introduce bus franchising in Greater Manchester came as no surprise. After spending over £11 million in preparatory work over the last couple of years with two public consultations promising better buses alongside much "take back control" rhetoric it would have been a strange outcome if... Continue Reading →

Week 11: Better

Saturday 20th March 2021 'Better' is definitely the word of the week, and I’m not referring to the continued much welcome news of improving Covid infection, death and hospitalisation levels and vaccination roll out (although talk of a third wave in Europe is somewhat concerning just as our irreversible freedom beckons) no, I mean ‘better’... Continue Reading →

Week 10: Mega

Saturday 13th March 2021 Did anyone notice any particular story dominating media headlines this week, or did I miss something? The world of buses and trains has also been a bit quieter on the news front this week although expanded bus services and some extra rail journeys to ensure school children could return to school... Continue Reading →

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