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 →

Week 9: Still frozen

Saturday 6th March 2021 First up this week a shout out to long standing family owned Bourne based bus company Delaine Buses, who proudly put their new ADL E200MMC single decker into service on Monday (1st March). It was the first (and only) '21' plate bus I've seen this week (and virtually at that too).... Continue Reading →

Week 8: Irreversible

Saturday 27th February 2021 The Government's new-look-cautious irreversible-one-way-road approach to unlocking means the 'stay-at-home' message will be eased, subject to data, "data not dates", in four weeks (at the earliest) on 29th March (which sounds like a date to me, as does 12th April, 17th May and 21st June, but I'm sure it's all splendidly... Continue Reading →

Week 7: Road map ahead.

Saturday 20th February 2021 A few quick postscripts to last week's blogpost. Firstly, I got my Grand Centrals mixed up with my Grand Unions when reporting on the ORR's decision to turn down the application by Grand Union to run a new train route between Paddington and Carmarthen not Grand Central as I erroneously mentioned.... Continue Reading →

Week 6: Darcy.

Saturday 13th February 2021 I was uncertain whether this week’s ‘word of the week’ is ‘Darcy’ or ‘uncertain’. I plumped for the former as there seems to be so much uncertainty about the latter, especially when it comes to whether Cabinet Ministers reckon we should all be booking our summer holidays. Turns out we shouldn't,... Continue Reading →

Week 5: 10 million

Saturday 6th February 2021 A truly amazing inoculation milestone was passed on Wednesday. What a remarkable achievement. Ten million people vaccinated within twelve months of news of a "new novel virus" originating in China is quite extraordinary. Last Saturday almost 600,000 received the jab. That's the equivalent of the whole population of Glasgow vaccinated in... Continue Reading →

Week 4: 100,000.

Saturday 30th January 2021 Worcester or ... Lincoln or ... Wakefield or .... Preston .... completely wiped out. In ten months. Haywards Heath ...... just since Christmas. Five missed COBRA meetings ... Shaking hands with everyone ... Cheltenham Races ... PPE ... Testing ... a protective ring around care homes (not) ... send the virus... Continue Reading →

Week 3: At pace.

Saturday 23rd January 2021 Photo courtesy of The Guardian We've heard a lot about "at pace" over the last ten months. I'm old enough to remember when PPE was being sourced "at pace"; when PPE was being rolled out "at pace"; when testing was being ramped up "at pace"; when laptops were being distributed to... Continue Reading →

Week 2: Demonised.

Saturday 16th January 2021 I should have guessed. Just as we were reassured on a Sunday morning primary schools were perfectly safe to open yet by Monday evening they'd become "vectors of transmission" necessitating their closure, so having welcomed this latest lockdown's absence of Downing Street's damaging "avoid public transport” messaging in last week's round... Continue Reading →

Week 1: Alas.

Saturday 9th January 2021 There's nothing like a pandemic taking a serious turn for the worse (numbers infected, numbers in hospital, numbers dying all rising exponentially); the alert level rising to highest status five (“a material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed”); and a new full-on, stay-at-home, Union-flag-in the-background, occasional-fist-thumping-the-table, grim-faced Prime Ministerial lockdown announcement... Continue Reading →

Bus routes to be added to Tube map

Wednesday 16th December 2020 No they won’t be; only joking. But the latest edition of TfL's Tube map has been updated and published both online and in print today. After much campaigning the Thameslink operated National Rail line has been added back ... and not just between Elephant & Castle through the 'core' to Kentish... Continue Reading →

Week 4: Be jolly careful

Saturday 28th November 2020 Hi"'Tis the season to be jolly; but 'tis also the season to be jolly careful" our jolly jape Johnson jested in Monday's Downing Street press briefing launching England’s "Covid-19 Winter Plan". The next day saw Grant Shapps, the Cabinet Stooge doing the early turn breakfast media round, quizzed about people making... Continue Reading →

Week 3: Reset

Saturday 21st November 2020 One big upside of this week’s so called Government ‘reset’ after Dom's Downing Street departure was Monday's welcome return of the Morgan-v-Hancock...Jenrick...Sharma...(et al) head-to-head on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. No-one does a Cabinet grilling quite like Piers Morgan and it's proving a ratings beating TV fest, but all the while the... Continue Reading →

Week 2: Two miles down the track

Saturday 14th November 2020 Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, has obviously suffered a bad train experience some time in his past. He dampened down Monday's euphoria over the much anticipated roll out of a Covid-19 vaccine at the 10 Downing Street Press Conference by using the analogy of a train journey . "Where... Continue Reading →

Bus changes for Croydon and Sutton

Wednesday 21st October 2020 As the all too predictable battle for control of TfL rages amid the desperate need for further Covid funding from Government to keep the Capital's transport going, bus passengers in Sutton and Croydon are being asked for their views on a raft of changes proposed for bus routes serving the Boroughs.... Continue Reading →

Rail rhetoric -v- rail reality

Monday 5th October 2020 Transport Secretary Grant Shapps rolled out the usual sound bites when launching the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (replacing Emergency Measures Agreements) on the breakfast media round a couple of weeks ago. This is what he said on BBC Radio 4's flagship Today programme: "Today we've ended the franchise system after a... Continue Reading →

Week 15. Avoid avoid public transport.

Saturday 4th July 2020 It’s been another week of mixed message muddles, inconsistencies and questionable priorities. No, I’m not referring to today’s reopening of pubs while schools pretty much remain closed until September. Nor fast food outlets up and cooking, while gyms stay closed. Even though such misplaced priorities are questionable enough. I’m all about... Continue Reading →

Week 14. Shifty about modal shift

Saturday 27th June 2020 If you’re a believer in public transport, spent your whole career in it, use it extensively, love everything about it, feel passionate about it, you know the sort of thing; you’d have been forgiven back in March for getting mildly excited at the DfT publishing its ‘Decarbonising Transport - Setting the... Continue Reading →

Week 13. £100 per passenger.

Saturday 20th June 2020 Week 13 was to be a milestone week. Remember this from 19th March? "I do think, looking at it all, that we can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks, and I am absolutely confident we can send coronavirus packing in this country". How lucky the Alert level was reduced from... Continue Reading →

Week 12. Bus Full.

Saturday 13th June 2020 Good news this week for those convinced social distancing and public transport don’t mix. Trouble is it's 11,000 miles away in Auckland where everything returned to normal on Monday. New Zealand closed its borders on 19th March and locked down on 26th March. We can but live in hope. Closer to... Continue Reading →

Unblocking the Croydon blockage

Tuesday 9th June 2020 Network Rail have launched its second consultation into the extensive plans to sort out the Croydon bottleneck on the Brighton Main Line as well as enable more trains to run on enhanced frequencies. Once complete "it’s expected there would be capacity to run an additional 2 trains per hour to each... Continue Reading →

Week 11: It’s a cover up

Saturday 6th June 2020 Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was rolled out again for the Downing Street briefing on Thursday - I note this service is being trimmed back to only a weekday operation with immediate effect allegedly due to low numbers of passengers (viewers) at weekends. It’ll give ministers a few weekends off on the... Continue Reading →

Week 10. No 10. Integrity trashed.

Saturday 30th May 2020 The DfT published details of the second tranche of Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant on Wednesday. A letter from Stephen Fidler, DfT's Director, Local Transport to bus operators in England “confirmed an additional £254 million will be provided” backdated to 12 May. It will be reviewed every four weeks and works... Continue Reading →

Not-really-Lockdown-any-more Week 9

Saturday 23rd May 2020 It’s been another week of mixed messages. On Wednesday Rees Mogg decided "work from home, but you should go to work if you can't work from home” (B. Johnson, 10th May) no longer applies to MPs (who've been successfully working from home since the 'virtual Parliament' began after the Easter recess... Continue Reading →

Sort-of-Lockdown Week 8

Saturday 16th May 2020 So much for an orderly transition out of lockdown in England. The DfT has been discussing timetable enhancements with train companies and TfL to apply from this Monday, 18th May for a few weeks, while discussions have also continued  with CPT and bus operators about running more frequent services from the... Continue Reading →

Lockdown Week 7

Saturday 9th May 2020 Week 7's almost over as speculation grows about how the hell we’re going to get out of the lockdown travel conundrum of providing enough capacity as restrictions ease without compromising social distancing while also avoiding an exponential increase in motoring, congestion and pollution. Anticipation has built towards Johnson’s announcement on Sunday... Continue Reading →

Lockdown Week 6

Saturday 2nd May 2020 Welcome to another weekly round up of corona-bus-and-train ramblings. (Reader alert: I've rambled on a bit more than usual this week.) First up, it’s been heartening to see bus and train companies doing their bit to support local communities as the Covid-19 crisis continues. Being active in the community is a great... Continue Reading →

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