Focus on bus satisfaction

Tuesday 28th April 2020 Back in Lockdown Week 1 at the end of March (remember that?) Transport Focus published the results of its annual Bus Passenger Survey. The trade press was by then busy furloughing so the report didn’t receive its usual extemsive coverage. Nor was it appropriate for bus companies to give their usual... Continue Reading →

Lockdown Week 5

Saturday 25th April 2020 Lockdown Week 5 will soon be over and done with and there’s a definite air of the new ‘normal’ becoming normalised. I’ve become unnervingly accustomed to seeing empty buses sauntering along traffic free roads and trains gliding along the tracks carrying fresh air and not thinking it won’t be long before... Continue Reading →

Lockdown Week 4

Saturday 18th April 2020 And so Lockdown Week 4 is nearly at an end and we’re still very much in the ‘who’d have thought it’ phase of Covid-19's transport fallout. From free bus travel across most of London to committing billions on HS2; it’s been quite another week. This coming Monday sees TfL’s finances take... Continue Reading →

20 post lockdown bus and train travel questions

Sunday 12th April 2020 Demand side Bus and train 1 Will companies encourage many of their employees to continue working from home thereby reducing the need for costly offices/work spaces with a consequential reduction in travel demand, particularly at peak times? 2 Will the significant increase in online shopping continue at Covid-19 levels with a... Continue Reading →

Lockdown Week 3

Friday 10th April 2020 As the end of week 3 of Lockdown Britain approaches, aside from the severely reduced service levels now applying across the country's bus and train networks amply catering for the approximate 5-10% of normal passenger journeys, it's sad, but inevitable, to see a number of operators and services suspended altogether. Subject... Continue Reading →

Expansion plans for Reigate station

Monday 6th April 2020 With the continued absence of travel, I thought I’d have a browse online at public consultations for various transport plans and projects. There’s one closing today which is part of Network Rail’s continuing Brighton Main Line (BML) upgrade project: a proposal to build a new 12-car ‘turn back’ platform at Reigate... Continue Reading →

Time to bring back NBC and BR

Sunday 22nd March 2020 The trouble with sitting at home instead of travelling around the country is it gives too much time to ponder; so here are a few more thoughts on the extraordinary situation we've now found ourselves in. There's no doubt bus and train companies are going to run out of cash pretty... Continue Reading →

What a week

Saturday 21st March 2020 Prime Minister Harold Wilson coined the famous phrase "a week is a long time in politics" after tumultuous events before the 1964 General Election enabling Labour to overturn an expected Conservative victory by thirteen seats. I wonder what he'd have made of the seismic developments over the last seven days as... Continue Reading →


Thursday 19th March 2020 I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard 'unprecedented' used so often than in the last week. Even that's unprecedented. Unprecedented has become the new normal. In fast changing developments it’s difficult to predict what we’ll be facing at the weekend, let alone next week. Only a few days ago in... Continue Reading →

Here’s where I would have travelled…

Monday 16th March 2020 For those who enjoy trying out new bus routes and train services, as I do, there are some exciting developments planned for the next few weeks. Or are there? Not just because I’m personally ceasing travel for my own health and wellbeing during the current pandemic crisis, but my guess is... Continue Reading →

That Stagecoach rebrand

Wednesday 5th February 2020 I’ve yet to see a bus in what is officially dubbed the “people-powered new look” actually out on the road so these initial comments come with a health warning it might all look much better when seen in the flesh and I reserve the right to change my opinion. In the... Continue Reading →

2019 Quiz answers

Did you miss the BusAndTrainUser Quiz of the Year?  Take a look via the link above before sneaking a peak at the answers below.....  1 What comes fourth in the sequence:  Lincoln, Aberdeen, Inverness ….? Harrogate - LNER began running its new Azuma branded trains to Lincoln on 21st October, to Aberdeen on 26th November,... Continue Reading →

Tapping into confustion

Tuesday 26th November 2019 It's good to see more and more bus companies playing payment systems catch-up by accepting contactless cards as an alternative to cash. I'm not convinced the transaction time is quicker, and indeed could well be slower in the hands of a proficient and experienced cash handling driver, but it's the way... Continue Reading →

Not Notts Again!

Tuesday 19th November 2019 Indeed it is; and many congratulations to Mark Fowles, managing director of Nottingham City Transport (NCT) and his entire team for picking up the coveted Bus Operator of the Year award at the UK Bus Awards’ annual ceremony in London this afternoon. Not only that, but congratulations also to Mark for... Continue Reading →

My new found freedom from fares

Wednesday 6th November 2019 Today's been an auspicious day for me. It's not my birthday but by dint of political chicanery back in 2010, my postcode and date-of-birth numbers have today, at last, come up in the concessionary bus fares entitlement lottery. There are now 8,500,001 people in England enjoying free travel on local bus... Continue Reading →

Go-Coach trailblazing in Sevenoaks

Wednesday 23rd October 2019 Small independently owned bus companies are a vital part of the industry. They serve small size towns and rural areas which other plc group companies cannot reach. They're becoming increasingly important as the Groups try and reverse falling margins. These small businesses are usually run by dedicated passionate individuals working very... Continue Reading →

Train or plane to Edinburgh?

Friday 18th October 2019 There's rightly a lot of discussion about the impact of travelling by plane in the context of our global climate emergency; it pangs my conscious whenever I take a flight, and I don't do it very often, and when I do it's between London and Scotland, the Scottish islands or across... Continue Reading →

Pros and cons of franchising

Thursday 11th October 2019 I spent an enjoyable couple of days this week helping to run the twice-a-year Young Bus Managers Network conference. It's always an inspiring event to attend with such encouraging positive energy and enthusiasm emenating from around 80 to 100 young people in their twenties and thirties; some fresh faced into the... Continue Reading →

New sleeper turns into a bad dream

Tuesday 25th June 2019 There's something seriously amiss with Caledonian Sleeper's train service. I've blogged about the new Mark 5 coaches a couple of times recently (here and here) highlighting the teething problems I encountered, in particular no water in the en-suite shower in my supposedly swanky new 'Club' room on two of the three... Continue Reading →

Two cheers for TfL

Saturday 15th June 2019 Today saw the much heralded cuts to a large number of central London bus routes including many changes to termini and amended routes. I previewed the changes in a post on 5th June foreseeing a major challenge as getting bus stop plates, timetables and spider maps updated. Having had a good... Continue Reading →

Southend Airport evicts new bus route

Friday 14th June 2019 Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? At a time when airports should be doing all they can to enhance their environmental credentials by encouraging passengers to use public transport you'd think a new bus route introduced in the dead of night entirely at the commercial risk of a bus company... Continue Reading →

“Easier to travel” … with fewer buses.

Wednesday 5th June 2019 The countdown has begun. It's ten days until TfL introduce a swathe of bus cuts across central London beginning on Saturday 15th June 2019. Twenty-five bus routes are changing with withdrawals, frequency reductions and many altered termini. And this is only Part 1; Part 2 is promised for later in the... Continue Reading →

All Line Rove Around

Monday 20th May 2019 Mid May's always a good month to buy an All Line Rover and have a wander around Britain's rail network taking a look at new initiatives introduced by various Train Operating Companies in the May timetable change. This year's changes are bound to be much smoother than last year's collective meltdown... Continue Reading →

Two cheers for GTR

Thursday 16th May 2019 We're fast approaching the anniversary this weekend of that fateful day in May last year when the Thameslink (and Northern Rail) train networks went into meltdown. Changes to the GoVia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operated Thameslink network had been billed as the culmination of years of investment and preparatory work including millions... Continue Reading →

End the 35 year GatEx rip off

Tuesday 14th May 2019 Exactly thirty-five years ago today British Rail began the first non-stop train service between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport marketed as Gatwick Express. Class 73 locomotives hauled Mark 2 carriages providing a 30 minute journey time. Since 1984 GX's history has been in three almost equal parts: the British Rail era... Continue Reading →

London versus…

Sunday 12th May 2019 The Guardian newspaper ran a high profile series of articles last week comparing London with the rest of England across various quality of life parameters under the theme "London versus...". "The price of a standard pint of Carling lager in Wetherspoon's pubs across England varies by more than £2, depending on... Continue Reading →

Breich, Borders, Bike Buses and Berwick

Friday 3rd May 2019 Finding myself in Glasgow at 7.30am yesterday morning (after my inaugural Caledonian Sleeper Mark 5 journey) I thought it would be an opportunity to continue the first-time experiences by taking a ride on the recently completed electrified ScotRail line to Edinburgh via Shotts and then catch a Borders Buses X62 down... Continue Reading →

I won’t let a software glitch beat me

Monday 1st April 2019 I'd seen the build up in the trade press last summer. Another 'on-demand' 'ride-sharing' 'app-based' 'innovative' minibus service due to start running between central/north London and Luton airport from October 2018. The operation called 'Blue Bus' would "drop you off as near to your home as we can". Obviously there would... Continue Reading →

4,200 bus seats for Edinburgh

Tuesday 19th March 2019 Lothian Buses have just started operating their brand new 100 seat tri-axle buses in service on city routes 11 and 16. I thought I'd take a ride. They're Alexander Dennis Enviro400XLB bodies on a Volvo chassis (according to the swanky promotional video which plays out every five minutes or so on... Continue Reading →

Long live the HST

Monday 18th March 2019 During my initial trip on a brand new Class 800 train when they began running between Paddington and Bristol/Cardiff at the end of 2017 my first thought was to lament the end of the luxurious comfortable seats GWR had introduced in first class in HST trains the new IEP units were... Continue Reading →

An Anglian Adventure

Thursday 14th March 2019 It began a month ago. A day out to Norwich to travel route 88 via Bungay and Halesworth to Southwold, where I'd catch the four-journey-a-day tendered route 90 which returns to Halesworth via a very circuitous route through some delightful Suffolk villages as well as the small town of Beccles. Both... Continue Reading →

Three month Meridian countdown

Saturday 16th February 2019 There's another rail construction project approaching its deadline for completion - the opening of a brand new train station in London. Meridian Water is due to welcome its first passengers coinciding with the summer timetable change on 19th May. That's just twelve weeks away so I thought I'd pop along for... Continue Reading →

Rosso ride round round up

Sunday 10th February 2019 January 2018 saw Rossendale Borough Council become the latest in the dwindling band of local authority municipal owners to sell off its bus company. Transdev Blazefield were the successful buyers and twelve months on seemed a good time to have a look around the network and see what's been happening. Quite... Continue Reading →

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