Bristol Fast to Warrington West

Monday 16th December 2019 One of two brand new stations opened for business on the rail network yesterday, Warrington West; so I took a ride there today to take a look. But just for fun I decided to go the long way round from London and sample GWR's new speeded up timetable which also began... Continue Reading →

London’s four new bus routes

Saturday 7th December 2019 It's quite a day for fans of new bus routes in London. Christmas has come early for those who love new route numbers added to an already comprehensive bus network - I can't remember the last time four new routes were added all on the same day. The Mayor has been... Continue Reading →

The soon to be ex X90

Wednesday 4th December 2019 The recent announcement by Oxford Bus of the withdrawal of their long standing X90 coach route between Oxford and London in a month's time on 4th January surprised a good few industry observers. Me included. But when I thought about it and read more of the background it really wasn't surprising... Continue Reading →

Bus battle Southampton style

Sunday 1st December 2019 There was a time when Oxford was the oft quoted example of head-to-head quality competition between two major bus companies as each operator aimed for a high standard of service to attract custom. Oxford's bus market matured after a statutory partnership deal led to a coordinated network so its fallen to... Continue Reading →

TfL reaches Reading

Thursday 28th November 2019 The rail industry's fond of slipping in new developments before they're officially due to start; they call it a 'preview service'. It's just happened again on the stopping service between Reading and Paddington currently operated by GWR and where most of the service is to be handed over to TfL Rail... 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 →

Slip ‘n Slide

Thursday 21st November 2019 Following last Friday's try out of TfL's latest Demand Responsive Transport trial in Ealing, I found myself back in the Borough with two bus industry colleague friends to give it another try yesterday afternoon. There was a Slide vehicle parked up waiting for custom as we came out of Ealing Broadway... 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 →

DRT Slides into Ealing

Friday 15th November 2019 It's all change in the world of Bus Demand Responsive Transport (DRT). This week sees the final foray for Arriva Click's pioneering 'pilot' in Sittingbourne and Zeelo's scheme for pilots (and others) living in Crawley and working at Gatwick Airport. The former ends tomorrow having been launched with much fanfare back... Continue Reading →

Heathrow funds more bus routes

Thursday 14th November 2019 It's becoming notable how many new and improved bus routes are being introduced with financial support from Heathrow Airport offering better connections for staff and airline travellers. Anyone would think there's a third runway in the offing. I wrote about First Bus's new RailAir link from Guildford to Heathrow when it... Continue Reading →

Road testing AIR

Thursday 7th November 2019 Seeing the photos online I was already hugely impressed by the sheer presence of the magnificent looking Alexander Dennis built Plaxton Panorama tri-axle coaches launched by Scottish Citylink on their AIR branded service between Glasgow and Edinburgh Airport towards the end of last month. Costing a cool £400,000, each of the... 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 →

Thames Valley boost to Terminal 5

Saturday 2nd November 2019 Reading Buses owned Courtney Buses are making significant changes to bus services for the Windsor to Heathrow corridor this weekend. The improved timetable and revamp includes a smart new branding with buses sporting an updated Thames Valley livery for colour coded routes. I travelled over to the eastern end of what we... Continue Reading →

Stagecoach’s new Designer X1

Tuesday 29th October 2019 It's good to see Stagecoach introducing another new commercial inter-urban bus route with the Group's Yorkshire company trailblazing a brand new service between Chesterfield and Nottingham this week. The new X1 provides an attractive alternative to the long standing Pronto branded route Stagecoach East Midlands operate jointly with TrentBarton running every... Continue Reading →

There’s a new Kid on the Brooke

Saturday 26th October 2019 TfL's policy of redeploying buses from Zone 1 routes into the suburbs moved forward a couple more centimetres today with the launch of brand new route 335 linking the expanding residential development at Kidbrooke with Blackheath and North Greenwich for its 'Millennium Leisure Park' (basically posh looking sheds with retail, restaurants,... Continue Reading →

Another Gatwick Express rip-off

Friday 25th October 2019 Spoiler alert: the postman delivered a National Rail Voucher for £6.70 this morning. I wrote about the outrageous rip-off fares policy on the Gatwick Express back in May, but the other day I came across another pricing scandal from this past-its-sell-by-date train brand. I was buying a ticket in the Gatwick... 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 →

AZUMA reaches Lincoln

Monday 21st October 2019 LNER's flagship AZUMA trains started running between Lincoln and London Kings Cross today. They're journeys which previously just ran between Newark North Gate and Kings Cross now projected back to start at Lincoln, so they're not new journeys on the actual East Coast Main Line (ECML). They provide a significant boost... 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 →

Xpress Dundee done, (and Airlink)

Wednesday 16th October 2019 Xplore Dundee, the National Express owned bus company in Dundee, launched a brand new airport express coach service back in June linking the city directly with Edinburgh Airport via the A90 and M90. Four months on I thought it was a good time to take a look and see how it... Continue Reading →

Farewell 48 after fifty years

Friday 11th October 2019 TfL's next round of reductions to bus routes servIng central London begins tomorrow. This one is much less extensive than in June, involving changes to just a handful of routes, most significant of which is the complete withdrawal of route 48 between London Bridge and Walthamstow Central station. Introduced as part of... 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 →

43 years later in Cornwall

Sunday 6th October 2019 I picked up an old Western National timetable book for Cornwall when visiting the Isle of Wight Bus Museum last weekend. It's always fascinating to see how bus routes have changed over the decades so as I was heading down to Cornwall over this weekend I took it with me to... Continue Reading →

Britain’s shortest bus route

Wednesday 2nd October I travelled on Britain's longest bus route from Glasgow to Skye at the beginning of last month so decided to give Britain's shortest bus route a ride today. That accolade goes to Rosso's route 13 between Rawtenstall bus station and the business and retail park in nearby New Hall Hey. An exchange... Continue Reading →

OS at 90

Monday 30th September 2019 The Omnibus Society marked its 90th anniversary over the weekend with its annual Presidential Weekend offering a brilliant programme of events based in the Solent area. Around a hundred members from all over the country attended the weekend hosted by this year's president, Andrew Wickham, managing director of Go South Coast.... Continue Reading →

Electric shock on rear seats

Thursday 26th September 2019 Metroline, the Singapore based ComfortDelGro owned bus company, which operates a large network of bus routes for TfL across north and north-west London has been in the news recently as they roll out an expensive new fleet of 67 all electric battery-rechargeable double deck buses. Having read glowing coverage in the... Continue Reading →

Only Connect in Kent

Monday 16th September 2019 Back in July I took a ride on Nu-Venture's route 58 between Maidstone, East and West Malling and villages and hamlets close to Wrotham Heath in Kent before it was transformed as part of one of Kent County Council's rural pilots. The idea was to cut the route back from the... Continue Reading →

Pods in the Park

Tuesday 10th September 2019 Readers will know of my scepticism concerning Demand Responsive Transport; I've made enough journeys to conclude there's no way such schemes will ever be commercially viable let alone more convenient for passengers over a fixed timetabled bus route. The Speke trial comprising a one bus fixed timetabled route (with passengers knowing... Continue Reading →

Britain’s longest bus* route

Tuesday 3rd September 2019 It's about 230 miles long. It takes 7 hours and 50 minutes. It's Scottish Citylink's route 915 (or 916) from Glasgow's Buchanan Bus Station all the way to Uig Pier on the Isle of Skye via Fort William and Kyle of Lochalsh. I've travelled along this route a few times, but... Continue Reading →

Ninety round Glasgow

Monday 2nd September 2019 I've ridden round Birmingham (on both NatEx's inner and outer circular bus routes); round Leicester with Centrebus; round Coventry before that city's circular route (neatly numbered 360) got the chop so I thought it was time to take a ride on First Glasgow's route 90, which almost completes an inner circuit... Continue Reading →

Crossing the Pennines

Saturday 31st August 2019 Route 888 between Newcastle and Keswick is the lesser known bus service across the Pennines. Whereas the more famous route 685 takes a direct westerly trajectory along the A69 to Carlisle via Hexham and Haltwhistle, the 888 also serves Hexham but then follows a south westerly route via Alston and Langwathby... Continue Reading →

Speke up for Arriva Click

Wednesday 28th August 2019   I was puzzled by a recent news item that Merseytravel are withdrawing a local bus route they fund in the Speke area of south east Liverpool from this weekend to be replaced on Monday by Arriva Click: 'the new Arriva Click Speke Zone service will operate between the same hours... Continue Reading →

There’s Hope in Derbyshire

Tuesday 27th August 2019 It's not often a National Park Authority trials a new bus service these days so hats off to the Peak District for funding the new H1 and H2 bus routes for six weeks during the summer school holidays. Branded as the Hope Valley Explorer two Stagecoach Optare Solos are providing an... Continue Reading →

Toon Time

Friday 23rd August 2019 It's always a pleasure to spend some time on Tyneside. Open tops Yesterday I sampled the new open-top sightseeing tour introduced this summer by Go North East and branded as 'toontour'. There's been a bit of a change round on the open-top tour front on Tyneside this year. Stagecoach pulled out... Continue Reading →

zeelo lands at Gatwick Airport

Wednesday 21st August 2019 I sampled zeelo's new commuter coach service between Newport and Bristol back in the Spring and wrote about the company and my travel experience on 24th May. Now the enterprising entrepreneurs based at zeelo's London Shoreditch HQ have started another new venture, also aimed at commuters, this time connecting part of Crawley... Continue Reading →

GoSutton Go

Tuesday 13th August 2019 TfL's first foray into the new fangled world of App based Dial-A-Ride (aka Demand Responsive Transport) in Sutton is now in its twelfth week and yesterday a rather impersonal email popped into my inbox announcing an exciting extension of the area served by the swish exec style wishy-washy liveried Mercedes Sprinter... Continue Reading →

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