Oxford’s bus routes rationalised again

Saturday 8th January 2022 This week has seen further rationalisation between Go-Ahead owned Oxford Bus and Stagecoach Oxford simplifying which bus company operates which routes. Long gone are the days of intense head-to-head competition between the two operators, now there’s sensible cooperation and coordinated timetables making for an attractive bus network to entice passengers. Following... Continue Reading →

TfL’s ‘Future Bus’ project takes shape

Thursday 6th January 2022 It’s nice to see London’s regulated buses at long last catching up with standards of comfort, decor and facilities that have been commonplace on new buses in the deregulated rest of the country for many years. Yet, this being London, it’s not just a straightforward upgrade to bus specifications. Bish bosh... Continue Reading →

Kings Ferry ends commuter coaches

Tuesday 4th January 2022 Christmas Eve marked the end of an era for price savvy Kent commuters travelling by coach from the Maidstone, Swale and Medway areas to Docklands and the City of London. Gillingham based National Express owned Kings Ferry coaches withdrew all its commuter journeys with not much more than a week’s notice.... 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 →

The expansion before the cuts?

Thursday 16th December 2021 As trailed in Tuesday’s blog about Soham, on Monday and Tuesday I took a look at a couple of other developments in the new winter rail timetable which commenced on Sunday. If one of LNER’s no expense spared razzmatazz launches is anything to go by the most exciting December development by... Continue Reading →

It’s a Sprint not a marathon

Sunday 12th December 2021 West Midlands residents might think construction works which began on two major corridors across the conurbation (A34 and A45) a year ago are taking a marathon length of time but it’s all for a good cause, namely to introduce Sprint - the region’s new bus based rapid transport network with the... Continue Reading →

The best rail map ever

Friday 8th December 2021 Regular blog readers will know how much I love a good map. So I was delighted to receive an invitation from a 'long time ago' colleague* in the bus industry, Alex Nelson, to a launch lunch for the latest edition of the splendid National Rail Map he produces every year as... Continue Reading →

The Ensign standard for a running day

Wednesday 8th December 2021 It was much missed last December due to Covid, but this year's Ensignbus Running Day held on Saturday more than made up for that temporary absence. It really was a great day out. It's become a well established fixture in the calendar and almost certainly involves the most heritage buses from... Continue Reading →

Now for a total eclipse in Hampshire

Monday 6th December 2021 Fareham and Gosport's much heralded 3.4 km busway, opened in April 2012, has just got a kilometre longer following yesterday’s opening of a southern extension taking it further down the former railway alignment between the towns. Costing around £11 million it gives First Hampshire and Dorset’s Eclipse branded buses on routes... Continue Reading →

A wry smile at CITY BEAM

Saturday 4th December 2021 When I heard the news First Group and MTR Corporation had won the South Western Railway (SWR) franchise back in March 2017 I did a double take on hearing the deal included scrapping the fleet of thirty brand new five car Siemens Class 707 trains Stagecoach had only ordered a couple... Continue Reading →

Here in Hereford

Thursday 2nd December 2021 Hereford is one of those market towns where it’s notoriously hard to provide a decent bus service that’s financially viable. With a population of around 62,000, it’s a similar size to Corby, Canterbury, Scarborough, Taunton and Tunbridge Wells. It’s a typical English market town with a relatively low population density in... Continue Reading →

Pinky Pennine promises

Tuesday 30th November 2021 Transdev Blazefield’s purchase of Yorkshire Tiger from Arriva in July included an immediate high profile rename to Team Pennine along with a bright new pink themed rebrand with refreshed buses christened Denby Darts introduced on the Huddersfield to Denby Dale bus route renumbered D1 together with a promise of “creating better... 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 →

Riding the ‘Dawlish avoiding line’

Friday 26th November 2021 As explained in Wednesday’s blog when the violent storm caused the railway track at Dawlish to collapse in 2014 there was much talk at the highest political level (Prime Minister David Cameron no less) about taking action to ensure the South West wasn’t ever cut off from the rail network again.... Continue Reading →

Okehampton’s back on track

Wednesday 24th November 2021 Let's get something straight from the outset. It's great to see daily passenger trains running again between Exeter and Okehampton after all the "restoring your railway" and "reversing the Beeching cuts" rhetoric from Government, so very well done to everyone involved in this project. But to be pedantic Network Rail Western,... Continue Reading →

End of the road for Hulleys’ snake

Monday 22nd November 2021 It certainly can’t be said Hulleys haven’t given it a good try. Introduced on 26th October 2020 the much welcomed Snake X57 branded bus route linking Sheffield and Manchester, via the scenic A57 Snake Pass, is now on its last knockings with a complete withdrawal planned after after 8th January. It’s... Continue Reading →

End of the road for Hemel’s Green Line

Saturday 20th November 2021 It’s been a long lingering death sentence. 'The writing was on the wall’ way before the pandemic destroyed passenger numbers so it came as no surprise to hear news Arriva are withdrawing its Green Line branded route 758 between Hemel Hempstead and London Victoria. The route will cease after service on... Continue Reading →

Centenary celebrations on the 408

Thursday 18th November 2021 We all have a favourite bus route - usually one associated with childhood memories often from the days of taking us to and from school. Peter Osborn’s favourite must be the former London Country route 408 which at one time ran from Guildford via Leatherhead and Epsom to West Croydon before... Continue Reading →

DRT reaches Leatherhead

Tuesday 16th November 2021 Following a suggestion in the comments on a recent blog about a new DRT scheme, I've compiled a chronology of DRT introductions over the past five years and given it a special page on the busandtrainuser.com website. You can find it via this link, or by clicking on the menu icon... Continue Reading →

Hope for Harlow

Sunday 14th November 2021 At last there are plans to do something about the disgrace that is Harlow's bus station. An artists impression of the new "interchange" - here's hoping either the No Entry sign or wayward delivery lorry is sorted before it opens! Funding for a brand new "sustainable transport interchange" (you don't get... 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 →

Muswell Hill’s celebrities

Monday 8th November 2021 2020 marked thirty years since the closure of Muswell Hill bus garage in north London and as Covid restrictions decimated plans for running days last year, organisers waited until yesterday to bring out the RTs, RFs and RMs plus some surprise guest appearances to celebrate this anniversary. It was well worth... Continue Reading →

Another way is Essex

Saturday 6th November 2021 I’m conscious there’ve been a few blogs recently about bus routes in Essex; well, sorry folks, here’s another one. The issue is, each time I visit I spot something that attracts my attention justifying a return visit to investigate further. I did the same a year ago when I took a... Continue Reading →

On board the Highland Explorer

Thursday 4th November 2021 When Abellio was awarded the ScotRail franchise commencing April 2015 I was really pleased to hear their commitment to promoting Scotland’s wonderful scenic rail lines including the introduction of better seats lining up with windows and other innovations including better facilities to encourage cyclists on board with more cycle spaces. Six... Continue Reading →

Welcome back to the Island Line

Tuesday 2nd November 2021 It’s taken over six months longer than planned but after a £26 million upgrade and four of the five ‘new’ two-coach trains delivered it’s good to see the Island Line up and running again between Ryde Pier and Shanklin on the Isle of Wight. I won’t repeat my thoughts expressed when... 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 →

It’s a ting thing

Friday 29th October 2021 This week’s DRT bus service launch is Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s trial in that rural part of ‘West Huntingdonshire’ lying west of Huntingdon and St Neots. It’s got the same features and challenges I’ve covered in other blogs about rural DRT operations so I won’t repeat the same old stuff... Continue Reading →

Island hopping in Essex

Monday 25th October 2021 Following my recent outing to Sheppey and Grain on the north Kent coast, it's time to replicate similar island exploring on the north side of the Thames Estuary along the Essex coastline - said surprisingly to be the English county with the longest coastline, mainly because of all its inlets and... Continue Reading →

First Debden debut

Saturday 23rd October 2021 It’s been a long time since you could catch a bus from the Debden and Loughton area of Essex, on the fringe of Greater London, and travel to the county town of Chelmsford. A locally based correspondent Chris reckons it was pre war when an early Green Line lettered route provided... 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 →

LCBS 50th Anniversary Tour: Part 4

Sunday 17th October 2021 A surprise ending And so to the fourth and final quadrant of our London encirclement commemorating last year's fiftieth anniversary of the much missed London Country Bus Services. We'd journeyed from Gravesend to Dorking; Dorking to Amersham and Amersham to Bishops Stortford and Friday saw the circle completed by travelling from... Continue Reading →

Three Dreaded Words

Friday 15th October 2021 Rail. Replacement. Bus. October 2021: warning for February 2022 already As you can see down here in Sussex Rail Replacement Buses are front page news again as GTR and Network Rail's media machine begins the warm up warning to give rail passengers plenty of advance notice of next February’s nine day... 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 →

Route 93 Running Day

Monday 11th October 2021 Following the success of the Route 65 Running Day in April, the London Bus Museum held a similar nostalgia fest on Saturday recreating London bus route 93 between Putney Heath and it's original most southerly terminus of Dorking (reached on Summer Sundays between 1939 and 1960) . RT 1431 was one... Continue Reading →

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