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 →
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 →
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 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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
TfGM “making situation ten times worse”
Sunday 29th March 2020 It's been hugely impressive to see central and devolved governments, local authorities and bus operators (with trade association CPT) working together to come up with a pragmatic plan to keep the bus industry in intensive care for the next few weeks. Slaying the sacred cow of the 'no better or no... 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 →