"Going in the wrong direction !"

Bus and Coach operations, new or changed services and timetables for First Midland Red Buses Limited or its predecessor, Midland Red West Limited.
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DD12
Posts: 739
Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

"Going in the wrong direction !"

Post by DD12 » 14:47 Tuesday 3rd July 2018

On the Worcester News site today, is a detailed report about the DISASTROUS fall in the number of bus passenger journeys undertaken in Worcestershire in recent years.
NOT unique to Worcestershire, and for reasons that are known to many of us, it makes grim reading.
http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/163 ... nts-anchor

TimBrown
Posts: 344
Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

Re: "Going in the wrong direction !"

Post by TimBrown » 11:31 Wednesday 4th July 2018

DD12 wrote:
14:47 Tuesday 3rd July 2018
On the Worcester News site today, is a detailed report about the DISASTROUS fall in the number of bus passenger journeys undertaken in Worcestershire in recent years.
NOT unique to Worcestershire, and for reasons that are known to many of us, it makes grim reading.
http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/163 ... nts-anchor
Is it any surprise when most of the City services now finish before 19-00 after Worcs. C.C. cut 90% of the tendered evening subsidies?

I was shocked by a neighbour when he said "why does the last bus on 37 (which departs Crowngate 18-20) go back to town out of service when it arrives at Green Lane at 18-40?" I hadn't realised it didn't run in service but my guess would be to save the 6, or is it 8, minutes pay from Crowngate to garage. He said he would have used the bus to go to the theatre and come back by taxi, but uses the car instead which means he can't have a pint in the interval.

Believe it or not, my last bus out of town in the evening is Diamond 303 at 18-35. If I want to go out for a day on the train, then I have to use the car to Shrub Hill to make sure I don't have a long walk home at 8, 9 or 10 pm. Similarly on Saturdays when we can buy a cheap day rail ticket for use anytime before 9am, my first bus isn't until 08-25. My cousin who lives in London laughs at our predicament because he has buses and the tube 24/7 (late nights and early mornings at a premium cost)!

There is still a 67 minute gap in my 37 service between 07-55 and 09-02 for buses to town Monday to Friday, which is slap in the middle of the peak period too. Admittedly Diamond run at 08-12 on College days and 08-23 outside term time, but it means paying two single fares instead of a First city day ticket to make an early hospital appointment, or wangle a later time to see the speciallist (which isn't always possible).

My other niggle is the withdrawal of the driver issued 10 trip City ticket, as I don't have an i-phone, like many pensioners, it means paying full whack or waiting, like most OAP's now have to do, until the 09-30 'twearly' time. The company have lost quite bit of revenue there as the £1-40 'single' fare on a 10 trip ticket is considerably more than the concession subsidy, so an own goal.

The potential to reduce car numbers and pollution was lost when the 'park and ride' closed down because of lack of support. I believe that it is not an economical commercial venture because of the high rental of the Perdiswell terminus and also because car parking in Worcester is abundant and relatively cheap compared to many cities. Whilst buses have a dedicated bus lane coming into town they suffered from delays in heavy traffic going out in the peak period amonst all the other traffic, offering no advantage to the convenience of driving your own car. Also the P & R finished at 7 pm in the evening. Finally I have the impression that our city councillors just don't use the bus and that they are in love with the motor car and as such do nowhere near enough to encourage the use of public transport.

Noggin1
Posts: 37
Joined: 13:58 Sunday 16th October 2016

Re: "Going in the wrong direction !"

Post by Noggin1 » 08:42 Thursday 5th July 2018

I don't doubt the serious downward trend that these official figures show. The figures appear to come from this table https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... us0109.ods
Some of the figures year to year I find a bit odd compared to the pattern in Warwickshire's figures conveniently on the line above and Staffordshire's figures which are quite robust. Over the period there has been a serious cut in subsidised services, but most of those services were carrying very few passengers. FMR made only £15000 profit after tax in 2016/17 (the massive loss on closing Hereford was the previous year). Cllr Jenkins is quoted in the newspaper article as saying that the buses are run for profit. Not much profit!

bringstybeast
Posts: 10
Joined: 18:17 Saturday 9th July 2016

Re: "Going in the wrong direction !"

Post by bringstybeast » 09:01 Thursday 5th July 2018

Whilst the funding cuts definitely have hit bus usage, I think a significant amount of reputation damage was caused in Worcester in the 2001-2005 period when FMR went through the cycle of service cuts and fare rises every 6 months, and at the same time replacing the newer buses with ones that both looked and sounded very “careworn” (even if some had nice seats). Add to this the poor customer service, and inability to proof read any publicity material so masses of typos including timetable erros slipped through - FMR ended up with a very poor reputation amongst the general public.

Maybe if they had not been treating passengers with such contempt in the early 2000s there would have been less of a reliance on council subsidies in the 2010s and we’d have more people of working age still using the services?

DD12
Posts: 739
Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: "Going in the wrong direction !"

Post by DD12 » 23:51 Thursday 5th July 2018

From time to time I get a "nightmare" in which I'm looking at an empty Padmore Street garage and empty parking area ("patch"), with all the buses GONE and not based somewhere else -- replaced by some other means of public transport.

The privitised bus companies have all evolved their deregulated , mainly commercial networks into the ones we see today, but now London operators, and respected, previously successful operators like Stagecoach, are struggling with congestion and costs.

I think that whoever operates Worcester's bus network in the future should use the present network as an efficient "commercial core" but with adjustments to improve reliability WHERE possible, and, IDEALLY with extra funding from central government for this. - - Pie in the sky ?? -- I don't know how much FMR pays in local and central government TAXES, and how much they can claim back -- for example BSOG -- if anyone can provide the facts on that, I would love to know (??)

Worcester is at the centre of a large network of routes that (generally) go as
far as Evesham, Tewkesbury, Malvern, and Birmingham, -- so when it gets jammed up, as it often does, all the people along these routes suffer from delays / unreliability, and an EFFECTIVE real-time / NextBus system seems to me to be essential.

I think that a "crunch point" is coming in the next year or two (for Worcester), because of all the new housing being forced upon us residents by central government, (despite roads that already cannot cope at times), and I think that (despite the A4440 dualling), gridlock will happen so often that businesses will re-locate or close their local employment places and services.

IF that is correct (??), then I think bus services in Worcester , and south Worcestershire, will continue to decline.

As a "traditional bus" enthusiast, I am worried that WHEN the situation has worsened to the point that local government is getting declining revenues because of local businesses pulling out because of traffic grid-lock, they (the councillors) will be FORCED to introduce a whole range of measures to restrict car use (even though they will then get "forced out of office" by an ignorant public).
BUT by that time, traditional bus services will be "far less than now".
(Just like Delhi in India !!)

We already know about Midland Red West's CITIBUS network of the 1980s and 90's, and more recently, UBER taxis and other innovations, and therefore I'm afraid that we might end-up with the situation as in this american city --
https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/innova ... re-service

If anyone can say whether any of the above is wrong, or put a more positive spin on things, please do so !!

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