Posts Tagged ‘buses’

Dysfunctional public transport

December 19, 2014

Would I make Aldershot Station in time to catch the train to Alton? Luckily yes, three buses in a convoy.

I make the station with five minutes to spare.

Train to Alton running two minutes late.

The No 64 bus from Alton Station to Winchester, the bus stop clearly marked as bus train interchange, is timed to leave at exactly the same time as the train is timed to arrive. The bus usually leaves as passengers are coming out of the station.

Now you have to been a completely brain-dead moron determined to piss off passengers, for a bus to leave as passengers are pouring out of the train station.

I know, to leap off the train, run out of the station, if I am lucky, I catch the bus, delaying my ticket in case others are hoping to catch the bus, if unlucky I see the bus leaving the bus stop.

Today I was unlucky. I knew I would miss the bus, unless it was running late.

Half an hour wait for the next bus.

A few minutes early a No 64 bus turns up, windows filthy. I leap on the bus. Luckily the bus driver asked where I wished to go. I said Winchester, he said wrong bus.

Now you have to been a completely brain-dead moron determined to piss off passengers, to design a timetable with two different bus routes with the same route number.

I am now joined by a lady who has come off the next train.

A further wait of half an hour, by now chilled to the bone.

A No 65 bus comes in. I ask, just in case it is displaying the wrong number.

No, it is going to Guildford. I ask the driver where is the No 64? He says due now. I say what about the one due half an hour ago? Pig ignorant driver extremely rude, says how does he know, he only drives this bus.

Finally a No 64 bus arrives, 5-10 minutes late. Over an hour wait in the cold. Now not even worth going down to Winchester, my afternoon trip to Winchester all but ruined. I ask driver what happened to previous bus? He expresses surprise that it failed to turn up.

The bus is freezing cold, no heating, though not as cold as outside. The windows are filthy. A freezing cold draught, though no idea where it is coming from, no windows open. Maybe a window open upstairs.

New double-decker buses running on this route, not the clapped-out double-decker buses Stagecoach usually run.

But this is a new new bus, different design. Instead of luggage rack up front, two seats, with a tiny totally inadequate luggage space behind the seat.

At Alresford, I see a doubled-decker in front. As we get near, I see it is a No 64. Where did that come from?

I usually get off and walk down the hill into Winchester, but today too late. I stay on until bus station. I would have gone into the office and created hell about their disgraceful service, but it is now 4-15pm, day wasted without wasting more of the day.

I would have arrived around 1500 I arrive 1615.

Once again a day out ruined by Stagecoach.

On my return, bus then train to Aldershot. Bus I found has wifi, but does not connect to anything. At Aldershot, no bus, 20 minutes wait in the cold for next bus. Bus should have wifi, no wifi.

Train service is run by South West Trains. Bus service by Stagecoach. Stagecoach own South West Trains.

Stagecoach and Richard Branson have recently been handed the successful East Coast Mainline, successful because in public ownership. Are they fit and proper to run? No.

Stagecoach, has a live twitter feed, no mention of missed No 64 bus, explanation or apology.

Someone’s idea of a sick joke, when nearly every bus is not only leaving, but arriving more than ten minutes late.

At Alton, the buses must have an instruction to wait for passengers to alight from the train and catch the bus.

All drivers must wear name badges.

Buses must be equipped with gps, live updates at bus stops.

An app for smartphones and tablets, live updates, wifi at bus stops.

Dysfunctional South West Trains and Stagecoach buses

December 2, 2014
SWT cattle truck

SWT cattle truck

It was touch and go, if I would make the Reading-Guildford train if I walked to the station and caught the train, therefore I decided to catch a bus to Aldershot (problematic as bus service unreliable at the best of times) and catch the Aldershot-Guildford cattle truck. I managed with a few minutes to spare, only to find no train, half an hour wait for next train.

Ticket office asked did I want a single to Guildford. I said no, a return on a rail card.

I thought maybe catch the bus, even though I had paid for the train. I asked the bus driver what time bus arrived in Guildford. His dumb reply: When it gets there. As it was a clapped-out double decker bus and not a very pleasant journey, I decided to wait for the next clapped-out cattle truck.

First carriage I tried, freezing cold, no heating. Next carriage, all the windows open. Third carriage heating, about as effective as a candle.

One of the features of these clapped out filthy cattle trucks, is when they wait several minutes at Aldershot, they do so with all the doors open.

On arrival at Guildford I find I had been sold the wrong ticket, a single not a return, even though I had explicitly stated I wanted a return.

More hassle sorting that out.

I queued at the ticket office, to be told, no I could not change it to a return, it was my fault and the ticket had been used.

I demanded the station manger. Clerk in ticket office refused to get the station manager. I went looking.

No manager, no acting manger, but I did find a helpful supervisor. She said ticked office was in the wrong, wrote out a note, which she said use in lieu of ticket and apologised for how I had been treated.

On return to Aldershot, ten minutes wait for bus at seven o’clock, only no bus. Twenty minutes wait in the cold for the next bus.

Local buses and South West Trains run and owned by Stagecoach.

Richard Branson and Stagecoach have just been handed the lucrative East Coast Mainline.

Goldline route 1

April 26, 2010
goldline route 1

goldline route 1

Goldline route 1 bus route runs through the Blackwater valley from Aldershot via Farnborough to Camberley.

It is a local bus route. Unlike most local bus routes which meander around the houses and seem to take forever, goldline route 1 is direct. The buses run every ten minutes, until evening when it is every half an hour. Sunday is something of a pain as buses are at half hour intervals with a two hour gap between and do not run all the way. Something the bus company Stagecoach needs to address.

The buses are low loaders, enabling buggies and wheelchairs easy access. The seats are sculptured, hand-stitched Italian leather.

Downside is that the fares are a little too pricey (though great if you have a free bus pass) and the drivers do not seem to have a clue how to drive. Instead of approaching a bus stop at a gentle deceleration, they suddenly stop, catapulting passengers out of their seats and if you are on your feet ready to alight from the bus it is necessary to grab one of the handrails, that is if you do not wish to be thrown out through the front window of the bus. Nor are they much better at pulling away from a stop when passengers have boarded, failing to give passengers time to settle in their seats before accelerating away.

Goldline route 1 is popular. Even in the evening the buses are regularly used.

This is how a bus service should be. It is where bus services were in Europe more than 30 years ago.

Also see

Curitiba – Designing a sustainable city