Public Transport in your particular part of the region

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Pete
Posts: 7146
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 13.36
Location: Dundee

Mon 05 Aug, 2013 13.37

So I've been reading up on some of the changes that are planned for buses in Tyne and Wear and it makes interesting reading.

From what I can gather than plan is to move to a TfL style system where the buses are all branded with the Metro-inspired Calvert "B" logo and essentially all passengers deal directly with Nexus who then contract out the routes to the private companies.

Last time I was in Newcastle my mate initially laughed at the old clunker of a Metro that took us into the city centre but was pleasantly surprised at the refurbishes trains. It's quite amazing how different the new style ones were given that they are - to all intents and purpose - rebuilt in a nearly identical manner.

Could any locals let me know if the gofawful noise when the doors open has been removed yet? It was hinted on the FB page they were not happy with it. Also think its a shame that the announcements are not in a north east accent as it would help bring some charm back to the trains that was lost with the replacement of the old "stand clear of the doors please"


The new stations meanwhile are very smart and its good to see such a strong return of Calvert and yellow to the branding. Haymarket's underground sections in particular are stunning and it'll be great when the 80s spectaculars of Monument and Central get the same treatment.


I still miss the original livery though, it's a shame the "doors must stand out" rule means it can't return in its original form.
"He has to be larger than bacon"
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tillyoshea
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Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
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Mon 05 Aug, 2013 20.53

Pete wrote:From what I can gather than plan is to move to a TfL style system where the buses are all branded with the Metro-inspired Calvert "B" logo and essentially all passengers deal directly with Nexus who then contract out the routes to the private companies.
This news has totally passed me by, though I did notice the "B" making an appearance on the bus stops themselves. It seems a bit of a shame - I've always liked the unique local names some of the operators gave their routes, like the "Red Kite", "The Highwayman", "The Angel"... and the "Fab Fifty-Six".
Pete wrote:Could any locals let me know if the gofawful noise when the doors open has been removed yet?
I'm afraid it hasn't, though it has been made (marginally) quieter on some of the trains.
Pete wrote:Also think its a shame that the announcements are not in a north east accent as it would help bring some charm back to the trains that was lost with the replacement of the old "stand clear of the doors please"
This is being changed - a north east accent is being brought in for all the announcements soon, not least because of the number of complaints over the mispronunciation of several station names in the current recording. "Metro Ken" - the cartoon character that advertises the modernisation programme - has started making recorded announcements in the station ("Hi, it's Metro Ken here!"), though I don't know if that's the same voice that will be used on the trains.
Pete wrote:Haymarket's underground sections in particular are stunning and it'll be great when the 80s spectaculars of Monument and Central get the same treatment.
A huge chunk of the system is closed this month, including the busiest section of track between Haymarket and South Gosforth, for modernisation work. I understand that the next city centre station to be upgraded is going to be Central, though with the extensive remodelling work going on at the mainline station (which hadn't been announced when the plan to upgrade the Metro station was announced), I don't know if that's been delayed.
scottishtv
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Joined: Thu 01 Apr, 2004 15.36
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Mon 05 Aug, 2013 22.23

I wasn't that impressed with the initial branding I saw in Passenger Transport magazine last week:
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Also, I'm not sure the plan will really work. There's loads of examples recently where LA tenders have resulted in much higher costs to the public purse than the officials expected, but with so many extras and add-ons being specified and written into tenders, it seems pretty obvious that these will push up the costs from commercial operators. Just having a tender process doesn't automatically mean you'll get services cheaper. In fact, I think the opposite will be the case here - it's only London that can really do route tendering/franchising properly, mainly because of the much higher public spend they already put into passenger transport.
woah
Posts: 344
Joined: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 12.39
Location: Sheffield

Tue 06 Aug, 2013 22.17

I like some of the ideas here - I think letting Nexus deal with complaints is a great idea. It avoids confusion for passengers who can talk to one central place for any problems, it would hopefully ensure a certain consistent level of customer service from Nexus, and it could mean that Nexus could work with the bus companies to improve the problems being complained about and penalise them if they fail to improve. The only problem of course is the potential cost but if that improves services to a good level, then I think it's money very well spent.

I can't say I like the idea of them branding buses though - I'm thinking of GNE in particular who do some very nice branding for their services. I may be missing something here, but if the Nexus branding also means removing operator-specific tickets for a single ticket type that's valid across all operators, doesn't that remove competition - and isn't there the potential for Nexus to pass on some of their admin costs into the ticket prices if they are the ones setting the prices?
Andrew
Posts: 260
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 18.18

Sat 10 Aug, 2013 21.37

It won't work. In London, buses are a means to an end, are are heavily used, so they can afford to all be in the same bland all red livery. This also applied 'in the old days' when there were less cars on the road.

Elsewhere though, buses are not used by many, so the bus companies have to shout about their services with branding, special liveries etc, this is done more extensively than most by Go North East.

Branding every bus in a plain livery in a similar way to a council dustcart could actually reduce the number of passengers.
Alexia
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Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

Sun 11 Aug, 2013 18.33

Andrew wrote:It won't work. In London, buses are a means to an end, are are heavily used, so they can afford to all be in the same bland all red livery. This also applied 'in the old days' when there were less cars on the road.

Elsewhere though, buses are not used by many, so the bus companies have to shout about their services with branding, special liveries etc, this is done more extensively than most by Go North East.

Branding every bus in a plain livery in a similar way to a council dustcart could actually reduce the number of passengers.

I think you're being a bit silly here. Do you work in marketing perchance? Cos you're spouting the sort of crap people who work in marketing do. I'm fairly sure buses are a means to an end everywhere, and London Bus operators work in perhaps the most commercially competitive market in the UK, fighting for pax against the Tube, taxis, riverbuses and overland trains. People don't choose a bus based on what colour it is, they choose it on whether they can get from A to B for a fair fare.

Your argument falls down on several points. Firstly, some places like Reading have different coloured buses working for the same company (the different colours correspond to different routes.) Other buses frequently sport all-over vinyl advertising thus negating the brand identity completely. Plus in some markets there are only one bus company working (like Swansea) which means that there are no other companies to compete with, so by your reckoning, they spend money pointlessly.

And your last comment is ignorance in the extreme. Municipal bus services don't have to be liveried like dustcarts. I'm fairly sure this isn't visually uninteresting.

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WillPS
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Location: Carlton
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Tue 13 Aug, 2013 22.03

The point is that buses do not compete with personal motor car usage in London as they do everywhere else. It's a pretty well proven point that nice liveries and shiny pleasant buses do encourage car users to try the bus. See Trent[ ]Barton's relative success compared to most operators of their ilk.
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Critique
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Joined: Mon 17 Aug, 2009 10.37
Location: Suffolk

Sun 08 Sep, 2013 22.18

So, what is Public transport like wherever you are? Is it rubbish? Is it expensive? Are the buses always late and smelling of damp dog? I ask because this is something which varies quite a lot around the UK - quite a lot of areas are dominated by private companies like First and Stagecoach (with Stagecoach being one I've never really encountered in the East), but there are some areas with publicly owned bus companies still(where I live included), and so the way everything works everywhere else always interests me because it is a very varied picture.

As I said, here in Ipswich local buses are dominated by Ipswich Buses, who I believe are owned by the council, and so generally it's all quite good value for money, but the fleet is quite old (bar a few ex-London buses I believe we recently purchased) and quite a few routes were axed recently, with new ones like the X5 and X3 (which run alongside the 5 and the 3 and seem to have no differences), and also the F.A.B 4 (the naming of which seems utterly bizarre) being introduced instead. For the more far out routes I think First takes the reins here, and is considerably more expensive.

Also, we've recently had a few major junctions torn out and replaced, with the old subways that ran underneath being sealed up, the roundabouts destroyed and a four way junction being installed instead, which everyone seems to hate. In addition to this they're currently destroying the two bus depots (one for Ipswich Buses and one for First and the other bus companies) and rebuilding them so they can be better and have useful things like screens which tell you how delayed your bus is, so town centre is littered with diggers and temporary bus stops at the moment - why they decided that they'd rebuild both at once remains a mystery. In the end it all seems to boil down to the fact that a lot of money has been invested in our transport systems, but the results won't be clear for a while.

So, how about you?
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WillPS
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Location: Carlton
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Sun 08 Sep, 2013 22.36

I have a tram stop right outside my house, and one tram will take me directly through town to Shalesmoor where my office is a 5 minute walk. There are 6 trams per hour daytime Monday-Saturday (+2 Purple trams that terminate in town and/or reverse back to Meadowhall); 3 trams per hour outside peak times (+3 Purple trams). The tram fare for the journey is £2.20 single (£1.50 single to town), £4 per day, £13 per week of £42 per month. Reasonable. My only qualms with the service are
  1. that they're not yet accepting contactless debit card payments on board
  2. the service is operated by Stagecoach, meaning Souter and his homophobic hatred get my cash
  3. that the tram line outside my house has been closed for several months while they relay the track
Services in Sheffield are generally quite good; probably not quite as good as they are in Nottingham though, particularly when you consider the excellent service Trent offer to the suburbs and satellites.
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Alexia
Posts: 2967
Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

Sun 08 Sep, 2013 22.48

Newport

Buses -
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Newport Bus, the arms-length municipal to be fair, run a large range of routes with some smart buses which include CCTV and seem to get a fair turnover of new stock. They've also inherited some ex-London double deckers for strengthening routes to the suburbs / estates during school holidays, which belies their true usage as school cattle trucks. Exact fare of £1.60 for a single, or £3.00 for an unlimited day rover (useful if travelling from one part of the city to another as it necessitates a change at the bus station - very few if any direct services across town - buses radiate from the centre. Also their fare to Cardiff is under £2, which is extremely reasonable. No WIFI or anything like that onboard.



They have however laid off some of their less profitable routes to:

New Venture Travel - a SEWTA subsidised company who pick up the dregs left behind. They also operate in day to day service rather delightfully a "Holby Line" branded bus used as a prop for....well I shouldn't have to tell you that.
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Stagecoach (eugh) are the main private entity in the area having subsumed ex-National Welsh company Red and White as well as buying out local company Glyn Williams. They connect the valleys with Newport, Cardiff and other outlying areas with a decent varied local, express and coach service, again utelising buses that are under 10 years old in the most part. One bus every 10 minutes throughout the day up the Eastern (Ebbw) Valley, one bus every half hour through the more terrain-unfriendly Western (Sirhowy) Valley. Odd intervals on the route to Risca - a few buses clustered within a few minutes each half hour or so. Fares fairly fair- £1.40ish for a 4 mile 10 minute journey.

EDIT: I also forgot to mention connections provided by two Megabus routes, two National Express routes, and the Greyhound service.

Trains - frequent trains to Cardiff supplied by 3 TOCs. Half hourly trains to London and Brizzle, twice hourly trains to Swansea (hourly intercities and hourly locals rising to 3 or 4tph in the peaks), hourly trains to Brum and Manchester. HSTs, Class 150s, 153s, 158s, 170s, 175s and one Class 220 are the main protaganists.

Taxis - Fares start at £3 rising to £4 overnight.
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martindtanderson
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Mon 09 Sep, 2013 01.14

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Within a 5-10min walking distance there are 7-8 bus routes, an Underground station, and an Overground station.
Bus Routes 17, 91, 259, 274, 390, 153, 10

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Take that out to a 20-30min walk away, and then that extends to 4 Underground stations, two of them mainline train stations King's Cross, St Pancras Euston and the buses will go to close popular destinations like Camden Town, and Angel Islington.

It's a shame I am agoraphobic, so I don't get to make use of the transport links more often.
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