Two new timetables were released today, and both had been eagerly anticipated. Ipswich Buses service 4, which is taking on First's 66 to Martlesham, and Borderbuses 146 from Southwold to Norwich.
Starting with Ipswich Buses. Now I have criticsed First in the past for not competing on routes shall we say with 100% enthusiasm, and I have to be consistent here and say the same applies to Ipswich Buses. Imagine the reaction of the good passengers on the 66 if you told them frequency was being reduced to half hour, start and finish times were being cut, and on top of that reduced capacity as single deckers replacing double deckers. That just about sums up the 4, which I can see being as much of a thorn in First's side as First's 99 is proving to be to Anglian in Lowestoft. With First's 66 now extended to Halifax encroaching on IB's 7/15 surely it would have been better to extend that 20 min 7/15 service to Martlesham using the spare deckers that IB have restoring the cross town service again. Then the 4 might have been a threat to the 66. Not now. An opportunity missed. I am wondering what passengers IB are targeting with this route.
When Borderbus announced the 146 I championed it, particularly as I was assured that the school Tridents were not going to be used on it. Well if they aren't I can't see why on schooldays the service is barely worth bothering with. If you are travelling from Southwold to Norwich and back on a school day your first bus is 0925 (nice timing for passes that one) getting into Norwich at 1045. Your LAST bus back is 1250. I kid you not. If you fancy going to Southwold for the day from Norwich on this faster service on a school day your first service is 1010 from Norwich arriving at Southwold at 1125. Sadly though by time you've unpacked the beach towel and pork pies it will be time to pack up again as the last bus to Norwich leaves at 1325. Again you have to wonder what passengers Borderbus are targeting but I'm getting a huge sense of deja vu here as the same mistakes happened with the 164. There is no point taking passengers out if you can't bring them home, and too many services are affected by school buses. It is another reason why car users just won't start getting the bus.
You can see the new timetables on the suffolkonboard website by clicking here and share in my disappointment.