Now a few weeks ago I absolutely slated the Volvo 9700 Hybrid that First Essex operate on the 100 Lakeside - Chelmsford route. Hated them. Not this one. Loved it. Quiet, smooth, comfortable. A bit rattly which is always annoying in a new bus but I noticed the roads weren't exactly silky smooth so maybe a little leeway there. Not much mind you as I bet an Olympian wouldn't have rattled/ But anyway why anyone buys an E200 when the B7R is around is anyone's guess.
|Simmonds MCV Volvo B7R BU14 EGD loading up at St Stephen's St|
|Simmonds Volvo B10M TVG 397 on the 1 at St Stephen's St|
Speaking of coaches I saw something on arrival at Noriwch earlier that had me scrabbling to get off the bus like a dog desperate to be let out for a wee! Megabus had one of their amazing Volvo B11R Plaxton Elite Interdeck coaches on the M37 to Cardiff this morning and I wanted a pic of it before the lights changed. Seeing me sprint is probably quite a sight but I got there in the nick of time. According to Megabus if demand stays high these may become a regular sight. I hope so.
|Megabus 54220 YX63 NHG Volvo B11R Plaxton Elite Interdeck leaving Norwich Bus Station en route to Cardiff|
|Konect 803, Mercedes Citaro bendibus BL57 OXM at Costessey P&R terminus|
Now I am well aware the competition the next headline has, but this is well up there.
IS THIS ONE OF THE DAFTEST COUNCIL RULES EVER
Now first of all I should mention that my all time favourite characters are Basil Fawlty, Victor Meldrew, Edmund Blackadder (III and IV) and just a bit of Jim Royle thrown in for good measure. So I like a good moan - what you hadn't noticed? Anyway my intention at Costessey was to stay for a bit and try and get pics of as many of the bendibuses as I could. Fat chance. It seems if you travel between 4 - 6pm on Norwich P&R you have to pay more. If you hold a so called off peak ticket you pay extra to travel at this popular time. Now that is ridiculous in itself, and is hardly going to do anything to encourage people to leave their cars in the middle of nowhere then get on a bus into town. But wait for this - that is regardless of which direction you are travelling in!! So I had to get back on the same bus and go back to town as it was the last off peak bus before I would have had to pay more than the same again. How many do you think were on the bus with me? Go on have a guess!! Really? That many? I had the bus to me, myself and I, and was reliably informed by the driver that I would have had the next 10 to myself too yet Norfolk County Council think you should pay extra to travel on an empty bus. Perhaps that's why it was empty.. As Victor himself would have said - "I don't belieeeeeeeve it"!
Warning To Anglian
Now back to what I alluded to earlier over the overcrowding on the 88. It is getting to the point something needs to be done or someone else might do it. Since I have been travelling on the route the first bus from Halesworth after 0930 is full by Bungay. Quite often standing by Poringland and lots standing by time it gets to Norwich. It's a decker in school holidays but not schooldays. I mentioned a few days ago that the 1600 is now packed because the 1555 relief bus on schooldays has been scrapped. Today the 1630 had a standing load when it left Norwich, and when I joined the queue for the 1700 which I thought was going to be the last remaining yellow Trident 712 there were pensioners there who had let the 1630 go as it was too full. There were a lot of people waiting. Now normally I am overjoyed to see a gas bus, but not tonight as this is how it looked when we left Norwich.
|The 1700 from Norwich to Halesworth today|
Anglian should take note of this and take action. Yes new deckers are due in January, but Go-Ahead needs to find 5 or 6 deckers PDQ or someone is going to notice this constant overcrowding, and step in to mop up the excess and take quite a few with them. It's not rocket science in this ultra competitive market where poaching other companies' passengers seems to be the norm now. You can say you saw it here first.