So onto the news/
Nothing to report from Ipswich this week. The remaining E200, 44516 was expected to return but didn't, and to my knowledge nothing else has gone up to Rotherham. So for the first time in this blog's memory pride of place goes to Norwich and the plans for their new livery, or should that be liveries. At this point it should be said that I have never been a fan of route branding. It started down in Kent (in my experience) in the mid 90's and I didn't like it then when a route branded bus was on a different route. It just looks amateurish and confuses the passenger far more than a different livery (if a different livery is so confusing why do buses have all over ads these days - and there were 4 different liveried ALX400's on the 66 in Ipswich the other day). Anyway it seems the idea is to paint the Norwich buses in the same style as the Ipswich ones, except the front colour will be the colour of the route they are on, so red routes will have a red front, green routes green fronts etc. The first bus to be painted is Volvo B7 Plaxton President 33163 of the Purple Line which will have its front end painted purple. This tells me two things. Firstly Norwich will look like a Dulux paint chart and secondly if the first bus to be painted is a President it tells you just how much updating the Norwich fleet is going to get. Probably blown the budget on paint!
I have no idea why companies these days think passengers are so thick. How on earth do they manage in London where everything is red! Actually London is a great example because they DO manage, and extremely well. In the late 80's early 90's buses in London came in all shapes and colours. I myself drove blue and yellow buses in London. Oh yes and Ipswich green and cream ones, white ones, and when Kentish took us over yellow ones too - on the same route. Then there was Metrobus (a different blue and yellow), green ones from Transcity, yellow and red from Citibus plus the red traditional London ones. That was just in my area. Passengers, particularly tourists, didn't know if they were coming or going as they were all used to red ones. The red system was a simple system - a bus turned up and passengers looked at the destination screen and knew what route it was on and where it was going. Clever eh! Eventually Transport for London realised that actually it worked and from then on all buses on TfL work had to be 80% red again. Of course all over ads are allowed as the Borismasters are showing, but that doesn't matter as passengers are used to checking destination screens. No one misses an 11 if it isn't red because it still says 11 Liverpool St on it.
What would cause confusion though is if all the Borismasters on the 11 had 11 painted all over them like a Banksy mural, then one of them turned up on the 38. (Yes I know different depot it's an example). This is inevitibly what is going to happen in Norwich. Get people used to colour coding and they stop checking destination screens. Then when a Yellow bus turns up on a Purple route they will let it go as not all of them will be monitoring the excellent Norwich Bus Updates on Twitter. It makes me laugh that one of the reasons 33423 is being repainted is because the poor darlings in Gorleston apparently can't tell between a 1 and an X1 and which is going to Norwich, Presumably they can tell between a 1 and an 8 and which one is going to Martham? Or a 2 and a 7? Did they let the Barbie liveried Gemini B7's go by when they were on the X1 because they weren't white like the Excels? No they didn't as they read the destination screens. Of course they are used to blue buses now and have got lazy. That is what happens. Of course it would help if the X1's actually said Norwich on their screens at Gorleston. Ok rant over. Just don't insult the intelligence of passengers when there is a perfectly good tried and trusted way of seeing where a bus is going. Painting by numbers is for kids, and I can just see tourists and foreign students getting hopelessly confused as to whch buses they can use their tickets on. Norwich, instead of getting its own identity will have to be renamed The Rainbow City.
|First Ipswich 69007 complete with Ipswich branding at Saxmundham yesterday|
Unbelievably not reported elsewhere is the announcement on Thursday that the top man at Konect/Anglian, Julian Paterson, is to leave the company in Novemnber. A notice was put up at Konect's depot at Dereham and word spread very quickly. I hope to do a feature on Julian Paterson's career at Konect before he goes as he leaves quite a legacy.
Anglian have reported on their website that the last of the Versas have transfered to Konect. Konect in turn have apologised to passengers on the 53 for buses still in Anglian colours on the route - passengers who are used to, erm, buses in Anglian colours on the route!
I said a couple of weeks ago I would never again catch the 1600 Anglian 88 service to Halesworth again after it was merged with the 1555 departure and now takes 20 mins longer to get to Halesworth. That was confirmed on Monday when Anglian, in their wisdom allocated a single decker for that run. By all accounts it made a tin of sardines look as spacious as the Penthouse Suite at the Savoy. It wasn't a swap either as I had seen the vehicle concerned on the 0800 from Norwich and just assumed it would be swapped over later in the day. I understand it was a decker the rest of the week so maybe a few ears were burning Monday evening
|Hmmm now which bit is just slightly out of sync!!! I think it's actually the Scania|
I was surprised while in Ipswich to see a Galloway MCV Evolution on the 118's, a route normally exclusively Solo operated with the occasional Beaver. Luckily for me the driver was a friendly chap and was happy to explain the situation. Quite simply passenger numbers have risen to such an extent a bigger vehicle is needed to cater for the students going to Otley College. It apparently caught both the operator and Suffolk County Council by surprise. So if you fancy a ride on a Evolution head over to the 118 during school term and you'll get one. It's a bit big for the route and the driver was saying the extra size meant times were very tight but still good to see.
|Galloway's MCV Evolution YJ60 GFA at Old Cattle Market|
Norwichbuses blog have this morning reported that a new vehicle to Simmonds, E200 MX11 JYP was operating on the 113 between Ipswich - Diss yesterday. One can only hope it is the beginning of the end for those truly appalling Enterprise Plasmo Plaxton Primo's in which case I might at long last be able to explore that route as I refuse to voluntarily sit on a mobile rattly spin dryer for 90 mins!
On The Railways
First Capital Connect are no more. They have ceased to be and joined the long list of ex rail franchise holders. As of today Go-Via trading as Thameslink and Great Northern take over with what be UK's biggest rail franchise when the Southern network joins it in July next year, although Southern will retain its own branding as Go-Via have been operating that franchise for many years now. Many improvements have been promised. We shall see.
Yesterday saw the last Yarmouth drags of the Summer. Well should have done but 47813 threw a hissy fit so the last two didn't run. I love the 47's, but they are so unreliable now maybe the time has come to retire them gracefully to heritage railways and let the 68's take over. Anyway it does give me the opportunity to post once more one of my fav pics of the Summer. Sorry this week has been such a rant and keep checking in over the coming days.
|47501 tugging the IC set in the Yarmouth Sunshine on the first day of the drags in July|