I have been keeping very quiet recently about developments at Anglian Bus. The majority of the staff are doing their utmost to keep wheels turning and passengers boarding. However the burden on their shoulders keeps growing and growing. Unreliable and poorly maintained fleet for a start. Not that I'm blaming the fitters there. Vehicles have been brought in that are wholly unsuitable for the area, and money is just not being spent to bring the fleet up to scratch. Therefore bodge job follows bodge job, driver concerns are fobbed off, and as a result fitters are spending most of their time changing buses over and not fixing them. And services are cancelled.
Despite draconian cuts in November which cut the Peak Vehicle Requirement by a third there are still services being cancelled. but it doesn't stop there. There have been more changes of management in the last 6 months at Anglian than there have been in the Football League. No one knows what to do, what anyone else is doing, or how to stop the rot. This ultimately leads to one main victim - the passenger, and this is set to continue with the latest timetable changes effective from 22nd February.
In April last year passengers wishing to travel from Halesworth, Wenhaston and Blythburgh to Lowestoft were dealt a blow when Anglian cut the 62. Passengers from Halesworth had to travel either via Beccles on the 60H and change to the 60, with passengers from Wenhaston and Blythburgh needing to travel via Southwold on the 88A/61. Then in November the 60 was scrapped between Beccles and Lowestoft leaving the only option via Southwold.
And so it came to pass that the latest Anglian management decided that November's changes to the 7/61 weren't working. The fact that anyone with half a brain could have worked out that forcing people to change at Lowestoft to get to Lowestoft College and Great Yarmouth would convince passengers to get on a more frequent, reliable and cheaper service (First) is beside the point. So from Feburary 22nd the 61 will once again run through from Southwold to Great Yarmouth, and I assume Norwich although the timetables make no reference to that so who knows! Both directions in the 61 timetable refer to Market Gates Stand A, but if that's the case firstly a 22 min layover will block the stand and secondly the problem of making passengers change will just be shifted from Lowestoft to Yarmouth.
The current 20 min frequency between Lowestoft and Kessingland (remember it was a 10 min frequency a few weeks ago) is being reduced to every 30 mins and apart for the 61B school journey Kessingland Beach is losing its service altogether. But here is the coup de grace. Timings from Southwold have changed dramatically and the 61 no longer connects with the 88A. It doesn't just not connect it doesn't connect spectacularly! If you are travelling from Lowestoft you will arrive at Southwold at 9 mins past the hour. The 88A leaves for Halesworth on the hour so a wait of 51 mins. Brilliant. Going the other way the 88A gets in at 45 mins past and the 61 leaves at 30 mins past, so a wait of 45 mins. And with that departure time at 30 mins past we have the clue as to why this change has happened.
The Borderbus 146 leaves Southwold at 35 mins past the hour, so clearly running 5 mins in front of the 146 is more important to Anglian than maintaining a decent connection for regular - and there are plenty of them - passengers. Nice one Anglian.
Elsewhere on the 61 the ill thought out experiment of running round Mariner's Compass in Gorleston looks to have come to an end - ill thought out as buses were running the opposite way to the more regular First service 8 so no one bothered to cross the road - however there is no indication as to which route the 61 is taking between James Paget and Gorleston High St. Less running time is allowed so don't be surprised to see another route change there too.
There are also changes to the 88/88X which basically involve fewer faster services from Norwich in the afternoon and fewer services Norwich bound from Bungay also in the afternoon.
So I guess the question is are these changes going to improve things for Anglian and have those responsible for the new timetables justified their wages? Erm..........
PS Many thanks to all those who have sent messages of support regarding my dad, who sadly passed away yesterday morning (20th). I'm still going to be in Kent for a bit, but hope to get material for a few posts next week.