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Thursday, 8 February 2018

Ipswich Latest

There was a lot of comment in the previous post about upcoming service changes in Ipswich and the lack of timetables. Well today the timetables have been released, and surprise surprise Ipswich Borough Council have come riding in on their green and purple horses and saved the day by sponsoring evening and Sunday services operated by a company they own.....

The 14 to the wonderfully named Gippeswyk Park has also been saved and it seems very much like as you were. There are some route changes - the 4 will no longer served Martlesham, it never really caught on, and the 6 is being split at Ipswich Hospital with the Greenwich part being renumbered 2

The X5 reverts to its old 5 - there was never anything X about it! The X1 and X3 also disappear reverting to their old numbers. A new service 7 replaces the old 17 and 19 giving new links from Dale Hall and Castle Hill, and the proposed curtailment of the 15 and Thorington Park has been scrapped.

So common sense has prevailed - even Councillors couldn't see the county town of Suffolk go bus-less after 1930 every day. However, welcome as the sponsorship is an hourly evening and Sunday service isn't going to attract many new bums to the now hard (Scanias at least) Ipswich Buses seats. To succeed these days buses have to be the obvious option, not an "oh heck we've just missed one so what do we do with the next hour" option. It's not as though any of the town services are that long. Yes some are still half hourly, the 9/10 for example but I see no effort or ambition from Ipswich Buses to promote customer growth.

Having said that Ipswich Buses have my utmost sympathy for having to provide a decent service in a town perpetually gridlocked due to either never ending roadworks or a gentle breeze closing the Orwell Bridge causing utter chaos in Ipswich. So it is up to IBC to work with Suffolk CC (there's a novel thought) and sort the roadworks out, and Ipswich Buses to convince people that sitting on a bus in traffic is better than sitting in the car in traffic. Getting new (second hand) buses with very hard seats, no USB chargers etc isn't going to achieve much on that front so maybe a complete rethink is needed by both Ipswich Buses and their owners. As we are, requiring bailouts or Reading style investment to bring Ipswich into the 21st century? The Borough of Reading has around 162,000 population whereas Ipswich has around 136,000. Not a huge difference.

Of course to achieve that Ipswich itself has to be sorted out. Instead of daft fountains in Market Square how about real incentives to businesses to come to Ipswich, to bring the town back to life instead of endless boarded up shops and pound stores. Empty shops don't realise any income so why not offer all businesses, big and small a 6 month business rate waiver to get those shops occupied and shoppers flocking back to the town, preferably by bus! Absolutely nothing to lose.

Right, now I've sorted Ipswich out I'm off to London again tomorrow so I'll combine both tomorrow and last week into one report. Be prepared for some surprising, and maybe some not so surprising reviews!

All the forthcoming Ipswich Buses timetables can be seen on their website, which you can go to by clicking here.

37 comments:

  1. Of course,expecting the borough and county councils to come together over anything is like trying to hang a picture in the dark! The other point is that shopping in Ipswich is some what primitive,unless you like coffee,fast food,gambling and browsing charity shops. The whole town is a relic. Redrafting the cornhill being another vanity project wasting mullions.

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  2. Moan moan moan. You try run a bus service.

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    1. Yes please! Sadly I only have 40 years experience of public transport to offer, not a degree in business studies from a Uni Mummy and Daddy drove me to everyday.

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    2. Don't be so rude about people with an education. - maybe a little jealously.

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    3. So because somebody has a 3 year degree, that voids them of any industry experience? I'd prefer 37 years industry experience and 3 years doing a degree.

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    4. No jealousy - I went to Uni but did Music. Commuted up by bus and train....

      You cannot learn how to run a bus company out of a text book. Sure you can learn how to run a business and make everything add up, but you need that something extra to run a bus company and that's passion and enthusiasm. We have seen what happens with the demise of Anglian, and now Stagecoach in Norfolk, what happens when you run operations that were built up with love, passion and experience purely as a business.

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  3. Absolutely agree with everything you've said here Steve. Apparently 156 was back out today in its new livery on town routes.

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    1. the really sad thing is, Charlie, those Scanias give lovely rides, and with decent seats would be great addition. But compare those seats with the seats on the Tridents they are replacing and oh dear!

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    2. Indeed, thing is it's 25k extra per bus to have a full seat retrim on the Scania website and a strapped for cash council isn't going to want to £350,000 on new seats sadly.

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    3. Absolutely convinced Borderbus didn't pay that much but will check.

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    4. http://www.scania.com/content/dam/scanianoe/market/uk/brochures/used-vehicles/used-bus-and-coach/2017-05-promotion-dd-omnicity-bus.pdf

      On the last page, I think!

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    5. I’m reliably informed by a contact at IB that all these Scanias HAVE actually had a full re-trim - however IB’s management chose to have them all redone in First moquette again. Very odd choice IMO to have seats done in the moquette of your main competitor but guess it shows what strange decisions IB’s management are making these days!

      You may be interested to take a look on the Ipswich community forum here: https://ipswi.com/community/forums/ipswich-buses.4167/ as there are lots of unhappy residents with how IB has become.

      The shine has definitely disappeared from IB and the good old days are long gone.

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    6. It's not €25k per bus, it's €2.5k per bus.

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  4. Worth noting that much of urban Reading is not in the Borough Council area, so the population figures are understated. The university campus and much to the south and east (including Woodley) is in Wokingham, while West Berkshire covers much of the Calcot and Tilehurst area. In contrast, the Ipswich boundaries are drawn fairly tightly around the urban area - I think the 4 is the only town service that goes beyond.
    Another difference which can be seen around the country is that towns with universities tend to have more of an evening economy than those that don't, but I absolutely agree that people don't want to wait around for an hourly bus service. That said, I've watched several places pull last buses back to 2100/2130, without much impact on overall patronage.

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    1. Ipswich has a university. Not as big as Norwich or Reading but it has one.

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    2. Andrew Kleissner9 February 2018 at 07:29

      True of course, but it's a very different "vibe" and demographic.

      On the Ipswich bus changes, one thing which seems to be missing on the timetables is the precise routeings. For instance, I used to live in Larchcroft Road on the old route 19. Presumably the new route 7 follows this to its old terminus at Macaulay Road, then takes the 9/10 route to Meredith Road. But what happens then? Does it follow the 8 route or go straight along Bury Road? We're not told and (so far) there's no map to help us. Or am I missing something? And what happens in Dale Hall Road?

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    3. The 7 seems confusing - did you look on the website - i think a fairly good description of the route was given.

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  5. As someone who has had to live in this town for over 60 years I have to say that I totally agree with everything you say. The trouble id the Councils (Suffolk & Ipswich) who are both responsible for the mess the town is in do fantastic impersonation of Ostriches 7 constantly bury their heads in the sand whilst blaming everyone else but themselves.

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  6. Total waste,not having you at the helm of a major player in the transport industry Steve . Having said that perhaps a job at the council in charge of the sewage system may be more apt . .

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    1. I deal with enough crap from you Anons hiding behind your girly masks so perhaps I'm overqualified for that one.

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  7. Have you thought about attending the university ?

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    1. That's probably why this blog costs me a fortune but I get paid for providing the music at weddings and funerals!

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  8. Bit off topic but the notice of Konect running to Fakenham has been removed from the website. Perhaps they've changed their mind due to first making a move?

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    1. Interesting - I'll do some digging. Wouldn't surprise me if a case of cold feet has occurred.

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    2. Perhaps not so much a case of cold feet, but a dose of realism . . . there will be barely enough passengers for 1 BPH on Route X29, let alone enough for a bus war.
      I would not be surprised if the managers at Konect and Norwich have quietly talked about the future in Kings Lynn; quite possibly with Lynx management as well.
      Has anyone discovered whether Stagecoach were facing the expiry of their lease on their Garage, and coundn't afford an increase? If they're continuing with Long Sutton and March and running some routes therefrom, maybe that's why they're withdrawing from KL . . . . simply no base left?

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    3. If that was the case I don't think it would be a secret and we'd all know about it by now. I'll check the theory out, though.

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    4. Do bus companies want the spotters to know there business secrets ?

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  9. Results of NCC Review of Supported Bus Services ( Perhaps more correctly proposals to cut services)

    Compared to other transport buses get almost no subsidies yet are they main form of public transport 60% uses buses compared to only 20% using rail. There is a good case in my view switching some support away from rail to buses. From the survey results it looks as if many people are prepared to pay for Concessionary passes including disability ones provided it is used to directly improve the services rather than be spent on council quangos etc

    There are many benefits that are not directly commercial for supporting bus services these can be reduced congestion, better health, reduced pollution, more business for town centres etc

    Currently NCC are looking to save £0.5M on supported service. Whilst in the end it may not be £0.5M cut a substantial amount ill be cut and that will result in a further reduction to services. This in turn will drive more people away from using the services but this is the cycle we are on at present with each year more services being cut

    https://norfolk.citizenspace.com/consultation/bussubsidy/

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    1. "From the survey results it looks as if many people are prepared to pay for Concessionary passes including disability ones provided it is used to directly improve the services rather than be spent on council quangos etc"

      Someone's been reading the blog! I've been saying this for years, and taken much abuse and criticism for saying it!

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  10. Little off topic, swear I just saw New RM no.LT50 being towed on the M1!

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  11. Chambers appear to have acquired an Anglian double decker. Whether it is permanent or just on loan I don't know

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    1. It was rumoured that some, if not all of Anglian's Scania deckers were going to Essex. It looks like the rumours may have been right.

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  12. Further Cuts but Outside of this area

    East Yorkshire Motor Services has opened consultation with its staff to close its depot in Cliff Road Hornsea from Saturday 5 May 2018.

    Falling revenue from East Riding of Yorkshire Council contracts & free concessionary travel reimbursement has required a significant reduction of costs, including the elimination of excess depot capacity. Hornsea has been chosen for closure as its services can be run effectively from neighbouring depots in Hull & Beverley.

    Should the closure go ahead after the consultation period, all the depot’s 27 drivers and engineers will be offered alternative work elsewhere in the company.

    The depot’s principal services including the regular Services 240 & 246 to Hull, the Hornsea Town Service 550, Service 129 to Withernsea and Service 130 to Bridlington will continue to run, although there will be some timetable changes which will be announced closer to the implementation date."

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  13. It used to be the case that First were the laughing stock of Ipswich but they are run so well in Ipswich now, it's like chalk and cheese to what they were before.

    Ipswich have gone downhill badly in the last few years though, it's almost like a role reversal!

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  14. Very true! It’s such a shame, I personally think it all started to go wrong about 10-15 years ago. New bus orders dried up, service cuts began to creep in, fares rising etc.

    Up until about 2003/4 they were purchasing around 7/8 new buses a year and were innovative with the original era of low floors (excels, solos etc) although they were a bit slow with low floor deckers - although didn’t they once say they wanted an all single deck fleet?

    The network was simpler back in the late 90’s/early 00’s even when First shared a few routes. You could argue the route numbers were a bit confusing but everyone knew what their bus number was and where it went. It’s fair to say people in Ipswich don’t like change!

    First have moved forward with leather seats, WiFi onboard all buses and m tickets. Ipswich Buses just seems to have stood still - and the dark purple/horrid green paint job does nothing to attract new users or the tired interiors once you’re on them.

    If you’re going to be sat on a bus stuck in traffic you want to be sitting in a nice atmosphere with WiFi and usb charging to atleast pass the time... otherwise you may aswell be sat in your car! How about them getting the metro newspaper on their buses too?

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