Friday, 2 May 2014
I thought of this poll after reading an online article earlier today. A lot of companies are spending money on providing on-board WiFi for passengers, yet most seem to be concentrating on town centre services - where as fast as you've logged on it's time to get off again - at the expense of the longer more rural services. Do you think this is right? Is WiFi a waste of money that could be spent elsewhere? I might add I'm completely neutral on this topic as I have a good mobile internet deal and have no intention of using on-board WiFi anyway! So it will be interesting to see what others think.
Posted by Steve W at 20:52
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The main reason wifi is only on town services is due to the patchie phone signal out of the town centres. The wifi on buses runs on a sim just like a phone meaning low signal = no wifi. When the signal improves I am sure all route will have wifi.ReplyDelete
Thanks for commenting, Chris - good to have you on board! Living in the sticks myself unable to use my mobile phone in my living room I know all about rural phone signals. Is the whole route of the X1 covered by a good signal and if not how is wifi maintained throughout the journey?ReplyDelete
I guess my main concern as a regular passenger on the 64 between Sax and Ipswich is that the Town services are going to see the refurbished, leather seated vehicles and the likes of Saxmundham aren't. As I said in my post I don't use on board wifi, not on trains either, so I'm really thinking of my backside here!
The problem is, Wi-Fi on a bus works in a similar way to the personal hotspot feature of a lot of products today, the bus picks up 3G signal (there's a new batch of 4G run buses somewhere) and uses it to create the hotspot, which is the bus, this is why it's very hard to use wi-fi on First X1 in some place as its fields and fields either side of the bus - the same case on some Konectbus services. In my personal opinion, buses should not have wifi. Wi-fi should be reserved for the use of long distance coaches, on which the wi-fi is usually outstanding, for example, on National Express services. In a similar way to the seatbelts on buses argument, in which a bus does not need seatbelts due to the regular stops and [arguably] low speeds in residential areas. The stops are so regular and journey times so short on urban services that the need for wi-fi seems unnecessary. For this reason, I have chosen to select the "wifi should not be on buses" option!ReplyDelete
"Is the whole route of the X1 covered by a good signal and if not how is WiFi maintained throughout the journey?"ReplyDelete
In answer to the above - it isn't. There's a blackspot just outside Norwich for one, not that surprising since Vodafone (who, I believe, are who First use for on-board WiFi) O2 and EE (but not Three) all drop out at that point, but it's there.
In response to the poll question posed, I selected the "longer journeys" option - although I suspect some people on certain networks (and with low data allowances) may benefit from it too regardless of journey length. However, like your good self Steve, I too have an excellent mobile internet deal, so am not fussed either way. In fact, some 'novelty item' testing later, I found my mobile network's data is faster than the X1's WiFi anyway (and is more battery friendly too!) so have stuck with that.
Overall though, if finances are OK, as they are at Stagecoach and Go-Ahead (aka Anglian/Konect), then as WiFi is a decent value added service to add then why not. It does make me wonder why though that when money is tight (as it clearly is at First) they're putting it into WiFi rather than... well, take your pick; accelerating the repaint program, refurbishments, vehicle investment (and 14 year old vehicles do not count as investment I'm afraid) etc.
Some excellent comments, gentlemen. As for finance the figures I have seen, and I'm sure Chris will confirm this is £1600 per bus for the first year then £400 per year thereafter. So it is a considerable investment. Tinker, I too have experimented with various on-board wifi systems and found my own phone's signal to be faster so you are not alone there. I guess if you want to use a laptop, however, it would be of use, but how many laptops have you seen in use on town services?ReplyDelete
But I repeat my main concern is that the refurbished buses will go to bottoms relaxing in those leather seats for 10 mins and not those bottoms needing them for 90 mins. That fear was exacerbated this morning after suffering the tortuous seats on 65675 for 80 mins between Sax and Ipswich. Surely the long distance traveller deserves some luxury too!!
Steve don't worry, by the end of September all of First Ipswich buses will have leather seatsReplyDelete
That's great news, Chris, and I'll be more than happy to publicise the progress of the Ipswich transition - I have a feeling Ipswich developments could take up a lot of blog inches this Summer.ReplyDelete
Steve on a different note,i like what Gt Yarmouth are doing,robbing Peter to pay Paul,referring to the wonderful W reg Olympians in order to keep them running,lets face it,they don't have to be withdrawn until 2017 and the ride quality is superb,i bet the drivers like them too.ReplyDelete
When we had 34157 at Ipswich the drivers loved it.
You mention the seating on those Scania's 65670/2-5 I wonder if the seating in thos stored L113 could be fitted,i bet the frame fixings are different,if so,it shouldn't have happened not with the same body builder,i noticed on the L94 at the rear the seat cushions were smaller,making them less comfortable,i refer to 65569-74 when we had them from new and the 65586-90 these were all in First corporate interiors.I found the L113 superoute 88 buses had the best seating,very comfortable on longer journeys,personally though,those seats that ADL had been fitting in E200's were awful plastic moulds with a thin cushion,i'm not sure if any of those within Counties are like that,as i haven't been able to check that one out.
Those seats in 65541-50 were fantastic - reminded me of the dual purpose Leyland Nationals. I went on 65631 on Friday and to be honest she wasn't bad at all - goes well but you're right - the seats let those saloons down. As for the Olympians my views are no secret - just compare them in every department to the similarly aged ALX 400's and they win in all departments except step free access.ReplyDelete
Have to say all the E200's I've been on have got decent seats - about the only nice thing I can find to say about them.
I suspect that wifi is a "marketing offer", particularly to the seen-as-lucrative student market. They might in a low-wage economy be car-less for longer too. They know most about the internet too, so are the most likely to be disappointed with the product. But perhaps they don't care too much about their bums. Mind you students are out and about at all hours, so perhaps they're good users to have where you can get them. And necessary to make up for the current slash and burn of the concessionary fares market.ReplyDelete