Wednesday 4 February 2015

Service Alterations & We Are Not Amused

I mentioned in the Round Up on Sunday that I had seen in Notices and Proceedings that Stowmarket Minibus & Coach Hire had applied to alter the 196, which provides my one bus a day to Saxmuundham. Today coming home from Saxmundham the thing was packed, which is always good to see. Actually I was lucky it was packed as the 64 from Wickham Market was 30 mins late (First's Twitter feed is a waste of space) and if the 196 hadn't been 3 mins down due to overloading I would have been left with a 6 mile walk home.

So I decided to ring the company up to see if I could find out what the changes were going to be. They were extremey helpful and emailed me a copy of the timetable which starts 30th March. I am not impressed. On Wednesdays and Saturdays the route is changing and my village will no longer be served. I will have no service buses those days. This is quite ironic as the day I use that bus the most is.......yup, Wednesdays. I also quite often use it Saturday mornings to go to Sax shopping. Great. Thanks SCC. Another vote winner. DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO USE BUSES OR NOT!!!!!!! Btw I tried to book Suffolk Links to give me more time in Wickham Market today and they were fully booked. Suffice it to say I'm not taking this lying down and have already emailed SCC expressing my displeasure.

Onto other things and on my way to Wickham Market today by lucky chance my chariot was 69006 so I managed to get a pic in the roadworks ridden village of which more to come.

69006 leaves Wickham Market
From Monday for 15 days Wickham Market is going to be shut becase of roadworks. The 64 will not be able to serve Wickham Market, although had people actually thought about it it could have done by using High St/Bordercote Lane/Broad Rd to get to the Square, doubling back the same way to get to the A12 as was used a few years ago. However a minibus shuttle service is being provided to Wooodbridge to connect with buses to/from Ipswich, although the fact there is nothing from Wickham Market to Woodbrdge between 0905 and 1115 is nothing short of scandalous (there would normaly be a 0910, 0950 and 1050 - no one knows about the 62 from Fram). If you are going from Sax to Wickham Market or vice versa, however, you are well and truly stuffed. Travelling from Sax you have to go to Woodbridge and double back to Wickham Market, with a 30 min wait at Woodbridge. If you are going from Wickham to Sax it gets even better - you go into Woodbridge, wave at the 64 as it passes you and have a 58 min wait as the 62R from Wickham is conveniently timed to get into Woodbridge 2 mins AFTER the hourly 64 to Sax has departed. Someone is paid to come up with all this. Totally and utterly shambolic.

In other news in Notices and Proceedings yesterday it was revealed that Sanders are altering most of their services from 29th March. The majority are timetable amendments, but one entry did stand out, that being a new service extending the 44 from Sheringham to Holt, presumably in competition with Konect's service 2.

All change on Sanders from 29th March
While scanning through the Notices and Proceedings my heart nearly stopped when I saw a Cancellation Notice for BorderBus's 146 between Southwold and Norwich. Thankfully underneath were two more entries and yes you've guessed it - the 146 has been domesticated and now splits at Beccles. I got on the phone to Andrew Pursey who explained quite justifiably that if everyone else could get away wth splitting routes and keeping the same route number right the way through then why shouldn't BorderBus. This will enable them to avoid the use of tachos, and adopt the domestic driving hours which only the EU seems to object to. Andrew also told me that from April the 146 is expanding again, with earlier and later journeys, and an extra bus required for the route.

I am over the moon for BorderBus. The 146 is gradually gaining more and more passengers, and is proof that if a route is run reliably and correctly, with decent, friendly drivers it will take off, if not immediately. BorderBus have proved that give a route time and it can succeed. I'm convinced that had Andrew remained at Anglian the 164 between Saxmundham and Ipswich would have become a roaring success too. Andrew has promised to let me know more details of times and what the new vehicle will be nearer the date so watch this space.

You can see the Notices and Proceedings by clicking here, checking Eastern Traffic Area and searching for 3rd February. Make sure you select "All" on the drop down box.

The 146 is splitting and expanding at the same time!!


  1. Couldn't you persuade your friends at Borderbus (and even your enemies at Suffolk County) to operate couple of 521 services via Peasenhall and Walpole? After all, Darsham has the same trains as Sax anyway. And thinking (difficult, I know) about it when trains are up the spout Abellio arrange for First to accept their bus tickets, so when Wickham is planned to be closed could the minibus serve Wickham Station too (the old Camsea Ash) with ticket validity on trains to Ipswich and Sax for the bus users? Little boxes, little boxes . . .

  2. Error watch: I know Abellio issue train not bus tickets. Brain asleep, must be infectious.

  3. Have you been on the wacky stuff again? You are asking firms to co-operate in the name of passenger convenience? Fat chance!

    I have been attempting to plug a Framlingham - Norwich service via Peasenhall and Walpole to link up with the 88 route at Halesworth for sometime now. This would provide Framlingham with links to a rail station again, and Peasenhall and Walpole with a much needed service. The 521 won't deviate but wish it would as you are right about Darsham. Not sure the good folk of Darsham village and Bramfield would agree though!

    As for Wickham Market and links to the station again I've long since been banging a drum for a service that linked Wickham Market, Campsea Ashe and Framlingham. Especially on a Monday when the market is there. It would help if the local Councils got involved but they are very conspicuous with their silence, as have SCC since I wrote to them yesterday. I also have said since I moved up this neck of the woods that the East Suffolk Line and the local buses should work in tandem with each other and the Suffolk Tourist industry, to make sure that buses co-ordinate timetables with the trains, and indeed each other to give the best possible pubic transport links to both tourists and residents. Mutual ticketing arrangements would also be a boon but to consider that a possiblility would mean I had been on the same stuff as you.

    The day anyone actually starts thinking of passengers will be the day Lowestoft Town wins the FA Cup, young people can afford to rent and no one complaiins because I've asked two mates to join the blog!!

  4. You may have to eat your own words Lowestoft will win the FA Cup and I promise I will be back in touch when it happens ha ha. In all seriousness I do agree with your points.

  5. And when they do passengers still won't come first!!! I look forward to you getting back in touch!