Wednesday 2 December 2015

BorderBus Booming!

When was the last time you had to stand on a bus because it was full? No London doesn't count! Ok when was the last time you had to stand on a bus for half hour because it was full? How many complaints did you hear? Loads? Yup me too. Until yesterday that is.

I caught the 0927 BorderBus service 146 from Wangford to Norwich. The last time I was on that service the E300 was filled so I was a little surprised to see baby E200 105 BB07 BUS on the run yesterday. Turned out the E300 was in for service prior to some interior work taking place this weekend of which more in a future post. However much as I like 105, and I really do like that little bus which for an 8yo E200 is a heck of an achievement, it was never going to be big enough. And so it proved as, despite not picking anyone up at Pontins, with a standing load going into Beccles, not many getting off and more replacing them we had 11 standing by time we got to Norwich. Dear Lord the grumbling and complaining there was. Oh hang on that's wrong - there simply wasn't any grumbling or complaining. In fact the opposite. On arrival at Norwich there were smiles, laughing, handshakes for the Malcolm the driver, and numerous timetables being taken. I've never seen anything quite like it.

BorderBus 105 at Norwich yesterday
Although I'm paying BorderBus a visit tomorrow anyway I stayed with Malcolm for the trip back to Beccles as he was popping into the depot. I thanked Andrew Pursey for giving us the opportunity to play sardines on the bus that morning and, failing miserably to not look too chuffed with himself, he told me that the first three journeys into Norwich yesterday all had standing loads - and we were the only short E200 of the three.

He then revealed that the loading figures for November had been rather good. In fact extremely good. They beat July's figures by 31% which is impressive by anyone's standards. Even more impressive for me though was that August's figures were also beaten by 25%. Why is 25% more impressive than 31% I hear you ask? Well quite simply in August there were more services as the non schoolday timetable has more 146 journeys. Plus, of course Pontins and the other holiday sites are in full swing. Yesterday concessionary pass holders were choosing to stand on the 146 rather than wait for an X2.

In a climate that in recent months has seen both First and Anglian reduce or cut services due to falling passenger numbers it gives me so much pleasure to report a positive story about a blossoming route. It just shows what reliability, friendliness and comfortable seats can achieve. I predicted deckers on the 146 in the Summer. I got that wrong but I don't see it being too far off now. Although BorderBendis has a nice ring to it.........

While I was there yesterday a strange package arrived. It was some coloured flourescent tubes which BorderBus are trialing, hoping to reduce the reflection from interior lights in the windscreen of a couple of their vehicles. I happened to be back in Beccles late yesterday afternoon when BB12 came in and I saw these lights in action. Erm not quite sure what to make of it. The driver was well impressed with the improvement in his vision, but it did make the front of the bus look like a front window in a certain part of Amsterdam. Maybe the experiment needs to continue!

The experimental lighting on BB12 BUS. It's pink!
While waiting for my minibus connection at Halesworth last night something in the bus stop caught my eye. Suffolk County Council are proposing a new transport hub in Halesworth town centre and are asking for opinions, as you can see below.

Save and enlarge if you need to
My opinions are as follows: Yes it is needed, a shame it's not a bit closer to the station but that can't be helped. However, it will only be a real success if bus services are integrated to connect with each other at the hub. No point having one if there are going to be long waits for connections. This is a perfect opportunity for SCC and the operators to organise service services so as many members of the public as possible can benefit from it and thereby increase demand for bus services. What a novel thought!


  1. Two points:

    "When was the last time you had to stand on a bus because it was full?" A couple of months ago, when Anglian put a Solo on the 7, think that was the last time. Surprisingly few complaints, although the fact it was piddling down at the time probably helped with that.

    With regards to the Halesworth hub - I agree with your points (and have an additional, relatively related, one of my own), for it to be a success integration is needed. If integration doesn't happen then it's just going to be somewhere new to wait for the minibus/bus/coach/whatever, which isn't quite the same thing. My point; at risk of being called all sorts, on that notice have Suffolk County Council really spelt congested with a j?

    1. congestion even, not congested (got to love predictive text).

    2. Oh dear God they have! You'd think I'd have noticed that while dijesting the contents of the notice!!!

      As for your Solo on the 7 I hope it didn't reek of diesel fumes as much as my one yesterday did. I'm trying not to tal too much about Anglian at the moment as I'm following the philosophy of if you haven't got anything good to say don't say anything at all. However if the Comedy Club need a new home........

  2. Hahaha I thought they had, but since I've done my shoulder in and am officially medicated at the moment I thought I'd best check - even after reading it three times myself! :D

    As for my Solo - no, no diesel fumes smell, although it WAS leaking and letting some of the rain in which was nice.

    As for Anglian itself I can't say I blame you, I tend to follow that rule too. Probably just as well really as it's all very sad to watch.

  3. Offers sought: a local bus company. Lots of room for improvement. Plenty of empty buses and frustrated passengers. Needs some loving care.

    Well, we can dream can't we? In the meantime I might as well give them some help!

    1. It was over a year ago now I was having a natter with some Anglian drivers and it was sadly agreed that the rot started when the love went out of the company. It has yet to return despite some staff doing their damndest to reverse the trend. Tinker you're right - it is sad to watch. Very sad indeed. Also frustrating as there are many people out theee who know what it would take to turn fortunes around. Unfortunately it would appear no one is prepared to listen to them

    2. I thought as it was writing it you'd all think of Anglian. I wasn't. But if you aimed for the middle of Essex you'd not be far off either.

      I don't know how either, but they manage to get it wrong every time, and endlessly. Perhaps it's because they keeping telling themselves how wonderful they are? But we can beat Anglian, it's been happening for more than 25 years to my knowledge. I think we deserve that someone puts them (and us) out of our misery. Please!

  4. Hmmm most of Angel Link is the pub car park apart from the scrub bit of land opposite. Do all the services go through there or are we talking one big turning circle ?? #confusedatad