Thursday, 21 January 2016

More Anglian Woes

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.


  1. It always seems to me that connections are the forgotten part of bus scheduling. However I've concluded (from painful experience) that as so many buses seem to run between a quarter- and half-hour late, a 45 minute scheduled wait may not be so unreasonable! Certainly I have to proceed on the basis that allowing less than half-hour to rely on a connection seems in most cases to be "cutting it fine". Maybe you're lucky.

    1. I guess that depends where you're waiting for the connection. A bus station with decent shelters and a cafe is one thing. The Kings Head in Southwold in driving rain and an easterly blowing in is another thing completely. Not even the Kings Head itself is open these days! Still it all encourages people to take the bus and leave cars at home doesn't it!

  2. Re Anglian. This seems a sad story Steve. Is the parent company Go-Ahead blind to this? Surely they must be aware.

    Sorry for your loss Steve.

    1. This will probably have the Go-Ahead anons scrambling for their gadgets but the answer to your question is quite simply no - they haven't got a Scooby. From the outset they have tried to run Beccles as a London depot and it just hasn't worked. The proof is in the pudding as they say and the fact the operation is now an utter shambles speaks for itself.

      For example Go-Ahead seem completely unaware that you are going to get more knocks and bumps down country lanes than you are on well lit wide city streets, and customers with only two or 3 buses a day like a familiar face at the wheel. They've basically tried putting Eastenders script writers in The Archers and then wondered why the cast and listeners haven't taken to it.

    2. Seems to be a problem with all the "national" operators I can think of. They all seem to have received a message from above (God, are you listening?) that "local" is just a marketing term and efficiency means fitting everyone into a straightjacket. The message must have got misinterpreted somewhere along a very bad line!

  3. Seems they like ploughing money into konect bus and left anglian by the way side.

  4. It's a chicken-and-egg question that has perplexed me for ever: is it the fear of competition that leads businesses into incompetence; or is it the incompetence that leads them to fear the competition in the first place?

    In either case, steer away Anglian; or you'll end up despised by your drivers and abandoned by your passengers. Sadly not the first to head up that cul de sac, and won't be the last I suppose.

  5. I think management is to blame for Anglian .Employing graduates with no idea about local areas is a disaster.Go Ahead do better when there is competition