Now in case anyone thinks I'm an Ipswich Buses hater I'm not. In fact they have my absolute sympathy having to tolerate the utter circus that is Ipswich traffic management day in day out. So called improvements have done nothing to increase traffic flow or encourage visitors to the town. In fact more often than not Ipswich is one big jam and of course when a bus is late because of this IB gets it in the neck. Must admit I wouldn't have the patience to drive round Ipswich all the time.
So IB have taken steps to improve punctuality by extending peak journey times so services take into account the traffic and get to the destination nearer the stated time. Here is what IB say about the X1/X2/X3. Hang on what's the X2???
X1/X2/X3 – most times between 0800 and 0930 changed slightly on Mondays to Fridays. There will be one less journey to and from Greenwich but we believe that those which operate will be more punctual for you. There are also adjustments to times between 1630 and 1800 in the afternoon on Mondays to Saturdays.
So to put it another way thanks to the traffic problems in Ipswich there will be longer journeys and less buses. Not the best indictment on those who continually bugger up the roads. However there is a certain amount of triumph regarding the 13, and let's face it who can blame them...
First’s route 53 finishes at Easter, so from September we will be increasing the frequency of our route 13 to run at least every 10 minutes all day. A big thank you to our customers on this route who have stayed loyal to your locally owned company, and we will now try and make further improvements to your service.
Just one thing - shouldn't that read local PUBLICLY owned company? You can read the full service announcement by clicking here.
There is just one more paragraph I'd like to quote from the announcement. It says as follows...
We also have four brand new British built 39 seater single-deck buses entering service. These vehicles will, as usual, have e-leather seating and will bring new style to the routes they appear on. We have reviewed our operations and these new buses will replace old double-deckers. The new buses use one third less fuel, have much cleaner engines, and more accessible seats. We hope you will enjoy travelling on them!
So what are these wonder buses? I said in a post recently that IB were wanting to convert to an all single decker fleet and this is the start. So let's pick that statement apart shall we and reveal the truth. First of all let's reveal the vehicles - big fanfare - they are ADL E200's. Ah you say but obviously Ipswich Buses will have gone for the much improved E200 MMC's surely? Well rather conveniently Ipswich Buses posted a couple of pictures on their Facebook page this afternoon and advertised the fact on Twitter. Are they E200 MMC's?
|One of the new E200's at ADL in Falkirk
|The interior of te E200's
So to continue. Can't argue with the third less fuel as they also carry half the passengers so fuel use per passenger carried on a full load is actually more than it would be on a decker. Yes I know full loads on deckers are rare but I've certainly known them in Ipswich. More accessible seats? I think not. The people who aways sit downstairs on deckers always occupy the lower level on single deckers. So instead of escaping up the stairs those people who normally go upstairs will have to push past the numerous buggies and shopping trollies. This is nothing new as I commented on the problem when trying out the Citaros in Ipswich last year. It does not speed things up, if anything it takes longer for people to get on and off. Cleaner engines can't be disputed.
So to re-jig the spin. Suffolk County Council incomptence in dealing with traffic problems in Ipswich has forced Ipswich Buses into extending journey times and reducing services to reduce punctuality. At the same time Ipswich Buses can't afford to buy new deckers so are buying the cheapest single decker available and make it sound like everyone's on a winner! Put the Champaigne on ice!
Park & Ride Update
Since I posted about the possibility of Ipswich P&R closing the subject has got a lot of attenetion, with local media and radio getting involved. Ipswich Borough Council have been forced into issuing a statement saying thery want to keep P&R going and will do anything they can. BUT it cannot carry on in it's current form as it costs too much and savings have to be made. I still say the car parks will stay open but dedicated buses will go. Watch this space.