Thursday, 7 April 2016

Changes in Yarmouth & Lowestoft

Announced on VOSA today are proposed changes by First Eastern Counties to services in Yarmouth and Lowestoft. I'll list the changes then attempt to explain them.All changes effective from May 29th 2016

Service 1/1A/1B

To amend route, stopping places and timetable. The 1/1A will now run a faster route between Martham and Yarmouth, running via the main road omitting parts of Caistor which will be served by a re-routed 4. The 1B will operate during Summer months between Hemsby, Beach Rd, and Yarmouth, replacing the 3. .

Service 2

This service will now operate between Market Gates and Barrack Estate ONLY. The section of the route between Market Gates and JPH via Shrublands will be served by new Service 9. Frequencies of up to every 10 mins Mon - Sat and hourly Sundays.

Service 3

This Summer service is cancelled between Hemsby and Yarmouth, and replaced by a new route starting at Vauxhall Holiday Park and operating via Seashore Holiday Park and Yarmouth Rail Station.

Service 4

To amend route, stopping places and timetable. The 4 will now only serve the Caistor - Market Gates section of the route, leaving Barrack Estate served by the 10 min frequency service 2. It will also be re-routed in Caistor to serve the sections of the route formerly served by the 1/1A

Service 5

Timetable alterations but no alteration to route.

Service 6/6B/7

To amend route, stopping places and timetable. The routing and frequency of the 6 is unchanged, the 6B is a peak journey which continues to Belton after serving Bradwell, but the big change is to the 7, which will now only operate evenings and Sundays.

Service 8/8A/8B

To amend route, stopping places and timetable. No longer serving Cliff Park to give faster journeys between JPH and Yarmouth.

Service 9

New service replacing the 2 between Market Gates and JPH via Cliff Park and Shrublands Estate.

Service X11

Service what?? Service X11 will replace the X1 shorts that terminate at JPH and will operate between Norwich - Yarmouth - Gorleston - JPH - Belton every half hour via the new link rd between Gorleston and Belton. This will give Belton a direct service to Norwich as well as a fast service to JPH.

There are timetable changes to the X1 to link in with the X11.

In Lowestoft there are timetable alterations to the X2, hopefully to avoid the convoy running with the X22, but most notably the 99 is going to extend one bus an hour from Kessingland to Southwold. Initially this is for Summers only, but subject to change depending on patronage.

Many thanks to Chris Speed, who is overseeing these changes, for clarifying the above.

Chris also informed me that the driver of the bus involved in that horrific accident on the A12 in Wrentham last week is doing fine and should be returning to work soon. However as has been reported in the press the van driver suffered serious life changing injuries. It appears the force of the collision was so vast the bus driver was somehow thrown out of the side window of his cab.  The bus involved, Volvo B7 ALX400 30889 is a total write off. I'm sure everyone joins me in wishing both drivers well in their respective recoveries.

Finally speaking of patronage, I have just been informed that the new Charcoal Line route 40 between Poringland and Norwich has met its 6 week target in the first 3 DAYS of operation. I knew there was dissatisfaction with services in that area but my word that is some public response.


  1. Looking forward to seeing the changes in action, new timetables to be gathered then.

    Hope both drivers have a speedy recovery, it looked horrific from what I saw in the newspaper.

    I wonder if there are plans to replace 30889. Perhaps one of the Tridents leaving Norwich might be needed somewhere more local than elsewhere in the UK as an interim measure. Just a possibility.

    John D.

    1. Hi John

      It didn't seem right to inquire about a replacement for 30889 when the injuries were so serious, however if a President is going to stay I would expect one of the B7tl's to go to Yarmouth and maybe 30901 to return to Lowestoft. That's only a guess on my part, but for uniformity it would make sense.

  2. Sounds good. It's always easy to talk about putting passengers at the heart of the business and much harder in practice. Things certainly seem to be happening now that EC have got your namesake, who I always thought was formerly the only sign of life at FEx! Our loss, your gain! Good, if he's supporting his staff and giving confidence to his management.

    Reliable buses get passengers, unreliable ones don't. Some people never seem to learn.

    It's amazing though what the emergency services can do. And luck. We just don't ealise what a dangerous activity driving is. I had the lesson of a lifetime last year. So I echo your best wishes to the drivers involved. The shock can take longer to heal than the injury.

  3. Can we have rather more of this thinking outside the box with its default settings of cuts, subsidies and screwing the passengers (and the drivers, naturally)? It would be nice if all bus companies for once tried to serve the passengers rather than expecting the passengers to serve them.A question to the managements: woud you actually choose to travel on your buses given the option?

    1. I can confirm the brains behind the Yarmouth changes lives in the area and uses the buses when off duty on a regular basis. Malcolm Robson always commuted into work by bus. I'm pretty sure the Engineering manager at First Ipswich uses the buses whenever possible to monitor his vehicles at a personal level.

      It does happen, and it's no coincidence that the results of that tend to be better. I'll be happy to mention any member of Go-Ahead management who uses their own services to get to/from work if anyone would like to give me a name!

    2. Couldn't Yarmouth's Wizard of Oz spare a bit of time from the pier show to nip down to Ipswich for a change (sic), and sort out the Sax/Wickham service? Surely the existing passengers deserve the empty bus more than the non-passengers to Southwold? Must admit though Southwold as a destination sounds more sexy (well a bit!).

      EC haven't caught the FEx disease have they - more buses then passengers on some routes (whilst some others are a crushing agony)? If it's the same planning unit it seems to have made the knack of getting it wrong into an art form.

    3. He'd like nothing better, and those changes I sat down with him to discuss last year are still on the table. However te route is at the mercy of SCC and what eventually happens with the Martlesham P&R site. As I understand it Ipswich Borough Council and SCC are having an almighty ding dong as to which sites stay open. SCC want both but IBC are only interested in Copdock. Until that's all sorted the 64 will just sadly have to wait.