Initially Anglian had the aptly named A47, which provided a useful hourly service between Norwich and Great Yarmouth via Thorpe, Brundall, Blofield and Acle. From my understanding it was pretty well used. Then the X47 came along, which tried to compete with the established X1. Eventually Go Ahead decided to axe the community serving A47, to much chagrin I seem to remember, and throw all their eggs in one basket. The X47 was re-numbered 7, launched in a blaze of erm little vinyls, and proceeded to basically run empty all day between Norwich and Yarmouth. But why?
|Now with Konect, Anglian Optare Tempo YJ06 FZK loads up at Market Gates on the A47 pic (c) Brian Kemp
So Anglian revamped it. The 7 was linked up with the 61, formally 601, to provide through journeys to Lowestoft, Kessingland, Southwold, and even Halesworth. Gas buses were utilised, and parts of Lowestoft without a through service to Norwich gained one. Things were looking up, but still not so much as a dent in the X1's dominance of the Yarmouth - Norwich corridor. I had a theory.
|Any excuse! Anglian Gas Bus 100 on the 7 at Norwich with a dancing Streetlite.
Then the cuts started. The 62 between Kessingland and Halesworth was scrapped, the 20 minute frequency from Norwich became 30 mins, stopping at Lowestoft, forcing through passengers for Kessingland to change buses that didn't connect, fare promotions in Lowestoft weren't matched, and Anglian lost in a pretty dramatic way. Numerous routes in Gorleston were tried and failed and eventually Konect decided to take over the 7, extending the Postwick Park & Ride services to Yarmouth. Plus points were comfortable deckers with wifi and usb charging points. But only a 30 min frequency, extended journey times by having to serve Postwck P&R site, and still no evening or Sunday service. Who, exactly, was the new 7 trying to attract? At the same time Anglian extended the 61 to Barrack Estate, proudly proclaiming the fact that the recently severed link from the estate to James Paget Hospital had be reinstated. Hang on though, did they actually stop to think why First had cut that link anyway? The 2 went an interminably long way round between Gorleston and JPH, so very few people used that link anyway. Change at Market Gates and you have a million faster alternative services. Why wasn't the 7 extended to Barrack Estate, in a loop via Yarmouth Seafront, which is crying out for a service, thus providing a direct link to Yarmouth Seafront from Norwich. It gives people a reason to use the service, gives Barrack Estate a direct link to Norwich - I'm sure the demand for that is greater than a bus to the hospital - and with the right publicity and marketing, not to mention promotions with various seafront attractions you might have a chance. Why not link up with the 8 to restore the cross Norwich link lost when the X1 split? But this is Go Ahead.
|Konect E400 638 loading up at Market Gates
While typing this post it has been on the news that the Supreme Court have clarified who has priority over wheelchair spaces on buses. It's wheelchairs, but if a buggy is occupying it the driver is not legally obliged to ask them to move. Ok that clears that up then. How about a notice that reads as follows:
"This space is reserved for wheelchair users, however if vacant then buggies may be stored until a wheelchair user requires it".
Alternatively: "Mums - get off your fecking phones, get your child out of the buggy and do some parenting!"
It was also revealed yesterday that Abellio have sold 40% of the Greater Anglia franchise to Japanese company Mitsui. This has led to protests from the usual suspects claiming it undermines the franchising process, including politicians from a party who conveniently forget we currently have an un-elected Prime Minister! Abellio, who originally submitted their proposals in partnership with Stagecoach have said they always intended to find another partner. If I was Minister of Transport I would be on my knees BEGGING the Japanese to come and sort our railways out. I read yesterday that in Japan if a train is 10 minutes late it makes the papers! There would be no rain forests left if that happened here. I welcome Japanese involvement in our railways and believe it can only be a good thing. They do not have the typically British "That'll do" attitude.
Finally I have been under the weather for a few weeks now, which is why the number of posts have dropped off. That and nothing to report of course, but hopefully over the coming weeks things will improve.