Post by Trolleybus Post by Lew 1 Post by Basil Jet Post by Recliner
Thanks, yes, I'd not thought of the further problem of the drivers
failing to display the correct card. He also answers the question of
where (some of?) the extra buses have come from.
Although haw can extra buses be shipped in when the same situation must
pertain everywhere else, except perhaps New Zealand?
Quite easy when everywhere except London, COVID has provided a neat excuse
for many bus operators to provide the bare minimum and pull services they
had long found bothersome to run anyway.
London is very much atypical when it comes to bus transport in the UK in
that its seen as a useful public service that benefits the city rather
than a poorly-subsidised after-thought.
I don't understand this. Commercial bus routes are just that,
commercial. If a service is bothersome you can simply stop running it,
having given the required notice, you don't need a pandemic as an
excuse. Many urban routes fit into this category.
Local authority supported services are different. The operator
provides what they're contracted to provide, which is why two buses an
hour passed my house throughout the lockdown with an average of less
than one passenger per journey. I can imagine that some LAs have
reduced services (if they have the power?) but the operators can't
just stop running 'inconvenient' journeys.
The few commercial services near me are back to full timetable, so
where were these bothersome trips that have been pulled?
Evening buses are the best example. In the Home Counties, you’re lucky if
any bus route runs after 5pm. They rely on the pensioners and their bus
passes during the day, but they don’t go out past 4, so the bus company
But if I’m going to get a bus somewhere during the day, I also need to be
able to get a bus back after 5pm. There isn’t, so I can’t. Hence the bus
option isn’t available to me even in the part of the day where they are
One of the great unforeseen consequences of the National bus pass was the
way that they became the only customer a bus company needed to cater for.
Ever since it came in, regular bus fares have skyrocketed because, well it
doesn’t affect the vast majority of riders who get on anyway so why not.
If you could make your money in the daytime out of pass-holders and not
need to bother serving other people paying cash fares but probably needing
a wider-ranging service to tempt them on... why would you?
This problem was recognised: Some of our local commercial routes began
having evening services subsidised by the local council where operators
cancelled their evening services. But because they went out to the cheapest
bidder, the route wasn’t run by the same bus company as the daytime and,
guess what? Return tickets were not valid!
Then even they were cut when the local council made more budget cuts.
When COVID struck, the first thing my local routes pulled was their already
scarce evening services. As timetables have been brought back up to
frequency... guess what? No more buses after 5pm - even on the routes that
did have a paltry late bus or two that ran if they felt like it.
They are now reforming their timetables based on current loadings. Since
those current loadings now exclude anyone in the sort of situation I state
above, it seems doubtful they’ll be coming back.
Outside of London and other major cities, buses in the UK are a sea of
disappointment and frustration which only serve as an almost cast-iron
reason why you should always use a car.