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Old 20th June 2016, 17:03   #1
ashworth
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Default School Days Afternoon Bus Timetables

In these days of bus services having to be commercially viable and local authority subsidies decreasing, the bus companies must find local authority school contracts extremely valuable to them.

However, is anyone else finding it increasingly difficult to travel by bus during a large period of the afternoon, when buses are diverted away from their regular routes and timetables to provide these services. In large urban areas it is not really noticeable, but on services between smaller towns and in rural areas regular bus services can be disrupted for a large period of the afternoon.
You quite often find that bus routes which run to a regular hourly service throughout the day are disrupted sometimes from as early as 2.30pm until as late as 5pm. This happens through buses not running the full route, either starting or finishing short, or being taken off the route altogether.

My local route out of Nottingham runs hourly all day, but on school days the 3.30pm bus from Nottingham does not run, leaving a gap of 2 hours just at the time when those who have been on shopping or leisure trips want to return before the busy buses used by commuters.
Each week I like to do a reasonable 6-7 mile walk, but I have to be really careful where and at what time in the afternoon I finish my walk so that I do not require a bus back at that very time when buses are missing from the timetable. When on holiday in various more rural parts of the country where there are no evening services you have to be really careful that you don't get stranded somewhere by missing the last bus when doing a journey involving more than one bus. It is often very difficult to travel anywhere for about 2 hours just at the time in the afternoon when you need to begin your return journey to get back to your destination before the buses stop running for the evening.

On the subject of subsidies being cut and evening services being withdrawn, in recent months I have been quite surprised how few buses now run in many of the more rural shire counties after 6pm. Even buses between quite important, and sizable for the area, market towns cease at 6pm.

Last edited by ashworth; 20th June 2016 at 17:08.
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Old 20th June 2016, 18:02   #2
overthewater
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You have to remember, sometime those school runs help keep the daytime service running.
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Old 20th June 2016, 18:09   #3
Mitch in Notts
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The Nottsbus 531 was developed initially as a peak service then daytime shopping journeys were added. So the first bus pass journey gets you to Phoenix Park tram stop at 1031am. Return journeys are hourly from 1036 until 1336 hours then 1646 & 1746. A nice 3 hour gap, so you either spend two hours in Nottingham, once you've made your connection or 5 hours or more.....
So it's no wonder no-one uses it....
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Old 22nd June 2016, 13:52   #4
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Before the service to our village was cut from hourly to two hourly we had the same gap. This has been the case for the 18 years that I have lived here and caught me out when I first moved in. Looking at a 1968 timetable that I picked up at a transport fair recently our local services had the "siesta" back then.
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Old 23rd June 2016, 09:03   #5
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Here in Yate, there are journeys on the 84 and 86 Wotton Under Edge services and the 620 Bath service which divert into school grounds on certain journeys. I think the Wotton services even have a couple of dedicated journeys which only run on school days.

I've been on the relevant journey on the 620 a few times and its certainly been the case that school pupils have accounted for the majority of the passengers.

I also think the 82 service(Wotton to Southmead) has benefitted from running near to SGS Filton due to the fact that this will have no doubt brought some extra passengers to the route.


Until a few years ago there was an earlier journey on the 41 route between Malmesbury and Yate which diverted to serve a local school but that journey was removed from the timetable. Remember at the time it was suggested that it was only really school passengers who were using that journey and that the local council would be asked to make alternative arrangements for them
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Old 23rd June 2016, 10:14   #6
TheGrandWazoo
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In North Yorkshire, there was a policy about 20 years ago to separate schools runs from the standard bus services. Think the plan was to have some operator with a fully depreciated coach/decker for the schools traffic with a smaller vehicle (e.g. Metrorider, Merc Vario) to cope with the minimal traffic during the off peak and holidays when a full size vehicle would be overkill.

The achieve this, separate service numbers were even employed so that the Northallerton to Stokesley service was the 90 except for the schooldays runs which were numbered 172
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Old 23rd June 2016, 12:27   #7
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A further complication is when schools close earlier on a Friday, so the service gaps are at different times and you get headnotes like NFNS - not Fridays School holidays only - and FNSD - Fridays during school holidays. (First Scotland East X24).
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Old 23rd June 2016, 12:29   #8
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Here in Bucks we have a mix of schoolday variations on service buses and dedicated school buses. I don't know if any of the scholars on service buses have passes from the LA of if they are those who don't qualify.
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Old 23rd June 2016, 21:00   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashworth View Post
In these days of bus services having to be commercially viable and local authority subsidies decreasing, the bus companies must find local authority school contracts extremely valuable to them.

However, is anyone else finding it increasingly difficult to travel by bus during a large period of the afternoon, when buses are diverted away from their regular routes and timetables to provide these services. In large urban areas it is not really noticeable, but on services between smaller towns and in rural areas regular bus services can be disrupted for a large period of the afternoon.
You quite often find that bus routes which run to a regular hourly service throughout the day are disrupted sometimes from as early as 2.30pm until as late as 5pm. This happens through buses not running the full route, either starting or finishing short, or being taken off the route altogether.

My local route out of Nottingham runs hourly all day, but on school days the 3.30pm bus from Nottingham does not run, leaving a gap of 2 hours just at the time when those who have been on shopping or leisure trips want to return before the busy buses used by commuters.
Each week I like to do a reasonable 6-7 mile walk, but I have to be really careful where and at what time in the afternoon I finish my walk so that I do not require a bus back at that very time when buses are missing from the timetable. When on holiday in various more rural parts of the country where there are no evening services you have to be really careful that you don't get stranded somewhere by missing the last bus when doing a journey involving more than one bus. It is often very difficult to travel anywhere for about 2 hours just at the time in the afternoon when you need to begin your return journey to get back to your destination before the buses stop running for the evening.

On the subject of subsidies being cut and evening services being withdrawn, in recent months I have been quite surprised how few buses now run in many of the more rural shire counties after 6pm. Even buses between quite important, and sizable for the area, market towns cease at 6pm.
I agree entirely with your comments. Many of the services operated by D & G in Stoke / Staffordshire suffer the same problem. As a result the service is not attractive to a prospective user (me) so they don't get my business - and I pay cash so as much income as at least four ENCTS pass-holders.

Reference to separate school and public routes is interesting, especially in the negative impact it has on bus routes available to the general public. Look at schools in rural areas, and the number of minibuses / buses / coaches used to transport kids to them. If only those buses were available for public use a) at school-times, and b) during the middle part of the day.

As an example, Cheadle schools (in Staffordshire) near me have about a dozen closed contracts serving them. My local route (D & G 31) is operated by one of those buses. It manages three round trips on a two hourly frequency between 0933 to 1428. I can go to Cheadle, arriving at 1125, and come back at 1130 or 1330. That is it! Strangely enough, no-one seems to be using the 'service'. Now why can't one of those other school buses be used to provide a better service (some of the 12 are non DDA compliant, some are)?

Last edited by Baxenden Bank; 23rd June 2016 at 21:02.
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Old 25th June 2016, 22:28   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGrandWazoo View Post
In North Yorkshire, there was a policy about 20 years ago to separate schools runs from the standard bus services. Think the plan was to have some operator with a fully depreciated coach/decker for the schools traffic with a smaller vehicle (e.g. Metrorider, Merc Vario) to cope with the minimal traffic during the off peak and holidays when a full size vehicle would be overkill.

The achieve this, separate service numbers were even employed so that the Northallerton to Stokesley service was the 90 except for the schooldays runs which were numbered 172
I was in Hawes this week, and the schooldays only buses to Leyburn Wensleydale School were on the notice board at bus stops, even though they carry numbers like 516R (I think!), which I suppose implies you can use them. However, I did not see anything for primary schools.

Last edited by johnnychips; 25th June 2016 at 22:29.
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Old 28th June 2016, 20:00   #11
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I was in Hawes this week, and the schooldays only buses to Leyburn Wensleydale School were on the notice board at bus stops, even though they carry numbers like 516R (I think!), which I suppose implies you can use them. However, I did not see anything for primary schools.
The problem with North Yorkshire is that some contracts are 'permits only' and some are 'available to the general public'. The ones advertised in Hawes are, I assume, actually available to the general public rather than being theoretically available but not so in practice.

One issue I had with the local situation in Cheadle is that most of the services were (not now) registered as local services, but the general public weren't expected to try and use them. They effectively operated as closed contracts but with the financial benefits of a registered local service. So I had the pleasure of alighting the D & G 31 service at 1520, off it went to do a school run (which went quite close to my house) and came back. I then got back on the same bus, with the same driver, at 1645. Strange as it may seem, the novelty was short-lived and I stopped using the service.
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Old 28th June 2016, 21:48   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashworth View Post
However, is anyone else finding it increasingly difficult to travel by bus during a large period of the afternoon, when buses are diverted away from their regular routes and timetables to provide these services . . . You quite often find that bus routes which run to a regular hourly service throughout the day are disrupted sometimes from as early as 2.30pm until as late as 5pm. This happens through buses not running the full route, either starting or finishing short, or being taken off the route altogether.
Possibly not quite the same, but when I was at University in Bournemouth, I used to catch the U2 service from Poole town centre to the main Wallisdown campus. A very annoying aspect of the timetable was that the first bus left Poole at 8.05 (although often one of the other services would start there to take on the extra people), the next at 9.10, then half hourly (xx:10 and xx:40 IIRC). Until around 3 when they would go hourly again. At just the time when it would get busy when people's lectures finished. Eventually, after much pressure from the SU, Wilts & Dorset explained their reasoning so the buses could form extra stock for the quarter-hourly U1 service into Bournemouth town centre. Admittedly, the U1 buses were busier as all but one of the halls of residence were in Bournemouth rather than Poole, but they never seemed so busy that they needed relief stock (bar possibly at the beginning of the academic year).

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A further complication is when schools close earlier on a Friday, so the service gaps are at different times and you get headnotes like NFNS - not Fridays School holidays only - and FNSD - Fridays during school holidays. (First Scotland East X24).
Are schools finishing earlier on a Friday a common thing in Scotland? Never heard of that down south!
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Old 29th June 2016, 07:01   #13
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Are schools finishing earlier on a Friday a common thing in Scotland? Never heard of that down south!
It happens in Edinburgh, the Borders and the three Lothians. Don't know about the rest of the country.
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Old 29th June 2016, 09:09   #14
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It happens in Edinburgh, the Borders and the three Lothians. Don't know about the rest of the country.
Finishing early on one day of the week seems quite common, but not necessarily Friday. My old secondary school finishes early on a Wednesday. My old college always did this to allow for sports activities, I don't know if schools do it for a similar reason.

Perhaps it is my age / memory but are schools generally finishing earlier every day of the week than in times past?
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Old 29th June 2016, 09:24   #15
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Finishing early on one day of the week seems quite common, but not necessarily Friday. My old secondary school finishes early on a Wednesday. My old college always did this to allow for sports activities, I don't know if schools do it for a similar reason.

Perhaps it is my age / memory but are schools generally finishing earlier every day of the week than in times past?
My schooldays (30-40 years ago) had finish times of 1530 (Primary) and 1545 (Secondary) - those same schools now finish at 1515 so certainly the case there.

I think there was a policy of staggered times (late 80s) in the Tyne Valley whereby the Haltwhistle area finished at 1430 and Hexham area at 1530 so that there was some ability to utilise some vehicles on two sets of schools services
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