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Old 1st December 2011, 23:11   #16
Rhydgaled
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Originally Posted by Sun! View Post
Yeah Arriva has been putting Solos and Darts on the 550 service recently and some X40s arent being operated by Tempos, not very good. We need the best buses for the Trawscambria services.
We certainly do need the best buses for TrawsCambria services.

As well as failing to even have a Tempo on some X40 runs, Arriva are always getting the route-branding wrong when they do manage to run a Tempo. I often see Cardigan - Aberporth - New Quay Aberaeron - Aberystwyth ones on X40 and Carmarthen - Pencader - Lampeter - Aberaeron - Aberystwyth ones on 550. This doesn't normally matter (they are the same except the place names on the side), but for the Aberystwyth - Cardiff/Swansea trips they really need one of the two Cardiff - Swansea - Carmarthen - Pencader - Lampeter - Aberaeron - Aberystwyth buses on. Admittedly, given there are three trips (2 to Cardiff plus 1 to Swansea) it isn't really possible to have a Cardiff bus on all of them, WAG should have ordered another. I've used the 13:05 Aberystwyth - Cardiff as far as Aberaeron a few times in the past few weeks and I don't think either of the Cardiff buses have been on it any of those times. Once, they even duplicated the service (two Tempos, one saying X40 Cardiff and the other X40 Swansea) and neither bus was one of the Cardiff ones.

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The Enviro 300s arent that bad from Cardigan to Aber, the same as the Tempos on the inside comfort wise, though obviously unsuitable for 2 hour plus routes.
The offending Enviro that replaced one of the X50 Tempos fairly recently is very much NOT the same as the Tempos on the inside. Ok, so I noticed today that they say Enviro 200 on the back (so maybe an Enviro 300 is different) but they really do feel older than the Tempos to me.

The two X50 Tempos are actually the best on the network, providing sufficent legroom for me to be comfortable at 16 forward-facing seats. They are wasted trapped between Aberaeron and Cardigan and really should be sent up to Aberystwyth much more often. That compares to sufficent legroom at 4 forward-facing seats on the two X40 (Cardiff) buses and at absolutly no forward-facing seats at all on any of the others. The sideways-facing seats do of course provide loads of legroom, but I don't much like going sideways.
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Old 1st December 2011, 23:28   #17
anthony263
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Maybe they should cut back the X40 to run between Aberystwyth - Carmarthen only with there being 3-4 journeys extending to Swanea/Cardiff being numbered service 701 and these would use full size coaches (Like 60-60 coaches are doing on their service 470 Brecon - Merthyr Tydfil - Cardiff route which duplicates service T4 partially.) and run more direct rathern than serving every small villiage.

I think that coach travel wales service is good and it is always well used whenever I see it although it should run daily, but coach travel wales only operate 1 vehicle which is used on different routes on different days, I remember the Aberystwyth - Manchester service that used to run.
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Old 10th January 2012, 21:42   #18
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Originally Posted by anthony263 View Post
As for a wheelchair acessible coach wright did come up with this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/eybusman/6427545845/

I know there are a few working over in Ireland a 1 or 2 working in scotland/north of england, I think there is 1 operating in North wales now as well.
I had hoped that vehicles like the one in the above picture might come for the TrawsCymru services. However this is not to be. The vehicle pictured in the above link is, btw, a Volvo B7RLE / Wrightbus Eclipse Commuter and Stagecoach Scotland have two (I think - might be three) on Service 500 between Dumfries and Stranraer.

Have posted information on changes for Services X4 and T4 in the next message.

HTIOI,
Dave
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Hi all,

Information obtained by email from Stagecoach Cymru:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Changes to Services X4 (Cardiff - Hereford) and
T4 (Newtown - Merthyr Tydfil) from Monday 30th January 2012

On Service X4:
- The short journeys between Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil will now be replaced by journeys on Service T4.

On Service T4:
- Most journeys between Newtown and Merthyr Tydfil are extended through to Cardiff with no need to change buses at Merthyr Tydfil.

- Service T4 will give two journeys per hour between Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff. These will combine with journeys on Service X4 to maintain the 15-minute daytime frequency between the two towns. Tickets will be fully interchangeable between the two routes and the only change between Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff will be the colour of the bus and the route number on half of the journeys.

- Between Merthyr Tydfil and Newtown there are some minor adjustments to the timetable and route but the frequency will be unchanged and the journeys available will be broadly similar.

New Vehicles:
- Six new Optare Tempo buses similar to those currently used on T4 but incorporating certain enhanced features are on order. The existing Tempos will also be used. It was hoped that the existing Tempos would be repainted into the new TrawsCymru livery with some refurbishment prior to 30 January but late delivery of the new vehicles means that this will now have to be done retrospectively.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Hope this is of use.

Dave

Last edited by DaveHarries; 10th January 2012 at 21:42. Reason: Double post prevention system
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Old 10th January 2012, 23:54   #19
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Thanks Dave.

Sounds like somebody's made a mess of things:
  • Route number not changing to TC4 anymore (says it will be TC4 on TrawsCambria/TrawsCymru website)
  • Newtown bus (ex-704) now being extended to Cardiff (only says Merthyr on TrawsCymru website) which I'm guessing is the reason for having to keep the old Tempos (not suited for a journey of that length unless something is done about the legroom, which means losing seats) and means TC is duplicating rail services, rather than serving corridors which are not rail-served
  • Old Tempos being kept on 704/T4/TC4 means less improvements can be made to the wider network by way of cascades from the investment in 12 extra vehicles, and suggests they will also be keeping some of the old Tempos on X40 to allow the Cardiff trips to continue without Dart-itustions, with further impact on any potential cascades.

When were the extra Tempos ordered? Will they be the old design or the new one, and will they be in service by Jan 30th (and on X40/TC1 too)? If they are the new design, I'm disapointed, and even more importantly I hope the maximum length has not been reduced to the 12m of most of the current TrawsCambria fleet (only some of the 12.6m ones have sufficent legroom, and the Optare press release for the Tempo SR didn't list 12.6m as an available length for the new Tempo SR, 12m was the longest).
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Old 11th January 2012, 13:26   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveHarries View Post
Hi all,

Information obtained by email from Stagecoach Cymru:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Changes to Services X4 (Cardiff - Hereford) and
T4 (Newtown - Merthyr Tydfil) from Monday 30th January 2012

On Service X4:
- The short journeys between Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil will now be replaced by journeys on Service T4.

On Service T4:
- Most journeys between Newtown and Merthyr Tydfil are extended through to Cardiff with no need to change buses at Merthyr Tydfil.

- Service T4 will give two journeys per hour between Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff. These will combine with journeys on Service X4 to maintain the 15-minute daytime frequency between the two towns. Tickets will be fully interchangeable between the two routes and the only change between Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff will be the colour of the bus and the route number on half of the journeys.

- Between Merthyr Tydfil and Newtown there are some minor adjustments to the timetable and route but the frequency will be unchanged and the journeys available will be broadly similar.

New Vehicles:
- Six new Optare Tempo buses similar to those currently used on T4 but incorporating certain enhanced features are on order. The existing Tempos will also be used. It was hoped that the existing Tempos would be repainted into the new TrawsCymru livery with some refurbishment prior to 30 January but late delivery of the new vehicles means that this will now have to be done retrospectively.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Hope this is of use.

Dave
Sounds a positive move, giving a lot of areas a direct Cardiff link (Llandrindod Wells etc) - does anyone know whether this is a commercial change by Stagecoach Cymru, or at the request of TrawsCambria/TrawsCymru?
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Old 11th January 2012, 14:22   #21
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I had hoped that vehicles like the one in the above picture might come for the TrawsCymru services. However this is not to be. The vehicle pictured in the above link is, btw, a Volvo B7RLE / Wrightbus Eclipse Commuter and Stagecoach Scotland have two (I think - might be three) on Service 500 between Dumfries and Stranraer.
If it had been the case that the Commuter came to the TrawsCymru services you would have had the best possible vehicle for the job in my personal opinion - I speak as a regular user of the two (not 3) that Stagecoach Western operate on the 500 alongside their standard (and rubbish) Profiles.

They are an ideal combination with well spaced seats, coach levels of comfort, wheelchair access and sensible bus fittings such as handrails, bells and deep windows. They are probably overspecified in some areas such as the safety systems (which have interlock micro switches on the luggage access flaps), but that is easily rectified.
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Old 15th January 2012, 20:23   #22
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Really good news from TrawsCymru website:

Service TC1 Aberystwyth Aberaeron Lampeter Carmarthen

A comprehensive package of improvements has been identified for this key corridor including:-

Standard hourly service be reintroduced with regular clock face times at all key points along the route;
Better connections with other services including rail services at Carmarthen and Aberystwyth, other longer distance bus services;
Better integration with the proposed expanded Bwcabus project at Lampeter and Pencader;
Faster travel times by re-routing the service between Lampeter and Aberaeron onto the A482 and then serving the smaller settlements of Cribyn and Llanwnnen by the expanded BwcaBus;
Improved passenger interchange facilities at Carmarthen and Aberystwyth rail stations; and
Introduction of a dedicated fleet of six new low floor coach style vehicles featuring more comfortable coach style seating, greater luggage space, real time information and WiFi.

This will apparently start in phases from March 2012
http://www.trawscymru.info/about-us/

Also info on the Newtown Cardiff service which will have 'wi-fi, low floor coach style vehicles'
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Old 17th January 2012, 00:05   #23
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What exactly is a "low floor coach style vehicle" in plain english? The only thing I can think of that would fit that description is the aforementioned Wrightbus Eclipse Commuter and apart from the few mentioned above no others have been built AFAIK.

We had one of the demonstrators on trial but no orders came from it. I never got to drive it myself so can't comment on the quality of it however it is a good alternative to standard low-floors or our solution; a fleet of coaches with wheelchair lifts and removable rows of seats that need to be taken out in order to accomadate the wheelchair.

For the TrawsCymru, anything is bound to be an improvement on the current fleet. They aren't awful for a bus but the seats are unsuitable for a lengthy journey. Last summer I did the trip from Aberystwyth to Carmarthen and although it was an interesting enough trip I was very happy to get off the thing, I jumped on a pacer in Carmarthen and was relieved to have a more comfortable seat which says it all. Must say I was also very surprised at the very cheap fare for such a long journey.


I was also surprised in general by the widespread use of low floor buses on cross country services throughout Britain that IMO they are not suitable for. Apart from Stagecoach it appears that the use of coaches outside the NatEx/Megabus type pre-book services has pretty much been eradicated in recent years. This has left some very long services in the hands of what are essentially city buses (The X1 Peterborough-Lowestoft being a good example) which are fine for the local traffic but very poor for long trips.
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Old 17th January 2012, 00:19   #24
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I believe the "coach style vehicles" mentioned are simply coach-seated Optare Tempos.

Due to the very late delivery of these, Stagecoach have applied to postpone the timetable changes until March.
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Old 17th January 2012, 16:14   #25
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I believe the "coach style vehicles" mentioned are simply coach-seated Optare Tempos.

Due to the very late delivery of these, Stagecoach have applied to postpone the timetable changes until March.
Ahh not so good news then.

I think the big thing these will lack are on-board toilets which came very high in the survey the WAG carried out.
Quote:
People indicated that the provision of good access to toilet facilities and extra legroom between seats on board the buses was the two most important improvements they would like to see introduced.
- Source- TrawsCymru

Also dropping the route to Cardiff is going to anger many passengers as this section was well used, and has at times seen people turfed off at Carmarthen due to lack of seats. Selling a joint ticket with the train to Cardiff will also increase costs greatly for passengers.
An off peak period return CMN to Cardiff is 22.40 added to the return bus fare AYW to CMN which is around 10 meaning a charge of ~32.40. The current fare to Cardiff 20.80, which would mean a large increase. The cheapest advanced single between Cardiff and Aberystwyth is 16 and could see many go to the train.
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Old 17th January 2012, 17:06   #26
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I wish coach travel wales ran their Aberyswyth - Cardiff service 701 Trawscambria coach more often that just 1 or 2 days per week with 1 trip in each direction that could run together with the TC1 route and offers those traveling from Aberyswyth - Swansea/Cardiff a more comfortable journey on a coach which is fitted with a toilet

I wonder if stagecoach could perhaps take a look at running a joint service with coach travel wales I remember once travelling on the Porth - Cardiff - Carmarthen - Aberystwyth service 701 service good 10 years ago.
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Old 18th January 2012, 10:56   #27
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Also dropping the route to Cardiff is going to anger many passengers as this section was well used, and has at times seen people turfed off at Carmarthen due to lack of seats. Selling a joint ticket with the train to Cardiff will also increase costs greatly for passengers.
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Originally Posted by anthony263 View Post
I wish coach travel wales ran their Aberyswyth - Cardiff service 701 Trawscambria coach more often that just 1 or 2 days per week with 1 trip in each direction that could run together with the TC1 route and offers those traveling from Aberyswyth - Swansea/Cardiff a more comfortable journey on a coach which is fitted with a toilet
I agree. A seperate TrwasCymru Aberystwyth - Swansea - Cardiff coach service (what happened to Arriva's specially liveried coach for the route which I have seen on Google images?) twice a day (and limited stop the whole distance, not just south of Carmarthen) alongside the hourly TrawsCambria TC1 Aberystwyth - Carmarthen hail&rail service with upgraded Tempos. That would be much better than stretching the Tempo fleet by adding some longer jouneys (to Cardiff and Swansea) to the TC1.

Also, remember that the X40 via Swansea to Cardiff takes as long as the train. If they ever introduce a regular express service via the Swansea district line that could knock 15-mins off Carmarthen - Cardiff, which could make up for the need to change from Tempo to train at Carmarthen to reach Cardiff (provided the bus arrives at the right point of the hour of course, which it might not be able to do and still make everything else work).

However, I have read some information from a source I expect is trustworthy. Reading between the lines, this suggests the TrawsCymru plans for Aberystwyth - Carmarthen - Cardiff could have been written off.

Here's what I've found and read:
Quote:
Arriva Buses Wales have registered a new service 50 between Synod Inn, New Quay and Aberystwyth which will replace the existing 550 service, and a new 40 service which will replace the existing X40 (Aberystwyth - Lampeter- Carmarthen) service. Both these services will be fully commercial and are registered to commence operations on 26th February 2012. Arriva Buses Wales intend to use a dedicated fleet of low floor vehicles branded as Cymru Express on these new services
So a completly unsubsidised Arriva service Cymru Express might emmerge instead of the WAG funded TrawsCymru service. That would leave a hole in the Traws network, on one of the network's key routes. This could have many problems, Arriva appear to be unwilling to make decent connections with other operators' services, and are less likely to listen if their service is not subisied at all (currently I think both 550 and X40 are commertial between Aberaeron and Aberystwyth, but not the rest of the route). Also, the operating hours of the service are unlikely to be improved now they have refused any subsidy (I think it may have been the TrawsCymru website that gave hours it would operate between (doesn't now though, so maybe it was somewhere else), which should have given a later departure from Aberystwyth to Carmarthen than the current 17:20).

Will Arriva be given the new Tempos WAG ordered to run their commertial service, or will WAG order all the Tempos they paid for (inc. the old ones) to be used on services they are subsidising, such as X32 and X94 which could use an upgrade to Tempos. Will Arriva be buying their own new low-floor buses?

Interestingly though, the VOSA have an application from Arriva for 550 Aberystwyth - Cardigan via New Quay Effective from 26-FEB-2012 which has status CANCELLED, so maybe Arriva's plans have not been fully succesfull in gaining approval.

Last edited by Rhydgaled; 21st January 2012 at 16:28.
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Old 21st January 2012, 13:59   #28
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I have had an interesting email this morning about service X40 & 550 these are to be repalced by new service 40 & service 50.

New VDL double deckers have been ordered for these routes which will have leather seats.

Arriva have also registered an additional service 20 which will run between Aberystwyth & Cardiff (not via Swansea) which will use coaches which will have onboard toilets. Service 20 and some journeys on the new service 40 will be operated commercially by Arriva.

Arriva will also run 1 or 2 trips in each direction between Aberysytwyth & Swansea during the university term times.

The new vehicles for service 40 & 50 will not arrive til the summer sometime in july so until then single deckers will be used.

Also we can expect some changes to service X63 from august I have heard so expect an annoucement about that soon.
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Old 27th January 2012, 00:03   #29
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They've ruined Traws livery! They get the last few buses of what in my opinion is probablly the best-looking bus design, and then ruin them with a livery that is far less smart than the one carried by the 704/T4/TC4 Tempos at the moment.

More importantly though, it looks like WAG has repeated their mistakes, I only count 7 windows down the side. That suggests a 12m vehicle, rather than the 8-window, 12.6m, Tempos on X50. That in turn suggests that these new vehicles, like the X40 and 550 fleets, will have insufficent legroom (esspecially now the service has been extended from the orriginal Newtown - Brecon).

What happens to the Tempos for X40 and 550 if Arriva continue with their plan to commercialise the services and buy new double deckers for them instead?
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Old 27th January 2012, 09:11   #30
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They've ruined Traws livery! They get the last few buses of what in my opinion is probablly the best-looking bus design, and then ruin them with a livery that is far less smart than the one carried by the 704/T4/TC4 Tempos at the moment.

More importantly though, it looks like WAG has repeated their mistakes, I only count 7 windows down the side. That suggests a 12m vehicle, rather than the 8-window, 12.6m, Tempos on X50. That in turn suggests that these new vehicles, like the X40 and 550 fleets, will have insufficent legroom (esspecially now the service has been extended from the orriginal Newtown - Brecon).

What happens to the Tempos for X40 and 550 if Arriva continue with their plan to commercialise the services and buy new double deckers for them instead?
Some or all of the Tempo's I believe are owned by the WG so it is likely they could be cascaded to other routes or used on new trwscambria services if any are created
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