Meeting with First Somerset & Avon - compensation finally provided (3x FSW Day)!

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by Ivo, 8 Nov 2011.

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  1. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

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    I went up to the Students' Union earlier (for the first time in 18 months :lol:), where I had the "pleasure" of delivering a complaint of roughly 1,100 words relating to the events of a certain day last month, which a few on here know about (I won't go into detail though). Anyway, as a result of said complaint, the SU President came to realise that I seem to know the odd thing or two about Bath's bus services, such as why we seem to have fewer artic-operated journeys than previously (as I have explained previously); he didn't even realise that there were fewer artics in Bath than in the Spring.

    Anyway, as a result of all of this, he came to the conclusion that it would be in the University's interests if I went along to his next meeting with First, so that I can explain some of the issues that exist in and around both the University (and the other University, who also seem blissfully unaware that there are now only seven left) and the city in general, and also to hopefully offer some solutions to their problems*.

    Has anyone ever been to a meeting such as this, and if yes what can I expect? I appreciate that such meetings don't usually happen with the "public", except for Meet the Manager sessions, but I'm hoping that some of you do have experience of this.

    I must say that, as a potential resolution to one of the complaints I am firing (again, a few on here know about the issues at hand; ask by PM if you do not know and are interested), this would make the whole process worthwhile. Having the opportunity to get some things sorted out will give me the chance to show them what I can do - and maybe force them to take action.

    TIA ;)

    * Seven is not an ideal number of artics but it is the exact number required for them to alternate services on both routes. If all 18 journeys into Oldfield Park were opeerated by artics, alternate journeys between the city centre and the University of Bath would use them. They could then co-ordinate our SPA1 service to use artics every other journey. As for the other journeys, the Lances here have high standing capacity (their buggy areas have no seats at all but could easily fit at least four; there is evidence of four having been in place previously) and could thus run the short 18 journeys, given few would mind standing for less than 20 minutes, whereas ours could use the high seating capacity Volvos. But of course, such simplicity and logic is beyond First S&A's capability...! :lol:
     
    Last edited: 8 Nov 2011
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  3. Schnellzug

    Schnellzug Established Member

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    Which Management wull this be with? The Top Brass at S&A, or the manager from Bath depot? I wouldn't have thought that S&A would have decided to send the artics to D&C, that surely would be GHQ deciding that, and local management wouldn't have any say in it, I'd have thought.
    The trouble with these things is, will you get a chance to actually ask any questions, or more like would you be likely to get any answers, or just standard Customer Relations Department drivel?
     
  4. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

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    The thing is that they stage meetings with the SU so they can sort between themselves any issues in the services. I have a name for the person they meet with, a Richard Lewis (I'm sure that is the same name as a manager at Arriva Southern Counties :lol:), and have found evidence to suggest he is the manager at Bath depot (I would have expected as much, given it's an issue relating specifically to this city). But either way, these things are semi-regular because they give both parties a chance to air their opinions on the current situation, and I would hope that I would be given the same opportunity.
     
  5. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Given that he is only a depot manager, I would say don't get your hopes up too high.
     
  6. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I attended a meeting with the senior management team of First Bristol some time between 2006 and 2008 (sorry, cannot remember when) with the then Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol North West.

    I have to say, having sat on both sides of the tables for various organisations I've been involved with, make sure you know what you want to say in advance as there is nothing more frustrating than someone waffling on about generally nothing. Don't complain about specific incidents, go on about trivial matters or keep mentioning the same thing. Only mention things within the control of the organisation.
     
  7. 142094

    142094 Established Member

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    You often find that the management can be quite suprised that some people have a god understanding of how a system works (not just bus, could be any other mode of transport). In effect 99% of the time they'll deal with trivial complaints such as 'my bus was late' and 'there were no seats' whereas if you can come up with a good argument, this looks better and you should get a good response back.
     
  8. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

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    I would suggest doing exactly what Mojo has said above. Some of the problems are likely to made by First's main office so it is not really the fault of the manager at the depot in Bath who is probably doing the best they can with the available resources.

    Be grateful that you have low floor double deckers etc

    We in south wales only have the 4 volvo olympians which came about 3 years ago from Bristol.

    I have already suggested to management at First to get some low floor deckers on some routes particulary some of the main routes in & around Swansea and the Porthcawl - Bridgend - Cardiff X2 service as the low floor darts & volvo's are struggling to cope.
     
  9. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

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    Thank you all for the above.

    Today, the Students' Union called a meeting which was attended by the SU President, an SU-employed liaison manager (or something like that), the manager of the Estates department, a local traffic surveyance expert, and myself (the resident "bus expert"). In this meeting we set out an agenda which concentrates on the service provision offered on very specific journeys, why our SPA2 route is surplus to requirements, and increasing student awareness of services other than the SPA1 and SPA2. This information will be carried forward to the official meeting, which is scheduled for 0800 this coming Friday, and will be attended by Richard Lewis, as identified above, and also Simon Newport, who is no less than the Regional Manager for the South-West and Wales, so not exactly a minor pawn in the First operation.
     
    Last edited: 14 Dec 2011
  10. Schnellzug

    Schnellzug Established Member

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    Oh, he used to be the depot manager at Weymouth, when you could actually speak to him in person on the phone and not have to be fobbed off with auto-generated responses from Customer Service Centres.

    0800? Is this some kind of prank?
     
  11. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

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    The idea behind an 0800 start was that it meant Mr Newport would be available! Otherwise, it would have been 0930. I don't mind either way, because I only need to leave 12 minutes before the start - if that - to arrive in time.
     
  12. causton

    causton Established Member

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    Would be ironic if you had to catch a First bus there and it was late, delaying the meeting! :lol:

    Good luck. You seem to have a good case out there so I hope they will listen to it :)
     
  13. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

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    Thank you :)

    I was genuinely worried that the meeting would be held somewhere other than the SU for this very reason! I don't mind having to pay where I travel before 0900 if required (although I would expect to be reimbursed on this occasion :lol:), but I had a horrible feeling that I would be depending on the 0905 (this was before I knew the exact details of the official meeting) and that it wouldn't turn up period - there is a 30 minute wait after it...
     
  14. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

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    Believe me Simon Newport is 1 of the big guns in First group and Is actually someone who will take action on comments from bus users.

    Maybe I should ask him why we haven't got any low floor deckers in the south wales operation's

    Anyway I hope your meeting is a sucess
     
  15. Schnellzug

    Schnellzug Established Member

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    Oh, they're coming to see you. Well, that's something, I suppose, although on the other hand it might have had an opportunity for a look inside the depot.
    If you had to go there, and the bus hadn't turned up, well, you'd have something to bring up there straightaway wouldn't you...
     
  16. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    I was at Bath University from 1991 to 1994. In my first year, I lived at 40.9 Eastwood so had direct view of the bus stop. Back then, Badgerline was running Ford Transits every 6 minutes during the day and Nationals evenings and Sundays every 15 minutes. There was no night service then and no competition. Back then, the Union also had a campaign against Badgerline. Whilst it was not appreciated that Badgerline actually had cheaper fares on the 18 route compared to other routes, for example by allowing returns all day long, it seems the service to the university is vastly better now.
     
  17. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

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    I'm sorry, Transits? Surely you don't mean that?! Even speaking from this end of the city, in "enemy territory" as it were, one cannot help but feel that such a service is short of even manageable, let alone worthwhile - or fair. Mind you, if it meant we had Nationals, then from my perspective it wouldn't be so bad :lol:
     
  18. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    No joke. Most city services were run by Transits like this:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8050359@N07/3533276435/in/set-72157622217177754

    This included:

    2 Combe Down - Endsleigh
    4 City Centre - Bathampton
    8 City Centre - Larkhall
    9 City Centre - Fairfield Park
    10/11 City Centre - Southdown circulars
    12 City Centre - Twerton
    16/17 City Centre - Upper Weston
    18 City Centre - University

    There was even a Transit route from Bath to Withywood via Keynsham.

    Nationals ran on

    5 City Centre - Twerton

    Bristol VRs ran on 14 Odd Down - Weston

    A mixture of Nationals and Olympians ran on

    3/13/23 Foxhill to Bathford/Elmhurst

    The good thing about Transits was that frequencies were very high. When they were replaced by Mercedes minibuses and Darts, the frequencies went down.

    They did run some Olympians on the 18 at certain times, such as the 0840 from the city centre. This had a dedicated bus G910TWS which was interworked with the 228 to Colerne. Bristol VRs would sometimes appear on the 18 in the evening. Olympians always ran the 19 Saturday park and ride.
     
    Last edited: 16 Nov 2011
  19. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

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    I've just added in the modern equivalents to all of the above. Most are more spacious now, although there are three Varios around - but it really hurt reading that the 13 and 14 used to use VRs and the like. I still can't believe they sent Transits up to Claverton though...!

    If you're wondering why I know of all the older routes, my Uncle once drove for Badgerline here and gave me an old AZ on which he drew all the various routes. It puts a lot of perspecive into how I view the system, although even his map has no mention of a 23...
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I don't suppose you'd happen to know all the various frequencies from then by chance? Might be a tad optimistic, but I would be very grateful...
     
    Last edited: 14 Dec 2011
  20. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Maybe there wasn't a 23. Thanks for verifying that the other routes existed. It was all from memory! I remember that Elmhurst and Bathford had separate buses when I first started at Bath so maybe these were the 3 and 23. In my last year the 13 to Foxhill was split off as a separate route although there was still a cross town service evenings and Sunday.

    The Transits really struggled up Bathwick Hill particularly when well loaded, which was normal as they only had 16 seats. They had manual gearboxes though so that helped.

    As for frequencies, apart from the 18 already mentioned, I can remember the 10/11 were every 10 minutes in each direction, the 5 was every 12 minutes (I think, maybe every 10), the 14 was every 10 minutes daytime, every 20 evenings, the 4 was every 15 minutes (no service evening and Sunday - you had to use the 265 every 2 hours). Not sure about the others apart from the 13 to Foxhill being half hourly in the evening. I remember that one because I lived on that route.

    You might be interested to note that the X4 used to go via Bathford when I started uni but that changed to the Bathampton route soon after. The X4 went from Bristol to Salisbury but after the reroute was curtailed at Bath with through fares on the then new X39 from Bath to Bristol. There was also an X3 from Bristol to Bath to Frome via Lower Bristol Road and Norton St Philip.
     
    Last edited: 16 Nov 2011
  21. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

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    Having had a look at the map (which Sod's Law dictated was in the last place it could have been in <(), the Bathford route is numbered 733! I cannot explain why; even now the subsidised version of the 13 is numbered 713 (not taht said numbe is seen any more; they just call it "13"). I don't see why Elmhurst and Bathford don't have separate routes; logistically, it would be so much easier (and would serve as an excuse to resume the 15 frequency which was dropped two years ago). Of course, these days, the cross-city route exists again - with massive layovers of anything up to 10 minutes at the bus station. There is however a 3A route on my map (albeit a school route)!

    No surprise there :lol: I wonder what they would say if I told them about this interesting capacity...

    I lived on the 13 route last year and was mainly annoyed at the Sunday evening frequency - every 90 minutes. Ouch. Otherwise, the 10 is only every 10 minutes now (it was 8bph for a while), and then only on weekdays; the 5 was every 10 for a while, then went to 12 and now 15; the 14 is every 15 to the south but 8bph to the north (every 15 on Saturdays); and as for the 4, well, at one point it was every 40! I'm surprised it still runs :| (The 265 point is still true today.)

    Of course I knew about the X4, but the X3 is new on me! :lol: The route you describe appears to match today's hourly 267.

    Thank you for helping! A job well done Sir :)
     
  22. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    That rte. 18 bus service looks quite good. Nothing near as frequent and running for such a long time of the day in Bristol!
     
  23. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    Welcome to Halifax!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wakefieldpinball/3744984435/
     
  24. Schnellzug

    Schnellzug Established Member

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    You never lived near Exeter then during Harry Blundered's days ...
     
  25. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

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    Obviously not :lol:

    I am sorry to have to reveal to Worst Group fans that, as I have predicted elsewhere, even now I have more firepower to hit them with. Returning from the Christmas Lights switch-on today, I just missed the SPA1 home. Too bad. I thus jumped on an 18 in an effort to cut it up, which should have worked as the traffic lights would work against the SPA1 meaning that if I couldn't use the normal stop I could use the one after, on the A36, but I would have to cross the road first (which is easy). Instead, the SPA1 jumped a RED light! Sod the fact I missed it; that is just plain illegal - and very dangerous in the circumstances! <(
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    The meeting started at about 0800, as scheduled, but I had to give up my idea of doing an all-nighter at about 0630 because I just felt too tired. So with literally 80 minutes' bedtime behind me, roughly half of which was spent awake, I was a bit worried, but alas everything went smoothly - except that Mr Lewis was ill, so we only had the Regional Manager (Simon Newport) with us! The main subject was our SPA2 route, which is pretty much pointless and thus liable to alteration or even withdrawal come next September, and also ticketing issues (especially with the introduction of Smartcards imminent). Unfortunately however, Mr Lewis's absence meant that several issues we'd have liked to discuss, such as exact scheduling and artic allocations, were not possible.

    Another meeting is likely before too long, and I would hope to sit in on that as well. After all, no-one else at this University seems to know even a quarter of what I know about running a bus service :roll:

    I also got a free bacon sandwich out of it. Can't complain about that :lol:
     
    Last edited: 19 Nov 2011
  26. 185

    185 Established Member

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    "First In Bath"


    If they were, I'd gladly throw my hairdrier in :)
     
  27. starrymarkb

    starrymarkb Established Member

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  28. Schnellzug

    Schnellzug Established Member

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  29. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    I have attached some of the timetables from when I was at Bath University (1991 to 1994).
     

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  30. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

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    UPDATE:

    I have sent a copy of a proposed, but BETA, timetable for next year that I have created, and they are genuinely impressed and interested in it! :D

    It does need some work, but I would hope that a final version will be ready by the end of next month.

    Could the 2012-13 academic year use my timetable for real?
     
  31. scandal

    scandal Member

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    Out of curiosity Ivo how does Rotala's Uni-Connect and Royal Bath services compare with those of First?

    Incidentally I was under the impression that Uni-Connect was a commercial operation, do First or anyone else run any services under contract to the University?
     
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