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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Blinder, 16 Jan 2017.
You seem to have assumed that Arriva Bus and Arriva Train are connected; they aren't!
And its possibly just as well they arnt given some of the postings above about vehicles and staff, very bad for the reputation of arriva bus who have in recent years pulled their finger out, invested in fleats/brands and good customer service and are, parden the pun, going places.
I recall that in Firsts days in charge of Scotrail that they used a subsidiary with I think the catchy title of First rail replacement for some of the short and mid distance work and this was a mixed result in terms of quality. Sometimes you got the same old recks with the same drivers as local first routes, resourced from the local depot. Whilst the buses were bad the fact that local staff were driving variations of their normal routes usually ment the RRBs were reliable and well run.
At other times you got drivers and buses (some of them factory new) from all over the place and at other times they would do something really cool like chuck Volvo Olimpians on motorways which was worth going out for alone. The latter two ways of working had mixed results in terms of performance
for longer distance stuff FSR with or without the help of their bustitution partner subcontracted to coach companies of all shapes and sizes. On Scotrail runs alone Iv had a brand new Scania, a Megabus Panther, a Stagecoach Highland B10m coach and a Parks of hamilton decker to name a few!
With all local operators having existing commitments and this happening during school term time in most areas, each day of the disruption has required a new search for operators who have sufficient vehicles and drivers available to cover the operation. Unfortunately this has then resulted in each day having to teach a new set of drivers how to find Moston, Mills Hill and Castleton.
Also with services starting early in the morning and drivers having to comply with regulations on driving hours, it has meant that resources have been very stretched mid evening, and some advertised runs have had to be dropped or delayed in order to ensure there are still enough drivers within the legal limit to do the essential runs which connect with the last trains of the evening at Rochdale.
The coach and bus operators that have responded to this incident will be paid emergency rates, however several have stated they will be donating their payments to the fund for the victims of the Victoria tragedy. Some of the drivers and coordinators will be doing the same.
Thanks for explaining this.
I would like to think that my journey was an isolated one.
It is also lovely to hear of the generosity of the companies and their drivers.
Article in the Manchester Evening News about a driver who was using a mobile phone while on RRB duties for northern.
A passenger on a Rail Replacement Bus in connection with the Marches closed rang ATW Twitter on Sunday asking for help as the driver was going round and round a housing estate trying to find Shrewsbury station. The estate, I happen to know because I used to live close, is approx 1 mile from the station. As far as it is known passengers managed to help the driver get back onto the right track.
In my experience the pax are generally very good at helping out drivers of RRB's who are lost, often someone will ask when the vehicle comes off the main road to the town or village they are about to serve. I once did a journey on a coach from Manchester with a Mancunian driver and Indian second driver and they were both a very long way from home and admitted they didnt have a clue, niether did many of the punters but a young couple, barly out of their teens sat by them and navigated for over 3hrs.
2 faultless RRB journeys made by me recently. @alexf380 and myself used an old but internally refurbished coach on a (cheeper and faster than VTEC) service from Newcastle to Edinburgh last month after a trip on the 67 MK4 Tyne Valley drags and got treated to a storming run up the A1 non stop with a cracking driver and free refreshments!
Last weekend I used a very well orgonised bustitution opperation Blackpool Preston and return, the outbound being notable as the bus was full so didnt make any calls meaning the journey time was 40 minutes end to end, only 10 minutes slower than most trains to/from North and near equal to the service on the South branch!
I had a rail rep from St. Helens into Liverpool on sunday. All but one person was travelling to Liverpool, so we were all put on a coach that ran non stop and took only about 10 minutes longer than the train.
When I asked at the ticket office if there'd be a limited stop bus, I was told that there wouldn't...
The standard of the RRBs into and out of Liverpool South Parkway is poor, and we're a couple of weeks in already, it's more than enough time to have sorted the issues out.
Buses are still getting lost, leaving intermediate stations early, and in some cases completely failing to call. After a week they finally put up a sign at Edge Hill to say where the RRB stop was - in a different place to where the drivers have been told to stop. And of course they don't hold the bus for the trains that they're meant to connect with, which in the evenings can lead to an hour's wait or a long walk.
It can't be that difficult to get it right.
I hope you are claiming delay repay every time a bus and rail connection is missed and you are held up
Just had a truly awful journey from Maryport-Carlisle. The coach Northern hired, despite telling me they always hire the best available buses, was a 3+2 seated coach with no working air con, or any toilet facility whatsoever. Someone asked to bail on a roadbridge just outside Carlisle station-I and many of my fellow passengers followed! It was so warm on that bus I heard other passengers comparing it to the feeling of when the heat of a foreign country hits you when an aircraft door is opened!
Sounds more grim than the rail replacement minibus XC got in for a Didcot - Basingstoke service, although even that was plenty for the 8 passengers
Err? Perhaps that was the best bus they could get!
On finding that the 22.45 BPN to MIA is a 185 roster we left the car at MAN and went to Crewe auction. We then caught a 390 to Preston and arrived in BPN around 16.30. Something made me check the situation only to find that my suspicions were correct. The 22.45 was cancelled due to "no available crew" The were no signs at the station and no advance warning to the public anywhere, so I made it my business to see if the train was going to be run via the Queen's highway or not. It was, so we turned up to see what was the alternative to the hoped for 158. A newish coach operated by AVA of Leyland was waiting driven by the company's operations manager. The drive took fully two hours from Blackpool all stations to Piccadilly, but it was smooth, comprehensive and a credit to the company. However you play it though, this situation is a disgrace to Northern. Straight out of the Ryanair school of management why were there no notices? Why are we encouraged to leave the car at home when this is the end result - home at 01.25 not midinght? Arriva had no idea about the situation when challenged direct but when put through to their ops management the situation was admitted to immediately. It is high time these recalcitrant TOCs are penalised for their cavalier attitude towards their customers- the electorate - or barred from doing business on the railway for a substantial period to give them time to meditate on how to run a customer focused business
Meanwhile, those who opted for Stagecoach's 300 service would have enjoyed 'Gold' standard vehicles with leather seats, free WiFi etc
Those things are not suitable for carrying adults in safety as the seats are too small for the seat belt to be used correctly.
I really would like to see legislation requiring a minimum seat width for carriage of adults in road vehicles. 16" should do it. Those things are fine for schoolkids (up to perhaps age 14), but a few rows of 2+2 should be fitted at the front for the teachers.
As for heat, I don't understand why coach drivers so much dislike putting the blowers on!
The Maryport Carlisle does sound pretty grim it must be said that I have heard rumours from various sources that finding rail replacement transport locally within Cumbria can be quite a challenge sometimes so I guess it's lucky a service ran tool
As to the situation with Blackpool North and northern denying knowledge of it until challenged to management I suspect that the agency staff on the ground at Blackpool and in the customer experience centre where you will have first called were not particularly good at handling the situation but it is reassuring that management were aware of it when challenged but a little disappointing that once again they are hired help failed to handle proceedings particularly well. Make sure you get your delay repay in pronto