Ride Quality on the X5 Cambridge to Oxford Express Coach

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eMeS

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I travelled on the X5 from Madingley Road P&R to Milton Keynes yesterday. I would guess the coach, carrying a 58 plate, was around 30% capacity. I wore my seatbelt.

I'm new to "express luxury coach" travel (complete with power points for laptops), and after a time noticed how badly the suspension dealt with bumps and other minor faults in the road surface. Roundabouts and similar caused quite violent swaying, but the pummelling on my backside from the bumps really started to get to me. The previous day, I'd travelled the same route by car and in comparison the ride was smooth. On the coach, only the best road surfaces gave a smooth ride.

(In the past I have travelled by coach to Italy & back, and in the UK to Carlisle and return - on these journeys with full loads, I can't recall noticing what I've described above.)

What is so difficult about giving coach travellers a smooth ride?
 
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Ivo

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A very simple tip on the X5, as I learned yesterday (note that I have only ever done end-to-end on it - 200 minutes!), is to sit right at the back - there is more legroom there. Otherwise, the ride is fine to me. I have to say though, if you want a luxury coach - try the X30 from Stansted Airport. Now that is luxurious :p

I don't suppose you were on the 14:00 ex-Cambridge (about 14:15 at Madingley) were you? I've never know the run to or from Oxford to be so simple!
 

starrymarkb

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I travelled on the X5 from Madingley Road P&R to Milton Keynes yesterday. I would guess the coach, carrying a 58 plate, was around 30% capacity. I wore my seatbelt.

I'm new to "express luxury coach" travel (complete with power points for laptops), and after a time noticed how badly the suspension dealt with bumps and other minor faults in the road surface. Roundabouts and similar caused quite violent swaying, but the pummelling on my backside from the bumps really started to get to me. The previous day, I'd travelled the same route by car and in comparison the ride was smooth. On the coach, only the best road surfaces gave a smooth ride.

(In the past I have travelled by coach to Italy & back, and in the UK to Carlisle and return - on these journeys with full loads, I can't recall noticing what I've described above.)

What is so difficult about giving coach travellers a smooth ride?

Coaches on scheduled work are pushed hard. I've had rough rides on National Express's 532 as well (and when you consider that the coach on that route is doing Plymouth to Edinbrugh and vice versa on a Daily Basis - though I would not do it the whole way) they will be shagged. The X5s would be running back and forth between about 4am and midnight. It would take a typical car driver about a week to clock up a coach's daily mileage). It's one reason the Oxford Tube gets new vehicles every 5 or so years
 

MCR247

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Coaches on scheduled work are pushed hard. I've had rough rides on National Express's 532 as well (and when you consider that the coach on that route is doing Plymouth to Edinbrugh and vice versa on a Daily Basis

Would it not go back to Plymouth and then do a less intense diagram on the day after it returns?
 

MCW

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Would it not go back to Plymouth and then do a less intense diagram on the day after it returns?

not Necessarily. When Thurmaston Bus Ltd/ Coachmaster Ltd, Leicester, did National express routes they never used to rotate them if they were down to do the same run the following day chances were the same coach went out, unless it was due for maintenance or service for some reason. and they did Leicester to Penzance or something like that... they did various other routes too
 

notadriver

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I think the X5 is more like a bus route and features lower quality roads compared with say national express services which use mainly motorways or the best main roads in the area to reach their destinations in the quickest time possible.

Could it have been a bad vehicle ?
 

Ivo

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I think the X5 is more like a bus route and features lower quality roads compared with say national express services which use mainly motorways or the best main roads in the area to reach their destinations in the quickest time possible.

The X5 is no different in that sense. With the exception of the Eaton Socon (sp?) area, it is not like a bus route at all and sticks to the main roads in all areas (apart from in town/city centres obviously).

I honestly don't believe there is anything wrong with the X5, with the obvious exception of legroom. Even the toilets are OK.
 

Schnellzug

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Of course, drivers on bus-type services will be keen to crack on a bit to keep to schedule, or endeavour to as much as is feasible, hence going round roundabouts rather quickly and so on, while touring coaches and so on will probably not be under so much pressure to hurry. What do they use on that?

* Ah, Volvo B9R/Plaxton Panther, it seems. I think that's the same as NX use, so it would probably be down to driving, I would expect.
 

eMeS

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Of course, drivers on bus-type services will be keen to crack on a bit ... hence going round roundabouts rather quickly and so on, ...

I wasn't concerned about the sway going round the many roundabouts as I was seated, and secured by a seat belt - it was the impression that the bumps in the road surface weren't being dealt with in any meaningful way, which got to me. Perhaps if the coach had been fully laden, the effects would have been less noticeable. On arrival in Milton Keynes I did wonder whether the full width raised sections of road surface on the bus route through the centre were really necessary.

I guess it takes a special type of person to use a laptop on such a journey without becoming travel sick.

Thanks for all the comments - I've learnt a lot about coach usage etc.
 

Pyromaniac

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Why thank you :p

I was on here whilst travelling on the X5 on Saturday!

Working on a coach with no internet access (despite the fact the X30 should) was the prefect place where I typed up lots of my Uni assignments in 1st year. Also met a guy who was a C expert and was interested in a C program I was writing for another Uni assignment. Strange who you meet about :) .
 

notadriver

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Where do you like to sit in the coach ? I'm only used to sitting in the driving seat :D
 

Ivo

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Where do you like to sit in the coach ? I'm only used to sitting in the driving seat :D

You drive the X5? :shock:

I now know to sit at the back. OK, the toilet is to the left, but it opens in such a way that the seats immediately before the back (the last-but-one row or two) are the ones that might "suffer"; the main point however is legroom! Last Saturday I didn't get a cramp on the X5 for the first time, having only ever done end-to-end on it, and it is all thanks to the extra space. Not having to sit sideways also helps :p

If you ever get a guy about 6'1" with very dark hair, glasses and a Southend ENCTS pass trying to board, it's probably me.

Or are you referring to the X30? If this is the case, the right-hand table facing forwards :p
 

anthony263

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Where do you like to sit in the coach ? I'm only used to sitting in the driving seat :D

Which is my favourite seat on the coach as I never really get travel sickness unless I am traveling as a passenger although I have had no problems at all on the train or ferry.
 

notadriver

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Same with me Anthony563. People have such different driving styles. I'm not used to being driven around by others and they seem to brake too hard and too late. Maybe I'm overly critical. :(
 

anthony263

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I admit I do have a bit of a heavy foot and I did struggle to get used to driving wearing shoes when I doing my PCV training back in 2008 with Veolia.

I still prefer to wear trainers when driving although company policies demand that drivers were shoes.

I have had a photo of Veolia's dedicated driver training coach being scrapped which pleased me seeing as I hated the dam thing as I had trouble with the gearbox in it
 

notadriver

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I have to admit anthony263 since i stopped doing service work i've lost the heavy right foot too.
 

Ivo

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Upstairs, at the front, on the right, in the aisle seat. Always has been, always will be. Unless the driver's seat counts, but I don't have a licence :(
 

Schnellzug

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I like it at the back (pause for innuendo) on double deckers, either the back seat by the engine or over the wheelarch; nearside, of course, so you can see forward (or offside rear seat if there's a bit more room by the emergncy door). You're a bit higher up, which gives a sense of superiority, and, which is important on some, you can listen to the engine. Upstairs at the front is usually taken by folks sightseeing. On Single deckers, there's often considerably more room by the emergency door, so I usually prefer that one (Unless it's a Merc minibus, of course, in which case very defnitely not the back seat, unless you want to pretend you're at Alton Towers.)
 

anthony263

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Yes upstairs right at the front on right hand side or the drivers seat.

In fact this reminds me I need to get a trip on stagecoach new double deck coaches on the Cardiff - London megabus service

Then again I dont mind the 2nd man fold down seat at the front next to the door on some of the coaches.
 

Pyromaniac

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Back row on the left on the X30. However if I get a Volvo/Wright Eclipse this changes to penultimate back row on the left. Sometimes varies in the Chelmsford direction if its sunny in which case I swap to the back right (or penultimate back right) but at the times I travel, usually not an issue!

As for anything Dart-ish, back row. Double deckers, back row downstairs. Dennis Lances, bus shelter and wait for the next bus.
 

Schnellzug

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On RMs, of course, it was front nearside side looking over the bonnet, so you could see oncoming traffic and watch the driver, and see the remarkable amount of play in the steering wheel. :|
 

Ivo

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Back row on the left on the X30. However if I get a Volvo/Wright Eclipse this changes to penultimate back row on the left.

Is there a problem with one of the coaches at present or something? I saw at least two Eclipse journeys during my 11-day stay in Southend over Easter.

Dennis Lances, bus shelter and wait for the next bus.

I don't think I'd agree with the P--- MNO Lances, but with the older ones you chose the best seat available :p
 

Pyromaniac

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Is there a problem with one of the coaches at present or something? I saw at least two Eclipse journeys during my 11-day stay in Southend over Easter.

Possibly, although they are 2 or 3 spare coaches in Chelmsford that should be out and about when needed. To be honest when I caught the X30 back to Chelmsford I saw 66799 on the 2pm service so knew not to catch the 8pm as it would also form that. Lo and behold 66799 turned up on the 10pm service so not sure whats going on!

I don't think I'd agree with the P--- MNO Lances, but with the older ones you chose the best seat available :p

Thinking more of the Wright Pathfinder Lances ;) .
 

Ivo

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Possibly, although they are 2 or 3 spare coaches in Chelmsford that should be out and about when needed. To be honest when I caught the X30 back to Chelmsford I saw 66799 on the 2pm service so knew not to catch the 8pm as it would also form that. Lo and behold 66799 turned up on the 10pm service so not sure whats going on!

I think you made an error there. The PVR on the X30 is 4, so if it did the 1400 it would do the 1800 and the 2200.

Thinking more of the Wright Pathfinder Lances ;) .

I've only ever been on one good example of such a vehicle (AS 3379) - and it suffered an engine fire a few years ago :( Bath still has seven of the things.
 

Pyromaniac

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I think you made an error there. The PVR on the X30 is 4, so if it did the 1400 it would do the 1800 and the 2200.

Balls. I always thought it was 5, don't ask why...my mistake :P .

I've only ever been on one good example of such a vehicle (AS 3379) - and it suffered an engine fire a few years ago :( Bath still has seven of the things.

3379 wasn't a good vehicle, it had a perrenial suspension problem that made it like a boat and that was its second fire in its life. I should probably add I have family connections to that company :) .
 
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