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Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by Volvodart, 15 Dec 2017.
From the last page:
The Red Express is run from Intack.
I don't think the changes will be a success either, but it might actually be worse than you suggest - as well as making the journey longer, on at least some part of the existing route the Irwell Line service will no longer be every 15 minutes - if buses leave Rawtenstall every 15 minutes they won't be like that on the way into Bury, and vice versa. The diversion might not last long, but how much lasting damage will it do to the route between Rawtenstall and Bury? Buses between Accrington and Haslingden are now also reduced to five per hour, down from eight when Transdev bought Rosso.
Accrington now has an albeit pretty poor rail service, which probably contributed to the X41s problems, but Haslingden will no longer have any public transport to Manchester - anyone know when that last happened or indeed if it ever has since the railway closed?
How long until Intack and Queensgate are reduced to fewer buses than pre-Rosso merger? The most #amazing thing about Transdev in Lancashire is how quickly they're disappearing.
Rumours were clearly circulating but some bod on the Twitter feed may not know what is actually happening.
Lots of replies to the tweets, but this one made me laugh.. But, as the saying goes, use it or lose it...
Obviously so. But if you were getting bombarded with questions you'd seek further info before posting something like that. Just comes across as misleading otherwise.
Reads to me that they 'knew' about it, but either not officially or they knew officially but were embargoed from mentioning it.
The Red Express / X41 / 701 / X23 has run continuously since the horse and cart. The earliest timetable I have is from 1935 when the Ribble service ran every 30 minutes (daily) between Manchester and Great Harwood, continuing hourly to Clitheroe. The timetable got quite thin at one time when Blackburn Transport still ran the service. January 1997 to September 2001 was the worst point in recent years.
It's a company cutting a route - it's happening all over the UK - but because it's a company who try to promote the positives where they can, it's predictably attracting a lot more ire than when an Arriva/First (etc) do it - if you dare try to sound an upbeat message then people will gloat when you have to make cutbacks (even, as we've recently seen, when a tendered route is cut by the local council!)...
It's a company putting positive spin on things - every company is going to try to give an upbeat version of events - not many companies are going to say something like "because our service is unreliable and expensive and we don't have sufficient drivers or vehicles, we're giving up on this route", even if enthusiasts suspect that to be the truth.
As I've said on some "rail" threads recently, a lot of enthusiasts seem to put far too much "weight" on what the person staffing a Twitter feed say - it might be a lowly paid back office job, it may be someone responsible for a wide region who doesn't have specific knowledge of every thing going on (especially not to leak news of currently unannounced services changes).
You can see the "quality" of questions that these feeds get bombarded with, as if the person staffing the social media accounts is going to be able to answer questions about why a particular bus was accident damaged or when something will get repainted.
1) You can't put positive spin on bad news. It just makes the receiver of the message feel even worse about the negative news. Hey everybody, look at my new car, by the way it was funded from my fees to do your double amputation. The latest news is spun as an improvement to the Irwell Line, It isn't really an improvement to the Irwell Line (unless you like a lower direct frequency or longer journeys) and it detracts from the serious news of substantial and inconvenient cuts for many. What it says it 'we don't give an expletive about you and your life being disrupted, If you don't like it, don't bother us with your custom in future, we don't want it anyway'. Look at the connections into/out of the X43 for early commuters/late returners. OK there is an extra early am bus on the 464 (which runs empty to Haslingden anyway) but later connections are dubious, the return connections are dubious, especially if affected by congestion. For evening travellers there are no connections to points beyond Haslingden and they are not all that good as far as Haslingden. Sitting for 30 minutes outside the new Rawtenstall bus station (evenings) or inside on Sundays? is just so #amazing I think I'll miss my connection and do it just for fun.
2) If poor quality answers are being given on twitter because staff are not knowledgeable, then perhaps they should not be giving those answers. Why on earth would a professional company allow such answers to be given out. The emphasis on instant but potentially poor quality answers should be addressed, just as you would with an email or letter. A holding response, a search for the correct answer, a full accurate response. After all, the whole world can see that poor response, unlike with an email or letter.
The connections for commuters at rush hour are going to be just as bad. Many of the X43s at peak time are fully loaded by the time they leave Burnley. If there's going to be peak time X41 passengers waiting to board after taking the 464 from Accy it isn't going to be pleasant.
A bus full, standing and leaving behind is what gets the accountants all excited. Maximum return for your investment. If only they cared about six months down the line when people have simply walked away from their services never to return. Boo hoo, we're carrying less passengers, we need to make more cuts, begging bowl out for state support.
Maybe another operator could pick up the X41 if it’s so popular, maybe Diamond or Go North West could run it from the Manchester end. Diamond might also increase the frequency on the 472/474 Ramsbottom Circulars.
Note that Rosso used to run a 485 to Ramsbottom until shortly after the Transdev takeover as well.
Diamond don't have the resources to increase frequencies.. They are so short staffed, just a few days ago they had to put a 10 minute frequency service to every half hour.. But that's a post for another thread.
It is very unfortunate that Transdev have very little in the way of competition around Lancashire, even locally. I'm sure if there was some decent competition they'd not be cancelling services creating new links like this.
Well that’s not true as the Red4 competes with Diamond, and is probably the very reason why it’s being axed. I’m not sure a link like Bury to Ramsbottom needs 8 buses an hour these days.
So we’ve got Transdev who promote their services but also have to make cuts, and people don’t like that. First who never bothered to promote their services, they just managed decline and made cuts, and Diamond who came to the rescue to replace First but can’t run the advertised service.
If First and Diamond are so terrible, it's interesting to see that they can sustain a service in Ramsbottom where Transdev can't. First/Diamond with all their own problems would be long gone if all the passengers were choosing to use Transdev's buses.
Part of it will simply be that some passengers will get the first bus that comes along, especially with ENCTS not demanding any customer loyalty. Perhaps there was also some nascent customer loyalty from non-pass holders; we often hear about how part First have been in West Lothian in comparison to Lothian Country yet it seems that there is some loyalty to First that may come from the power of the incumbent. Also, the Red4 may have had lovely buses but how many of their "features" are of use on a relatively high frequency, low duration route, and against another firm that perhaps prioritises that route and makes sure that buses are on it because of the competition?
Quite so, but turn it around from the other perspective. You're the Transdev Twitter bod and you're getting these questions. You ask the question in light of these rumours, only to be told "we're looking at the routes' performance" - what does the Twitter person say? Do you start responding to every rumour? If you were going to lie, there are better ways to do it, so I don't subscribe to the view that the Twitter bod has simply lied. It's fair enough that staff shouldn't post "poor responses" but you're going to be damned either way. If it's not finalised, you can't say anything. You can't simply ignore the customer. Even a holding comment which was the "we are reviewing the route following recent changes" will be interpreted by some negatively.
This is perhaps the area that I have the biggest issue with. It isn't good news, however you try to spin it. The idea that we're improving X as a headline when it is to help mitigate a bigger cut is rather disingenuous.
The fact is that bus companies across the country (and we're seeing it just over the hill in Calderdale) are having to make tough decisions. Any cut is regrettable but it's how you handle it and IMO, it's not been handled well. Perhaps the better approach would've been in August that you say you're going to axe it and with resultant furore, say that you will do X and Y to improve the situation but that it is last chance. It either rallies (great) or not and it goes but you gave it a chance.
Also, I do take issue with the "bean counter" argument about . It costs about £500 to run a vehicle so yes, you can have a full bus in the peak (with lots of discounted season ticket holders) and it then not pay its way. These are commercial organisations - they have to make a profit. Even you think that it's just the accountant in some darkened room barking out P&L figures, you're much mistaken. Any depot manager, commercial manager or MD worth their salt is all over their financials. It's like the manager of your local Co-op - they know what lines sell, when they need staff, what hours they need to be open.
Transdev may say that they have been open about the Irwell Line "improvement" being to cover the other changes, but it is clearly spin. I usually support any operator who actively seeks to promote their services. They will have the odd reverse where things don't succeed - see Stagecoach's Belles Express, First's Discover network or Transdev's Manchester CityZap. In this instance, just feels that they've got it wrong.
From what I can quickly find:
Claremont Omnibus Company started an hourly Clitheroe - Manchester express around 1927/28. That company was bought by a Ribble subsidiary (Rishton and Antley) in March 1930. The service has run in some form ever since. Source: Ribble Volume One, TB Maund, Venture Publications, 1983.
Can't really disagree with much of what you said there.
Looking through the many many people complaining on Twitter, AH has taken the time to reply to a few, albeit with a similar sort of response. Not enough passengers, loosing £x amount of money per year, etc. but one that sort of irks me is 'people were asking for the X41 to run through Rammy so we ran it in good faith but not enough people used it' (not verbatim). I don't remember anyone asking for the X41 to run through Ramsbottom, especially as doing so annoyed all the passengers from Haslingden and Accrington making their journey times longer and cut off Blackburn passengers altogether - incidentally, they'll now need to catch three different buses to get to Manchester.
There may have been calls to have a Manchester bus from Ramsbottom, but using the X41 was a mistake. A lot of people raised these concerns at the time.
As Mr Wazoo above said, the vehicles on the Red4 were complete overkill for what it was. 'Luxury' leather seats, USB chargers and WiFi are fine for longer routes, but on a short commuter service they're completely wasted. It's not what people want or need on a 10 minute bus ride.
I wonder if instead of messing the X41 up, if they it as it was (possibly having only one journey an hour running to Blackburn) and launching an aggressive marketing campaign for it against the train (like they did and occasionally still do for the X43 and the 36 in Harrogate), and using the ex MancZap's for a direct, limited stop service between Rammy, Bury and then onto the motorway into Manchester would have been a better way of doing things.
Hornby man, he speak with forked tongue.
Read very carefully between the lines, and indeed letters, of everything he utters. Bill Clinton took lessons off him.
Pushing X41 passengers onto the X43 will boost that routes ridership figures - and some revenue - but not all as through tickets are apparently available already on the 464 and changing at Rawtenstall.
I looked properly at the connections earlier today.
Last bus from Manchester with connections to Accrington 2000 m-f, 2010 sats but only 4 minutes, 1900 suns.
Southbound, pretty poor am peak m-f, earliest arrival 0933 sats, 4 minute connections all day suns.
May be improved when the 482 times are published but as there is no mention in the press release I guess I shouldn't expect to much of a peak hour service from it.
Looks like I'll be taking the train north in future, as I had to for several years when the service was poor.
100% agree with you. There will have been calls for Ramsbottom to Manchester routes but it should never have been done at the expense of so many longer distance passengers who then ditched the service and now use the train (presumably).
The X41 should never have been cut back from Blackburn. That had a lot of end to end passengers and forcing them to change at Accrington onto a slower bus was never going to work given the now increased trains per hour.
I think something which they could have done to help the X41 is change it's route into Manchester. The X41 and X43 both run down Bury New Road and rarely pick anyone up. Could they not have maybe put more stops into it or diverted it to use another route into Manchester (like the X43 express route via Shudehill or down Rochdale Road which has a proven large passenger base). Or even, now they have buses in Bury, be sneaky and divert it into there to try and get some Bury to Manchester passengers (As the Metrolink can get quite full some times and it would offer connections onto Rosso routes).
It used to run the 'new' X43 express route into Manchester - to the end of the M66 (as was) and turn right. The crawl through Prestwich and Broughton can be awful, but it does mean that it serves the hospital there.
It might serve the hospital, still picks no one up though....
Rosso really is being poorly managed at the moment. Look at some of the opportunities they have in Rochdale with First trying to run things down. The 6 is an open target really. The 59 they could have right now (it's tendered so if they went on it commercially, the tender would have to be taken off). Extending the Lake Line around Stansfield and upto Cote Lane turning circle or even extend some trips to Todmorden to try and compete with First. There is just no willingness for Rosso to success. It is very much like they don't care about anywhere outside of Harrogate.
With some of the treats of franchising, you would be expecting them to pull out all the stops to try and prove to passengers why privately ran buses are best but all they seem to be doing is promoting publically ran buses.
You mean the 58 The 59 is a high frequency (well, at least between Oldham and Manchester) service that is entirely commercial, apart from one very late round trip.
How many passengers do you think there is in Rochdale? Would half the passengers moving from First to a new competitive Transdev service result in Transdev making money on the service? First have already cut the frequencies on the likes of the 6.
Also how many non pass holders used the X41 from Blackburn to Manchester? Especially with the improved rail service?
I do however disagree with them billing ‘Improvements to the Irwell Line’ as the main headline. They could be honest and lead with the services being withdrawn, before adding that there are some changes that may mitigate the issue later on in the article.
I’m also not sure about diverting the Irwell Line via Ramsbottom as that will result in an imbalanced service for Rawtenstall passengers. They could have given up the Bury link to Diamomd, but then what would provide the Ramsbottom to Accrington link?
Indeed I do mean that one. Rochdale to Oldham. I always get them numbers mixed up.
Given that the 6 is one of few routes First has kept, it must do well. More so considering that they are trying to run only buses which start/end in Oldham. First don't run routes unless it makes them a fair amount or they would have messed around with it to make it unviable by now. It would be short term competition as First would be very likely to drop it if someone else jumped on the route.
That isn't the route of the FAST X43, which continues past the end of the old M66 and then runs down Rochdale Road.
Ah, I see.
Also, I can't find any old timetable which has the route I mentioned either! It was a long time ago, and I was an infrequent user, but I'm sure I remember a route down the M66 motorway not turning right onto the M62 and then Prestwich.
There was an X8 for a short time that came off at Heaton Park and down through Cheetham Hill but in my experience this is slower than Rochdale Road.
Although it is now half of what it was back in the "Quality Service" days - back then, there were two routes, 6 and 7, which took opposing routes around the loop every 15 minutes. The merger of into one route dropped the overall frequency to every 10 minutes, then 12, and now 15.