Transdev Blazefield

Tetchytyke

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I don't think removing the requirement for masks will help though. The basic problem with public transport is the risk of catching the virus - increasing that risk won't bring customers back.
As you say, one thing the bus industry are struggling with is convincing people it is safe. Having to wear a mask subconsciously reinforces the idea that it is not safe, but I agree that without masks the safety idea will be a problem.

I do wonder whether masks do reduce usage by those who think the industry safe. Masks are unpleasant to wear. Maybe I've read too many comments in the Covid forum!

Very worrying numbers though. I get that commuting is still reduced, as is leisure, but even with that it's really bad to see. And you have to worry that people will find new habits and not come back.
 
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JetBlast

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Even before COVID busses are not frequent and are expensive.

Rosso blocked me on Twitter when I told them out my outbound trip was quicker to walk and on my return the bus didn’t have contactless (as advertised) so I walked the return. That doesn’t exactly encourage people to use the service.
 

markymark2000

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Quite depressing stats, but a lot of people still aren't back at work so won't be commuting and there's understandably a lot of trepidation for folk who would normally catch the bus into town for a day out.

What is mildly frustrating to me is the fact that Alex along with Ray Stenning and a few others are constantly going on about how people should be using the bus and (Ray especially) subversively insulting anyone who chooses to use a car. The depressing reality though is that for a lot of people the bus just isn't a viable option.

My job means I can't use a bus to commute as I travel around the country, but even if I did work in a fixed base just one town away the bus would take near enough 60 minutes to get there. Or I could take two and get there in 45. And if I had to work late then I couldn't get the bus home as they don't run in the evenings. If I drove I could be there in 15 minutes. Throw in the quite extortionate single fares and the bus isn't even a viable option for the odd journey either. If there's two of us travelling in most cases it works out cheaper to get a taxi.

Granted, a lot of the problem (in Lancashire) is due to LCC withdrawing subsidies for services, but it is irksome when you're being told you're ruining the planet and should be using the bus for every single journey by a bloke who lives in London and a CEO of a bus company with a company car when there's no alternative.

Doesn't matter how many USB sockets or WiFi they shove on a bus, if you don't live on the route or have any links to it then it's as good as useless.

Mild rant over.
I think for routes etc, you have hit the nail on the head. Too many companies do not want to take the risks with new routes and that is how we have got into this situation where numbers drop (for one of many reasons), the route is cut which discourages more people from travelling and that means the route is cut back again and so on, so forth.
If we want buses to succeed, we need innovative companies to look at brand new routes rather than 'well, this is how we have always ran the route'. As is being seen on the high street, those who do not adapt to new trends end up being left behind.

This is further hindered by councils being stuck in the stone ages with their public transport networks (LCC being one of them which has been mentioned I believe elsewhere on the forum)

There won't be many buses operating for very long with numbers like that.

I don't think removing the requirement for masks will help though. The basic problem with public transport is the risk of catching the virus - increasing that risk won't bring customers back.

People have been told it is their civic duty to avoid public transport, and it's obviously common sense if you want to avoid catching the virus - particularly important to the 65+ demographic key to the bus market. Some demand will come back over time - more people going back to work, schools in September, more older people getting out with the end of shielding, but as long as the coronavirus is still in people's minds many will still avoid buses if at all possible.
I think the masks requirement is putting a lot of people off. Those who have a choice and believe buses are safe, they are now discouraged from the face masks situation so do go elsewhere. You also have those who are sticking to the face masks rule who are going ape as soon as they see someone not wearing a mask (ignoring the fact there are exemptions) and that puts off people who have exemptions for fear of being kicked off at by these moaners.

Even before COVID busses are not frequent and are expensive.

Rosso blocked me on Twitter when I told them out my outbound trip was quicker to walk and on my return the bus didn’t have contactless (as advertised) so I walked the return. That doesn’t exactly encourage people to use the service.
That is a typical Transdev stance it seems. Retweet those who praise and block those who criticise and I do agree it can discourage travel.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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What is mildly frustrating to me is the fact that Alex along with Ray Stenning and a few others are constantly going on about how people should be using the bus and (Ray especially) subversively insulting anyone who chooses to use a car. The depressing reality though is that for a lot of people the bus just isn't a viable option.

My job means I can't use a bus to commute as I travel around the country, but even if I did work in a fixed base just one town away the bus would take near enough 60 minutes to get there. Or I could take two and get there in 45. And if I had to work late then I couldn't get the bus home as they don't run in the evenings. If I drove I could be there in 15 minutes. Throw in the quite extortionate single fares and the bus isn't even a viable option for the odd journey either. If there's two of us travelling in most cases it works out cheaper to get a taxi.

Granted, a lot of the problem (in Lancashire) is due to LCC withdrawing subsidies for services, but it is irksome when you're being told you're ruining the planet and should be using the bus for every single journey by a bloke who lives in London and a CEO of a bus company with a company car when there's no alternative.

Doesn't matter how many USB sockets or WiFi they shove on a bus, if you don't live on the route or have any links to it then it's as good as useless.

Mild rant over.
I don't know what particular utterances from messrs Stenning and Hornby you're referring to but perhaps that's a rather literal take on things.

The bus, and public transport in general, has never and can never provide all myriad of transport requirements. If they are saying that, and I don't know what you're referring to, then that is quite wrong.

Buses are good at moving people in consistent flows along key routes. For instance, if you live in Colne and work in the centre of Burnley. However, I bet there's a raft of people sat in their little metal boxes, who could use public transport and don't. Not because it's not available but through choice. Now why do they make that choice.... Perhaps they're anti-social? Or is it because the cost is seen as too high (because car travel is cheaper in real terms as the government daren't increase fuel duty) or that there's a pernicious ENCTS structure that positively penalises the occasional traveller? Or because buses are not prioritised so that there is some form of levelling the field?

Or that buses are perceived as lower class, or lower quality? Which is the one area where bus companies can make a difference and if they don't do that, what's the (insert expletive) point? That said, at least Transdev do try to make a decent fist of things despite operating in two major centres that are amongst the most deprived in the UK. Compare that to the experience of travelling on First Greater Manchester, Arriva or Diamond or whomever where the appearance of bus is seemed to be a victory rather than an entry level requirement! I remember catching an 2012 FGM e400 out of miserably wet Farnworth in Dec 2018 and thinking "Christ, they can't control the weather but at least the bus could be brighter". It doesn't always work (see Red4) but at least give it a go. Many firms don't even manage that, hence the frustrations of Stenning, Hornby and people like Roger French.

I live in the sticks. It's a choice I make and I invariably have to use a car to get about as bus wise, it's a two hourly tendered operation for me. My choice, my deal. I look across the valley and see the main road 3 miles away, cars trundling their way and wonder how many of those could actually substitute their car for a bus, each day. A modern bus with wifi and USBs and high profile livery, every 15 mins, every 30 mins at night and Sunday - it's those people who could change that need to be encouraged with some encouragement (i.e. fares not hamstrung by ENCTS) and a disincentive not to drive a car into a clogged and crowded city.

Then you have a government who, to be fair, are signing the cheques to keep public transport operating but with a clear message that will further damage patronage and class buses as a lower class option.

Rant here over

ps it's not at you @RustySpoons but a wider societal issue.
 
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TheGrandWazoo

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I think for routes etc, you have hit the nail on the head. Too many companies do not want to take the risks with new routes and that is how we have got into this situation where numbers drop (for one of many reasons), the route is cut which discourages more people from travelling and that means the route is cut back again and so on, so forth.
If we want buses to succeed, we need innovative companies to look at brand new routes rather than 'well, this is how we have always ran the route'. As is being seen on the high street, those who do not adapt to new trends end up being left behind.

This is further hindered by councils being stuck in the stone ages with their public transport networks (LCC being one of them which has been mentioned I believe elsewhere on the forum)
In England? I can only find details for a Scottish version on google.
Ah yes.... the question of innovation and new routes. First of all, unless something meteoric happens (like the Trafford Centre or Media City), then travel patterns are pretty entrenched. There should be scope for some innovation and people do but think about it if it were your business. You want to take a £200k punt on a service.... do you invest that on a service where you KNOW and can assess the risks and pay back for that investment? Or do you fly a kite on a brand new route?

Of course, one of the criticisms on this board have been new routes like Red 4 or CityZap MCR, cited as vanity projects etc. Other firms have equally taken risks - Stagecoach have done so in the past and for every South West Falcon, there's a Belles Express! Running new services on new routes to a high enough frequency to be attractive requires a lot of investment and risk.

That's why Kickstart, which was the English scheme that you didn't know about, was so important. It married up central government funding with some local input, and investment from the bus companies. That shared the risk around and gets away from councils spending money on dead duck services and there's an incentive to get people travelling. I can't recall which ones in Lancashire or GM specifically though there might have been some funds for new services around Chorley (though it might have been supported by developer funding for Euxton/Buckshaw).
 

markymark2000

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Ah yes.... the question of innovation and new routes. First of all, unless something meteoric happens (like the Trafford Centre or Media City), then travel patterns are pretty entrenched. There should be scope for some innovation and people do but think about it if it were your business. You want to take a £200k punt on a service.... do you invest that on a service where you KNOW and can assess the risks and pay back for that investment? Or do you fly a kite on a brand new route?

Of course, one of the criticisms on this board have been new routes like Red 4 or CityZap MCR, cited as vanity projects etc. Other firms have equally taken risks - Stagecoach have done so in the past and for every South West Falcon, there's a Belles Express! Running new services on new routes to a high enough frequency to be attractive requires a lot of investment and risk.

That's why Kickstart, which was the English scheme that you didn't know about, was so important. It married up central government funding with some local input, and investment from the bus companies. That shared the risk around and gets away from councils spending money on dead duck services and there's an incentive to get people travelling. I can't recall which ones in Lancashire or GM specifically though there might have been some funds for new services around Chorley (though it might have been supported by developer funding for Euxton/Buckshaw).
Travel patterns might seem entrenched but with the housing boom many areas, and with many workplaces moving out of town (admittedly some into towns/cities but also out of town retail/business parks do seem to keep popping up all the time), I don't think that many bus operators do adapt to the new developments and instead just try to keep the routes as stable as possible which eventually results in lower usage because all it takes is a 1 or 2 less regulars to take a marginal to a loss making route. For a Transdev example, the CityZap MCR could have worked well but I think it needed coaches and prices needed to be competitive with NatEx. National Express are extremely busy along the corridor so it needed the right promotion at ALL sections of the route (Including Chatterton stops). Finally it should have been worked with Megabus to try and get it on those journey planning systems.
On the whole, new services can work if they are set up to succeed. Many operators do not put the effort into making it succeed and the route fails. That is what any potential funding needs to protect against to ensure money isn't wasted.

For the kickstart funding, I don't dispute it is important and it does seem like a very good scheme which should be done. I just couldn't find information on it from England.
 

overthewater

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Many new housing scheme now have Kickstart type funds however, down to poor planning at the housing development side, the funding seems to disappear before the site is fully completed.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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The issue with new housing is that all too often, it is impenetrable. Developers build them around car use and even where that may be restricted e.g. limited parking - one space per flat, you will often see cars parked on the road. Developments often fail to have bus access front and centre; even a fair sized development near where I live was basically given a couple of bus stops on the periphery and a bit of s106 funding for a service to pump prime it for a few years.

As for out of town locations, unless they're large enough to create a critical mass of passengers, or represent a small diversion off the route, then they are really difficult to serve effectively.

Now as for CityZap Manchester, that was doomed to failure. Not fast enough to compete with trains, and not distinctive enough to compete with NX.

Think you're underestimating how difficult it is to have a successful brand new service

Many new housing scheme now have Kickstart type funds however, down to poor planning at the housing development side, the funding seems to disappear before the site is fully completed.
That's section 106 funding (or at least in England it is). If you're a developer, do you lose the equivalent of x number of houses or do you plonk a bus stop at the road end and throw £150k at a bus company? And when do you start the service - from first occupancy or completion?
 

RustySpoons

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I don't know what particular utterances from messrs Stenning and Hornby you're referring to but perhaps that's a rather literal take on things.

The bus, and public transport in general, has never and can never provide all myriad of transport requirements. If they are saying that, and I don't know what you're referring to, then that is quite wrong.

Buses are good at moving people in consistent flows along key routes. For instance, if you live in Colne and work in the centre of Burnley. However, I bet there's a raft of people sat in their little metal boxes, who could use public transport and don't. Not because it's not available but through choice. Now why do they make that choice.... Perhaps they're anti-social? Or is it because the cost is seen as too high (because car travel is cheaper in real terms as the government daren't increase fuel duty) or that there's a pernicious ENCTS structure that positively penalises the occasional traveller? Or because buses are not prioritised so that there is some form of levelling the field?

Or that buses are perceived as lower class, or lower quality? Which is the one area where bus companies can make a difference and if they don't do that, what's the (insert expletive) point? That said, at least Transdev do try to make a decent fist of things despite operating in two major centres that are amongst the most deprived in the UK. Compare that to the experience of travelling on First Greater Manchester, Arriva or Diamond or whomever where the appearance of bus is seemed to be a victory rather than an entry level requirement! I remember catching an 2012 FGM e400 out of miserably wet Farnworth in Dec 2018 and thinking "Christ, they can't control the weather but at least the bus could be brighter". It doesn't always work (see Red4) but at least give it a go. Many firms don't even manage that, hence the frustrations of Stenning, Hornby and people like Roger French.

I live in the sticks. It's a choice I make and I invariably have to use a car to get about as bus wise, it's a two hourly tendered operation for me. My choice, my deal. I look across the valley and see the main road 3 miles away, cars trundling their way and wonder how many of those could actually substitute their car for a bus, each day. A modern bus with wifi and USBs and high profile livery, every 15 mins, every 30 mins at night and Sunday - it's those people who could change that need to be encouraged with some encouragement (i.e. fares not hamstrung by ENCTS) and a disincentive not to drive a car into a clogged and crowded city.

Then you have a government who, to be fair, are signing the cheques to keep public transport operating but with a clear message that will further damage patronage and class buses as a lower class option.

Rant here over

ps it's not at you @RustySpoons but a wider societal issue.
You're not wrong. I think I was overly harsh in my previous post, it was the end of a very long day!

I think as well as bragging on social media that their buses are Clean Safe & Ready to go they need to step up their PR game and take their buses/promos to various business parks and office complexes along their routes now people are slowly going back to work. Tweets and posts online will largely go unnoticed but if commuters can actually physically see and have a poke around the bus and get travel discounts they're more likely to consider it.

I think it's fair to say that Transdev have been pretty much 'amazing' keeping the wheels turning this last few months, it'd be a shame if it was all for nothing and people didn't bother with the bus again.

Many new housing scheme now have Kickstart type funds however, down to poor planning at the housing development side, the funding seems to disappear before the site is fully completed.
I believe evening services on Burnley's Higherford route are subsidised by developer funding. I can't remember how long it's actually funded for but it's been going for about two years now and the housing development is no where near even being started. The funding is going to run out long before the first house is built.

That is a typical Transdev stance it seems. Retweet those who praise and block those who criticise and I do agree it can discourage travel.
It is very unfortunate that Transdev's social media team seem to be trigger happy with the block button. It's understandable if someone on the anti-Transdev bandwagon offers nothing but abuse, but making a simple observation or constructive criticism isn't deserving of being blocked.

A friend of mine works in Knaresborough and used to commute on the '1'. The bus was late a few days in a row so she tweeted them asking why and pointed out that it had made her late for work. Instead of a response or an apology she got blocked. Which had the knock on effect of her ditching the bus and commuting by car instead as she couldn't rely on the bus to get her to work on time anymore. It doesn't take a lot to turn people away.
 

overthewater

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That's section 106 funding (or at least in England it is). If you're a developer, do you lose the equivalent of x number of houses or do you plonk a bus stop at the road end and throw £150k at a bus company? And when do you start the service - from first occupancy or completion?
I say somewhere around Half way, that means they is enough people for a good starting point.


I believe evening services on Burnley's Higherford route are subsidised by developer funding. I can't remember how long it's actually funded for but it's been going for about two years now and the housing development is no where near even being started. The funding is going to run out long before the first house is built.
Why would any bus company agree to start running such a service? Surly you would bank the money for appropriate time.
 

markymark2000

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The issue with new housing is that all too often, it is impenetrable. Developers build them around car use and even where that may be restricted e.g. limited parking - one space per flat, you will often see cars parked on the road. Developments often fail to have bus access front and centre; even a fair sized development near where I live was basically given a couple of bus stops on the periphery and a bit of s106 funding for a service to pump prime it for a few years.

As for out of town locations, unless they're large enough to create a critical mass of passengers, or represent a small diversion off the route, then they are really difficult to serve effectively.

Now as for CityZap Manchester, that was doomed to failure. Not fast enough to compete with trains, and not distinctive enough to compete with NX.

Think you're underestimating how difficult it is to have a successful brand new service



That's section 106 funding (or at least in England it is). If you're a developer, do you lose the equivalent of x number of houses or do you plonk a bus stop at the road end and throw £150k at a bus company? And when do you start the service - from first occupancy or completion?
New developments (Of all types) are not always that difficult to serve, it's a lack of willingness to serve them which is the issue. They have no proven demand so companies won't run there but since they are new, there has been no chance for any demand to be proven. There are many, many examples where a small diversion of only a few minutes would result in a development of thousands being served but companies are stuck in their ways and won't try diverting a bus because of the no proven demand.

New routes I can understand are hard to make successful but many of those which have failed had things which should have been done better which would have made the route a lot more viable. I would argue it's more difficult in the long run making these failing new services since there will be losses associated with it and you will be trying to recoup the costs. Do the routes right first time and put a lot of effort into making it work and as long as there is actual demand there, it's planned properly (Linking to the right places at the right times) and it is customer friendly (fares, tracking, on board features and so on), it should work. Failure on either one of those will generally result in the route being unviable. Fail to prepare (prepare the route to be viable), prepare to fail.


It is very unfortunate that Transdev's social media team seem to be trigger happy with the block button. It's understandable if someone on the anti-Transdev bandwagon offers nothing but abuse, but making a simple observation or constructive criticism isn't deserving of being blocked.

A friend of mine works in Knaresborough and used to commute on the '1'. The bus was late a few days in a row so she tweeted them asking why and pointed out that it had made her late for work. Instead of a response or an apology she got blocked. Which had the knock on effect of her ditching the bus and commuting by car instead as she couldn't rely on the bus to get her to work on time anymore. It doesn't take a lot to turn people away.
It's funny isn't it how they complain about anti bus policies but they do not look at their own policy of auto blocking critics.
 

Andyh82

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New estates in my experience don’t tend to be designed for buses, they are full of loads of little twisty roads, with lots of dead ends, and probably no through road out the other side.

If it was 1986, they’d probably have a dedicated minibus, but in 2020 they wouldn’t be suitable diverting a frequent double deck off the main road to serve such a location

I’d also guess buyers of new build properties tend to have higher car ownership, and also unlike the old days probably all don’t look towards the nearest small town, so a bus there wouldn’t serve them well either.

I’m not sure what any of this has to do specifically with Transdev mind
 

Baxenden Bank

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The issue with new housing is that all too often, it is impenetrable. Developers build them around car use and even where that may be restricted e.g. limited parking - one space per flat, you will often see cars parked on the road. Developments often fail to have bus access front and centre; even a fair sized development near where I live was basically given a couple of bus stops on the periphery and a bit of s106 funding for a service to pump prime it for a few years.

As for out of town locations, unless they're large enough to create a critical mass of passengers, or represent a small diversion off the route, then they are really difficult to serve effectively.

Now as for CityZap Manchester, that was doomed to failure. Not fast enough to compete with trains, and not distinctive enough to compete with NX.

Think you're underestimating how difficult it is to have a successful brand new service



That's section 106 funding (or at least in England it is). If you're a developer, do you lose the equivalent of x number of houses or do you plonk a bus stop at the road end and throw £150k at a bus company? And when do you start the service - from first occupancy or completion?
The planning guidance used to suggest having a service in place before first occupancy - so that potential purchasers who were public transport users would know that the development was served by public transport. But that was a good few years ago when bus usage by a percentage of the population was greater. I certainly think that developments which are to ultimately have a bus service (such as warehouses) should publicise that information at the recruitment stage detailing the service and that is going to be available from day one of occupation. Then you get the bus reliant workforce knowing that it is worthwhile applying for the jobs with the knowledge that they will be able to get to/from work if they are successful.
 

Deerfold

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I say somewhere around Half way, that means they is enough people for a good starting point.
So by the time the bus service starts half the people have already needed to find other ways to travel.

Why would any bus company agree to start running such a service? Surly you would bank the money for appropriate time.
That's not up to the bus company. They will win a contract, not just be given money.
 

overthewater

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So by the time the bus service starts half the people have already needed to find other ways to travel.

That's not up to the bus company. They will win a contract, not just be given money.
You can't run a bus service for 5 houses. Etc. Very best you can come up with would be one where a bus is paid for from around 20% to a few months after compliance.

Also certain contract seem to be set up to fail no matter what.
 

philthetube

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You can't run a bus service for 5 houses. Etc. Very best you can come up with would be one where a bus is paid for from around 20% to a few months after compliance.
And even if you do and build up a good trade there is nothing to stop someone else pushing in and pinching half your trade.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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New developments (Of all types) are not always that difficult to serve, it's a lack of willingness to serve them which is the issue. They have no proven demand so companies won't run there but since they are new, there has been no chance for any demand to be proven. There are many, many examples where a small diversion of only a few minutes would result in a development of thousands being served but companies are stuck in their ways and won't try diverting a bus because of the no proven demand.

New routes I can understand are hard to make successful but many of those which have failed had things which should have been done better which would have made the route a lot more viable. I would argue it's more difficult in the long run making these failing new services since there will be losses associated with it and you will be trying to recoup the costs. Do the routes right first time and put a lot of effort into making it work and as long as there is actual demand there, it's planned properly (Linking to the right places at the right times) and it is customer friendly (fares, tracking, on board features and so on), it should work. Failure on either one of those will generally result in the route being unviable. Fail to prepare (prepare the route to be viable), prepare to fail.
Very laudable sentiments but sadly too many examples of where that just isn't borne out.

Hopefully the mods won't take offence to a pair of out of area examples. There are two major office/commercial developments to the north of Bristol in Aztec West 1. and the Bristol & Bath Science Park 2.
  1. Some special local funding was made available for a number of direct coach links operated with coaches from North Somerset; not some half baked firm but run by Kings Ferry. When the money ran out, the services died (though Crosville did take them on for a short while).
  2. Whilst served by Bristol metrobus m3 direct from the centre, First extended their existing 49 service there as well, serving a major arterial road and several suburbs. It has since been cut back.
So why does it happen, even with high quality vehicles and publicity. Office parks and out of town retail locations have a number of challenges. Car use is promoted with very good road links and lots of free parking. Also, there's usually an insufficient critical mass of people travelling to anything other than the very largest locations so unless it's en route or a small diversion, it just doesn't and won't pay.

If it was as easy as you suggest, all but the most complacent firms would be doing it. That Transdev who do try to innovate find that it they fail tells you something.
 

Fisherman80

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I have to give Transdev credit where it is due. As someone who is totally dependent on public transport,its good to see a transport company activity encouraging people to use it,where if you look at train companies on the other hand,its a very mixed message indeed.
I hope I'm not drifting off topic here,but why are buses running a near normal service,but companies like Northern Rail cannot? Is it because the train operating companies are being paid by central government to carry fresh air?
 

markymark2000

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New estates in my experience don’t tend to be designed for buses, they are full of loads of little twisty roads, with lots of dead ends, and probably no through road out the other side.

If it was 1986, they’d probably have a dedicated minibus, but in 2020 they wouldn’t be suitable diverting a frequent double deck off the main road to serve such a location

I’d also guess buyers of new build properties tend to have higher car ownership, and also unlike the old days probably all don’t look towards the nearest small town, so a bus there wouldn’t serve them well either.

I’m not sure what any of this has to do specifically with Transdev mind
Even those developments not served with buses in mind can be served (Look at Bristol) and those which do have buses i mind aren't always served. Transdev do seem to have most areas covered. I can't see any which stand out I'll admit but outside of TransdevLand, there are a lot of developments not served despite being bus friendly.

Very laudable sentiments but sadly too many examples of where that just isn't borne out.

Hopefully the mods won't take offence to a pair of out of area examples. There are two major office/commercial developments to the north of Bristol in Aztec West 1. and the Bristol & Bath Science Park 2.
  1. Some special local funding was made available for a number of direct coach links operated with coaches from North Somerset; not some half baked firm but run by Kings Ferry. When the money ran out, the services died (though Crosville did take them on for a short while).
  2. Whilst served by Bristol metrobus m3 direct from the centre, First extended their existing 49 service there as well, serving a major arterial road and several suburbs. It has since been cut back.
So why does it happen, even with high quality vehicles and publicity. Office parks and out of town retail locations have a number of challenges. Car use is promoted with very good road links and lots of free parking. Also, there's usually an insufficient critical mass of people travelling to anything other than the very largest locations so unless it's en route or a small diversion, it just doesn't and won't pay.

If it was as easy as you suggest, all but the most complacent firms would be doing it. That Transdev who do try to innovate find that it they fail tells you something.
Key thing is were the buses running to places where people wanted to go? Plenty of commuter coaches run successfully.
Creating successful routes is easier than you make out. The vast majority of route failures match one of the 2 things that I have pointed out. Transdev can fail on routes but we both found holes in the MCR Zap. The Red 4 was just competition so that falls into a category of not enough passengers for 2 companies (separate to what I have said before as the route was entirely competition). It's quite easy to make new services work if you put the time and effort into the planning and then the execution.
 

duncombec

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Even those developments not served with buses in mind can be served (Look at Bristol) and those which do have buses i mind aren't always served. Transdev do seem to have most areas covered. I can't see any which stand out I'll admit but outside of TransdevLand, there are a lot of developments not served despite being bus friendly.
The fact is, for most developers, cul-de-sacs are the best way to get a good profit as you can stick a couple of extra houses in at the end of each road. Development restrictions or developer's choices often limit to one space, whereas many homes now have two or more. They park on the road. In the nearest large development to me, there may be an "in" and an "out" road, but the roads within the estate are only "residential" size... one awkward parked car and the bus will be stuck. Why walk five minutes to get to the bus stop on the main road, when if you go by car you could already be in the supermarket car park in two or three more than that?

Key thing is were the buses running to places where people wanted to go? Plenty of commuter coaches run successfully.
This discussion has been had before, and they don't. Their number has been declining for years, and the chances of a 100% resumption of service is pretty much 0%.

(Apologies to the mods, but we don't seem to have a more general topic yet for housing developments and bus services!... EDIT: Could we perhaps have one for these more general, countrywide issues? Thanks!)
 
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markymark2000

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The fact is, for most developers, cul-de-sacs are the best way to get a good profit as you can stick a couple of extra houses in at the end of each road. Development restrictions or developer's choices often limit to one space, whereas many homes now have two or more. They park on the road. In the nearest large development to me, there may be an "in" and an "out" road, but the roads within the estate are only "residential" size... one awkward parked car and the bus will be stuck. Why walk five minutes to get to the bus stop on the main road, when if you go by car you could already be in the supermarket car park in two or three more than that?
Never disputed any of this so not sure why you have brought that up. Some just are impossible to go through. I agree. I have personally seen and been to many developments though which COULD be served but aren't, even if the diversion to serve them would be 1 or 2 minutes.
As for the car parking situation, yes it's difficult but when people know it's a bus route, parking does seem to be more considerate. When there are no buses, people park like plonkers because why not, nothing else is going to go down the street.
Your final argument about the supermarkets, the same can be said about every single journey which existing passenger make. There is no where you can go on a bus which a car wont get you to (possible exception of Stonehenge rocks). Everywhere was a new estate at some point and bus services have built up slowly and adapted to the demand. By isolating these new developments (the ones which buses can get around) means you are forcing people into their cars because there is no alternative. As is being proven elsewhere, give people a viable alternative and people will move. Transdev have done this successfully in some cases with the investment. Increasing numbers in Rossoland with the investment making the buses a viable alternative to cars.


For those who haven't seen, someone has managed to get a sneaky photos of the new Flyer buses.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Key thing is were the buses running to places where people wanted to go? Plenty of commuter coaches run successfully.
Creating successful routes is easier than you make out. The vast majority of route failures match one of the 2 things that I have pointed out. Transdev can fail on routes but we both found holes in the MCR Zap. The Red 4 was just competition so that falls into a category of not enough passengers for 2 companies (separate to what I have said before as the route was entirely competition). It's quite easy to make new services work if you put the time and effort into the planning and then the execution.
Oh that it were so simple. It is not quite easy. If it were, firms would be doing it and rolling in the cash.

The fact is that you can have all the planning and execution in the world. Keeping it in Yorkshire and Transdev, there's a good example in services from Harrogate to Leeds vs Harrogate to York.

Back in the day, both existed as services with West Yorkshire RCC. The famed 36 is still there and in rude health, being more frequent and popular than at any period. It's well appointed, good publicity etc.

So you can do the same trick with Harrogate to York? Well, it's been tried. The old route (14?) died at dereg but was brought back with RBC funding in the millennium and despite both Transdev and Connexxions having a try, neither can make it work commercially. Why? Simply there's a mix at play in terms of:

  • Actual demand (the further away a place is, the demand lessens)
  • Demand (Leeds is naturally a bigger draw than York)
  • Competition - the train to Leeds is slow generally so the bus can compete on convenience in the burbs and into central Leeds, whereas the train has a much clearer advantage over getting stuck on the A59
There has to be sufficient demand and a reason for getting the bus (what is it's USP?).

The fact is, for most developers, cul-de-sacs are the best way to get a good profit as you can stick a couple of extra houses in at the end of each road. Development restrictions or developer's choices often limit to one space, whereas many homes now have two or more. They park on the road. In the nearest large development to me, there may be an "in" and an "out" road, but the roads within the estate are only "residential" size... one awkward parked car and the bus will be stuck. Why walk five minutes to get to the bus stop on the main road, when if you go by car you could already be in the supermarket car park in two or three more than that?
Bang on.

Everywhere was a new estate at some point and bus services have built up slowly and adapted to the demand. By isolating these new developments (the ones which buses can get around) means you are forcing people into their cars because there is no alternative
Sorry but the way in which estates were designed in the 1970s is markedly different to now. When you look at large social housing developments (or for someone brought up on one - a council estate, the amount of space provided for roads and amenities is massively different. When Thatcher made house building a private concern, then we've seen increased emphasis on maximising returns on those developments. I can think of two major developments near me that have the critical mass to justify services. One can be partially penetrated, the other simply can't be.

We need a total rethink on planning, road space allocation and leveling of the growing cost disparity between bus operation and car ownership.... but that's a subject all in itself.
 

158756

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I believe evening services on Burnley's Higherford route are subsidised by developer funding. I can't remember how long it's actually funded for but it's been going for about two years now and the housing development is no where near even being started. The funding is going to run out long before the first house is built.
Four years apparently, but according to reports online the funding 'still existed' in 2016, so it must be even older than that. Which development it's for I've no idea - there is a large development proposed in Barrowford, but that only got outline permission in 2017, so it can't be that.
 

markymark2000

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Oh that it were so simple. It is not quite easy. If it were, firms would be doing it and rolling in the cash.

The fact is that you can have all the planning and execution in the world. Keeping it in Yorkshire and Transdev, there's a good example in services from Harrogate to Leeds vs Harrogate to York.

Back in the day, both existed as services with West Yorkshire RCC. The famed 36 is still there and in rude health, being more frequent and popular than at any period. It's well appointed, good publicity etc.

So you can do the same trick with Harrogate to York? Well, it's been tried. The old route (14?) died at dereg but was brought back with RBC funding in the millennium and despite both Transdev and Connexxions having a try, neither can make it work commercially. Why? Simply there's a mix at play in terms of:

  • Actual demand (the further away a place is, the demand lessens)
  • Demand (Leeds is naturally a bigger draw than York)
  • Competition - the train to Leeds is slow generally so the bus can compete on convenience in the burbs and into central Leeds, whereas the train has a much clearer advantage over getting stuck on the A59
There has to be sufficient demand and a reason for getting the bus (what is it's USP?).
What you have done here is slate what I have said yet provide the same reasons as I did for a service not working. I've said from the start you need to make sure there is the demand there. Perhaps read my posts before jumping to conclusions.


Sorry but the way in which estates were designed in the 1970s is markedly different to now. When you look at large social housing developments (or for someone brought up on one - a council estate, the amount of space provided for roads and amenities is massively different. When Thatcher made house building a private concern, then we've seen increased emphasis on maximising returns on those developments. I can think of two major developments near me that have the critical mass to justify services. One can be partially penetrated, the other simply can't be.

We need a total rethink on planning, road space allocation and leveling of the growing cost disparity between bus operation and car ownership.... but that's a subject all in itself.
Point remains that estates of many varying types have been built over years and even the hardest of estates to serve, have been served and demand has been sufficient in some areas to keep buses. Even the least bus friendly estates (Milton Keynes ) can have commercial buses so there is potential for buses to serve many areas. Dead end roads, of course are very difficult to serve but there are developments which are bus friendly (some with bus gates installed) and available to be used but buses go not go through because there is no will to serve new estates really by any company unless they are given funding to do so.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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What you have done here is slate what I have said yet provide the same reasons as I did for a service not working. I've said from the start you need to make sure there is the demand there. Perhaps read my posts before jumping to conclusions.



Point remains that estates of many varying types have been built over years and even the hardest of estates to serve, have been served and demand has been sufficient in some areas to keep buses. Even the least bus friendly estates (Milton Keynes ) can have commercial buses so there is potential for buses to serve many areas. Dead end roads, of course are very difficult to serve but there are developments which are bus friendly (some with bus gates installed) and available to be used but buses go not go through because there is no will to serve new estates really by any company unless they are given funding to do so.
I did read your posts. It's all well and good saying "if demand is there" and "it's easier than you think". Perhaps you could explain, based on your experience, how you accurately establish demand?

MK is an interesting point. It does have a route network but it's got nearly 250k people. It should do and yet it has relatively few high frequency services; fewer than towns with half the population and reflecting it's a tough place to operate. A problem that afflicts many of the new towns especially the later tranches that were much more car or cycle focused.

Getting this back on topic, it's easy to slate Transdev but compared to many firms who were simply managing decline, they have at least tried to introduce new routes (and have been criticised for doing so). Many firms simply haven't bothered. If it's easier than we all think, what routes should they be operating?
 
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Tetchytyke

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Housing estates are difficult places to serve. Council estates of the 50s, 60s and 70s weren't that different. The 50s estate my grandparents lived on had narrow roads and didn't get a bus service into the heart of the estate until the bread vans of the late 80s. The 70s privately-developed estate my mother in law lives in is the same. Older estates were often built with a "main road" through them, ironically because it was the age of the car. Those roads help bus services penetrate more into the estate, but away from that main road penetration was and is low. Estate buses in most conurbations now only survive on local authority subsidy.

The big council estates of the 50s and 60s had one advantage, though: they were built on the edge of town, and so were a natural terminus for city buses. Think Chapel House or Walker in Newcastle, Greengates or Holme Wood in Bradford, Seacroft in Leeds, Easterhouse in Glasgow. They were big too, far bigger than the private estates getting built these days, so you had a ready-made critical mass. Even the biggest of the new "garden villages", at Long Marston, has 3000 or so properties planned. It sounds a lot, but not really, not enough to maintain a critical mass for an intensive bus service.
 

Deerfold

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Oh that it were so simple. It is not quite easy. If it were, firms would be doing it and rolling in the cash.

The fact is that you can have all the planning and execution in the world. Keeping it in Yorkshire and Transdev, there's a good example in services from Harrogate to Leeds vs Harrogate to York.

Back in the day, both existed as services with West Yorkshire RCC. The famed 36 is still there and in rude health, being more frequent and popular than at any period. It's well appointed, good publicity etc.

So you can do the same trick with Harrogate to York? Well, it's been tried. The old route (14?) died at dereg but was brought back with RBC funding in the millennium and despite both Transdev and Connexxions having a try, neither can make it work commercially. Why? Simply there's a mix at play in terms of:

  • Actual demand (the further away a place is, the demand lessens)
  • Demand (Leeds is naturally a bigger draw than York)
  • Competition - the train to Leeds is slow generally so the bus can compete on convenience in the burbs and into central Leeds, whereas the train has a much clearer advantage over getting stuck on the A59
There has to be sufficient demand and a reason for getting the bus (what is it's USP?).
Transdev started an express route between Harrogate and York every 2 hours. It was so successful they made it every hour.

But most of the passengers were on ENTCS passes and NYCC paid less that the cost of running the bus for a full load.
They're not allowed to take paying passengers in preference to people with passes, so they withdrew the route.
 

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