Transdev Blazefield

Deerfold

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Is the Denholme-Bradford reduction a Covid thing, or more likely to stay do you know? Keighley-Cullingworth-Denholme-Bradford should be able to sustain 2bph, surely.
No, it happened last year. It also mucked up connections to/from the 504, with a 40 minutes connection in one direction. It came as a bit of a surprise as there are hundreds of new houses being built in Denholme, many very near the main road. Several new bus shelters have been built for them. It's left a chunk of Thornton Road between Keelham and Thornton unserved.

Evening services reduced to every 2 hours.
 
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TheGrandWazoo

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Some of it has been retendered (short term, I think).

Most of the commercial routes are simply no longer running.
Illingworth and Ovenden are still fairly well served by First. That's the 525/527/600/700. The 527 was tendered to serve Round Hill which is currently unserved (though most of the route is served). Grove Avenue in Ovenden is no longer served. Ovenday Way has dropped from 14bph to 5bph.

The 555 simply duplicated First's services to Siddal apart from having a stop nearer Halifax station.

The 504 was registered commercially when another operator won the latest tender. It's being run by Yorkshire Tiger with a break in service for lunch.

South Pennine Community Transport are running the E3 and E5 Elland locals and the 256/258 with fewer trips than normal. The E7 is not running.

The 564 Barkisland to Brighouse is not running - this is probably the biggest gap as it leaves the Park Road route between Elland and Brighouse unserved and part of Greetland Road with only 1bp2h. Anyone travelling from Barkisland to Brighouse would have to catch 3 buses (Or on 2 routes via Halifax). There are about 1/3 of the normal daily number of trips between Elland and Brighouse.
Cheers - thanks for that
 

Andyh82

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Regarding TJ Walsh routes

257 & 258, E3/E5/E7 is now South Pennine Community Transport
504 is now Yorkshire Tiger
564 isn't anyone at the moment but the only unique part of the route is currently closed due to a landslip caused by the storms in Feb

525, 555, 600, 700 were all duplicated by First services
 

Fisherman80

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Is the Denholme-Bradford reduction a Covid thing, or more likely to stay do you know? Keighley-Cullingworth-Denholme-Bradford should be able to sustain 2bph, surely.
If Transdev put more effort into promoting that route,as they do with many other routes,and newer buses,that route should definitely have a half hourly service,and much better morning and late night buses.
Denholme has a sizable population and really deserves better.
 

Tetchytyke

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No, it happened last year. It also mucked up connections to/from the 504, with a 40 minutes connection in one direction. It came as a bit of a surprise as there are hundreds of new houses being built in Denholme, many very near the main road. Several new bus shelters have been built for them. It's left a chunk of Thornton Road between Keelham and Thornton unserved.

Evening services reduced to every 2 hours.
That is absolutely ridiculous. It's the sort of thing First would do!

Denholme has a sizable population and really deserves better.
Quite. Cullingworth isn't exactly a hamlet either.
 

markymark2000

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Universities and FE Colleges are a similar market, with less clearly defined start and end times.

I'm not sure what point you were trying to make with schools traffic. Schools services are increasingly run commercially- GNE run several on a commercial basis. Operators will run marginal estate or town services during the daytime with off-duty schools vehicles. Were you intending to combine normal service buses and school buses? If that's the case, I'm not sure who you'd be hoping to attract with a bus full of schoolkids?
Unis and colleges I would argue are completely different. Universities generally have varied start and finish times with students living on or close to the campus. Colleges have students travel sometimes for around an hour and a half to get to the college with the start and end times pretty set (there is some flexibility for students but college buses tend to do just 1 return trip with all buses leaving and arriving at site around the same time.

Schools, it depends on the borough and the operator. There are commercial school runs, plenty of them. There's also a LOT of non school buses. some examples of where you could merge routes are if there are only 30 odd kids going to the school and you have an Eclipse, you have more seats than kids so there is available capacity for regular passengers to make local trips. Cheshire West and Chester do this on both the 61 and the 22 tenders. If you have a double decker full of kids, you are right that you won't get many 'normal' passengers onboard. Also if you work with the school, it might work out that if you only duplicate part of a route, it means you only get a 15 or so kids onboard that bus and the school can then divert their bus to another area or link areas onto 1 bus rather than 2 to reduce their overall expenditure.
If you were to have a double decker bus full of kids, I know operators who make all their money on the schools with the services just being pocket money so while it may be inconvenient serving a school and having 2 trips per day full of kids, it can help to boost the overall route revenue to such a stage that the through the day profits don't matter as much (of course all trips should make money but if a company wants 40k profit per bus, per year, the school might go a significant way towards that).



It really does depend on the types of employers on those sites. Take your point on Omega. They have a service from Warrington that is pump primed by the developer. However, Omega from its further occupancy to now they took time to achieve that critical mass over a number of years. Again, if it were your business, when would you go in? Day 1 and lose money immediately or wait and see how it develops (whilst risking that people will simply make other arrangements). It's difficult (as with large housing developments) to time the entry in which is why s106 funding is often used to pump prime operations, and is a condition of planning. It really isn't straightforward. As an aside, those sites with the biggest workforces and largest potential customer base are often the major grocery or eCommerce facilities that are headcount hungry yet have the greatest seasonality and variation in usage with agency labour.

If I take an example closer to where I now live, Severn Beach has some large employers but draws its workforce from across Bristol, South Wales, South Glos - it's a nightmare to know what you run, from where and when. At least there are some employers that are easier to serve in Bristol and yes, they have services albeit as contracts as simply, the revenue wouldn't cover the costs.
Omega has only been going for 5 years and the service has been commercial for at least a year or so possibly more). At the distribution parks, you will lose money on day 1 (as per ALL routes regardless where they go). You work with the staff though and if possible promote the service within the park to the staff. S106 is a great funding system for buses but it isn't requested enough in my opinion for these types of development.
I think the main reasons why the Omega bus has worked and it could be done elsewhere is that many of the companies have the normal industrial shift times (6am-2pm-10pm) so the bus goes around all of the sites around that time so while each facility on it's own might not sustain the numbers, combined, you have a bus full.

Severn Beach is harder as you say with the workforce catchment area and the sites all being spread out. As with housing developments, each out of town employment area (business or industrial park) needs to be judged on it's own merits since none are the same.


I take what you say and if an operator can easily do so. I don't know which Transdev examples you're thinking of but take St James in Knaresborough. That gets a half hourly service as part of the 1 (plus Connexxions X1). It's large but it's no White Rose Centre and I doubt that it's going to sustain anything more than that.
Coastliner missing out Seacroft. York Designer Outlet (Normally these have big young people demand from big cities. Cheshire Oaks for example has huge student demand from Liverpool). Boundary Outlet in Colne.

Colleges are more difficult. Truro is a good example where they do divert some services but it also has to have a great number of dedicated services. There are some areas where a local bus can be diverted in but often you have a disparate number of locations running to a central point for 0900 and then the return at 1700. Such a network has to be underpinned by the college as a commercial venture just isn't sustainable. Again back to Yorkshire, York College has routes running in from Northallerton, Scarborough, Goole, Sherburn, Ripon, Filey, Kirkbymoorside - it's a nightmare. Operators are increasingly working with Colleges to have a network but speculative commercial punts are just not sustainable.
Oh yes, I agree there will always be some areas which need dedicated college/school buses but if you can work it into a service route, there is potential there to make it more viable. Commercial negotiations with college funding (normally by purchasing tickets for students on the service) could make things work. As you say it needs a route to run longer term but if you have guaranteed usage, it will help to boost the viability and hopefully make the route last longer.

Each bus you put on the road needs to make >£100k a year. New services are a risk when you're only making £1.4m as Transdev did. If it were simple, wouldn't everyone be doing it and raking in the cash?
New services are a risk and yes an additional bus does require a lot of money to run and that is why you have to make so many negotiations and link up routes in such a way to make the route have as much chance of working as possible. If you just put a route on and rely solely on 'normal' passengers, you will be waiting a year plus for the route to break even. Adding in the students (colleges or high schools) and the commuters (where appropriate), you can perhaps reach break even in a few months which is of course much faster.
The issue with new routes is that it could financially cripple them if it goes badly wrong (as in the case of Zap MCR). If the new routes which did pop up had better negotiations done with the relevant authorities with the potential funding which I have mentioned, some services around the UK might have been kept longer. You can rake in the cash but for that, you need to play the waiting game and bus operators don't like that. They want high profits almost straight away with breaking even after a few months generally being unacceptable. Why spend money on a route where it will take a year to make money when instead the money can stay as profit and you have lost nothing. Spend no money and lose nothing or spend money and risk winning or losing. The way I see it, that new route could become the busiest and most profitable route in the garage but you will never know because it wasn't tried.

Transdev have some avenues they could look at but I don't think anyone is in a position right now to start new routes, the focus is very much on getting back to normal and recouping as much lost revenue as possible from the past year.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Oh yes, I agree there will always be some areas which need dedicated college/school buses but if you can work it into a service route, there is potential there to make it more viable. Commercial negotiations with college funding (normally by purchasing tickets for students on the service) could make things work. As you say it needs a route to run longer term but if you have guaranteed usage, it will help to boost the viability and hopefully make the route last longer.
Do you not think that operators try and do that? It's not helped by the fact that you a) have local authorities who actively seek to split schools traffic from local bus services and b) you end up having a decker in the morning full of screaming kids (not exactly attractive to other passengers) but then have it running all day at 5mpg vs a smaller vehicle like a Solo, e200 or Streetlite.

Coastliner missing out Seacroft. York Designer Outlet (Normally these have big young people demand from big cities.
Seacroft.... it's mainly a local centre with a big Tesco but I suppose possibly. However, diverting Coastliner to serve the Outlet.... that's an extra 3 miles. Think how much extra time is that going to add onto a journey between Tadcaster and York for example? It would push a 30 min journey to 45-50 mins so you'd probably end up with fewer passengers (because of extended journey times) and increased costs by adding at least an extra vehicle into the PVR. It's not like diverting the 415 in on its way from Selby or diverting the X1 round by Cheshire Oaks.

The issue with new routes is that it could financially cripple them if it goes badly wrong (as in the case of Zap MCR). If the new routes which did pop up had better negotiations done with the relevant authorities with the potential funding which I have mentioned, some services around the UK might have been kept longer. You can rake in the cash but for that, you need to play the waiting game and bus operators don't like that. They want high profits almost straight away with breaking even after a few months generally being unacceptable. Why spend money on a route where it will take a year to make money when instead the money can stay as profit and you have lost nothing. Spend no money and lose nothing or spend money and risk winning or losing. The way I see it, that new route could become the busiest and most profitable route in the garage but you will never know because it wasn't tried.
I'm sorry but operators DO try to obtain funding but even s106 funding is a difficult one. It's not something you can request either. Usually, it's a negotiation between the developer and the local authority and if the LA isn't pro bus, then you're screwed. Operators don't expect instant profits on a new route either; they're not stupid, and they know it takes time to build a clientele. They'll usually budget to lose money initially but as ever, it's about risk vs potential reward.

Quite often, the question comes down to a simple premise. I can invest £100k in a service. Do I take a known quantity and seek to develop it, which is what Blazefield/Transdev did with the Witch Way and the Bolton 1, knowing that market, or do you try something completely untested. The odds are higher, and you could lose your shirt.
 

RustySpoons

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Coastliner missing out Seacroft. York Designer Outlet (Normally these have big young people demand from big cities. Cheshire Oaks for example has huge student demand from Liverpool). Boundary Outlet in Colne.
Re. the Boundary Outlet, Transdev did try serving it when they launched the local Burnley Connect services. Didn't last very long. It's also served by one of the almost ridiculously long local LCC tendered services.
 

M803UYA

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In the companies I worked for as a scheduler, the annual 'cost' of a bus was between £110 to 150k p/a, a driver being around £30k.

Each bus you put on the road needs to make >£100k a year. New services are a risk when you're only making £1.4m as Transdev did. If it were simple, wouldn't everyone be doing it and raking in the cash?
 

RustySpoons

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On the subject of new links/restoring old links, I think the lost 'fast' bus between Accrington and Blackburn is a good example. It also shows the disadvantage of one operator having the monopoly in the area.

The only bus link between Blackburn and Accrington is the 6/7 that goes via Oswaldtwistle. The quick bus between towns was lost when the X41 was curtailed at Accrington.

If Transdev wanted to reinstate the 'fast' bus, the costs of doing so would far outweigh the revenue it would take. It'd take a few passengers off the 6/7 for starers. Even extending another route would be pointless too. The 9 from Burnley to Accrington is the only one that could realistically be extended to Blackburn, but then that could have the effect of taking passengers away from the 152.

Likewise another operator (of which there's only really one, Pilkingtons) could fill the gap but then there's no route they currently run that could be easily extended. There's also the fact that Transdev don't really like competition and were playing some quite dirty tricks last time they tried to compete (incidentally by restoring a service that Transdev messed up).

There just aren't enough new passengers to justify a dedicated service. Which is a shame as it'd make the bus a better option to more people.
 

markymark2000

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Do you not think that operators try and do that? It's not helped by the fact that you a) have local authorities who actively seek to split schools traffic from local bus services and b) you end up having a decker in the morning full of screaming kids (not exactly attractive to other passengers) but then have it running all day at 5mpg vs a smaller vehicle like a Solo, e200 or Streetlite.
See, I would disagree on the LAs splitting traffic. I think they might do it to an extent but I am finding more LAs just throwing it into tendered services to make it cheaper. For your second point, screaming kids isn't always the case, that depends on the school and areas served. Deckers can and do run all day on routes which don't need them. This is a common thing for independants. Independants are often quite wary of getting the most for their fuel and trying to save on fuel cost so of all areas I would expect them to be quite on the ball with it. There are many other routes however ran by big operators which have deckers all day even if not needed simply because of the school runs. Stagecoach does it a fair bit.


Seacroft.... it's mainly a local centre with a big Tesco but I suppose possibly. However, diverting Coastliner to serve the Outlet.... that's an extra 3 miles. Think how much extra time is that going to add onto a journey between Tadcaster and York for example? It would push a 30 min journey to 45-50 mins so you'd probably end up with fewer passengers (because of extended journey times) and increased costs by adding at least an extra vehicle into the PVR. It's not like diverting the 415 in on its way from Selby or diverting the X1 round by Cheshire Oaks.
Local centre yes but the main usage would be Tadcaster residents for shopping with some small potential for York Road traffic but that is more limited and saturated.
York Outlet I didn't mean for Coastliner (hence the full stop before it not a comma or the word 'and') but more I would run it as slightly slower Zap style route (since main passengers for the outlet would be from Leeds and York City Centres and not so much the smaller towns along the way). If Coastliner were to change, I think you would have to run it up Fulford Road. That then only adds about 7 minutes to the schedule. Admittedly it's an increase and your point is valid that you may lose other customers. As I say though, Coastliner wasn't the main reason why I mentioned the outlet.

I'm sorry but operators DO try to obtain funding but even s106 funding is a difficult one. It's not something you can request either. Usually, it's a negotiation between the developer and the local authority and if the LA isn't pro bus, then you're screwed.
Bus operators I know don't ask for S106 and it is LAs but even then, the majority of LAs do not ask for S106 for public transport improvements. Pro bus or not. I'm not sure it's a negotiation and more it's put in the S106 and if the developer really doesn't want to do it, they will put in a request to discharge the condition.

Operators don't expect instant profits on a new route either; they're not stupid, and they know it takes time to build a clientele. They'll usually budget to lose money initially but as ever, it's about risk vs potential reward.

Quite often, the question comes down to a simple premise. I can invest £100k in a service. Do I take a known quantity and seek to develop it, which is what Blazefield/Transdev did with the Witch Way and the Bolton 1, knowing that market, or do you try something completely untested. The odds are higher, and you could lose your shirt.
Take the Bolton route 1 and put new buses on, great, you can try to get people out of their cars but even then there is only a limited amount of people willing to use the bus and only so much return you will get from new buses. New routes are more risky and more untested but the returns are higher since it's a new route and there is then a chance to grow the market and increase passenger numbers on some other routes. IF a person uses the new route for commuting to work, they will already have their ticket and so may use an existing route on their day off to to somewhere different. You also have some people willing to use a bus but aren't using buses because the buses don't go where they want them to go and a new route may get some of those people onto buses and once you have a ticket and are less likely to jump into your car for other purposes so they may then keep using the new route to then go to leisure or shopping purposes. Both new and existing routes are about getting people out of their cars and you can upgrade buses as much as you like but on each route, there is only finite amount of passengers so I believe that the only way to get a big return on investment is with a big extension to an existing route or a decent new route. The end return on upgrading an existing route is minimal compared to that of investing in a new route. It's just the risk. Play safe, you win less. That's the same in most industries.

Operators do know it takes time to build up clientele and that is why they don't want to try new services. They get their fingers burnt by some of the previous p*** poor attempts at new services then end up recouping the costs for the next year or longer (It is literally happening right now in Merseyside). If companies did new services right the first time, they wouldn't have their fingers burnt and then be trying to recoup the money for the next year before reinvesting (Which was the point I was originally a few pages back)


Re. the Boundary Outlet, Transdev did try serving it when they launched the local Burnley Connect services. Didn't last very long. It's also served by one of the almost ridiculously long local LCC tendered services.
I didnt know that. How often was it served? It wouldn't do that well on a very regular service but I could see the Wizz nipping in hourly. Small time penalty.
The LCC tender as you say is ridiculously long so not really a viable option for anyone visiting the outlet.

Outlets are normally used most by those from out of the area so the local services wouldn't generate as much demand
 

RustySpoons

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I didnt know that. How often was it served? It wouldn't do that well on a very regular service but I could see the Wizz nipping in hourly. Small time penalty.
The LCC tender as you say is ridiculously long so not really a viable option for anyone visiting the outlet.

Outlets are normally used most by those from out of the area so the local services wouldn't generate as much demand
I want to say every 30 minutes on the Transdev service, but I actually think it was actually served hourly. I could be getting mixed up slightly and thinking of the LCC service which I believe runs twice an hour.

Transdev ran it as an extension of the Rosegrove - Burnley - Harle Syke service when the town services were relaunched as Burnley Connect when the Streetlites arrived, continuing down into Nelson then following pretty much the same route as the LCC tendered service to Boundary Mill.

As you say though it's somewhere that tends to get (or did up until March!) coach loads of passengers from out of town, but not so many locals. And those that do travel locally tend to use the car.
I might be wrong but I’m sure a variant of Mainline went to the Boundary Mill at one point.
Mainline has never served the Mill in its current location. The only time it's been served by Transdev is with the Burnley Connect mentioned above.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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See, I would disagree on the LAs splitting traffic. I think they might do it to an extent but I am finding more LAs just throwing it into tendered services to make it cheaper. For your second point, screaming kids isn't always the case, that depends on the school and areas served. Deckers can and do run all day on routes which don't need them. This is a common thing for independants. Independants are often quite wary of getting the most for their fuel and trying to save on fuel cost so of all areas I would expect them to be quite on the ball with it. There are many other routes however ran by big operators which have deckers all day even if not needed simply because of the school runs. Stagecoach does it a fair bit.
I don't think there are too many independent operators running deckers all day. And yes, it's true that you don't have deckers full all day (life would be easier if it were) but often schools services are run with the very oldest fleet (and many are still non PSVAR) shows operators are very much on the ball. Essentially, what you are suggesting is taking a schools service (and the revenue/patronage) and running it all day as a new service. And whilst you may say that not every schools service is full of noisy kids.... I don't know if that's really accurate. From my school days in Yorkshire to seeing kids nowadays in Bristol, they are still as young and boisterous as ever. Perhaps the difference now is that the kids at the back of the bus (or on the top deck) used to share and smoke 10 Silk Cut whereas a few years ago in Bristol, it was something more exotic!

Local centre yes but the main usage would be Tadcaster residents for shopping with some small potential for York Road traffic but that is more limited and saturated.
York Outlet I didn't mean for Coastliner (hence the full stop before it not a comma or the word 'and') but more I would run it as slightly slower Zap style route (since main passengers for the outlet would be from Leeds and York City Centres and not so much the smaller towns along the way). If Coastliner were to change, I think you would have to run it up Fulford Road. That then only adds about 7 minutes to the schedule. Admittedly it's an increase and your point is valid that you may lose other customers. As I say though, Coastliner wasn't the main reason why I mentioned the outlet.
As you didn't mention anything other than Coastliner, then it was a natural assumption that was what you were referring to.

Now, onto your suggestion that it would only add 7 mins to serve York Outlet. That seems optimistic as in comparison to sending it via Dringhouses, to send it to the Outlet would add another 3.1 miles onto the route. Moreover, doing that would necessitate an extra vehicle into the PVR, which is doubtless why Transdev decided not to do it.

And I'm baffled why people would travel from Tadcaster to go to Seacroft. Granted, there are a few other shops and a Costa but it's primarily just a Tesco (albeit an Extra). Why would people go there when a) they have a Sainsburys and other shops in the town and b) there's a closer Tesco Extra already served by Coastliner at Askham Bar?

Take the Bolton route 1 and put new buses on, great, you can try to get people out of their cars but even then there is only a limited amount of people willing to use the bus and only so much return you will get from new buses. New routes are more risky and more untested but the returns are higher since it's a new route and there is then a chance to grow the market and increase passenger numbers on some other routes. IF a person uses the new route for commuting to work, they will already have their ticket and so may use an existing route on their day off to to somewhere different. You also have some people willing to use a bus but aren't using buses because the buses don't go where they want them to go and a new route may get some of those people onto buses and once you have a ticket and are less likely to jump into your car for other purposes so they may then keep using the new route to then go to leisure or shopping purposes. Both new and existing routes are about getting people out of their cars and you can upgrade buses as much as you like but on each route, there is only finite amount of passengers so I believe that the only way to get a big return on investment is with a big extension to an existing route or a decent new route. The end return on upgrading an existing route is minimal compared to that of investing in a new route. It's just the risk. Play safe, you win less. That's the same in most industries.
That there is a finite level of growth on any corridor is correct. However, as the Bolton 1 showed, there was a huge amount of untapped and latent demand there that could be catered for by investment on that route. That has already been evidenced since early Transdev days (and possibly earlier).

Of course, there is a consideration of risk and reward. That is the whole ethos of gambling. The higher odds, the greater potential return but also the greater potential to lose. Now, I don't know what industries you work in but most firms will seek to avoid the highest risk as the margins aren't there, especially so with bus companies. It's much easier to lose a £100k than make a £100k, isn't it?

As for S106 funding, I specifically said that operators can't ask for it. It is something that sits between the LA and the developer. I don't know which operators you work with but I know of operators who have independently approached firms for funding, whether that be developers or major employers; some will contribute but many won't. Instead, developers will wait to see what they HAVE to do in order to get planning through and as that's between the LA and developer, it might not be the most logical or appropriate outcome. Throw £200k for a couple of years of an operation, developer gets what they want and some service appears only to die on the vine when the cash runs out.

It's quite amazing that you say that if companies did it right first time..... It almost seems that there is some foolproof right way to introduce a new route. That's almost like alchemy, and it doesn't exist. There's best practice but it is not a science.
 
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markymark2000

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I don't think there are too many independent operators running deckers all day. And yes, it's true that you don't have deckers full all day (life would be easier if it were) but often schools services are run with the very oldest fleet (and many are still non PSVAR) shows operators are very much on the ball. Essentially, what you are suggesting is taking a schools service (and the revenue/patronage) and running it all day as a new service. And whilst you may say that not every schools service is full of noisy kids.... I don't know if that's really accurate. From my school days in Yorkshire to seeing kids nowadays in Bristol, they are still as young and boisterous as ever. Perhaps the difference now is that the kids at the back of the bus (or on the top deck) used to share and smoke 10 Silk Cut whereas a few years ago in Bristol, it was something more exotic!
This is very much what many bus services already do, it's a system which works and could be expanded. Stagecoach do it as well as independants. The PSVAR thing is slowly sorting itself out. Independants that I know did the school bus into service routes did use PSVAR compliant vehicles.
Not every school bus is full of noisy kids and given there are a lot of local buses which go past schools and pick up anyway, I see it being no different to that. Back when I was in school, most kids would use the local bus to get into town to connect onto the right bus for their area. The bus station is full around 3.30-4pm with kids from all the schools connecting between local buses. Normal passengers still use these local buses if they have to but do sometimes try to avoid it.

As you didn't mention anything other than Coastliner, then it was a natural assumption that was what you were referring to.
I also mentioned the Boundary Outlet in Colne, does that mean I think Coastliner should be extended there?


Now, onto your suggestion that it would only add 7 mins to serve York Outlet. That seems optimistic as in comparison to sending it via Dringhouses, to send it to the Outlet would add another 3.1 miles onto the route. Moreover, doing that would necessitate an extra vehicle into the PVR, which is doubtless why Transdev decided not to do it.
That was based on google maps maximum times for a Wednesday daytime and compared with Coastliners existing timetables. Bearing in mind you would miss out Copmanthorpe and keep along the A64 then up through Fulford.

Coastliner currently takes 17 minutes from coming off the A64 to York Station. (Google maps estimates 10-18 mins). From the A64 to York Station via the Outlet and Fulford, it estimated 14-24 minutes. 17 mins (current) to 24 (estimated) that is 7 minutes.

It would be unlikely for Coastliner really to do it and hence I would do it as part of a slower Zap V2.

And I'm baffled why people would travel from Tadcaster to go to Seacroft. Granted, there are a few other shops and a Costa but it's primarily just a Tesco (albeit an Extra). Why would people go there when a) they have a Sainsburys and other shops in the town and b) there's a closer Tesco Extra already served by Coastliner at Askham Bar?
Seacroft is easier to get to with no faffing trying to get over the road. There are also more shops at Seacroft compared to Askham Bar.

That there is a finite level of growth on any corridor is correct. However, as the Bolton 1 showed, there was a huge amount of untapped and latent demand there that could be catered for by investment on that route. That has already been evidenced since early Transdev days (and possibly earlier).

Of course, there is a consideration of risk and reward. That is the whole ethos of gambling. The higher odds, the greater potential return but also the greater potential to lose. Now, I don't know what industries you work in but most firms will seek to avoid the highest risk as the margins aren't there, especially so with bus companies. It's much easier to lose a £100k than make a £100k, isn't it?
I suppose the latter point depends solely on how much effort you put into making a service work as i've said many times before. Do new services right and the chance of you losing money is much slimmer, if you go into a new route half heartedly, you are more likely to lose than gain money.
 

Stan Drews

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I’m astonished that there’s so little talent in the UK bus industry to take these simple steps to create lots of new profitable routes. It’s hard to believe that so many operators have gone under in recent years. Hopefully post-Covid we can get the word out, they’ll all get their act together, and the industry will soon be thriving.
 

RustySpoons

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That was based on google maps maximum times for a Wednesday daytime and compared with Coastliners existing timetables. Bearing in mind you would miss out Copmanthorpe and keep along the A64 then up through Fulford.

Coastliner currently takes 17 minutes from coming off the A64 to York Station. (Google maps estimates 10-18 mins). From the A64 to York Station via the Outlet and Fulford, it estimated 14-24 minutes. 17 mins (current) to 24 (estimated) that is 7 minutes.

It would be unlikely for Coastliner really to do it and hence I would do it as part of a slower Zap V2.
Thing is if you're trying to get new passengers on a bus you want to do it without making things worse for existing passengers. Saying it 'only adds 7 minutes' is an extra 7 minutes on an already relatively slow bus. Coastliner is effectively the slower Zap, CityZap being the quick way.

There were a lot of unhappy passengers in Blackburn when they withdrew the direct Accrington - Blackburn bus I mentioned above, saying it was 'only an extra few minutes to take the slower bus'. It's a fine line between serving as many places as possible along a single route and making the route longer than it needs to be.

I’m astonished that there’s so little talent in the UK bus industry to take these simple steps to create lots of new profitable routes. It’s hard to believe that so many operators have gone under in recent years. Hopefully post-Covid we can get the word out, they’ll all get their act together, and the industry will soon be thriving.
There seems to be a lot of talent for making things 'amazing', and lots of sharing of ideas and praise for one another at new liveries and features on new buses to enhance existing routes (although there's nothing wrong with this), but as you say there is very little in the way of new profitable routes.
 

Stan Drews

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There were a lot of unhappy passengers in Blackburn when they withdrew the direct Accrington - Blackburn bus I mentioned above, saying it was 'only an extra few minutes to take the slower bus'. It's a fine line between serving as many places as possible along a single route and making the route longer than it needs to be.
It’s funny how very few of those ‘unhappy passengers’ seemed to make use of the direct service when it was provided by a variety of operators. The very short section of the direct road not served, has very few chimney pots, which is presumably why the frequent service goes where the people actually are.
 

markymark2000

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Thing is if you're trying to get new passengers on a bus you want to do it without making things worse for existing passengers. Saying it 'only adds 7 minutes' is an extra 7 minutes on an already relatively slow bus. Coastliner is effectively the slower Zap, CityZap being the quick way.

There were a lot of unhappy passengers in Blackburn when they withdrew the direct Accrington - Blackburn bus I mentioned above, saying it was 'only an extra few minutes to take the slower bus'. It's a fine line between serving as many places as possible along a single route and making the route longer than it needs to be.
I know that. That is why I have said a few times that the original intention wasn't for Coastliner to divert, and it was always intended as a Zap V2 or something like that. I know that adding time on is inconvenient.

As for Accy to Blackburn, I believe some of the main issues there were not necessarily the loss of the Accy to Blackburn 'fast' bus but more the links through to Manchester and being forced to change buses which combined with the extra journey time of Ramsbottom and the extra time on the 6/7 bus, it probably doubled the actual journey time if they were to travel by bus.
Why would anyone wait for an hourly bus which is a few mins quicker when you have a bus every 7.5 mins taking a few minutes longer.

There seems to be a lot of talent for making things 'amazing', and lots of sharing of ideas and praise for one another at new liveries and features on new buses to enhance existing routes (although there's nothing wrong with this), but as you say there is very little in the way of new profitable routes.
Though not directed to me, I can agree. Liveries and onboard features can get people onto buses and it's great to see. I know I try to make use Wifi and USB ports which, going back a few years weren't mainstream, now you would be slated if you ordered a bus (Stock buses excluded) without them.
For profitable routes, I think companies have become a little bit more lazy with routes and just don't put as much effort into them as they once did. I could go into some depth about specifics but I will refrain from since this is a Transdev thread. I think there are routes out there which are untapped, it's just some attempts at new routes have gone so badly, the companies don't want to risk it. Most of the new routes which have potential I think are in the region of 3-4 buses for an hourly service and that is a huge amount of resources to put out if nothing comes back from it. From what I am seeing though, local routes to town are dying off and interurban seems to be the way. Linking towns on longer distance routes and using those to divert into the housing estates.
 

Tetchytyke

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Linking towns on longer distance routes and using those to divert into the housing estates.
Interurban routes need to be fast enough to attract people between the two big towns. If they divert into every estate and village, they become unattractive to the main clientele. As so ably demonstrated by Transdev with the X35 and X41.

Not to mention the increased PVR required if the journey time is extended.
 

markymark2000

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Interurban routes need to be fast enough to attract people between the two big towns. If they divert into every estate and village, they become unattractive to the main clientele. As so ably demonstrated by Transdev with the X35 and X41.

Not to mention the increased PVR required if the journey time is extended.
I know. I am just saying that is the current trend which bus operators seem to be going down. Not suggesting it, just an observation.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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I also mentioned the Boundary Outlet in Colne, does that mean I think Coastliner should be extended there?
No, I credited you that you weren't suggesting that. However, as you neglected saying anything about a slower CityZap, and that you mentioned Coastliner and York Outlet, it would be fair to interpret that accordingly.

That was based on google maps maximum times for a Wednesday daytime and compared with Coastliners existing timetables.
I know what you did but 7 mins looks tight.

Moreover, let's look at this. So the plan is to have a slower CityZap.... given that CZ's USP is speed, that is making it less attractive. Not only that but by sending it via Fulford, it then doesn't serve the Western side of the city centre. Of course, you could extend CZ through the city to Rougier Street and the Station but by that time, it's no faster than Coastliner so it completely loses it advantage.

And it still doesn't get away from the fact that your idea would increase the PVR which is probably why Transdev don't do it.

Seacroft is easier to get to with no faffing trying to get over the road. There are also more shops at Seacroft compared to Askham Bar.
You're missing the point. Seacroft is not a "destination" location for a shopping expedition. It has a big Tesco and what other shops.... a Poundland, a Costa, a card shop and a bookies!

If you live in Tadcaster and were going to do your grocery shopping, you'd do it in Sainsburys in the town. If you were going to do a bigger shop (i.e. for the non food items you can't get in Tadcaster), you're unlikely to get the bus. Most people would get in the car and drive to Askham Bar. It makes sense for the 7 to divert via Seacroft because it serves a lot of places that don't have a major supermarket in the centre of them.

I think there are routes out there which are untapped, it's just some attempts at new routes have gone so badly, the companies don't want to risk it. Most of the new routes which have potential I think are in the region of 3-4 buses for an hourly service and that is a huge amount of resources to put out if nothing comes back from it. From what I am seeing though, local routes to town are dying off and interurban seems to be the way. Linking towns on longer distance routes and using those to divert into the housing estates.
Well, what are these untapped routes, aside from slowing down CityZap? And please, don't stop there. Please share your research as to how you've identified these.

I’m astonished that there’s so little talent in the UK bus industry to take these simple steps to create lots of new profitable routes. It’s hard to believe that so many operators have gone under in recent years. Hopefully post-Covid we can get the word out, they’ll all get their act together, and the industry will soon be thriving.
Exactly. The aggregated experience and knowledge of all of these managers in the UK bus industry and they're just not getting it. There's a surefire, guaranteed combination of measures that you can take that is "easier than you think" and simply wait for the profits to come in. I am similarly astonished that they've just not done it given the travails of the industry in recent years.
 

markymark2000

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I know what you did but 7 mins looks tight.

Moreover, let's look at this. So the plan is to have a slower CityZap.... given that CZ's USP is speed, that is making it less attractive. Not only that but by sending it via Fulford, it then doesn't serve the Western side of the city centre. Of course, you could extend CZ through the city to Rougier Street and the Station but by that time, it's no faster than Coastliner so it completely loses it advantage.

And it still doesn't get away from the fact that your idea would increase the PVR which is probably why Transdev don't do it.
For the Zap, if you were to amend the current route, you would likely run it as a circular. Leeds - York Outlet - Piccadilly - Rail Station - Leeds. This would then have no increase in PVR and all journeys could still be made with journey times to Piccadilly being the same as they are now. This all depends highly on the demand for the rail station and college are from Leeds and if there is potential to divert. If the rail station has high demand, you would throw the extra bus onto the schedule. For the outlet, you have to look at the revenue potential. With 3.5 million visitors per year and around 1000 people employed on site, there is a lot of potential there both with direct demand and people connecting from other Transdev routes. That is a huge market and if you can get 2% of those paying an average of £2 fare, you have broke even. That is the sort of return you are looking at. Huge demand and while it is a £130k risk, there is potential in it.

You're missing the point. Seacroft is not a "destination" location for a shopping expedition. It has a big Tesco and what other shops.... a Poundland, a Costa, a card shop and a bookies!

If you live in Tadcaster and were going to do your grocery shopping, you'd do it in Sainsburys in the town. If you were going to do a bigger shop (i.e. for the non food items you can't get in Tadcaster), you're unlikely to get the bus. Most people would get in the car and drive to Askham Bar. It makes sense for the 7 to divert via Seacroft because it serves a lot of places that don't have a major supermarket in the centre of them.
It certainly isn't a huge destination but nor are most towns these days. People go to do their shopping and that is it but that is all some people want. The exact same reason people go to other out of town retail parks and since it is on the route, it makes little sense not serving there. It would have minimal impact on the journey time but would link people there who want to go there.

Well, what are these untapped routes, aside from slowing down CityZap? And please, don't stop there. Please share your research as to how you've identified these.
Why would I share all of my ideas on here? I'd much rather send them to the people who can actually do something with the ideas rather than post them on here. My research is for me and is only then shared with those who need it.


If my ideas are so bad which is what you keep hinting towards, why don't you provide a better suggestion or a better way of working because all you keep doing here is trying to start full blown arguments for the sake of it.
 

Deerfold

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For the Zap, if you were to amend the current route, you would likely run it as a circular. Leeds - York Outlet - Piccadilly - Rail Station - Leeds. This would then have no increase in PVR and all journeys could still be made with journey times to Piccadilly being the same as they are now. This all depends highly on the demand for the rail station and college are from Leeds and if there is potential to divert. If the rail station has high demand, you would throw the extra bus onto the schedule. For the outlet, you have to look at the revenue potential. With 3.5 million visitors per year and around 1000 people employed on site, there is a lot of potential there both with direct demand and people connecting from other Transdev routes. That is a huge market and if you can get 2% of those paying an average of £2 fare, you have broke even. That is the sort of return you are looking at. Huge demand and while it is a £130k risk, there is potential in it.
I'm struggling to understand who is going to travel to/from York outlet on this service.

First already serve the outlet every 10 minutes from York. I'm not sure who's going to travel from the middle of Leeds to an Outlet with any regularity.
 

markymark2000

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I'm struggling to understand who is going to travel to/from York outlet on this service.

First already serve the outlet every 10 minutes from York. I'm not sure who's going to travel from the middle of Leeds to an Outlet with any regularity.
You'd be surprised. The vast majority of demand to these outlet stores are from the big city centres. Cheshire Oaks has huge demand from Liverpool and Chester. East Midlands outlet now has links to Nottingham and Chesterfield thanks to Stagecoach. Bridgend outlet is served by quite a few NatEx services. Bicester Village, has a dedicated coach to London and teams up with Chiltern to provide the shuttle bus because they know their demand is from London and Birmingham.
Mostly, it's students really who are one of the big users of such services but also people connecting in off other services can be a big one and when Transdev start the Flyer routes, they will have 3 local stopping routes from the north and west of the city which can then bring in passengers. (7 and coastliner I am discounting simply because I can't see many (or even any) people travelling into Leeds to then go back on themselves.

From York, First do serve the outlet but it's part of the Park and Ride and those services are normally only to be used by those parking at the designated car parks. That is the common knowledge for travellers so that is an instant put off. If you know it's for normal use, you may well use First but you are relying on people knowing and for tourists, they tend not to know those things. The 415 does also have this market so the main uses would be to/from Leeds or connecting off Coastliner in York.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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For the Zap, if you were to amend the current route, you would likely run it as a circular. Leeds - York Outlet - Piccadilly - Rail Station - Leeds. This would then have no increase in PVR and all journeys could still be made with journey times to Piccadilly being the same as they are now.
Based on your slightly optimistic timings, that would give 3 mins recovery time per two hour cycle.

Not only that but working on that basis, you're looking at a people travelling from York Outlet to Leeds via the centre of York :rolleyes: Or are we now going to have alternate clockwise and anti-clockwise loops through York?

It certainly isn't a huge destination but nor are most towns these days. People go to do their shopping and that is it but that is all some people want. The exact same reason people go to other out of town retail parks and since it is on the route, it makes little sense not serving there. It would have minimal impact on the journey time but would link people there who want to go there.
It isn't a huge destination but there's little there that ISN'T in Tadcaster so why would people go to Seacroft? It doesn't make sense.

Why would I share all of my ideas on here? I'd much rather send them to the people who can actually do something with the ideas rather than post them on here. My research is for me and is only then shared with those who need it.
So you've shared this with Transdev? What was their response?

If my ideas are so bad which is what you keep hinting towards, why don't you provide a better suggestion or a better way of working because all you keep doing here is trying to start full blown arguments for the sake of it.
Rather than indulging into "whataboutery", I'll say that I just find it odd that someone who doesn't appear to have any experience in the industry (unless you wish to advise us otherwise) seems to think that it is "easier than you think". That is all.

I don't doubt that York Outlet might attract some punters from Leeds but will that be enough to outweigh the damage to the CityZap. I suspect not.

I will add, FWIW, that I actually agree with a number of the points that you make. There is best practice that some operators do employ but some don't and hence why some good ideas flounder.

I also agree that there are some areas where operators should be proactive. Establishing good partnerships with local authorities (if only to assist in obtaining s106), FE and HE establishments, major employers etc is something operators should be doing and, to be honest, most of them do try to do this. All of that I agree with - where I disagree is that you believe it is somehow simple and easy. It's not.

In Transdev's Yorkshire area, the nostalgic in me would like to see some of those Wharfedale services that were once numerous perhaps come back, such as Otley or Ilkley to Bradford, but I suspect that the travel patterns have changed and, in the former case, the improvements to local rail have possibly irrevocably changed things. Clearly there is a twirly market for York to Harrogate but fair payers get the train so unless reimbursement increases, that just isn't viable.

Some councils are pro bus, others are ambivalent at best and that same variation extends to all the other types of organisation that I mention. Just because they bus companies come up against that obstacle and so you don't see the evidence doesn't mean that firms aren't doing it.

Similarly, there is no magic combination that delivers assured success. Yes, there's best practice but to suggest that it's a simple no risk punt is just not the case; that if you do A+B+C = profits then profits are guaranteed is simply not the case. If it were, they'd be doing it.
 
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