Unnecessarily long bus routes in the UK

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by PaulMc7, 29 Jul 2019.

  1. WM Bus

    WM Bus Member

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    X12 takes a long winded route from Birmingham City Centre to Solihull through Bromford, Castle Bromwich, Smiths Wood, Chelmsley Wood, Airport and Damsonwood. Takes 90 minutes and can take up to 2 hours at peak times with more traffic.
    Most wouldn't use it for through end to end journeys, only for overlapping/local journeys.
    Though I've seen a few people take it end to end (they asked the driver when boarding who told them it goes to their destination), from Solihull Station and the Airport to Birmingham City Centre, unaware of how long the route is and their being much quicker alternatives.

    X2 provides a more direct route from Birmingham to Solihull and X1 from Birmingham City Centre to the Airport.

    The 11 (Birmingham Outer Circle) is another very long route. But it is also a very busy and well used route. Certainly not unnecairly long as again it is largely used for overlapping and shorter journeys. Takes up to 2 hours 30 minutes to complete the full circle. It is also supposed to be the longest urban bus route in Europe.

    In addition the new Johnsons X20 due to start from the 2nd Septermber 2019 looks to be a very long route as well, timetabled to take 2 hours end to end. Running from Stratford Upon Avon to Coventry via Henley In Arden, Shirley, Solihull and Meriden.
    https://www.johnsonscoaches.co.uk/contentfiles/files/New X20 Solihull via Shirley.pdf
     
    Last edited: 30 Jul 2019
  2. PaulMc7

    PaulMc7 Member

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    I think the longest I've ever been on a bus was to visit family when my great grandparents stayed in Leven. That bus took 2 hours 15mins on a good day from Buchanan Bus Station but it went through a lot of small Fife towns between Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy that added to the journey. There's never really been a direct Fife to Glasgow/Edinburgh service that doesn't have a longer journey that I can remember. The X55 which is Dunfermline to Edinburgh isn't too bad I guess but the rest are 2 hours plus.
     
  3. Megafuss

    Megafuss Member

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    Any Stagecoach Midlands service with an "X" on the front of it....
     
  4. PaulMc7

    PaulMc7 Member

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    Yeah I don't have knowledge of Stagecoach outside of maybe Ayrshire, Glasgow and Fife but it's definitely a pattern that they thrive off of running longer X services in a lot of places.
     
  5. lxfe_mxtterz

    lxfe_mxtterz Member

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    Apologies for the fact that I can't actually remember the route number (I'd greatly appreciate it if somebody more knowledgeable than myself could fill me in on this), but quite some time ago, I had to travel from Brighton Marina to the city centre, and I caught the first bus that turned up heading towards Brighton, which happened to be a Scania double decker thing (sorry, I don't know my bus names too well).

    I was surprised at how long it actually took to get back, as to my ignorance, I had no clue that this bus would in fact take a ridiculously long, though I must admit it was very enjoyable and the views were spectacular, detour through almost every residential street we passed, to the top of a hill which practically bordered the countryside, before travelling along the top of this ridge and returning back down the hill not very far from the street the bus came up on, heading down into Brighton via every lamp post known to man.

    The journey must've taken at least 40 minutes, which is quite long compared to the shorter, more direct journey on the route 7. Though, I suppose this bus route wasn't designed for people like myself, with the intention of travelling all the way from Brighton Marina to the city centre! ;)
     
  6. Megafuss

    Megafuss Member

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    It's a funny one. Many of them are local stopping services or what would normally be one or two local services combined with a small express section cobbled on to the end. Ironically though, something like the X5 Oxford/Cambridge takes nearly 4 hours and doesn't have many stops.
     
  7. peterblue

    peterblue Member

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    All the Northampton-Wellingborough-Rushden-Raunds ones are certainly quite slow as serving roads in Northampton and Earls Barton. I wondered if there was a market for one/two routes to run more direct between the two towns.
     
  8. peterblue

    peterblue Member

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    A lot of bus companies now have a habit of serving town estates, before going interurban, to cut back on resources
     
  9. PaulMc7

    PaulMc7 Member

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    Yeah that's quite common here in Glasgow. It's seemingly a contest between First and Mcgills for who can cut back services the most and has been for about 5/6 years now
     
  10. Megafuss

    Megafuss Member

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    It's the X18 Coventry, Warwick, Leamington, Stratford, Evesham one that baffle me. Some of them take approaching FOUR hours, and they used Tridents on some of them. Interworking taken to the extreme, all to save a couple of buses no doubt
     
  11. scotrail158713

    scotrail158713 Member

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    A lot of the Fife to Edinburgh services seem to take the longest routes possible in Fife but then only stop once or twice within Edinburgh so can be called express - just if you get on at Ferrytoll. (They may stop more often within Edinburgh this weekend though if the Lothian drivers go on strike)
     
  12. NorthOxonian

    NorthOxonian Member

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    I suppose the big benefit of it is it makes long distance connections quite a lot easier. I was able to travel from Oxford to Nottingham and back in a day (with several hours in Nottingham) for about £23 (15 for bus + 8 for train), but that was only possible because of the X5 and X7 - even just splitting the X7 makes the whole thing harder. I suppose they design routes for normal customers and not people trying to travel halfway across the country on the cheap, but I do appreciate the connections. Unless we moved to a Swiss-style system where everything connected perfectly, through routes will always be appreciated (though I appreciate the difficulties it presents for logistics and timetables).

    A couple of other examples - the North East has a few. The 19 from North Shields to Northumberland Park is a fairly normal length, but half of the journeys extend to Ashington, completely out on a limb from the rest of their network. There is also the 26 - seemingly formed from taking the already long 27 (Newcastle to South Shields), and then looping it around several other estates. Not only is the Metro far faster, but it is also faster to wait for the 27 which leaves around 10 minutes after the 26. Even getting the Stagecoach X34 is faster - and that only goes to the peripheral estates of South Shields, but even factoring in the extra bus to get to town, it's still faster. Yet of the three (26/27, Stagecoach day ticket, Metro), the 26 and 27 are the most expensive...
     
  13. Megafuss

    Megafuss Member

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    Yes, the 19 is on odd. But my personal fav is the 42A which is 4 old routes mashed in to one. GNE also had those ludicrous Newcastle to Durham via Stanley services with 5 mins layover at each end. Looked good on paper....
     
  14. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    Some routes migh
    Speaking of long routes in the North East, there's the 20/20A Durham-South Shields via Sunderland that takes 2 hours than the Northumberland routes X18 Newcastle-Berwick being the longest around 4 hours, X15 Newcastle-Berwick takes 2 hours 30.

    In Liverpool 10A Liverpool One-St Helens which takes 90 minutes, 47 Liverpool-Crossens takes the same, then you have X2 Liverpool-Preston via Southport that takes 2 hours 20 minutes & longer in the peaks, 1 Liverpool-Chester via Ellesmere Port takes 1 hour 40 minutes, & that's being extended to Chester Business Park in September taking 2 hours
     
  15. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Veteran Member

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    Those Newcastle to Durham services were obviously just two routes welded together
    That's the point. You can't beat the Metro on an end to end basis from Shields to Newcastle - the 26/27 are really to create that series of links to places that the Metro can't reach, such as those estates! The 19 extends to Ashington because it essentially replaces the old Hunters 810/811 route (I think) that Arriva essentially gave it up and it gets operated from Percy Main (North Shields) depot.

    The X4 provides the fast link between Northampton and Wellingborough.
     
  16. alphabravo43

    alphabravo43 Member

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    Another factor is when parts are added to routes, the 10 (B10 for those in Glasgow who couldn’t discern that from FiG’s 10) from Balfron to Glasgow is a necessary route, but in an agreement for first Glasgow to withdraw their service covering the Kessington estate in Milngavie First Midland Bluebird diverted their service round the houses rather than going a more direct route.
     
  17. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    For me there's no such thing as an unnecessary long route, routes may be long that very few passengers would travel end to end, but most of the time it's a way of connecting places without multiple routes which adds extra cost to the operator.

    Wales have a load of long routes, again passengers mostly do sections of the route, 11 group Chester-Rhyl whilst that takes over 2 hours that links up places not served by rail, with rail being non stop Flint-Prestatyn, plus the Transport For Wales have no off peak tickets so Chester-Rhyl is around £18 return for just over a 30 minute journey, bus £5.50 Arriva day ticket
     
  18. d9009alycidon

    d9009alycidon Member

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    the First Lanarkshire 201 mentioned by the OP is an amalgamation of two or three historical routes, it originally ran as a Central SMT service from Airdrie Bus Station to Hairmyers via Calderbank and Holytown. Coatbridge had the separate 1, 14, 203 and 204 going by various routes between there and Hamilton, the current route looks to be a bit of the 14 going round Orbiston Estate in Bellshill and the 203 to Hairmyers. The Petersburn service used to be served by purely Monklands local buses to Kirkwood (one time Baxters. later Eastern Scottish Services). Once took the old 201 route from Airdrie to East Kilbride and that was long enough!!
     
  19. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Veteran Member

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    Bang on!! Saving a bus saves an operator about £100k a year.

    The other issue these days is that operators have closed depots to reduce overheads and so it's a way of operating routes some distance from the remaining depots.
     
  20. extendedpaul

    extendedpaul Member

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    Between Neath and Port Talbot there is an hourly quick direct route X4 taking 25 minutes and the more frequent 86 / 87 which serve various housing estates and take about twice as long.

    The estates are full of speed humps making for an uncomfortable journey best avoided if just travelling between the two towns.
     
  21. Typhoon

    Typhoon Member

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    Exactly! And almost certainly welcomed by visitors to the area who just need to get one timetable to get in most of a weeks sightseeing.

    File 555 under 'Necessarily long bus routes in the uk' alongside 840, X18 and Dalesbus routes (apologies for not crediting those who suggested them and several others listed earlier) alongside Birmingham's Outer Circle.
     
  22. Great_Western

    Great_Western Member

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    The T1C between Cardiff and Aberystwyth is timetabled to take up to 3 hours and 54 minutes. Pretty sure that would count, given concessionary passes are valid for the whole route.

    That said, it is fairly popular and is used for end to end journeys. However, the T14 bettween Cardiff and Hereford takes 3hrs 40, and has very few through passengers north of Brecon.
     
  23. MedwayValiant

    MedwayValiant Member

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    Nothing like as long as some routes mentioned above, but would the 13 and 13A between Cambridge and Haverhill count?

    It is 18 miles from Cambridge to Haverhill, and the bus typically takes 72 minutes thanks to very wiggly routings around the western suburbs of Haverhill. If it were a secondary way of travelling between the two places, as in the Neath and Port Talbot example above, that might not seem excessively long - but this route is the main way to get to a substantial town which has no railway station, and so there are quite a lot of people making the full journey.

    What's more, the bus doesn't wiggle via Cambridge station. Evening and early morning journeys do, but most stay on Hills Road.
     
  24. StemmePilot

    StemmePilot New Member

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    How about:

    First Kernow A1/A3 Penzance to St Ives (via Lands End) : 2h 32min
    First Kernow A17 Penzance to St Ives (direct) : 31min

    The former isn't stupid, just the long way round if you fancy it.
     
  25. SCH117X

    SCH117X Member

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    Another amalgamation leading to a highly indirect route is the Transdev York 22/23 between York and Knaresborough (17 miles direct) which runs in basically an inverted V shaped route north west to Boroughbridge and Ripon (the former 142/143) before turning south (the former 56) on journey that takes around at least 2hr 22. Direct is one of those journeys where no bus service has succeeded in competition with the train.
     
  26. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Veteran Member

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    The A1/A3 isn’t unnecessarily long. The whole point of it is the scenery which is stunning, from the decent into Sennen across the wild area near Gurnards Head and Zennor as well as the tourist attractions at Geevor and Lands End. Stunning route!

    A classic case of intrinsic rather than derived demand for those transport academics out there!
     
  27. Eyersey468

    Eyersey468 Member

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    The service 195 (Pocklington to York) that EYMS used to run was like that, because it went all round villages it took over 1.5 hours to cover the route.
     
  28. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    Took that x18 last year a nice run indeed , was falling asleep towards the end
     
  29. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    Yep , some of the first routes to get the geminis , im sure the 20 was every 10 mins back then . 16 and 18 made for a very frequent service around 2010 , not sure if the 16 came back then was dropped at this point . The 18 and 20 or 21 swapped routes in part of EK im sure .

    The 18 was operated by 3 or 4 depots at one point , now 2 .

    The 6 a should ofbeen kept the 20 , as its still separate from the 6 .
     
  30. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    Although the X5 is (in part) about serving the end-to-end market. Plenty of people do, particularly at weekends. It's more like a National Express route, but acting as a local bus in futs and starts along the way.

    The "X"17 was always my favourite (though possibly the prefix was originally to avoid confusion with the former Travel Coventry 17)
     

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