Bus service review in Worcestershire.

Bus and Coach operations, new or changed services and timetables for First Midland Red Buses Limited or its predecessor, Midland Red West Limited.
TimBrown
Posts: 1100
Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

Bus service review in Worcestershire.

Post by TimBrown » 12:11 Tuesday 7th June 2022

The attached article appeared in The Observer free newspaper last Wednesday 1 June 2022, and relates to the failed Worcestershire County Council £86million Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) bid which was rejected by the Department of Transport (DFT) last month.

I believe the successful bids all included towns or cities where a clean air zone (CAZ) was fully up and running, something that is missing throughout Worcestershire.

On a happier note I took the 09-53 am 37 bus from Green Lane into town yesterday morning and the Volvo Centro full-sized bus had a full seated load by the time it reached Barbourne Brook. This is almost back to pre-Covid levels so I am hoping that bus usage is now exceeding the 70% of pre-pandemic levels mentioned in the article.
Worcestershire bus services review 001.jpg

DD12
Posts: 1499
Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: Bus service review in Worcestershire.

Post by DD12 » 21:17 Tuesday 7th June 2022

Thanks for posting this, Tim !!

DD12
Posts: 1499
Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: Bus service review in Worcestershire.

Post by DD12 » 20:46 Wednesday 8th June 2022

TimBrown wrote:
12:11 Tuesday 7th June 2022


On a happier note I took the 09-53 am 37 bus from Green Lane into town yesterday morning and the Volvo Centro full-sized bus had a full seated load by the time it reached Barbourne Brook.
The article implies that the number of people boarding at each bus stop will be recorded during this month --
I have seen the most people at the Bath Road stops recently since pre-pandemic, and a family member "reported" an almost full 32.

(I myself have done several bus rides, enjoying being out and about in the early summer [ intermittent ] sun ) !!

I think it might be counter-productive to record this month's users if it's a temporary peak number !!
-- the bus companies will still need to withdraw services / journeys if it is ( - or request subsidies).
:?

TimBrown
Posts: 1100
Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

Re: Bus service review in Worcestershire.

Post by TimBrown » 08:57 Thursday 9th June 2022

DD12 wrote:
20:46 Wednesday 8th June 2022
TimBrown wrote:
12:11 Tuesday 7th June 2022


On a happier note I took the 09-53 am 37 bus from Green Lane into town yesterday morning and the Volvo Centro full-sized bus had a full seated load by the time it reached Barbourne Brook.
The article implies that the number of people boarding at each bus stop will be recorded during this month --
I have seen the most people at the Bath Road stops recently since pre-pandemic, and a family member "reported" an almost full 32.

(I myself have done several bus rides, enjoying being out and about in the early summer [ intermittent ] sun ) !!

I think it might be counter-productive to record this month's users if it's a temporary peak number !!
-- the bus companies will still need to withdraw services / journeys if it is ( - or request subsidies).
:?
The hope would be that the general public are now starting to feel free of the Covid shackles and have the confidence to use public transport. There is also a possibility that the recent sharp increases in both petrol and diesel prices, caused by Mr Putin, might persuade car owners to use the bus again. However, from my limited observations, it is mainly concessionary travel card passengers on my local 37 which is a step in the right direction but doesn't give the operator a vast income to play with. Conversely the steep rise in diesel cost will very soon have to be passed on to the travelling public, as even the core routes may be running at a marginal profit right now. This creates a dilemma because fare rises weaken demand and passengers carried, eventually leading to longer gaps between buses and diminishing returns. Some nifty marketing is needed in Worcester and the county by the operators, the county council and all the local councils to stimulate demand! Any bright ideas?

DD12
Posts: 1499
Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: Bus service review in Worcestershire.

Post by DD12 » 09:49 Thursday 9th June 2022

.... What about FREE buses on Wednesdays and Saturdays -- fully promoted and paid for by the tax-payer, - to revive the shopping centres ?

"Welcome Onboard""

:idea:

TimBrown
Posts: 1100
Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

Re: Bus service review in Worcestershire.

Post by TimBrown » 16:11 Thursday 9th June 2022

DD12 wrote:
09:49 Thursday 9th June 2022
.... What about FREE buses on Wednesdays and Saturdays -- fully promoted and paid for by the tax-payer, - to revive the shopping centres ?

"Welcome Onboard""

:idea:
It would need a lot of marketing to work, but the average council tax payer would probably be up in arms.

I have compiled a small list showing the first and last buses out of Crowngate and it makes quite disturbing reading; even the 'trunk routes' no longer have an evening service. It means if you go out for a day on the train there won''t be a bus to take you home after 7 or 8 pm, similarly nothing to get you into town for the pubs, restaurants and night life - no wonder the taxis are always busy!
First and last bus ex Cowngate 001.jpg

DD12
Posts: 1499
Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: Bus service review in Worcestershire.

Post by DD12 » 00:03 Friday 10th June 2022

Interesting table, thanks Tim !

I hadn't previously spotted the "strange" timings of the X50 M-F 18.20 departure from Crowngate, followed by the 45, -- 5 minutes later, -- both going up the London Road and observing all stops.
- The 45 does not return (in service) down the London Road.

I SUSPECT that in the PM peak the X50 can get severely delayed getting out of Worcester, and also getting back from Evesham --

- so is the arrangement to DROP that last 45 out of Crowngate, and run it as the X50 instead ? ( - with the drivers hours to suit) -- or what :?: :?:

bmmoboy
Posts: 425
Joined: 20:02 Tuesday 5th July 2016

Re: Bus service review in Worcestershire.

Post by bmmoboy » 23:11 Saturday 11th June 2022

What you don’t mention in you table of departures is the fact that both the 1700 and 1730 departures on Saturday go to Link Top and return out of service. Therefore the last departure from Great Malvern to Crowngate is around 1730.

Not sure about Mon - Fri services.

This is commercial suicide.

TimBrown
Posts: 1100
Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

Re: Bus service review in Worcestershire.

Post by TimBrown » 12:16 Sunday 12th June 2022

bmmoboy wrote:
23:11 Saturday 11th June 2022
What you don’t mention in you table of departures is the fact that both the 1700 and 1730 departures on Saturday go to Link Top and return out of service. Therefore the last departure from Great Malvern to Crowngate is around 1730.

Not sure about Mon - Fri services.

This is commercial suicide.
It is a very sad situation, and I agree with your comment about commercial suicide, BUT First Bus Worcester are in the business to make money rather than provide a 24/7 service. My hope is that the current trend of passenger usage returning to pre-Covid levels brings a change of heart and more frequent service intervals, plus I hope that Worcestershire County Council re-introduce financial support to run later evening services. Do you remember the mass departures from Crowngate around 23-15 when nearly every service ran with good loadings taking the 'happy' (hoppy?) revellers home?

I have had another go at the Crowngate Departures Chart and propose sending a copy to the County Council to highlight the current reduced service levels. I think it is about as big as it needs to be to make an instant impact.
Crowngate departures chart revised 001.jpg

bringstybeast
Posts: 48
Joined: 18:17 Saturday 9th July 2016

Re: Bus service review in Worcestershire.

Post by bringstybeast » 17:08 Sunday 12th June 2022

Of course, First represents only half of the problem in Worcester (though it could be argued to be the root cause…). Non-First routes aren’t doing well either. Doesn’t feel that long ago since there was an hourly Worcester-Bromyard bus that was average 1/4 full during the day (or half full minibus for one of the trips) and last bus on Saturday at 7pm. Now it’s a choice of 5pm Friday or 10.30 on Monday…

Although the deterioration in last 10 years is not totally universal. It’s still a mystery to me how the Suckley route currently has double the number of trips as it did most days when First last ran it. [And given how unloved the route was jumping from First to Malvernian to Martin Perry to Diamond to LMS, with a short period of flexiLiNK replacement somewhere, and I may be imagining but recall DRM and Astons both briefly had it too… if after all that mess patronage increased to justify the extra trips now - maybe there’s hope for the rest of Worcester(shire)!]

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