One of the things that happens when you are waiting for a bus is that two (sometimes three) turn up at once. This happens a lot on the 12 route. The buses used to be every 10 mins apart and if one bus got held up for some reason the next bus could quite easily catch it up. What happens then is the bus that is running on time gets on the radio and tells the driver of the late running bus to keep going where he can. So late driver goes past people waiting at a stop and the on time driver stops and picks the passengers up. This helps everyone, the late drivers gets a bit of time back and it doesn't make any difference to the passengers which bus they get on. In fact it does make a little difference because the late bus will now clear the bus stops further up the road and all his passengers get some time back as well.
Leap-frogging also takes place at the terminus. If a bus is very late arriving at the terminus and there are a lot of people waiting it is better if the late bus goes without picking anyone up. This saves him 5 mins loading time, but the passengers he has left don't lose because which ever bus they get on it still takes time to load the passengers. If the late driver had loaded up he would be running on the bus behind's time and the bus behind would be with him but running empty. Because he has left 5 mins before the bus behind he can now clear all the bus stops along the route and everyone gains and the bus is usually back on time which is where we want to be.
Leap-frogging only works however if both buses are going to the same place. I can't leap-frog a 77 on Newton Abbot station, not all the passengers at the stop might want to go to Buckland, some may well want to goto Torquay. Now we have a problem and the new 12A route. It is timed to run every 15 mins, as is the 12. So a 12 comes along and 7 mins later along comes a 12A. Then 8 mins later an other 12 comes along. And so on. But they do not go to the same place, but for a lot of the time they do follow the same route. If you wish to travel any where between Newton and Paignton it doesn't matter which bus you get on. They both go to the same places. But if you are waiting to go to Roselands or the New South Devon College you need a 12A. If you get to your stop and you have just missed one you will have a 15 min wait for the next 12A. If it is running late and the bus behind, a 12, catches and passes it and pulls in at your stop and the 12A driver plays leap-frog and goes screaming past you now have an other 15 min wait for the next 12A. You can catch the 12 and change at Paignton bus station but you will have to pay to Paignton on the 12 and then pay from Paignton on the 12A. This will cost more then the direct fare. I you have a return ticket the driver of the bus you get on will punch it and now you can not use it on the 12A you catch in Paignton. Only if you have a pass will the cost remain the same.
Leap-frogging at the terminus is out as well. You are at Brixham going to college, you want a 12A and one has just gone. Now you have a 15 min wait. A 12 comes and goes, next bus should be a 12A but it is running late. Then a 12 turns up and pulls on to the stop followed by a seriously late 12A which pulls round to the Bakery, unloads and vanishes into the distance. Another 15 mins to wait.
So if you are a 12 driver and you catch a late running 12A up no leap-frogging. If you are a 12 and catch a seriously late 12 up then you can play leap-frog. The only time 12's and 12A's can play leap-frog is from Paignton to Newton, both buses are going to the same place so it doesn't matter which bus people get. This inability by drivers to help late running drivers will have an detrimental effect on the time keeping of the 12/12A service in the Bay.
The best solution to this problem would be to renumber the 12A, call it 14 and have it run only between Paignton and Brixham via Roselands and the college and allow the 12 service to sell through tickets. This would allow passengers to board a 12 any where between Newton and Paignton and change to a 14 in Paignton. Passengers could also catch the 14 from Roselands or the college and change to a 12 in Paignton. Leap-frogging could make a come back; Except at the terminus at Brixham. To solve that problem we could make use of, for the 14, the now defunct 66 stop out side the Undertakers in New Road.
If you have other solutions or comments then click on comments.