Sunday, 21 April 2013

Letter to the Editor

This is a draft of a letter I am planning to send to the Herald Express sometime Monday evening. It is up for changes of a minor nature.

Stressed Out Bus Drivers and their passengers.
First bus for 50 mins and 4 came along.
Today I went down to the Stand to catch a bus to Paignton. Being Sunday I knew the 12 service only ran every 20 minutes but there was also the 12C I could catch. There was quite a crowd at the bus stop and I heard one individual say they had been there 20 minutes already. Someone else in the queue overheard and quickly explained that they had been waiting at least 45 minutes . Still no sign of a bus. Finally ten minutes later two number 12s, a 12A and a 12C turned up all at once. Now there are two reasons for this problem. The first is the road works at Penn Inn in Newton Abbot. Buses have to get into Newton and then get out again through these road works and the traffic they cause. The bus company, Stagecoach, must have known that the services would have been disrupted. Is it not beyond them to provide extra buses to run between Torquay and Brixham to save people having to wait so long? It is Sunday after all, there should be a few spare buses at the depot and some drivers glad for some overtime.

The second problem with our normally very good bus service at the moment is the prolonged road works at Livermead. Traffic heading from Torquay towards Paignton can take the usual route along the sea front but all traffic coming the other way is diverted at Wheatridge Lane to The Grand Hotel. That is, light traffic is diverted that way, the diversion probably adds 2 or 3 minutes to the journey time. Buses however are too big and have too many window to smash against the overhanging trees to take the short diversion and are forced to journey over the Ring Road. This can easily add over 15 minutes to the time it takes to get from Paignton to Torquay.

The journey time isn’t the only problem. There are bus stops at St Pauls Church, The Gasworks, Wheatridge Lane, Livermead Cliff Hotel, Livermead House Hotel, Seaway Lane, The Grand Hotel and Belgrave Rd where it is not possible for passenger from Paignton to alight. Nor is it possible for passengers at these bus stops wishing to go to Torquay and beyond to board a 12 or 12A. Some long walks forced on tired passengers is not giving any visitors a good impression of The Bay.

So why aren’t there traffic lights at Livermead. The council could arrange this and put signs at Wheatridge Lane and The Grand Hotel stating,” Delays Ahead. Please Use Diversion.” There might be a delay at two way traffic light but it would not be as long as that long tedious trip over The Ring Road.

Finally we come to Fleet St. At least it is working one way so not all the Torquay local buses are no longer going all around town to get to The Strand. But That was supposed to have been open for 2 way traffic by March 19. At a guess it could be another 6 to 8 weeks before all the local buses go back onto normal line of route. An over run of a week is bad enough but 3 months makes me hope Torbay Council never find the money to dig the rest of Fleet St up.

So finally three requests.

First, be nice to the bus drivers, it isn’t their fault and they are all working under a certain amount of stress. Running late isn’t something they want to do, it eats in to their rest time and they end up finishing their day’s shift late so get home late knowing they have got the same problems facing the tomorrow.

Second, to Stagecoach. If there is going to be more road works like todays that will affect traffic so badly please give serious thought to putting on extra buses. It won’t draw in any extra revenue but it will help passengers and staff to get through this difficult time.

Third to Torbay Council. There is still at least 6 weeks work, lowering 4 tonne blocks of stone onto the beach at Livermead. Please install traffic lights there at the earliest possible moment and save thousands of voters and visitors that tedious trip over the ring road and get our buses running to time again. This would also help relieve the stress the bus drivers are feeling at this time of seemingly endless disruption.





DG875 said...

First bus, or at least one of their drivers, used the light traffic diversion yesterday with a decker and to be honest it didn't seem a problem. Funny really after he went past Headland Park Road, I went forward and said that he had missed the diversion, he said no way would he go all that way around. So the question has to be asked - if one bus can do it why can't all of them.

Cabbie J said...

Because its Firstbus, and they couldn't give a toss about the state of their buses.

There is a route out of Taunton I used to use, the 33B I think it was - the slow service to Axminster. Branches as thick as my arm would clobber the windscreen of the upper deck, as would a telegraph wire which would then drag across the roof. All before the driver has to do a 3 point turn using someone's drive way.

Stagecoach have just bought a load of brand new Enviro deckers, I don't think they want them trashed so quickly.

Ben Austin- Williams said...

This may interest you David. Taken from the Stagecoach website. The 11 should be a nice route. :)

From 27 May Stagecoach, will be making a number of changes to routes 2, 11 and B to provide an improved service for the majority of passengers.

Route 2 will become a faster, more reliable connection to Exeter and Newton Abbot. To achieve this most journeys will no longer make the sizeable deviation to Dawlish Warren, with new routes from Exeter and Torquay to start and finish there instead. The time saved will offer a faster journey into Exeter and more time for recovery in the event of delays and congestion etc.

Route 11 will be increased in frequency and extended from Teignmouth to Dawlish and Dawlish Warren. Residents and visitors to Dawlish Warren will benefit from a half hourly service to Dawlish and an hourly service will run through to Torquay seven days a week, summer and winter. There will also be late evening journeys for people wishing to have an evening out in either Torquay or Dawlish.

Route B will be extended to include a half hour service to Kenton, Starcross, Shutterton and an hourly service to Dawlish or Dawlish Warren, providing residents in these areas with new connections to Marsh Barton, Exeter City Centre and Exeter Business Park. This new timetable will also incorporate the current route 10 journeys through from Teignmouth.

New service 2A will provide an hourly link between Exeter and Dawlish Warren on Sundays and Bank Holidays, plus two early morning journeys during the week to maintain commuter connections for the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital. At other times access to the RD&E will be possible either by using the B and the 11 to connect onto the 2 or by using the B to travel into Exeter city centre and transferring onto the high frequency H and 57 bus routes. Through tickets will be available for all of these journeys.

Timetables for all services will be available from here shortly, and in print soon after that.

Ben Austin- Williams said...

Well said Cabbie J by the way. Keep up the great work too David. Love reading your posts. :)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

David you are absolutely right most probably bus drivers are really stress out and tackle many road obstacle while driving and even during the driving test performance hence others should understand their problems and must behave silently with them.

evacampbell said...

I do agree with you david. Nice one