After what felt like an eternity, there is better news on the industrial relations front in the rail industry. The Network rail strike has been settled after RMT members accepted the latest offer. Today’s RMT action against eighteen train companies has been suspended, and it is the same for Saturday. Hopefully, this all leads to resolution of these disputes, even if others continue in other sectors.
Not so long ago, I wrote an entry on here about how much more positive things felt in Ireland compared to the U.K. when it came to public transportation. One thing that lay undone from my time in Ireland last August was to add to the Irish Bus Companies collation three new operations that came to my notice during a stay in Cork city. That has happened now and these are Cobh Connect, Cork Connect and West Cork Connect. All are there now for your perusal and for checking out extra travel options.
The website’s British Bus Companies collation is getting some attention at the moment. A lot has changed in the last few years with takeovers, consolidations and withdrawals. Thus, there have updates to make and there may be more to do, even without the continuing upheavals that we are experiencing at the moment.
It looks as if useful services like the Poppit Rocket (405, Cardigan to Newport), Puffin Shuttle (400, St. Davids to Marloes) and Strumble Shuttle (404, Fishguard to St Davids) will not run for the 2023 summer season. These have been operated by Richards Brothers who are cancelling them on 2023-04-05. The first two of these are covered by the Fflecsi scheme but having a scheduled service that does need prebooking is better, even if an app is provided.
From 2023-04-01, changes are coming to routes 316, 318 and 319 in Cheshire East, operated by D&G Bus. The main change is a reduction in the days of service; all are down from their five-day service offering. Services 316 and 319 run on Monday and Thursday only, while route 318 operates on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday aside from weekday school journeys. Residents of Sandbach, Alsager, Kidsgrove, Congleton, Holmes Chapel, Rode Heath, Cranage, Scholar Green and Goostrey are going to have to become accustomed to some cuts in bus services in April.
Using developer funds, Cheshire East Council are funding a new bus service that serves Wilmslow, Handforth and Handforth Dean. This is operated by D&G Bus from Monday to Saturday for an initial period of twelve months. It runs hourly between 09:00 and 18:00 and is numbered 312. While one might reckon that there are other ways of spending the cash, its origin constrains its usage, so the longevity of this new service will be worth watching.
It has featured in a number of different news outlets by now, including the BBC and the Macclesfield Express, that Arriva is planning to close its depots in Macclesfield and Winsford on 2023-04-22. D&G Bus appears positioned to take over at least some of the routes. Given Arriva’s focus on revenue and the challenges of operating in largely rural and affluent area, the decision hardly comes as a surprise. It will be the end of an era and Cheshire East Council is cash-strapped at the moment, something that limits what it can do to remediate likely reductions in services.
For those wanting to get to Canadian Provincial and National Parks without using a car, Parkbus offers some useful travel options from Toronto and Vancouver. These do vary by season, but the destinations include Golden Ears, Garibaldi Provincial Park and Joffre Lakes Provincial Park in British Columbia while those in Ontario include Algonquin Provincial Park, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Georgian Bay Islands National Park, Elora Gorge, Rockwood Conservation Area, Rattlesnake Point and Crawford Lake.
Moraine Lake and Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada have been suffering under their popularity. Now, Parks Canada has banned the use of private vehicles on the approach to Moraine Lake year round. That may sound heavy, but oversubscribed car parks meant that the excursion was not such a viable one anyway. It means that human-powered travel as well as usage of shuttle, chartered or scheduled bus services are favoured. The move has attracted criticism, so we will need to see if that brings change.
Here are the details of the £2 bus ticket scheme in England that runs until the end of March. Operator participation is voluntary and not all routes are included so the list of both needs checking. Timing and extent do look like a half-effort, yet extending even what is available would be a boon to many.