On Trains & Buses

Travel news, views & information from Europe & North America by an independent public transport user

News Snippets

10:35, January 7, 2009

In  a move that could be confusing, the 288 service operated by Arriva and serving Knutsford, Wilmslow and Altrincham is set to be called Connect 88. It’s one thing to change operator and bring in new buses but changing the route name is another. A name change is a minor irritation but it can confound and I have seen search results for the 288 in the stats for this site. So, here’s a link to the timetable that applies from next Monday and further information on Cheshire East Council’s website: Connect 88. All should become clearer once you go over there.

Update on 2012-01-30: Above link updated because Cheshire County Council no longer exists.

12:40, January 4, 2009

Annoyingly, Arriva has omitted the timings of the Monday to Saturday evening service between Macclesfield and East Didsbury from their latest 130 Macclesfield-Manchester timetable. I suppose that their excuse would be that they don’t operate it themselves since BakerBus are doing the honours on behalf of Cheshire Country Council. So, to set things to rights, here are some timetables cobbled together from Traveline (the timings are the same for Saturdays regardless of the Monday to Friday trappings of what you find below):

Macclesfield to East Didsbury East Didsbury to Macclesfield

13:54, December 19, 2008

Ireland’s CIE has ended with a €39m loss for the year and is talking of service reductions with its subsidiaries Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus garnering a mention. National Express is laying off 300 back office staff. Stagecoach’s Brian Souter is talking of hard times ahead and there is softening of demand on commuter routes with more people being out of work. All of this is hardly optimistic but it is a reminder that the transport industry is not immune to the economic pressures that we face. Let’s hope that we pull through what lies ahead of us without too many cuts to services.

08:00, December 17, 2008

A few years ago, I went checking out Dublin Bus timetables but met up with a problem: there was nary a sign of how long the journey would take, a slight disadvantage when trying to get somewhere at a particular time. Thankfully, that seems to have been resolved with approximate journey times now being given. It may not be fully comprehensive like other timetabling approaches but it’s a good enough guide for me.

08:56, December 16, 2008

Cheshire County Council has a very useful part of their website where you can get advance notice of any forthcoming changes. Frequent checks there should avert the sort of surprise that a notice on the 130 saying that service changes were due at the start of 2009. They kick in from January 4th in fact and involve an hourly service on Saturdays with no changes on Sundays and minor changes on other days of the week. We’’ll need to see how things pan out but any reductions in frequency have to be a disappointment and I hope that further ones don’t follow. While on the subject of changes,the 27 Macclesfield-Knutsford is facing as yet unspecified minor changes (I hope!) a week later. There used to be a time when these sorts of announcements tend to gravitate around September and October but January seems to be the point this time around.

11:12, December 15, 2008

I suppose that it can happen: this morning’s bus ride to work involved the driver talking a wrong turn at one point to end up one of Macclesfield’s numerous dead ends (all thanks to road reorganisations over the years). To his credit, the driver realised his mistake only to have to face doing a turn in a not so wide road with cars parked at either side and vehicles waiting for him to complete his manoeuvre on the carriageway itself. That he had a long wheelbase Dennis Dart compounded the problem but he managed the feat, corrected course with a sharp turn at the junction that he had misjudged and we were on our way again. His mistake had occurred at a fork in the road (the junction where Chester Road, Prestbury Road, Chestergate and King Edward Street in Macclesfield itself) and I suspect that it’s one that the driver concerned won’t be making again; that turn in the road should not escape from memory so easily…

13:20, December 8, 2008

I an mulling over a Christmas shopping trip to Edinburgh over the coming weekend (yes, I know that we are just after one) and decided to see if I could save on the £64 off-peak return fare by having a poke around the National Rail Enquiries website. It turns out that there is a way to manage the feat and a saving of around a third of the price is possible too without needing advance purchase tickets with their lock-in to specific train times. In fact, all that’s needed is a practice called rebooking where you get more than a single set of tickets for your journey and it’s valid so long as the train on which you are travelling actually stops at a station that is a destination for one set and a starting point for another. I have found that a set from my home station to Preston and from there to Edinburgh does the deed. The very nice part of all of this is that it can be done with off-peak return ticketing (the current incarnation of the old saver return), all walk on fares in other words. And there’s no need to resort to thetrainline.com with all their smugness and hubris either; well, I find their latest billboard campaign to be on the wrong side of insulting…

14:16, November 26, 2008

Bus and railway integration is a subject that could be discussed for hours and hours but I am raising it because of two services in the Lake District: the 505 and the 516. For one thing, it would be nice to see them start from Windermere train station but what would be better is if the service timings were more useful to those coming in for a day out in the fells. In fact, you can have the latter without the former and I would be happy with that. However, one does get the underlying suspicion that timings are designed for visitors staying in the area or locals, neither of which are things that I decry. In fact, I respect the right of local businesses to gain from an influx of winter visitors, even if my excursions tend to take the form of a day trip.

14:05, November 25, 2008

It’s all too easy when writing about public transport to report the less wonderful side so I am happy to give praise where it is due. Cumbria County Council and Stagecoach have been producing a glossy travel guide in A4 format that bundles together timetables for their area. Until recently, I had only ever encountered that which they produce for the summer and it is tightly focused on getting around the Lake District. Over the past weekend, i picked the winter equivalent and it seems to be even more comprehensive with services places outside the Lake District getting featured. Believe it or not, there’s more to Cumbrian hill country than the Lakeland fells with the Howgill fells and those around Shap coming to mind. There may be reduced frequencies and withdrawn services for the wintertime but both parties need a pat on the back for sharing what is available in such an accessible way.

17:37, November 14, 2008

This morning, I pressed the bell ahead of my stop as usual but the bus passed it by. I was told that I didn’t leave enough time for the bus to stop, a very surprising statement because I have done exactly the same as I have done on many a time and the bus has stopped as expected. My suspicion is that that the driver may not have realised that my stop was there at all, a disappointing state of affairs it has to be said. However, I have come across this before and contact was made with the bus company then to sort things out. I may need to do so again.