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Big Bus Changes


AdrianR
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I think what could be of benefit to the bus service to attract commuters would be to increase services at peak commuter times too ,but they just seem to have the same frequency of buses throughout the day until early evening when some services stop altogether. It is like everything else in the country regarding transport problems ,if the government of the day was really serious about getting cars off the road  public transport at all levels would be heavily subsidised by central funding ,but they are quite happy for Joe Bloggs to carry on with his car & give the government money every time he needs to refuel it , plus all his other running costs.

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I think it's actually the subsidy regime which has caused a great deal of the decline.

 

WE're always hearing the bus company saying that such and such a service has to be axed "because our funding has been cut", not "because we can't generate enough fares revenue to make it pay". It's almost as if the fares received are completely irrelevent to their financial model.

 

Like most of the public sector, this council owned bus company has got far too used to receiving endless supplies of no-strings attached taxpayers money and is no longer capable of thinking in terms of providing a service which people are willing to pay for.

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De regulation has a lot to answer for...at one time buses had to be provided on stipulated routes. Unfortunately,  has has been said previously on discussions about Warrington's buses , there isn't really a plan in place to cater for people who work outside "office hours" ,but there must be a lot more of them than the 9 to 5 brigade . A town like Warrington ,if it wants to revitalise the fortunes of its town centre, should be having frequent  evening inbound & outbound services  & late night buses to provide for the revellers & late night commuters . That would then give prospective town centre goers a cheaper alternative than having to rely on the prohibitive cost of taxis. May be an idea would be for the bus company to adopt the Spanish way of working ,with a fixed charge whether going one stop or 10 miles . They manage to fill their buses.

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The main problem with using the buses for work commuting is that they are FAR too centred on the bus station and the centre of town. The vast majority of people who work or study in Warrington do NOT do it in the centre of town. So they all have to take 2 buses and hang around the bus station in between to make their journey.

 

Each major employment zone (Birchwood, Risley, Woolston, Winwick Quay, Westbrook, Omega, and Lingley Mere in the north plus Stretton, Appleton, Stockton Heath, Preston Brook and Daresbury in the south) needs to have its own network of routes radiating out from it direct to the areas where people actually live.

 

It needs to be possible to get around the borough WITHOUT always stopping off in the town centre.

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The design of Towns (certainly Warrington New Town), was based on needs and use of the car; thus major venues are scattered all over the place, rather than on major bus routes.  The most successful public transport system imo, is the London Tube; which basically came into existence because of exasperation with road congestion (horse and carts at the time!); things had to get really bad before something was done, and that format hasn't changed. Unfortunately the reality is, that folk will not leave their cars until they are literally trapped in a permanent traffic jam; the first thing kids want when they leave school (assuming they can afford the insurance!), is a car; and we remain wedded to their privacy and convenience until our dotage (when we start to drive down the wrong side of the M/way). So "fare generation" is simply a non-starter, especially in rural areas.

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If you're so adamant that nobody wants buses Obs, then let's just stop subsidising them completely and spend the money on improving the roads for car drivers instead. Abolishing all those bus lanes would be a good, cheap, way to start - and appears to be working in Liverpool!

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Just stating the reality Inky;  that we have a love affair with the car that will be hard to break. However, anyone looking objectively at transport systems, would arrive at the logical conclusion, that mass movement requires less vehicles carrying more passengers, ie:- busses and trains. Problem is, it's difficult to convince individual lemmings that they are heading for a cliff.

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Just stating the reality Inky;  that we have a love affair with the car that will be hard to break. However, anyone looking objectively at transport systems, would arrive at the logical conclusion, that mass movement requires less vehicles carrying more passengers, ie:- busses and trains. Problem is, it's difficult to convince individual lemmings that they are heading for a cliff.

 

Are yopu surprised people have a love affair with their cars?

 

Your solution of pricing people off the road is unrealistic and unfair. Like the cycle lobby you seem to be living in a fantasy world that has gone by. It is like telling people they should not have electricity.

 

Fact is while the number of cars people own has increased, the use of these cars have declined, the average millage per car is down. Also lots of people own two cars, they can not drive two cars at once

 

People now home work and this will continue to increase and this will drive down the requirment for cars and buses.

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Sorry Coff; tis you who's living in a fantasy world. The number of cars ON THE ROAD, has increased; hence the regular grid locks. As for usage, I would concede maybe a slight decline (but still MORE cars), as many have now given up on the hassle of things like the Bank Holiday lemming run. Anecdotal maybe, but over 40 years of driving around Town, I'd estimate a trebling of numbers, based on the length of queues at junctions; and the majority are driver only. I understand that telling it like it is, is unpopular (like telling the kids they can't have ice cream); but there will come a point when vehicle numbers will overwhelm the infrastructure. It's estimated that if everyone used their car at the same time, you wouldn't get past the end of your street.

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Observer,  traffic volumes have been going down over the last ten years.

 

Your solution is far to simple, trying to stick people on buses will not work because in most people lives in is not only inconvenient but not practical.
 

Came home from Manchester an hour ago, no queues, just red traffic lights. NO buses or trains either.

 

you have been driving round Warrington for 40 years, so you do not practice what you preach, if the price of motoring goes up substantially as you advocate, will you be on the bus?

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Have you ever thought that the reason for the increase in the number of cars could be that manufacturers want to make money.

 

Forty years ago a car was a luxury that few people could afford. Buying one was a major financial decision that took many things into consideration the main one being do I really NEED a car to get to work. As most people lived fairly closely to their workplaces the answer  was usualy not really. Over the ensuing years as factories closed and people were having to look further afield for jobs that changed and ownng a car was starting to become a bit of necessity rather than a status symbol.

 

Rail and bus transport was still cheaper than car ownership and the expense of maintaining the vehicle, so even holidays were no excuse for owning a car. Most main holidays were planned meticulously, So much clothing for the week for each person packed tightly into a few suitcases as possible to make it easier to carry (usually three if mum dad and two kids) Shops also were restricted on opening times which meant that if you had to do the weekly shop you had a certain time in which to do it and if you forgot to get the butter or milk then you had to do without until the next day or even till the next week if it was a saturtday night.

 

Today shops open 24 hours so the shopping can be done anytime. busses and the like stop about eleven so any shopping done after that time and you need your own transport (unless you happen to live within five minutes walk of the shop) Sunday has almost ceased being a religeous day and shops are open all day sunday. buses still run a reduced service so any shopping needed on a sunday requires eiher a very long wait for public transport or your own transport.

 

One of todays "requirements" for work is that you must have your own transport as you may be working "odd shifts". Getting a bus before five to get into work for half past is probably impossible as is getting a bus when you have just finished at two in the morning. so having a car, especially under those circumstances, to get you to and from your workplace thirty or forty miles away is almost essential.

 

One other main reason for the proliferation of cars is the low prices compared to forty years ago. Add to that low finance with zero interest plus all the other freebies thrown in and owning a car is no longer the great financial decision it once was. In fact cars are so cheap now by comparison they are practically giving them away with cornflakes.

 

Just a thought mind.

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Coff, I'm not "preaching", merely stating a reality, which I'm part of - I could travel free on the buses, but choose to pay for the convenience of a car. I use it a lot less nowadays and try to time journeys on the basis of least traffic periods.  It's a simple equation:  less vehicles + with more passengers = less congestion.  No Government will do it, as it would be electoral suicide; thus we just have to await that great day when everything just grinds to a halt.

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So Obs, you don't need a car but choose to use one anyway. In your case you are an example of the problem that you are complaining about. For what it's costing you to maintain your car for the few occasions you actually use it, you could probably afford to take taxis for those few occasions, thus freeing up road space for people with real need to use a car. One of the lemmings heading for the cliff perhaps? (That myth about lemmings isn't true by the way).

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Not "complaining" Asp, merely explaining.  As you will know, there are formulae for the orderly evacuation of buildings, stadiums and ships etc, to maximise speed of movement to exits, without congestion. Same applies to our transport systems. This isn't a new problem; any situation involving mass movement will cause congestion; in ancient Rome; all service vehicles were restricted to night time deliveries, in order to allow pedestrianisation in the daytime. There is an answer; alas an unpalatable one.

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But you can do that Observer with roads, not everyone has to start work at 9am. Staggering opening times, of offices, schools and so on would ease congestion at peak times. If you want a efficient public transport then you need firstly to design one, then provide it at a reasonable rate. Simply sticking a few buses on the road and taxing people won't work. When I go skiing, I happily use the transport system, as within a short distance from a hotel there will be a bus stop, that will take you exactly were you want to go and it is free.

 

Maybe Stadiums, ships and buildings have a formula for speed of movement but local roads don't. Warrington has it's points of gridlock, over the Mersey, by the Hockhedge Centre for example, they have been there for years and nothing gets done to ease them.

 

Winwick Road (A49) seems to get a fresh set of traffic lights every few years

 

Sid, buying a car is cheap, you can get a decent car for £1000 and under. Running a car is not so cheap!

 

Do you not think 24 shopping eases traffic?

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Won't dispute your arguments Coffee, about flexible working hours, working from home with greater use of E-contact, re-locating public venues to main transport routes etc:  and as things get worse, I'm sure folk may accede to such change.; which may mitigate, but won't alter the inevitable. The principles involved in empting a stadium within a given time limit, thus enabling the calculation of safe maximum capacity can equally be applied to our road systems. A finite road infrastructure has a finite capacity and unless we move to double decker M/Ways and rail cars, we simply haven't the scope for increasing capacity without mass demolition and tarmacking. New roads simply fill up as soon as they're built; remember Midland Way; built as an "expressway" it was log jammed within months, exacerbated by the addition of access junctions (plus GS car park) and traffic lights onto it. The use of taxation as a tool for social engineering is well understood by drinkers and smokers, but may not find acceptance amongst drivers.

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Obs, if this is your opinion why do you still own and drive a car? Or do you belong to the socialist clique that believes such constrictions are only applicable to everyone else?

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Sid, buying a car is cheap, you can get a decent car for £1000 and under. Running a car is not so cheap!

 

Do you not think 24 shopping eases traffic?

Exactly buying a car is cheap, which is as far as most people go in their decision. "a car for a £1000 Bargain I will have it" it is as you say only afterwards that they realise that running one isn't.

 

24 hour shopping may ease traffic at peak times but still neccesiatate some form of transport and as busses don't run 24 hours that usually means a car. And once people have a car they tend to use it for all occasions as it is "more convebient that waiting for a bus".

 

Many years ago we had trams on set routes to take people where they wanted to go. Run on electric and less pollution at the point of use. then the car and bus started to take over. Now we are going back to trams and with oil and gas running low in teh future we may well be back to the horse and cart.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Had first use of the new services this morning. Peak time service so used to get the 18/18a. 29C turns up and takes us on a magical mystery tour round chapelford and then double backs on itself. 10 minute journey takes 20 mins. I think i was the only one who paid. Rest were on cards of various forms. 6 people in total on the bus at 8am.

 

Doesnt appear to have helped reinvigorate numbers from this snapshot.

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I'd still like any of the pro-bus/train lobby to explain to me exactly how I'm supposed to get from Lymm to work in Speke for 7am, to Birchwood for 6am, or to Fleetwood or Halifax for a 7am start - all of which I have to do on a regular basis - complete with 50 kilo toolcase, laptop bag, and my own bag with lunch etc. without simply getting into my car and going straight there whenever I need to.

 

And then back home finishing at 7pm, 10pm or 11pm - whatever finish time my shift pattern dictates - in good time to eat, shower, sleep, and be back at work for the same start time the following day.

 

Public transport just plain DON'T WORK for most people, most of the time. So it's time we stopped banging on about it and started providing the road space which car users both need and PAY FOR.

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I think it's fair to say Inky that modern work ethics & job opportunities have outgrown some aspects of public transport ....it is ok as long as you don't work too far from home & providing the public transport on offer is available when needed to suit the work force.

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