Sunday, January 25, 2015

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 252


Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. No it's misty, that's not smoke.

9. In the interview she kept referring to KPIs, all I could think of was KP nuts.

8. I've not had these crisps since you could buy them in the canteen.

7. He's got crap all over his desk, their apartment must be like a tip.

6. What an undercut, knobber.

5. No the other side, over where you'd turn off for Eldene, he lives there, but it's a lot bigger than you'd imagine, you could park a tank on his front drive.

4. Too me ages to look like this, I tried on four pairs of trousers.

3. He wanted to keep things casual, so I've not seen him for a week.

2. Try to keep it to yourself, but I'm leaving after the next set of sales results.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. Can you remember a time where you didn't care about your iPhone?

Overheard something we've missed? Then email swindoncentric@gmail.com or leave a comment and your phrase could make it onto next weeks list!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 251


Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. You smell of bacon.

9. Give me that back you thieving thief.

8. I tapped, unwrapped and then felt massively guilty.

7. I keep my ID badge in the same pocket as my minstrels, pastels, and weight watchers card.

6. Have a merry new year, or whatever it is.

5. That's exactly why when you asked me to come over, I pretended to be fixing the fridge.

4. I posted it on Facebook, no-one could be arsed to comment on it, so I've gone off grid.

3. Talking of Fiona, how long did you know her before she started to be a cow?

2. There he is, look, there, now!

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. I play 1, 2, 6, 7, 18, 19 and 49, never won a single thing.

Overheard something we've missed? Then email swindoncentric@gmail.com or leave a comment and your phrase could make it onto next weeks list!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 250


Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. You can't, there's cameras.

9. If she wants me to work she'll have to really get it together, I'm not standing in the cold holding a tray again.

8. No, this does usually go that way, but the road's shut, so it's going back the way it use to go before I dyed my hair.

7. I've got one more of these, two hours off, then, who knows.

6. But it's what I'm truly passionate about, I just love Twitter.

5. He's newly divorced, but I think it's going to be good, I mean he can spend more time with his girlfriend now.

4. Don't think that gives you the right to do and say what you want just because I'm not with you.

3. There's little doubt in my mind that we're on the wrong bus.

2. I can't call him, what would I say? "Hi, I saw your arms on a poster at work and want you to hold me with them"?

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. I never go upstairs, I'm always worried the height and motion will make me seasick, plus stairs never agree with me.

Overheard something we've missed? Then email swindoncentric@gmail.com or leave a comment and your phrase could make it onto next weeks list!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Why Swindon's Mayor Needs to Go Now


The council has reported that the Mayor of Swindon needs to apologise for his comments and undergo training.

The Mayor has responded Mayor has responded by saying he shouldn't have used a word and will consider his position.

The mayoral position is usually a ceremonial one, with the post being a 'first citizen' that represents the people of a town to the wider world on official occasions.

The individual chosen is representing every single person in Swindon, from worried Honda employers, demoralised council workers, teachers in schools, retired Plessey folk, the 18 year old who's desperate for work, to the new family that have moved to Swindon because it seemed like a decent place.

That person needs to have conduct of the highest order, to be fair, tolerant, passionate, respectful, sociable, and to have the deepest of respect for the people of Swindon.

Does that describe Mayor Nick Martin?

He needs to go for the sake of the civic pride of our town.


Saturday, March 01, 2014

Swindon Political Sense Takes a Walk In The (Lydiard) Park


Swindon Labour claim Swindon Borough Council may be about to sell off Lydiard Park

Swindon Conservatives claim that's entirely false.

This Swindon Borough Council document proves that the ownership status of Lydiard Park (along with Steam, Stanton Park, Coate Water and the Platform) is up in the air in an effort to make them pay their way.

Swindon Centric Says : Is the ownership of Swindon's Crown Jewels a line that simply cannot be crossed for some politicians, Tory, Labour or Lib Dem? Looks like we're about to find out.

Will Swindon's May election be won or lost on who will not sell Lydiard?

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Partnership Working - The Sop for Swindon's Budget Cuts


Whether it's the Big Conversation, or the One Swindon Partnership, Swindon Borough Council seems eager to keep making a lot of getting by with very little.


In the run-up to the 2010 General Election, much was made of how government departments and agencies would need to work closer, sharing budgets, staff, equipment and more as budget cuts were coming. This policy was embraced strongly by Swindon Borough Council with both arms, as they rushed to work out how to save £15 million from one year to the next. Much was made of moving the council towards just being an 'enabler' (which sounds creepy) that would let contracts to companies to do all the jobs the local authority had previously carried out.

Another main plank was getting departments of the council, it's 'partners' (mainly it's hugely contracted-to-do-everything Capita and Swindon Commercial Services) and even, in the longer term, other neighbouring local authorities, to work in partnership to provide service and projects.

It seems even nearly 4 years later, if the word 'partnership' can be tacked onto anything, no matter how unnecessary the service or project, it's elevated to a solid level of respectability. However there's a big problem that's now being hit and that's money.

Getting departments and organisations to get to know each other and build up local knowledge is fine and should be encouraged, but trying to squeeze the same amount of productivity as pre-2010 from a council that has mostly part-time staff, tiny departments and have lost much of their local knowledge is trying to simply deny the simple truth.

If you want greater productivity and a council that plans properly for the future, we need to spend money on it. Otherwise all that'll be left is a person manning a telephone desk and a warehouse full of orange paint.

Are their any councillors arguing for investment into council manpower? Strategies and partnerships don't empty the bins.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Swindon's Buses : Our Local Councillors' Political Panic Room


If you catch the bus in Swindon, whether it's Stagecoach, Thamesdown, Wilts and Dorset, or even National Express, you may not have realised that your method of transport has become a political safe ground for the town's politicians.

Since the reduction in bus subsidy locally by Swindon Borough Council and the reduction in the Bus Service Operator Grant, the attitude of councillors towards this method of transport has become something to observe.

But even back in May 2010, we got an early warning of what was to come in terms of councillors attitude (http://swindoncentric.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/omnibus-obfuscation.html).

However, after the cutting of carparking charges in the town centre and the rise in people walking through the town centre, those two events were linked as cause and effect. Something that was not taken into account included businesses taking car parking spaces for their employees (that would also show up as a 'shopper' in the council view of things, with an office worker walking past the cameras recording the numbers whilst doing their Monday to Friday '9 to 5') and the number of 'shoppers' traveling to and from the town centre by bus (or indeed train).

Why was the effect of bus travel on town centre footfall not distinguished? It could be the love-hate relationship that Swindon Borough Council appear to have with their own bus company, Thamesdown Transport. Don't forget, the council own Thamesdown Transport. Love, because in the good times, it can generate a welcomed income for the council and the fallback is always available of selling TT if things get really bad and we build even more roads to nowhere at Wichelstowe and we suddenly have to really pay for them. And hate because councillors can (and indeed have been doing a lot recently) of faux outrage when TT announce a proposed change to a bus route to keep themselves in the black. 

These route changes wouldn't be needed if Swindon Borough Council hadn't decided to cut it's bus subsidy in half from £400,000 to £200,000 to balance it's books. What's made worse is that councillors continue to play politics as they 'battle' to save services that everyone knows don't have a hope in hell's chance of lasting commercially because there aren't enough passengers.

But instead of explaining that the only way to keep them running is to put council subsidy into them, councillors rally against the bus companies (including Thamesdown, which the council and therefore every single taxpayer in Swindon owns) and blame the big bad bus companies!

So once and for all, Swindon councillors, stop cutting bus subsidies for unprofitable routes and then blaming the bus company when they can't make it pay it's way with a handful of passengers a day and need to close it.

The town, it's bus passengers and especially all those staff at Thamesdown Transport deserve better transport politics than using the bus as your political safe ground.