Friday, November 04, 2016

Roads to Nowhere?

Stagecoach in Swindon is rejigging routes, numbers and times in the regular merry-go-round of Swindon bus routes. Remember that Thamesdown passengers in East Swindon have seen their 1/1A in the last few years go to a split route number 2, rejoined to the 1/1A and restoring the link to West Swindon and recently again cut back to be it's own number 2 East Swindon-only service.

Merry-go-round indeed.

Stagecoach's changes which come in next week has already raised the hackles of Wroughton folk for rerouting the number 9 via Wharf Road (a dicey road if ever there was one), but it will service Waitrose and Wichelstowe, which is to be welcomed.

However, scant details on other routes and times seem to have gone unnoticed, but passengers in West Swindon are in for a shock as the 8 and 9 serving Freshbrook and Toothill are renumbered to the number 10, and continue from town to Kingsdown. 

It doesn't seem so bad, until you finally find a map and discover what's in store. The number 10 will run from town to Toothill, Freshbrook and then terminate at the Link Centre, returning to town via the same route.

You can see, on paper, at least, the sense of removing as many route miles as possible from the main roads, which at peak times, all over town, throw all operator's times into a cocked hat. But passengers will now find that whereas Freshbrook to town passengers will have a faster journey time to town (taken as Freshbrook Centre to the Bus Station, currently 27 minute weekday daytimes, changing to 22 minutes), their Toothill neighbours lose out. Journey times for Toothill passengers to the Link Centre will now more than double (taken as Toothill Village Tavern to Link Centre, currently 5 minutes, changing to 13 minutes). 

The frequency remains at every 10 minutes weekday daytimes, but all buses will now travel directly along Station Road to the Bus Station, abandoning Farnsby Street, Commercial Road, and Regent Circus. 

Is Stagecoach shooting itself in both feet? Once in Wroughton, and for good measure, once again in Freshbrook and Toothill?

1 comment:

komadori said...

I recall reading somewhere that circular services are often unpopular with passengers - they cause confusion, people wonder where the bus stops on the opposite side of the road for the return journey are. They also don't allow some journeys. For example anyone wanting to make the short return journey from one part of Freshbrook to the Freshbrook shops can't. (And I vaguely recall that observation being made in the pages of the Adver a few years ago.)

It will be interesting to see how Thamesdown Transport respond to competition for the Waitrose traffic - seven buses an hour between the two operators between Waitrose and the town centre seems rather generous.