Monthly Archives: March 2008

Megabus luggage policy

This is something which causes both drivers and passengers equal aggravation. You’ll notice in the ‘Megabus mentions in other blogs’ above that this guy is unhappy with the luggage allowance interpretation. In this case the customer is in the US where the Megabus luggage policy, taken from the website, is “Passengers are advised that megabus.com will accept up to one piece of luggage per passenger. For guidance this should be no more than the size of a standard suitcase and should not weigh more than 50 pounds”. The problem is what is the size of a standard suitcase? And what is meant by size? A snowboard may be longish in one direction but it’s thin and narrow – the volume should be less than the ‘standard size’ suitcase limit. If one driver wants to interpret the vague luggage policy as saying the longest dimension of the item mustn’t exceed the longest dimension of a non-defined ‘standard suitcase’ then they’ll refuse the board. If another driver takes the view that it will take up no more space, by volume, than a suitcase then they’ll let it on! The UK luggage policy is the same apart from metrification of the weight limit to 20Kgs. It would be much easier for everyone if Megabus were to define this notional standard suitcase as ‘X’ x ‘Y’ x ‘Z’ inches/cm and allow its volumetric equivalent.

In the US the hand luggage policy is pretty clear “Passengers can also take on board one small piece of luggage that will fit in the overhead storage compartment”. If only it were that clear in the UK. The UK policy is “Passengers can also take on board one piece of hand luggage up to the size of a small to medium sized hold-all”. This is so vague as to be useless. Why say a ‘small to medium’ bag? If a medium one is allowed on there seems no point to saying a small one is allowed on! Personally, I adopt the American policy even though I drive in the UK! When passengers have larger rucksacks, holdalls etc. than I think reasonable I tell them that it’s fine if they can get it into the overhead locker, otherwise it goes into the hold. There are two reason for trying to control the amount of hand luggage – it’s often piled on the seat next next to the passenger as a method of trying to keep the seat empty and thus deprive other passengers of being able to sit where they wish. And secondly I don’t want lots of loose luggage flying around inside the bus in the case of an accident. Passengers are required by law to wear seat belts so they don’t fly around, luggage should be equally constrained in the overhead lockers.

New Megabus routes

It appears that there are quite a number of new routes about to start. The ‘Leaving from’ drop down on the Megabus bookings website has new locations. Here are some of them together with the ‘Travelling to’ possibilites:-

Bath – London
Cambridge – Oxford
Havant – London
Salisbury – London
Wembley – Barnsley
Derby – London
Honiton – London
Loughborough – London
Manchester – South Coast
Newquay – Exeter, Plymouth, London
Nottingham – London
Poole – London
Weymouth – London

These routes can’t be booked yet so how they will operate is not clear. For example leaving from Poole only offers London as a destination. Leaving from Bournemouth (it’s joined on to Poole) offers London, Birmingham, Manchester etc. so this latter route appears to be an extended journey for the existing South Coast to Birmingham bus. Similarly Havant (right alongside Portsmouth) only offers London and not all the other destinations possible from Portsmouth.

I guess there may be some errors on the website. From Wembley to only one destination, Barnsley, looks very odd. Ah, I’ve just noticed that it’s a special for the FA Cup semi-final so maybe the above list is accurate.

Birmingham buses

The Birmingham Megabus stop is in The Priory Queensway. Every time I arrive there I’m amazed at the number of buses which use this stretch of road. On Friday I arrived early so got myself a cup of coffee and then counted buses :-( But only for ten minutes which saw 35 buses pass me, this equates to 210 buses per hour. It was around 11:00am on a weekday morning, I wondered if there would more per hour during peak times?

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The vast majority of buses were Travel West Midlands, followed by Diamond Bus and then Claribels. It has always been apparent to me that there is a fourth operator but I can’t identify them. The buses don’t have either a name or a livery style/colour! The common factor to the buses of this fourth operator are that they are old and look very tatty! Then, on Friday a bus appeared which met the criteria of belonging to this fourth operator, execpt it carried a name – Midland Rider. Is this a fifth operator? Or, is that the name of the fourth operator?

Duty from hell day again

Yes, 193!

A car park user got onto the P+R bus and I asked how many passengers they had. “Why do you want to know that”? “Because they need tickets printed for each of them so they don’t get charged on the return trip” I explained. “Is this something new”? “It’s been like that as long as I’ve driven the P+R service, which is two years”. “Oh, it was longer ago than that when I last used it”. God knows why she asked if this ticketing was something new if she’d not been on a P+R bus for years!

Several times the bell rang about 50 yards past a stop. Before the stop it didn’t ring, before the stop no one raised themselves off the seat, before the stop they didn’t collectively think hard enough for telepathy to work. So how was I to know?

Twice I was offered £20 notes for the 40p fare between stops in town. Few people use a P+R bus like this, to the extent that my takings in 4 hours were £1.60 so how the devil can I change £20 notes? If I’d been able to give change totaling £39.20 I’d have taken £2.40 in total!

Plus the usual hijackings of the bus by, most often, the wife. Stands just inside the door of the bus saying “My husbands just parking the car” leaving unspoken the thought “you can’t drive off with me stood by the door”. You don’t think so :-)

Council Tax Bill

My Council Tax Bill arrived today and the Hampshire Police Authority element of it is up by 8.1% against last year! I feel quite angry about it – see my postings from 14 February and 15 February. I never did manage to speak to them, giving up after being in a queue for some time. By the time a week had passed I realised that I was banging my head on a brick wall in trying to get them on the ‘phone – we could describe the hooligan, a local shopkeeper who’d seen it even knew the hooligan’s name! And now they want 8.1% more money!! That will be 8.1% on top of the speeding fines they collect on Lances Hill. Lances Hill is the main road out of Southampton going eastwards, it’s dual carriageway with a barrier in the centre and some of the side has railings. Yet the speed limit is 30mph and one of the many speed cameras will book you (well, me actually) for doing 36mph at 06:30 on a summer Sunday morning. Thanks, that’s another 60 quid in the fund.

Today’s storm

This is Brighton beach around 1:00pm

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I really struggled to get any picture, first problem was simply crossing the road to the sea front. I’m less aerodynamic than a brick and it took real effort walking into the wind! I actually had to lean forward and use every muscle just to move. Second problem was that it was raining, I didn’t know that water could hurt so much. The rain drops hitting my face felt like lead pellets fired from a shot gun.