Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Southern Vectis blog

Yesterday’s post about the Purple Bus Blog reminded me that perhaps I should remove the Blogroll link to the Southern Vectis Bus company blog which rarely had anything added to it. I clicked on the link one final time just to confirm that it was still moribund and discovered that it’s sprung into life again!

I found a charming post from 26 October which included, amongst other things, the revised Route 8 timetable being dedicated to Mrs Mary Ward of Bembridge ‘for continually nagging’ about its timing problems!

The most recent posting is about their new ERG TP5000 (I think I’ve mentioned those before !) ticket machines which are being introduced in 2 weeks time. Tellingly they wrote ‘The first phase has been a ‘re-zoning’ of our current bus stops which took place last week to create a manageable number of point to point (or rather zone to zone) fares for the new system.’ In order to reduce the number of key presses required to issue a ticket?

Purple Bus Blog

The Velvet Bus blog was finally declared dead at 12:33 today. However, as they say when the reigning monarch dies ‘The King is dead, long live the King’ and so it is with Phil Stockley’s blog. The successor to the Velvet Bus Blog is the Purple Bus Blog. The first post explains the reason behind the shift to a new blog. At first the reason seemed logical, but then I began to wonder how a bus blog, openly written by someone who is the MD of a bus company with purple liveried buses, wont be seen as at least ‘endorsed’ by the Velvet Bus company if not ‘official’. Anyway, the good thing is that Phil is posting about buses again. I wish the Purple Bus Blog all the best.

Post number two, I bet he doesn’t keep up two posts a day for long :-), mentions that Velvet Bus tickets can now be purchased using a mobile ‘phone. There is also a link to where it says ‘You can buy weekly and monthly passes using My Mobile Tickets as well on-demand daily tickets by text at lower costs than buying on the bus.’

During the time I drove for Megabus hardly a day went by without someone boarding and then saying that their mobile battery had gone flat so they couldn’t display their ticket reference, or that they’d inadvertently deleted the text. In each case a phone call had to be made to Megabus control and the ticket number obtained from the information provided by the intending passenger. Mostly it was genuine and they had paid for a seat but sometimes no record of a booking could be found! I wonder how bus companies like Velvet handle similar situations, it is totally impractical for a ‘regular’ bus driver to have to call control each time someone can’t show their electronic ticket for one reason or another.

Unilink Buses

I wrote about visiting my son in Scotland a few days ago, to get there I flew Flybe from Southampton Airport. Essy wasn’t able to drop me off, nor collect me from the airport so I was going to use a taxi. But then I remembered that Unilink buses run to the airport. A quick check showed that the service runs every 10 minutes at the times I wanted. I’d not used Unilink before but to get to the airport they’re great with the airport stop being right at the Departures entrance door.

As the bus drove to the airport I began to become quite envious of the driver – ticket issuing didn’t take any time at all. I would estimate that 80% of the passengers had smart cards which they simply laid on the ticket machine for a moment before being cleared. If the driver did have to sell a ticket it was either £2 for any length single journey or £3 for a day ticket. Apart from being able to issue the ticket with only 2 key presses (key presses being the bane of the Stagecoach TP5000 ticket machine) there was very little time spent counting out change, if change were needed it was always in whole pounds).

Congratulations, Dr Loades

I’ve just returned from Scotland as very proud father after my son’s graduation. He has a Master of Science degree from Southampton University and now a Doctorate from Dundee University. If “Quantifying soil reinforcement by fibrous roots” interests you then he’s your man :-)

Another bus fire

It isn’t long ago that I wrote about bus fires and now we have another one! And lightning has struck twice in the same place …. not exactly the same place, but the same bus company. This fire was on a road which is also serviced by Stagecoach on our Winchester to Salisbury route, the one I drive daily.

Wheelers Coaches

I’m naming the company but it’s one of their driver’s that I really would like to name and shame. He drives the Wheeler’s coach which passes through Crawley (near Winchester) around 16:00 on a school run. He’s the most arrogant, objectionable driver it’s ever been my misfortune to encounter. This week I met him head on in a section through the village where it’s impossible to pass due to parked cars. No problem, I was nearer to a wider section so selected reverse and backed up for about 50 metres. He then drove by without a thank you, a wave, or even a glance in my direction. The previous week I’d seen him coming toward me outside of the village where the lane is still narrow but you can pass if one of you pulls over tight to the verge. Yes, it was me who pulled over so that he could sail past with neither a thank you nor an acknowledgement.