Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Rail Replacement Safari - epilogueSounds familiar. Those of you who are members of the London Underground Railway Society might be interested in their next meeting but one, which will be on this very subject. Bus Replacement Services: Theory and Practice is the title, and it takes place on 8th March. The talk will be led by Dean Sullivan of Sullivan Buses (I rode a few of his at the weekend) and Phil Thornton of London Buses. How are routes determined? Who provides the buses? What does it all cost? Messrs Sullivan and Thornton will explain all (members only, but send a cheque or postal order and you too can be). And the good news - that's a Tuesday, so you won't have to arrive by rail replacement bus.
(and then I'll shut up, honest)
After posting about my weekend adventures I've received an email from somebody very high up in one of the companies that run rail replacement buses. One of the people contracted by London Underground to do the Hammersmith run, or the Barking run or whatever, and whose buses we ride around town in lieu of trains. Blimey. "Interesting read this morning about your experiences over the weekend," he begins. "I could perhaps pick up on a couple of points;""Destination Boards: For long running jobs such as the Jubilee line we try to fit buses with destination blinds. Unfortunately with the numerous variations the railway require, its pretty difficult to second guess potential displays when ordering blinds. Nonetheless we do have most Northern, Jubilee & Metropolitan line displays, plus the Hammersmith – Paddington Blinds. For a large operator like Metroline or First to do this, it would invariably lead to the potential loss of display space for their own routes."So there you go. If the replacement bus's blind doesn't already include "Canning Town" then, sorry, "Canning Town" can't be displayed. Which brings me onto the so-called solution, my bête noire..."So the window cards – there is currently a review underway to look at alternative ways of displaying this information. I agree in part with your point about the route lettering. Although it might seem a bit academic, but it does help drivers with route directions as this information is then repeated along the route in various places. The window cards are designed for special holders. Unfortunately to do this effectively every bus in London (around 7,000) would need to be fitted so as to eliminate the problem. Sadly supplies have now run out and the ones we have are slowly detaching themselves from the screen. With the limitations of supply on the window holders, this might well be the time to consider the actual shape and design to eliminate the hidden text as you describe."Those window cards were being flagrantly abused by many of the drivers I saw over the weekend, from all companies. Some shoved them on the left, some on the right, some straight, some at an angle. One attached it to his fare stage box, one unintentionally hid it behind a map, another had thrown what looked like a used tissue in front of it down the gap behind the windscreen. Several drivers didn't seem to have checked it was legible, others weren't displaying it at all. After dark it didn't matter where the card was, the destination was unclear. My photo shows a typical example from Sunday afternoon, taken outside Mile End station. The card is so badly designed that the final destination has disappeared out of sight off the bottom of the list. That's one stop short of Barking. These cards are surely no longer fit for purpose."Routeing: a major issue. LUL require buses to serve designated stops, in part due to safety or disability reasons, but mostly because passengers might not be able to find their way between the station and the stop. In addition passengers travelling to an intermediate stop might not recognise the locality and thereby miss their stop."It seems that rail replacement bus routes are a case of contractual 'join the dots', requested from on high, and if that means taking a convoluted twisty route from one station to the next then so be it.
Elsewhere on the net, inspired by my lunatic safari, a post has appeared from mysterious insider 'Another London Blog'. Here he/she details the reasons we need these rail replacement buses in the first place, and explains why the public doesn't like any of the possible options."Every weekend for months, and in some cases years, part of the line is closed. With the line closed for 50 hours, the engineers and labourers move in. Two hours are wasted setting everything up at the beginning. Two hours are wasted dismantling everything at the end. For working overnight, some of them are paid extra. For working at the weekend, some of them are paid extra. For working overnight at the weekend, some of them are paid extra. Although some ordering in bulk is possible, it’s not possible to buy everything the work will require over the whole year because warehouse space for that much stuff for that length of time is just too expensive. Economies of scale are lost. With the line closed for 50 hours, people who have been working all week now can’t leave the house to go and play. Gigs are missed. Pub gatherings are postponed to a weekend when the Tube’s working. Those who do venture out end up spending ages trying to work out which bus to get, and even longer on the damned thing. Businesses along the line are hard hit on every weekend of the year."
» My entire rail replacement safari on one page (for sadists)
Jan17 Feb17 Mar17 Apr17 May17 Jun17 Jul17 Aug17 Sep17 Oct17
Jan16 Feb16 Mar16 Apr16 May16 Jun16 Jul16 Aug16 Sep16 Oct16 Nov16 Dec16
Jan15 Feb15 Mar15 Apr15 May15 Jun15 Jul15 Aug15 Sep15 Oct15 Nov15 Dec15
Jan14 Feb14 Mar14 Apr14 May14 Jun14 Jul14 Aug14 Sep14 Oct14 Nov14 Dec14
Jan13 Feb13 Mar13 Apr13 May13 Jun13 Jul13 Aug13 Sep13 Oct13 Nov13 Dec13
Jan12 Feb12 Mar12 Apr12 May12 Jun12 Jul12 Aug12 Sep12 Oct12 Nov12 Dec12
Jan11 Feb11 Mar11 Apr11 May11 Jun11 Jul11 Aug11 Sep11 Oct11 Nov11 Dec11
Jan10 Feb10 Mar10 Apr10 May10 Jun10 Jul10 Aug10 Sep10 Oct10 Nov10 Dec10
Jan09 Feb09 Mar09 Apr09 May09 Jun09 Jul09 Aug09 Sep09 Oct09 Nov09 Dec09
Jan08 Feb08 Mar08 Apr08 May08 Jun08 Jul08 Aug08 Sep08 Oct08 Nov08 Dec08
Jan07 Feb07 Mar07 Apr07 May07 Jun07 Jul07 Aug07 Sep07 Oct07 Nov07 Dec07
Jan06 Feb06 Mar06 Apr06 May06 Jun06 Jul06 Aug06 Sep06 Oct06 Nov06 Dec06
Jan05 Feb05 Mar05 Apr05 May05 Jun05 Jul05 Aug05 Sep05 Oct05 Nov05 Dec05
Jan04 Feb04 Mar04 Apr04 May04 Jun04 Jul04 Aug04 Sep04 Oct04 Nov04 Dec04
Jan03 Feb03 Mar03 Apr03 May03 Jun03 Jul03 Aug03 Sep03 Oct03 Nov03 Dec03
Jan02 Feb02 Mar02 Apr02 May02 Jun02 Jul02 Aug02 Sep02 Oct02 Nov02 Dec02