Bus decline accelerates

A ‘SHOCKING’ rate of decline in the number of bus passengers, with a fall every month this year, needs to be a wake-up call to turn the service around, the Bus Users Group has said.

A ‘SHOCKING’ rate of decline in the number of bus passengers, with a fall every month this year, needs to be a wake-up call to turn the service around, the Bus Users Group has said.

Group co-ordinator Fergus Dunlop said 2013 would be ‘make-or-break’ for operator CT Plus, which took over in April.

Latest figures released by the Environment Department showed that there were approaching 80,000 fewer journeys between 1 January and 31 November compared to the same period last year.

There were 1,416,936 passengers this year, while 1,495,478 used the service in 2011.

This includes declines of 8.7% and 5.9% for October and November compared to the same time last year, although CT Plus introduced a new timetable with a stronger focus on commuters.

Comments for: "Bus decline accelerates"

PLP

Blaming CT Plus is far too simplistic - at the moment a comprehensive "all singing all dancing" bus service is not viable no matter who the operator is. The reality is that many islanders simply prefer to use their cars and will continue to do so unless it becomes prohibitive, either in terms of cost or convenience.

I use the bus service reasonably frequently and don't have a problem 90% of the time. I do wonder whether CT Plus has become a convenient scapegoat for a disjointed traffic strategy that is little more than the occasional "bike to work day" and the all too regular paid parking debates in the States.

Alex Cross

A decade later and the buses are still far too big...

notsostoopid

Maybe if people could understand the timetable like the last one, and maybe if buses were on time, then people would travel on them. It is too unreliable at the moment, its hit or miss when your waiting at a bus stop, might as well walk.

Ed

It is in this kind of situation that rudimentary investigation techniques are of most avail. The most recommended, in my view, would be questionnaires whereby respondents would be invited to put forward their views with concern to the current state of affairs and how the service could be enhanced. This may, however, entail asking the recipients about the workers and whether or not their performance is up to scratch- something that could, unfortunately, act as a catalyst for further ill feelings towards CT Plus and thus precipitate a further hue and cry.

Ed

Anyway, I sincerely believe that the behaviour of the drivers has not improved. I can recall one swerving around a corner and then speeding down the lane- the ignoramus is oblivious to the fact that his injudicious behaviour may have caused a tragedy to occur. Never mind, it is impossible to transform the attitude of certain individuals- a leopard never changes its spots and a crab will never be made to walk straight.

bcb

You seem very fond of that word (ignoramus) often quoting it. Maybe you could dig out another one to keep us in awe of you astounding use of the English lanuage.

Come on Ed lets have some new words we can look up.

Mr Lloyd

I'm suprised that you had to look up Ignoramus! :p

bcb

I didn`t but i will admit to looking up :p. :-)

Sarnia expat

I agree with you Ed. I had a nice email back from the lady in charge, when we complained about the attitude of the driver in question. It was apparently our fault really, as the gentleman drivers first language is not English and therefore dosent understand he had to say please and thank you. I know many non-Guerns who have perfect manners. It is unfortunate that some of the bus drivers have not been taught the basics.

I dont necessariy think that the fares are too high, as has been suggested. All we want is a bus service that runs on time and is reliable, at the moment, it is not.

If the powers that be really want us to leave our cars at home, then either introduce huge paid parking fees, or simply ban cars altogether.

Car Driver

What do they expect, rubbish service, rubbish times, early finishes every night. The decline will continue. The States will just sit back though.....Shambolic at best. Still, I will be ok in my car...vroom vroom

Backchat

Using vehicles that are totally unsuitable for our roads is never going to work really, daily crashes go against trying to run to a timetable.

If the correct vehicles had been purchased in the first place maybe things would have been different.

When they first entered service the increase in cars being forced to mount the pavement was very noticeable, now we just accept it, even having a small car ideal for Island driving doesn't stop you having to mount the pavement.

Now walking is no-where near as enjoyable as it used to be, the pavement being a far more dangerous place.

When first reports came out from the previous operator that they were at the end of their service life and needed replacing (due to the huge number of breakdowns), I only hoped that someone had the sense to replace them with something suitable for the Island, but unfortunately now we are told they are fine and have years of use left in them.

Surely now there must be more than one person in the States that realises it was a huge mistake to buy and operate such a vehicle?

John

The trouble is there is no pro-active States support for public transport. It can’t be easy for a bus operator when car ownership is so cheap compared to the UK with no VAT or road tax or in London the congestion charge. I’m not anti-car as I drive myself but where’s the incentive for travelling by bus for the hassle of waiting in the rain for a bus that may be delayed or not turn up. The bus terminal in town is a joke too. There should be a strategy to upgrade or replace it. There aren’t many things I prefer about Jersey but the bus service and terminal is one of them.

Ed

Education on being a civilized,courteous human being is a major prerequisite for these ill-bred drivers. I think that it is laughable for the company manager to remark that the discourteous and insolent are few and far between.

PLP

Sorry Ed but in my experience the bus drivers are generally courteous - some are down right friendly. Occasionally one may come across as a little bit surly but is it really surprising?

It must take a fair amount of skill and concentration to pilot one of those blatantly oversized vehicles around our little roads. Try doing it for 8 hours a day (or however long they work) with people moaning at you all the time - often for things outside their control - and then let me know if you feel like giving a cheery smile.

Pete Modules

Ed, with perhaps a few more years under your belt you will have a better understanding of your fellow man but until then why not immerse yourself in your homework and leave the grown-up things to the rest of us? Calling the drivers "ill bred" is both bl**dy rude and, as you don't actually know them, probably highly inaccurate. I suggest there are those in the sixth form who are not only discourteous and insolent but also sadly lacking in common manners.

Neil Forman

Ed

I used to work with all of these " Ill-bred " drivers. You need to make an apology here! Try doing their job when faced with people with an attitude like yourself day in and day out.

The company managers' remark is very true.

Sarnia expat

Trouble is Neil, that bus drivers are performing a public service and being paid to do so. One expects a certain level of courteousness, and unfortunately they don't always deliver properly. Oh, and give

Ed a break. It is all too easy to make cheap shots at the younger generation, and just shows the older generation up somewhat. Just because a lot of people on here are the wrong side of 50 doesn't give them more brains than someone in their late teens, it just means they have shuffled through life a little longer thats all.

Spartacus

Lets all make a new year resolution to actually use the bus service rather than just complaining about it. If we all went out and bought oyster cards and resolved to leave our cars at home whenever possible increased usage would improve profitability, consumer demand would lead to improvements in the service. With increased takings there might then be scope to develop a service with more routes using mini buses and perhaps an upward spiral would develop from there. OR alternatively we can just continue to complain and do nothing for another year, and another, ad infinitum.

Backchat

I thought the tax on fuel was hovering around the 50 pence a litre mark, be interesting if we did all leave our cars at home and took the bus for a year!

Spartacus

Hmm, it would require lateral thinking. They might even have to introduce paid parking to make up the shortfall. They might have to increase vehicle tax and double it for cars of a certain size. Mind you if the bus service was efficient and fit for purpose people might be willing to pay more than £1.

Ultimately they need to figure out what we all want to achieve and I cannot see how dependency on an ever increasing number and size of personal vehicles is going to be sustainable in the long term, especially if our population is going to grow, which it will.

Toby

I fail to see how buying travel cards for London is going to help matters ....

Spartacus

Ha ha! Oyster/Ormer same thing eh? My bad.

Phil

Who's ever heard of a land oyster?

Chris

There are pros and cons here

Laurence, Abdul, Carlos, Malcom , Marco are all funny guys doing a good job fighting unruly kids on the school run, diversions the new drives have no clue about, ticket machines that invariable need a reboot often and not forgetting the traffic and the cows coming out of the gate. Sure they can be aggressive but no more than some truck and van drivers. I always stop, make the bus stop then mount the kerb. Then signal the driver with a friendly gesture. It's not the drivers fault the buses are too big. The route they are put on means the roads are too narrow. Maybe a new route system using main roads only might be better.

However in my opinion the killer blow was last year when they put the prices up substantially to £1 per journey. Before that it was 50p I recall.

That is the sole reason for the decline.

Cheers Abdul ! (and to the Duty Inspector)

PS - it's really not funny when they try to run you off the road when going north off north beach roundabout when it's the rush hour. That happens so many times I reckon it's deliberate.

PLP

Chris - if you buy an Ormer card you can still get 50p per journey. It also saves you having to fiddle around with change.

SSRatepayer

The decline was so severe that there were no journeys made at all on 31 November.

PLP

There were some on the 29 February though :-)

blogger

If the buses actually turned up when they were supposed to it would help. On numerous occasions members of my family have been late for college, appointments etc. because of the non-appearance of a bus.

Making driving more expensive would penalise those of us that have no choice but to drive due to the nature of our jobs.

Rustylink

Isn't it time to realise Busses cannot provide a universal service, even with a large subsidy.

Dolmuch Shared-Cabs are an obvious solution for some aspects of our transport problems and can be provided limited start up money frm a sharply reduced bus subsidy.

A central coodination service ocould also be provided for a new approach to a 'liberated' shared car/cab service that cld operate from door ro door for a fixed price per seat.

In principle there is no reason to continue avoiding the financial and transport implications of the expensive rovision of 'free; parking.

rosie

Rustylink.

Have you drawn up a proposal for your Dolmuch idea and sent it into the Environment Dept to be looked at by those who are working on the revised Transport Strategy? You are often mentioning it and if there is real merit in the idea it would be worth your presenting the concept on paper so that it can be properly evaluated. I for one would be interested in seeing exactly how you envisage it working. It sounds interesting.

rosie

Our public transport service should be of a standard that choosing NOT to own a car would not make you a second class citizen. With the cost of living rising and predicted to get progressively worse, investing capital into a fleet of cars for every adult in the family becomes increasingly unrealistic.

An increase in public transport use would decrease the number of vehicles on the road which in itself would encourage more people to walk and cycle so helping to reduce the problems associated with inactivity which we are being told is becoming an increasingly problematic health issue.

Backchat

Rosie

Yes completely agree that is the way forward,

I unfortunately would still have to use my car because I work shifts.

rosie

Backchat.

Most of us have legitimate reasons to use a car for some journeys. It is the overuse of them that is the problem. If we are honest with ourselves, the vast majority of us could admit to regularly making journeys that could perfectly well be done on a bike or our feet, or public transport if the service was more frequent.

Ed

Pete Modules

Yes, what I did say was rude and I can now see the error in my ways. But I will still continue to participate in these discussions as I can still juggle the 'homework' ( it's how called independent study).

Jay

The decline is not the fault of CT Plus but is more likely the changing demographics with those previously more likely to use the buses having/being able to afford a car.

As a car driver I do not use the buses and would not, due to the cost (I already own, insure and maintain a vehicle so fuel is a small additional cost) and the other passengers! A view which is reinforced by some of the comments here. Like most things you get the service you deserve. Perhaps being a more agreeable passenger will get you the cheery smile etc.

perhaps the silver lining to this story is with falling passenger numbers perhaps we will get the smaller busses that are more appropriate for Guernsey roads (what idiot of a civil servant agreed they were suitable and approved them).

valeite

Long ago when I worked in St Peter Port we had a robust bus service and very reliable too, but suddenly the company decided to strike and it went on for a while, it was very unstable so more amd more people of all ages decided they had to learn to drive, and I am afraid that signified the end of the reliable bus service we then knew, and it never recovered fully. The same has happened now, buses cancelled at the drop of a hat, arriving late or not at all and the price hike to a £1.00 on all journeys, what is that all about, how can you justify a £1.00 from town to the Longstore when the woman next to me is travelling around the whole island for the same fare, fair it is not.Some drivers charge a £1.00 for my 3 year old grandaughter, some do not, inconsistency is not what is needed,as they say in Dragons Den, I'm out.

Ed

bcb

Are you saying that you want me to enlighten you to further whimsical words ?

Well, here's a bunch:

Pusillanimous- cowardly

Yclept- called

Crepuscular- dim

Photo-autotroph- an organism that requires light in order to produce its food

Deseutude- idleness

Pseudomonas- denitrifying bacteria

Coruscate- sparkle

Alacrity- eagerness

Ed

( there are more )

Ed

Rustylink

I applaud the sentiment behind this initiative, not merely because it is a novel attempt to manoeuvre ourselves out of an unfavourable situation, but since it is conducive towards climate change mitigation also. Perhaps you ought to somehow notify the States of this innovative enterprise. More importantly, if this sort of lateral thinking was applied by government members, perhaps the local political machine would be able to avert future quandaries.

nikkers

I am a tradesman and my tools and trailer will not go on a bus, beyond work I use a bike alot but I ,like many others with tools, cannot use the bus.

perhaps a Z van system like in Barbados(the island not the awful nightspot). These mini-buses travel one route back and forth, people flag them down and pay a small rate then jump off when they like. The vanscould run the main routes, no large buses, jobs for the drivers. Just an idea, I lived in Barbados for a few years and took the zvans everywhere it worked well.

Ed

A further example of an innovative, rather sophisticated transport system, which could ( with a considerable amount of effort and perhaps a radical change to one's livelihood though) be recreated in Guernsey is the Integrated Transport Link in Curitiba, Brazil. For a low-middle income nation, Brazil is certainly forward-thinking with concern to environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Ed

Then again, it is quite unlikely that in a place as parochial as Guensey concepts with a taint of radicalism would be met with alacrity.

Peter

Drop the price of fares to .50p If the bus service has to be subsidised then introduce paid parking on the pier! But I suppose because revenue on fuel is a cash cow the more vehicles on the road equals more revenue.

Whereas cheap bus fares equal large expenditure and less income. Surely the good of the public comes first before the balance of the books? After all the money collected is for the people of Guernsey or is there an alternative motive for hording money at the tax payers expense?

becks

Today I drove past the bus stop on The Bridge, St Sampsons and noticed two ladies waiting in the shelter for a Town bus.

I went to the CO-OP Supermarket and did my shopping without rushing, got back in my car and drove past the same bus stop half an hour later and the Queue behind these same two ladies had grown to about 15 people.

I haven`t checked but this is THE route between St Sampsons and Town and if people have to stand, in the cold and damp, and wait then I, for one, am definitely going to continue using my car.

Larger buses should be run every 15 minutes on Main Routes and smaller buses used on country routes at least every 30 minutes.

Regular checks should also be made on time keeping and drivers customers relationships.

Maybe, and only MAYBE, I would then consider using the service.

rosie

becks. Good post. This clearly illustrate why the bus service is not fulfilling it's role if the frequency, even between the 2 main urban hubs requires such long waits. It's ludicrous. It is in all our interests that public transits improve and their uptake increases.

Your suggestion that the larger buses run every 15 mins on the main arterial routes, with smaller buses plying the smaller lanes and feeding into the larger system is worthy of serious consideration.

Whatever it takes to reduce car numbers on the roads.

Goe Bloggs

Open it up to free enterprise and let anybody bid for each route. Obviously parameters would have to be place. Then Good service would attract custom at no cost to the taxpayer. More taxi plates should be issued also as we have clearly not got enough plate holders willing to work when needed.

Rufus

In other news the lobby groups ask why the decline in typewriter use. Get over it, Guernsey folk will never use the bus service.

Buses don't work in Guernsey, the weather is bad and we don't have the culture like the euros

Sara Thompson

Agree with @Rufus. When I was young, and the island was a much poorer place, the bus ruled.

But then there were no big supermarkets and my gran used to go to the Markets every week to buy fish, meat and veg.

The world has changed, life has changed. Shops are open almost 24/7. Buses are irrelevant and about time we stopped throwing money at them.

If paid parking is introduced, what is left of Town, and there isn't much, will go.

And that will be just another tax on the population and there are enough of those as it is.

A.J.

Reduce the fares. Reduce the size of most of the buses. Reduce the Population.make motorists who park for more than one hour on recognised carparks, pay!

Ed

Now I am beginning to believe that CT Plus ( and other bus services) are out of place both temporally and geographically. In the Western World, buses are a symbol of a bygone era wherein the proletariat lacked the financial capacities for purchasing their own cars and the bourgeois were few and far between. Likewise, large buses are incongruous to the Guernsey environment as the infrastructure is unsuitable for them, which makes the buses appear awkward when they are in motion. Furthermore, the interests of islanders are not compatible wi those of a bus service because the latter is designed to accommodate people travelling long distances whereas the distance between locations in Guernsey is relatively short and so people, rather than aboarding a bus, will be prone to opt for their own transport or even walk as it is of greater convenience for them.

rosie

Our new Transport Strategy will hopefully aim to meet the transportation needs of ALL people rather than continuing our past focus on accommodating those with private cars. Much as we might each like to drive wherever and whenever we like, the size of our population, the number of cars on the road now means that there are too many adverse consequences to doggedly continue down that path. I think that we are going to have to become much more selfless in the way we move about the island.

Some sort of public transport system will be crucial in achieving a more equitable and balanced transport system. If CT Plus can't make it work then maybe we need to re-negotiate with ICW or look into Rustylinks dolmush idea.

Transport strategies of the past 50 years have been notable by their lack of foresight and also lack of respect for Guernsey's unique environment.

Scarlett

Seriously, Rosie, what 'new transport strategy'?

Where's the solid evidence they've done anything more than talk about it?

Please, show me where it's being implemented and what the results are, and I will willingly be convinced.

Ed

What about the Curitiba idea ! ? Or can't anyone be bothered to actually read it !

rosie

Scarlet. What new Transport Strategy? The one that is being promised to us this year from the Environment Dept. They are consulting interested parties on it now I believe.

Deputy Domaille has promised a strategy based on 'evidence'. There is plenty of evidence to show that our present transport policy encourages driving and that the dominance of cars on our roads is causing secondary adverse effects that need addressing. I don't deny that it is going to be a really prickly issue to deal with, but deal with it we must. I think Guernsey has been unbelievably stupid not to have dealt with it decades ago.... as I said earlier, the transport policies of the past have been notable by their lack of foresight.

Backchat

Rosie

My problem with this new Transport Strategy will be that its going to be based right from the start on incorrect population figures, as the States are still wishing that sixty five thousand people live on this Island,

just look at the roads to see the true figure now around seventy five thousand at least, maybe more, something they just don't want to accept!

Scarlett

I am a perennial car user, I'm somewhat ashamed to say.

Maybe if at least some of the common reasons people don't use the buses could be actually addressed, it may help, or is that too much common sense?

Many bus stops are inadequate and hardly a joy to stand at. Out here to the country, ay, at dusk, it's quite frankly dangerous to stand close to the edge of the road with a tonne of oncoming traffic and nothing more than a painted bus stop sign on the road for protection.

The fares are too high, and I refuse to pay so much for the inconvenience of standing in the rain for god knows how long so I can either a. Be ferried half way round the island for 30 mins plus when the same trip in the car would be more direct and half the time or b. as has happened twice on the few occasions I decided to give it a go, have the bus not turn up at all, and have to use the car anyway and be made late in the process.

It also irks me that these bloody great lumbering vehicles have been forced upon us at some considerable expense just so they can drive round and round, half empty, not doing our roads any good whatsoever, and invariable forcing me as a fellow road user into the hedge of up on the pavement to avoid being smacked as it comes haring round the corner taking up most the road.

Better bus stops, smaller, more frequent buses and a reasonable fare may well encourage me to give it a go, but failing that, as the years advance, I have no intention of putting myself through that til the Dr says I can't drive my Lambourgini any more, at which point, I'll have more time and patience, and may well resort to a horse and cart...!

Ed

Anybody considered the Integrated Transport System in Curitiba, Brazil ?

No, obviously not a particularly good then ?

Brazilian

Ed, have you lost all of your marbles? The city has 1.6 million inhabitants with another million in the near vicinity. The roads have exclusive bus lanes and are capable of taking the 400 passenger articulated vehicles that connect with the tube way at convenient points to get people to 90%of the city.

Curitiba's solution could never work here because we don't have the numbers, the wide roads, the 400 seat buses, the tube connecting stations nor in fact the tubes. In fact the only thing we share with Curitiba is the traffic jams. The idea is sound, just not practical with our current road infrastructure. Still, it would make a good homework project for your sixth form - design a Curitiba style public transport system for Guernsey that will cost next to nothing, be environmentally friendly and cater for the few thousand people going into town between 8.00 and 9.00 five days a week.

rosie

Ed. This was the page I read about the Curitiba bus system. http://urbanhabitat.org/node/344 Obviously their situation is very different from ours but all the same, I thought there were some interesting points made, not least that as long ago as 1965, the planners saw that it would be sensible to integrate public transport with urban planning. They realised, all that time ago, the need for a transport strategy that addressed the needs of ALL people- not just those who could afford cars. And they recognised that allowing cars to dominate would eventually create problems including intolerable congestion.

Backchat

Didn't the bus service make a loss that was bigger than Aurigny's last year?, amazing!

Island Wide Voting

I read this week that there was a traffic jam in Russia which lasted two full days.Quite often in the UK a serious accident can cause delays for several hours

Apart from the odd occasion when emergency roadworks catch people by surprise do we REALLY have traffic jams in Guernsey?

I wouldn't mind betting that certain posters would be winging off letters to the Seneschal if they found themselves stuck behind two cycles and a horse and cart on a day trip to Sark

Malby

It seems everyone knows the answer, but refusing to say it. If more people used the buses instead of their cars, there would be more buses. More bus use would result in better buses brought onto the island. Increase in bus travel would mean better drivers, and more Guernsey drivers delivering you to your door. The more you use the bus, the more interactive & sociable you have to become towards the other residents on the island. When you think about it, we all win.

Out west

I use the buses from time to time. Nearly always on time and efficient. Would use them more if they ran later at night. No use for work as the route does not connect

Island Wide Voting

Out West

But they would connect if they follow Malby's plan (35).He reckons more bus use would lead to more Guernsey drivers 'delivering you to your door'

He is either one of the few people who live on a bus route or he might possibly be getting mixed up with taxis?

MD

I regularly use the bus to get to and from town from St Peters for work and have had very few problems. I also have a holiday let and most of my visitors used the buses when they stayed here. But 2012 has been a very bad year for tourism in Guernsey and as the visitor numbers drop so do the number of bus journeys taken. My holiday let bookinhgs were 50% down on the previous year. If 2013 is a better year and there are more holiday makers on the island, CT plus should see an improvement in their figures.

That said, smaller buses and a more frequent timetable may encourage more people to use the buses.

Ed

Scarlett

I invite you to read post 4 as it may put us one more step towards mitigating current ill feelings and avert further discontent by encouraging a more informed approach towards improving the situation.

Rufus

Why is anyone writing a transport strategy?

Buses don't work, no one wants to walk the car works.

Where do I send my bill?

rosie

Rufus. The present bus service appears not to provide a viable service for too many people so that needs addressing. And becoming accustomed to driving from A to B for every journey has resulted in too many of us becoming unwilling to walk 5 yards. Many of those who would like to cycle daren't because of the volume of vehicles on the roads and behaviour of some of the drivers intimidates them. One of the results of this is that we are becoming increasingly inactive resulting in acute health problems, the cost of which will dwarf those caused by smoking but will be additional pressure (as if they need more pressure!) for the next generation of tax payers. HSSD is already unable to keep within its budget- we will need to become more responsible for maintaining our own good health and that means a good diet and increased levels of exercise. It therefore behoves our government to encourage us to walk and cycle more and that requires ensuring that the roads feel and are safe environments.

The car might 'work' for you...... it might work for me too. But on a community level I don't think it does work when it is used to the exclusion of all else. As well as the health problems, there are also the significant environmental issues to consider and also the fact that a car-centric traffic policy is very isolating for those who cannot (for whatever reason- health, financial etc) drive/ own a car.

A Transport Strategy is therefore necessary to work out how best we can balance our transport needs in a way that benefits our whole community. We need to look beyond what we each 'want' on an individual basis.

GM

Is there really a major problem with cars in Guernsey? Sure - traffic in town is bad between 8.15 and 9.00 in the morning and between 5.00 and 5.45 in the evening, but that just means spending some time in a traffic "jam" (which is laughable compared to proper traffic jams in the UK!).

But outside of those hours how big a problem is it?

I understand all the environmental issues, but the "too many cars" argument is far less obvious.

I live "out west" and it is simply unsafe for these totally unsuitable buses to be using any of the country roads. This was obvious from the very first day that they first appeared. Any idiot could see it - except those who made the moronic decision in the first place.

Much smaller buses, and greater frequency, is the only possible way for a bus service to succeed here.

Toby

If only the only traffic problems were for 45 minutes morning and afternoon , Monday to Friday , around town ....

The Rush "Hour" is in my experience at least that, if not longer

Try driving along the seafront ( or near any school for that matter ) any afternoon from 3 o'clock onwards ....

Try driving around the Footes lane / L'aumone area at a weekend ... or Admiral Park ...

But that is all anecdotal , since nobody seems to have ever collected any data to analyse traffic flow or journey times ( an omission I have personally highlighted during the consultation on the new traffic strategy ..... )

Peter

@Toby I agree with your last statement - it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to work out the traffic flow around Guernsey - perhaps we should offer to be consultants for a large fee :-)

Personally I don't think Guernsey "traffic jams" really are much to worry about and a lot of congestion could easily be addressed if road signs and no waiting zones were respected or perhaps were policed properly.

As for Footes Lane the weekend delays are generally immediately before and straight after GFC are playing - and we all know that questioning GFC is not allowed :-)

Toby

The problems with buses on Guernsey seem to me to be these ...

Everybody 'knows' there is never a bus that goes anywhere near where they want anytime near when they want.

Everybody 'knows' that, even if it does turn up, the bus will be late and the driver will be rude and drive dangerously

Everybody 'knows' the buses are too big......

Oh and it costs too much to use them ....

When in reality, for a lot of people, most of the above do not apply.

Everybody seems to want a door to door taxi service - but don't want to pay taxi prices.

They want smaller buses - but wouldn't want to pay the increased costs that would result

They don't want to walk to a bus stop and wait in the rain .... so will instead drive ( slowly in the traffic .. ) and then park a 5 mile hike ( in the rain ... ) away from where they actually want to be .... and an hour before they actually need to be there anyway ...

IF we had frequent reliable bus routes, using ( on balance ) the best vehicles currently available, covering large parts of the island ( but without taking an island tour to get there .. ) at sensible prices ( starting low, and the further you go the more you pay ) then I think you might have a chance of crowbaring people out of their cars.

But frankly I have given up hope of ever seeing the political or public will to make it happen .........

Island Wide Voting

Toby

A good post spoiled by one over egged paragraph...

'They don’t want to walk to a bus stop and wait in the rain …. so will instead drive ( slowly in the traffic .. ) and then park a 5 mile hike ( in the rain … ) away from where they actually want to be …. and an hour before they actually need to be there anyway …'

GM for Environment Minister ( when GM retires)

Billythefish

OK Toby. My example.

Working in finance, you generally get sneered at if you get in after 8.30 and if you leave before 5.30.

In order to get the bus to get me in town before 8.30, well, there isn't one...

I can get to town by 8.23 if I walk the mile, yes, mile to Vazon Road for 7.44. So I have to leave at 7.25 to be sure to get there, walking at 4mph.

Unless I'm reading it wrong, the busses that leave town in the afternoon are at 4.35 and 5.44. So at least my office is happy.

I get dropped off at 6.15, then have my mile walk again, so I get in at about 6.30pm.

Orr... get in my car at 8.00. Drive to work, park up 8.20, in the office 8.30. Leave 5.30, home by 5.50. Time saved 1 hour 15 minutes - of valuable time with the family.

Car it is then.

Oh, and even if I worked 9-5 on the dot, I could get a later bus in the morning, but still have to leave at 8.05, but there's no change to the evening bus, so I waste 3/4 of an hour in town....

Toby

Exactly ..... there needs to be a better service for the bus to work for you .... which is what I said above ... ( and believe me, I have looked into it more than could imagine, and it would easily be possible to run more frequent buses at more convenient times ... )

Out of curiosity, where exactly do you find a long term parking space at 08:20 in the morning ?

rosie

Billythefish. It is easy to see why you are not encouraged to use the bus and has been pointed out many times already- you are not alone. This tho' is not a reason for not wanting to improve the bus service so that it would be a more viable option for you, even if not every day, for some days of the week.

I am interested to know why, judging by your figures, the bus takes over 40 mins at the same time of the day that you take only 20 mins in your car. Presumedly you are both stuck in the same traffic flow or does the bus take the scenic route? In which case that alone is something that needs addressing.

Also, you don't mention cycling as an option. What about doing that a couple of times a week? With no need to find a parking space, I suspect you would find it would take the same time as taking your car.

Billythefish

Yes, it's the route it takes. I tailor my route for the shortest travel time.

Cycling is a possibility, but would still leave me with less time with the family, and our bloney office hasn't got showers - which believe me, I would need living out west with those hills!!

8.20 usually at Salarie...

rosie

Billythefish. From your home to office desk, I really doubt would take you more than a few minutes extra on a bike and although those few minutes might come out of 'family' time, they would still benefit from a healthier and fitter you! Even if you did it just a few times a week.

I hope you and others at your office are leaning on the bosses to provide showers and lockers which of course should have been part of the building regs instead of a minimum of parking spaces.

rosie

Another point Billythefish..... you mention that it is a mile to your bus stop with what I detect is a gasp of horror. Considering that we should all be walking a minimum of 10,000 steps a day- (approx 5 miles) in order just to keep our heads above the water on the fitness scale, maybe we should all be looking at these opportunities to add a bit of exercise to our daily routine as just that..... an opportunity to get some of that necessary exercise done before we even get to the office. Just what the doctor ordered don't you think?

I still agree tho' that the bus frequency and overly circuitous routes need addressing.

Ed

Questionnaires anybody ?

Nige

Before 1st April the buses were too large but fairly reliable. Now they are still too large but are also unreliable. They may be either late or early so I have to leave 20 mins before instead of 10. Sometimes they do not turn up at all. Often routes are closed totally unnecessarily due to roadworks. 2 weeks ago I got on the 7.40pm at the Longfrie to play euchre at the Queens at 8. The driver said he had not been going to St Martins for 3 weeks because of the Friteaux closure. I had to get off and walk home to get the car. What was wrong with a diversion up past the dairy? Any excuse to cancel.

Martino

Basically, just as America has a crazy gun culture so we have a crazy car culture that just does not make sense on a tiny island the size of a postage stamp that is brilliantly suited to (small) bus and scooter/cycle travel.

But before we can go anywhere else we need urgently to sort out what is wrong with our present bus service. For a start we should do away with the after 7pm services. There really is no demand for them. On my 6 and 7 route from L'Ancresse to Bordeaux it is a rare event to see a bus after 7pm with more than one passenger on it. Far better to used those precious underused resources to bolster the early morning and early evening services, which are quite popular, and hopefully draw in a few more commuting passengers along the way. Also, we need to replan and shorten some of the inland/country routes.

The above is just for starters. After we have brought some rationality into the present service we can begin the real task of tackling the mad car culture. Over to you Rosie.

Ed

Perhaps questionnaires would be a good idea...

I am aware that my continued attemp to reiterate this idea may serve as an annoyance to those participants who are tired and disgusted of with what they may see as a futile manoeuvre, but handing them out in a location such St Peter Port and then enabling the upper end of the CT Plus authority review the results, will enable a more informed approach towards accommodating the disgruntled customer's demands. Either members of the States or a private party could produce the questionnaires, which would include questions pertaining to potential features of the timetable or actual service.

We must be pragmatic and not continue to grumble ( I'm a fine one to talk !) or labour under the naive belief that the company will suddenly rectify itself.

PLP

My bus ticket shows what route I took so presumably the data is there to work out what services are used and when.

Ed's idea of questionnaires is reasonable, but getting the right answers from the right people might not be as easy as it sounds. I'm sure there must be some people on this island who are good at market research though.

Toby

Cutting the evening services would save money.

But adding extra commuter services is a resource issue as much as a cost issue - so you would either need more buses and drivers, or better a restructuring of the routes to get more out of what resources we have.

Island Wide Voting

Interesting 'debate' on Sky News this morning during the coverage of the day's press headlines

The conversation drifted onto dead High Streets and shop closures and although high shop rents

were mentioned all four around the desk agreed that anti-car councils played a very large part in the High Street demise

Treating the car driver as public enemy number one,with parking bans,high cost paid parking and congestion charges has driven potential customers to shop at the out of Town malls with their free parking, or on the internet

So I presume the local anti-car brigade will want to blindly follow in their footsteps believing that it will be oh so different in the island.Lord preserve us

rosie

IWV / Ray. At the moment our car-parking in town is free and we don't have any out-of-town shopping malls so the finger of blame for our ailing High Street and high number of closed shops has to be pointed elsewhere. High rents, the internet (HUGE competition) and real or perceived lack of choice pose far greater threats than paid parking. And anyway, even if paid parking came in, it could always be adjusted so that the first couple of hours could be free for shoppers.

Island Wide Voting

Rosie

Last time I ventured out as far as Admiral Park I found that I had the choice of a huge ( in GUERNSEY terms)warehouse full of DIY tools,electrical goods and gardening gear,and just across the way I could purchase foodstuffs from all over the world along with bedding ,children's apparel and even make-up if I felt so inclined

The large ( in GUERNSEY terms )open air and double deck car park was teeming with customers although there was certainly enough spare spaces to accommodate many of those who would chose not to venture into Town if the taxpayer funded North Beach suffered from the double whammy of paid parking

By golly,over the Christmas period I even strayed out South as far as the recently opened 'George' shop in St Martins.Highly recommended for those price concious people who are not averse to be seen wearing what someone else might be wearing and ( in GUERNSEY terms) a large free car park to boot

It's the way forward Rosie!

Ray / IWV

rosie

IWV. Whoa! I think it is stretching it a bit to describe Admiral Park with its 2 shops as a shopping mall! The things on offer there are quite different to what the shops in town sell so it really can't be considered as competition. I doubt there are many people who wake up in the morning and decide to go to AP for a mornings browsing. However I would agree that the advent of out of town large food shops were certainly the cause of the end of the market and that didn't help town.

As I said in my earlier post, paid parking could still incorporate a couple of hours of free parking if that was felt important to assist town traders.

Island Wide Voting

'.. for a mornings browsing'

Strewth,in those four words you have highlighted the difference between male and female shoppers

I think I have ventured into Town about four times since they closed Bakers Bazaar and I only enter a shop if the item I need is displayed in the window with a clear price tag a la Gabriels

Another thing which has kept me away more recently is the awful urge to nip into one of Marks & Spencers changing rooms and after a few minutes call out loudly " Excuse me,but there doesn't appear to be any toilet paper in here"

Spartacus

Ray

Too true!

However the thing is, Gabriels had to close because, the strategy you liked, which meant that you spent the least amount of money possible, evidently didn't work for them. Shops nowadays have caught on to the fact they are a business not a service provider.

Island Wide Voting

Sparts

I do believe I detected a little gender slip there madam

Toby

I can't help but notice that a lack of free long term parking at the airport doesn't seem to have stopped people using airlines .........

Island Wide Voting

Toby

I think you'll find that is because many who use the long term parking at the Airport charge it up to the company account as a tax deductible business expense

Terry Langlois

Martino

The problem is, if you want the bus service to work for commuters, then you need an evening service. Many people work beyond 7pm, even if occasionally and it is not a particularly late time to be heading home. If workers cannot be sure of getting home on the bus at a decent time, then they will not use the service at all and will drive to/from work, so the whole system suffers.

Even if the evening buses are less busy (or even empty), their existence would be encouraging the use of the service in general.

I have heard many people say that they never use the buses because they finish too early.

Martino

I can see where you're coming from Terry. Admittedly I am using my own anecdotal evidence as a bus user and bus observer and what I see is a huge drop in passenger numbers after 7pm, certainly on the northern routes.

I'm not sure what the answer is but what we all have known since the green and yellow monsters were first introduced is that they are far too big. I do believe they were chosen to placate the disabled lobby, which was a classic case of the tail wagging the dog. When we replace them perhaps we can start from first principles and base any future choice solely on cost/efficiency and suitability for the island's roads.

Shelaine Green

Hi Martino

Accessibility might have been one of the justifications given by the Environment Dept for the choice of large buses, but as there are smaller bus options that can still accommodate wheelchair users, I suspect the main reason was keeping the number of drivers required to a minimum.

The Guernsey Disability Alliance was invited recently to contribute a consultation exercise for the new Transport Strategy. Please be assured that at no point did we insist on large buses.

In fact, the feedback from our members was just the same as it is from many Guernsey people - that the buses are too big and not frequent enough.

Plus buses do not meet many of our members transport needs anyway. For example, because it is difficult to get to/from the bus stop in the first place.

As lack of suitable transport is one of the main reasons disabled people can become social isolated, we would more than welcome "starting from first principles" as you put it.

Spartacus

"Starting from first principles" I couldn't agree more.

I was at Beausejour recently and witnessed 9 empty disabled spaces. Many disabled people are at home and isolated, cannot afford a car to park in the disabled bay and cannot afford to go to Beau Sejour as they cannot afford the activities and need to save the taxi money to get to the doctor.

I don't recall ever seeing a bus at Beausejour.

Martino

Interesting response Shelaine. Now you have admitted that "buses do not meet many of our members transport needs anyway" I hope you will agree that the suitability of buses (or otherwise) for your members should not be a determining factor when we come to replace the current fleet?

CSR

@Spartacus

Route 2 has buses that go to Beau Sejour - see link http://www.hctgroup.org/uploaded/Guernsey%20timetables%20updated/winter-2012-route-2.pdf

Ref disabled persons, their permit also applies to the vehicle they are travelling in, so they need not necessarily be able to afford a car.

As for the charges at Beau Sejour, I believe it is free to use the cafe, so there is still a 'social' reason for visiting there.

Spartacus

CSR

Thanks for the link, I hope that the bus stops at the door for disabled people, the disabled car spaces are by the door.

I also gather that people can hail a bus to stop for them wherever they are, not just at a bus stop, perhaps someone can correct me if I'm wrong. use of this facility could help disabled people with the problem Shelaine has highighted, provided their home is on a bus route.

Regarding the vehicle they are in - so are you saying their taxi can park/offload in the disabled bay ;-)

Shelaine Green

Hi Martino

Nice try, but no I would not agree. Of course accessibility is a factor. Not just for those wheelchair users who can use the bus, for older people with limited mobility and parents with buggies too.

Where we do agree is that by going back to first principles, Guernsey must be able to find a more effective public transport solution than just large buses - one that better meets EVERYONE'S need to get from A to B.

CSR

Spartacus,

Having dug a little deeper, it appears that buses don't go right to the doors of Beau Sejour, only to the access road junction :-(

You can still 'Hail' a bus provided it is not on the Bridge to Town stretch, and it is safe for the bus to stop and pick you up. I believe also that there may be other restrictions in respect to the proximity to the terminus on the south and west approaches.

The Disabled person's permit applies to taxis as well as private vehicles, so yes a taxi can park within a disabled bay provided the other criteria are met in regards to the permit being displayed and the disabled person being a passenger within that vehicle.

Spartacus

Thanks CSR

Perhaps if anyone who is disabled does want to go to Beau Sejour independently the bus driver could drop them to the door on request?

I totally agree with Shelaine Green, any public service should start with first principles and ensure everyone's transport needs are considered, not just car drivers. Otherwise the vulnerable groups she has listed will be isolated. An effective public transport option is vital.

I'm convinced that if it was better designed the bus service could make money and this would enable it to provide a better service both for those who need to use the service and for more people who would then elect to use the service.

CSR

Spartacus,

I don't think bus drivers are allowed to deviate from their designated route, plus there may be the issue of nowhere for the bus to manoeuvre once at the front door of BS.

A.J.

How about creating a second Bus Station for all buses which at present pass near the L'aumone crossroads? There is a suitable site next to the friquet flower centre.The idea being that, travellers could avoid having to go into Town before catching another bus to their final destination. Instead they would 'change'at the L'aumone Station,saving time on their journey, whilst increasing the use of services. Naturally the timing of routes would have to be programmed to coincide at this 'Central' Station.

Ed

AJ

I applaud your ability to concoct an idea that would enable the bus service to operate at an improved level of efficiency, but any States of Guernsey affiliate would object as they are aware that the funds available are diminishing and thus do not want to invest money into the construction of a new bus station when there issues deemed to be of critical importance- even more essential than the bus-related issues.

Perhaps this time-saving tactic may be viable when funds become more plentiful ...

Toby

Trouble is, making the timings coincide in one spot messes them up everywhere else.

And of course the whole transfer system falls apart the moment one bus is late .....

Chris

Toby

The Swiss integrate buses, trains, ferries, cable cars and post buses, to the minute to produce an integrated transport system. . Surely if they can do it some bright spark civil servant could do it here ?

Bridge

Is anyone surprised? Our bus service is probably the worst outside of the third world. About one bus per hour if you're lucky and then they stop at about 6.00pm. What is the use of that to anyone? Plus the buses are far too big for the island's roads - why can't the States just admit they made a total mess of it and put it right?

Public transport, particularly at rush hour, needs to be frequent, reliable and efficient. One bus an hour (if it actually turns up) is hopeless.

Ed

Correct me if I am wrong but you have fittingly called yourself 'Bridge' because you live either on it or near to it. Therefore, assuming I am correct, your view is largely reflective of the nature of the bus service around your locality and though that may be useful for the situation occurring on the Bridge, it is of limited value with concern to the broader environment and thus it would be unwise to assume that this view is a representative sample of the majority of the island- one would require a random sampling technique to assess the situation on a broader scale.

Terry Langlois

FFS, they were just expressing an opinion. Stop being to high and mighty. Has every opinion that you have expressed been verified by objective scientific methods?

And you don't need a fancy random sampling technique, you just need to read the timetable.

It is also the case that the buses are too big, no matter where you are located in the island.

Ed

And I was just expressing an opinion, I wasn't trying to write in a disparaging manner and I did acknowledge the utility of their claim.

Martino

He's a wind up merchant and the above post timed at 11.18 finally nails it. Best ignored in future.

bcb

Careful Martino the Goodwill period is nearly at an end and cessation of hostilities will end with it. You will soon have Ed exacting revenge upon you for such outbursts toward a fellow being. :)

Bridge

@Ed, actually your pompous assumption is entirely incorrect. I live in Town. Furthermore I think you will find that my view is actually representative of most of the island, not just the Bridge, hence the decline in public use of the bus service and the vociferous criticisms contained in this forum.

nic

I catch the bus fairly regularly these days.

The bus is never on time, although recently has been just a few minutes late each day.

The week before Christmas I was waiting at the stop, and the bus very nearly drove straight past me.. emergency stopped at the last moment for me to get on. (there was 1 other person on the bus) I said good morning to the bus driver and was completely ignored..

Bus then continued at a rapid pace, must have been too fast to see the bus stop signs marked on the roads as he completely ignored 2 stops with people waiting at them.. 1 was an elderly lady clearly waving her hand at the bus..

This was an exception to usual, as most drivers i find fairly polite. Compared to parking tickets at £30 a shot, £1 for a journey doesn't seem that bad to me. Then again i would also welcome paid parking in town rather than be restricted to 2 hours before having to move my car.. i appreciate that is an unpopular view though.

Ed

Martino

I won't ask you to read any further posts on the Boxing Day sales page because that's futile, but I strongly suggest that you quit making these fatuous, uncessary remarks as I am entitled to write what entitled to write what I want without ridicule. I am not intending to 'wind anybody up' ; I merely wish to communicate ideas that may be worth considering. Notice how I am now interacting with other participators.

But if you don't have anything better to say then don't saying at all !

Martino

Ok Ed, just testing, but you must admit that your 'Bridge' post was very, very silly indeed. The silliest of the year so far in fact!

Ed

And Martino, don't pretend to give advice by encouraging fellow participators to avoid my future posts- some people, although they may dislike the manner of expression, are interested by the content of my discussions. A bit of respect wouldn't harm

Martino

Would you care to comment on your erroneous postulation (I'm using Ed-speak here) that Bridge lives on or near the Bridge?

Ed

Ha ha ha ha- best laugh of the year yet bcb !

bcb

Glad you liked it but i can`t stop as i`m off over to catch up on GM v Sparty on the other board along with Neil just to see if the hostilities are continuing infact i`m thinking of immersing myself in the subject so i can join in just because i feel a bit left out.

Peter

I have used the bus a few times recently, generally the drivers have been polite and the buses ran pretty much to schedule.

We are relatively well served even if I can't quite work out the scheduling - buses pass my nearest stop once every hour within 2 or 3 minutes of each other whereas the used to run in the opposite half of the hour.

My general commute is either by car or bicycle as the time of the bus isn't ideal.

It is quicker for me to go by bicycle door to door as I can leave my bike in the car park at work, if I drive it adds 10 to 15 minutes to my journey which is mainly down to having to find a parking space and walk from the car to work, the bus door to door is about the same as driving.

More people in Guernsey could cycle as most journeys are not all that far and a lot of cars seem to have single occupancy, I always feel better arriving at work and getting home having cycled.

A few people have commented that more people using the buses would reduce the tax take on fuel, perhaps a tax on parking spaces provided by employers could be introduced as part of a persons income? Or is that being too radical....

Frank

I can't believe there are so many people who are unlucky when it comes to using the bus! I use it every day to commute from the west coast to town and back, have no issues with timing or reliability and save myself a considerable amount of money on petrol costs (after taking into account the bus journey cost of only 50p each way it amounts to several hundred pounds a year). In addition, I now have the added benefit of 30-40 minutes each morning and evening to read a good book, and have no parking hassles. It's a great service - try it!

WIB

Frank, I agree with you totally, there have been a few issues but on the whole we are on a busy and popular route. In 8 years of heavy bus use I have only had a handful of bad experiences, unfortunately all since CT took over. That said may I dare suggest things are settling down a little.

rosie

Frank & WIB. Good to see some positive comments about the bus service. I can't help but feel that there are some who are quick to tell us why they can't possibly use the bus but I doubt that they are lobbying to have their particular problem sorted out. I think for many it gives them a handy excuse to use the car for every journey.

Island Wide Voting

Frank

... and your car Insurance company must be over the moon with your car tucked up in the driveway at least five days a week

rosie

pg 19 of yesterday's Press- an article about a new bus stop that Specsavers has had built in St Andrews. Built in wood, glass and granite it not only looks great, but shelters those waiting for a bus and provides some low-level light in the dark from solar panels incorporated into the design. How fantastic is that? A brilliant contribution for the community and one that Dame Mary Perkins suggests could be replicated with other companies throughout the island. I agree.

Maybe a competition could be started to encourage this to happen and with some built-in provisos. 1). a small plaque stating who the sponsor and designer is but otherwise no large un-silghtly advertising. 2). Only materials that are in keeping with Guernsey's built and natural environment. 3). Designs that compliment and enhance the specific location.

Island Wide voting

I must drive out and have a look at it over the weekend :)

rosie

IWV. No, no, no.... this could be a perfect opportunity for a little jaunt on your trusty pushang. Give your gluteus maximus a little workout.... it's probably time they had one isn't it? ;-)

Island Wide Voting

rosie

I'm not really sure.I'll make enquiries though

Ed. What's a gluteus maximus?

rosie

IWV. http://www.exrx.net/Muscles/GluteusMaximus.html

I suspect yours are a little saggy with all this driving everywhere! ;-(

Spartacus

rosie

No - from what I have gleaned about IWV/Ray's shopping habits I'm pretty sure he's a tight-*ss.

Island Wide voting

:))) I prefer frugal

Got to nip off now.North Side chippy give away the 'crispy bits' for free just before closing on Saturdays

Pepe Le Pew

IWV - have you ever thought about becoming a freegan?

Island Wide voting

Nooooo. That's been covered already on the Liverpool supporters thread

rosie

IWV. It won't just be your 'frugal' gluteus maximus that will be saggy..... at this rate I suspect your heart is too. Hope your health insurance is all topped up! :-/

Watcher

IWV,

They are the large muscles that surround your mouth........

;-)))

Island Wide Voting

Meanwhile back on the buses

At 9.30am this morning I drove out of St Julian's Avenue and had to join up behind a bus on its way North.I had noticed as it passed ahead of me on the roundabout that it was empty

I followed that bus all the way to the Bridge and not once did it stop to pick up passengers.I popped into the pound shop to get my cheap milk and lo as soon as I came out of the shop another great hulking beast passed by from Town with two adults and two children aboard

That seems to me to be a lot of diesel guzzling machinery to carry four passengers from Town to the Bridge ( OK I have no way of knowing if the second bus dropped off thirty passengers in Grandes Maisons Road)but it seems to me that a good look at the schedules would't go amiss

If commuters are claimed by so many to be the cause of our alleged traffic problems then re-schedule heavily in favour of the commuters and see if that helps

rosie

Jiggling with the schedule could certainly be part of the solution but what is needed more than anything is a change of culture in Guernsey. That combined with plenty of carrots & sticks.

Martino

Not even a thermonuclear device would shift Ray/IWV from his beloved car!