WIVENHOE BUS CHANGES 2nd APRIL 2017

I was going to leave mentioning this until I had the full timetables, however I see the matter has been picked up already from this Mon's  WTC meeting report, so thought best to say something now.

The new 61 and 62 weekday daytime services will still involve eight buses an hour (4  61s and 4  62s) as now, but the changes will nevertheless bring a worse service for all stops below the Cross.

From Colchester there will be:
     4  61s to Wiv STATION
     2  62s to BRIGHTLINGSEA via Coop (old 78 route)
     2  62As terminating at CEMETERY and waiting there. (Not known how long).

The impact on service levels will be:

Stops below the Coop: All journeys to Colchester will take 2-3 (?) mins longer and all journeys back from Colchester will take 9-10 mins longer.

Coop and Avenue stops: No change in service TO Colchester but significantly worse service FROM Colchester owing to the 62As terminating at the Cemetery. This means there will only be two direct First buses an hour from Colchester to Wivenhoe (62) instead of four. In consequence many people will end up forced to come back on the 61 with 10 mins extra journey time. [There will still be four 62/As an hour from Coop stop TO Colchester].

Flag and H & Groom stops: No change to service level in either direction.

[The situation for free pass holders will continue to be better than that for farepaying users, as, being able to use the 87 also, they will now have 4 direct buses ph back from town, vice the current 6].

University to Coop stop: 6 buses an hour instead of 8.

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Previously it had been agreed with First (a) that it would always be the 62s that ran to the station, so that lower Wivenhoe users had a direct service, and (b) that whatever buses went round the loop would terminate at the Coop (where most passengers on board want to alight) and not the Cemetery. These understandings have now been thrown to the winds. It is not clear why exactly it has been decided to swap over the 61 and 62.

The REASON for these service changes being introduced is that the (largely pointless) 'new' (2012) zebra crossing at the Coop, and consequent moving of the two bus stops to nearer to the road junctions and directly opposite each other, has created a situation where buses laying over at the Coop northbound stop are a blockage to pedestrian sightlines at the point where people ACTUALLY did and still do cross the road, whereas buses laying over at the old northbound stop were not a problem. ECC Highways, and the Councillor/s supporting the new zebra crossing, were warned in 2011 that it would actually worsen pedestrian safety, and that it would result in there being no suitable point for buses to lay over here, but chose to take no notice, in their urge to be 'seen to be doing something'. Now Wivenhoe bus users are being made to 'pay the price' for their decisions. [For those not around at the time, the request to ECC for a zebra crossing had actually been for one immediately north of the gatehouse, which would have left the bus stops as they were].

The SAME Councillor/s began complaining last year that the waiting buses were 'dangerous' [= the new bus stop positions that they had supported were dangerous!], and obstructed traffic. First as a very H&S-conscious company have now felt obliged to take action by stopping all laying over time at the Coop. It is believed that most of the complaints received were actually from motorists annoyed at being brought to a standstill for xx seconds, who will now be able to speed through whilst many bus users have 10 minutes added to their journeys!

I tried to get First to look into using the Cedrics site as a turnaround place for the 61s, so that the existing tt could be continued without any buses sitting in the roadway, but it appears that they have not bothered. A meeting was arranged for last week to discuss options but First advised a few days before that they had already decided what to do!

The bus journey time Coop-Colchr and vv was 15 mins in 2000 (not that they always did it in that time!); it is now to be 37 mins by the 61 for many. In the late afternoon when the 61s get held up in Colne Causeway this will be 40+ mins in reality. Or 6 mph.................

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The resumption of First buses to Brightlingsea is of course an attempt to drive Hedingham off the route. It will probably not be successful, and if so this timetable is not likely to last very long. However but for this change we might have ended up with an even worse service, with FOUR buses ph terminating at the Cemetery!

There 'ought' to have by now been a bus layby installed at the Coop northbound, as part of the Cedrics  site development, so that buses could wait time in it non-obstructively: but that still seems to be a manana project.




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Comments

  • Good grief...  :(
  • I can't see a 30min service beating Hedinghams more frequent service.
  • We have an incredibly good service to Town considering the size of Wivenhoe. 

    Could I just point out that the zebra crossing outside the Co-op is not pointless. Not everyone can run with confidence across The Avenue. I always use the crossing during the day as if gives me better protection if one of my legs go from under me. I'm sure I'm not the only one either. 
  • I'm not a frequent bus user but am a driver and pedestrian. Whoever signed off having the bus stops opposite each other outside the Co-op should be hung, drawn and quartered or at least disqualified from deciding on anything apart from what cake they can have for their tea! Possibly the same sort or person that complains about pollution from idling cars waiting for one bus or the other from moving on. 
  • This is definitely a downgrading in the Wivenhoe service.  Can our councillors (including our 'new blood') make some representations here...?
  • The Town Council will await receipt of the full timetable before sending comments to First, in case the summary sent to us has any misleading content. With the service already registered, nothing can be done to stop it coming in on the 2nd April.

    The revised arrangements at the Coop were, of course, drawn up and signed off by The Experts at ECC Highways, and are merely yet another example of their famous ability to produce crazy schemes.

    I see Motorist Mike thinks we should not be complaining. Perhaps he will slow down his own journeys by car to  6 mph end-to-end, in sympathy!
  • kstkst
    edited February 23
    Look on the bright side, Brightlingsea will get an extra 2 buses each way, per hour. We really can't complain at the frequency we get.
  • Not a fan of deregulated buses. 

    Within weeks Hedingham will (understandably) revise their timetable "to improve punctuality" and run their service from Brightingsea a couple of minutes ahead of First. Then a month later, they will change their timetable "to improve punctuality" to run a few minutes ahead of Hedingham's service.
  • Mike said:
    Not a fan of deregulated buses. 

    Within weeks Hedingham will (understandably) revise their timetable "to improve punctuality" and run their service from Brightingsea a couple of minutes ahead of First. Then a month later, they will change their timetable "to improve punctuality" to run a few minutes ahead of Hedingham's service.


    Since both companies are (part of) big groups, no doubt they have the resources to compete with each other. Who knows what the outcome will be for passengers?

    Thanks.

    MikeNewton

  • Mike said:
    Not a fan of deregulated buses. 

    Within weeks Hedingham will (understandably) revise their timetable "to improve punctuality" and run their service from Brightingsea a couple of minutes ahead of First. Then a month later, they will change their timetable "to improve punctuality" to run a few minutes ahead of Hedingham's service.

    I seem to remember Hedingham doing that to Cedrics. Competetion does help a little with prices etc.
    What with the endless delays with the traffic around Colchester,its still an increase in service for Brightlingsea.
  • Will the 61 still go round via Belle Vue Road when it terminates at the Station?  When the surgery moves to Phillip Road people may want to use the bus to get there. Fewer people in middle Wivenhoe would have a convenient bus if the Belle Vue loop is on the route rather than the Avenue.
  • 61 will go down the Avenue.

    It's not a very useful increase in Bsea service    given (a) it will only last a few months and (b) farepaying passengers will have to choose one co or the other.
  • Mike said:
    Not a fan of deregulated buses. 

    Within weeks Hedingham will (understandably) revise their timetable "to improve punctuality" and run their service from Brightingsea a couple of minutes ahead of First. Then a month later, they will change their timetable "to improve punctuality" to run a few minutes ahead of Hedingham's service.


    Since both companies are (part of) big groups, no doubt they have the resources to compete with each other. Who knows what the outcome will be for passengers?

    Thanks.

    MikeNewton

    Yep, Go Ahead (who also own Chambers) and First who were handed every national bus company route in East Anglia to....er....improve competition. 

    But yes, for the lucky ones (i.e. living on profitable routes) the competition has at least kept fares down. I maintain that Wivenhoe has been one of the winners. 
  • I have now obtained the full 61 and 62 tts from the Traffic Commissioners.

    There are NO changes to 61 times, just the change of route, to the station.

    Surprise surprise, the Bsea 62s are timed to leave N station 3 mins in front of each 87!

    The daytime 62a's are timed to sit for 15 mins at the Cemetery. Were there any consideration for passengers this would of course allow time to continue on arrival to set down passengers at the Coop and Rosabelle stops, then back empty round the loop for a 8 min sit at the Cemetery. But no..................

    In the interpeak period M-F, and much of Sat, the 62/As will leave the Coop at the same times as now, and Col High St to Wiv ditto. In the am peak M-F the 62 service from Wiv will be slightly better.
         But in the late afternoon peak back from Col only the 62As are likely to run well, the Bsea 62s will probably be worse than the 62s now.
        In other words it will be indeed most often be  '61 back', for all below the Cross!

    Coming back from Col in the interpeak M-F , and most of Sat, there will only be four useful buses an hour for those below the Cross, the Bsea 62s at 11 and 41, and the 61s at 17 and 47. The other 61s will be overtaken en route.

    Remember also re 61 that First are refusing to pick up in Queen St currently, and that is likely to remain so until the autumn.
  • Thanks @peterkay a great help.

    and thanks also for the bit about 61s and Queen Street. It's been confusing me. I thought they didn't pick up, but then having got on elsewhere, the buses seem to do so.  From what you say the still don't, so not something to rely on or try out.

    Given that the "three minute before" situation has recent history with the Brightlinsea route.  I am curious as to how such route changes are approved.  Is what they are doing against regulations? I feel it should be because I can't see that such tactics help passengers (in fact I find them detrimental).  But not knowing how such things work re council oversight, I am wondering who to "lobby" and what the situation is.  Anyone able to clarify?
  • Have to agree with what Peter says that this is a worsenment for many Wivenhoe bus users. First Group are very health and safety focussed and obviously see the situation at the Co-op as having potential risks. In an ideal world with development of the former Cedric's site a sensible bus lay-by could be constructed so that waiting buses could do so without blocking the carriageway. Sadly we seem no nearer to any development of this site and the Co-op's position by buying the site appears to be a move just to prevent other (food) retailers from setting up in Wiv. 

    The re-introduction of First services to Brightlingsea is obviously simple out and out market driven. They have seen a weakness in Hedingham's operation of late and are seeking to exploit it. Sadly the market isn't big enough for two operators on the route and I too predict by year end or soon after it will be back to a single operator again. The substitution of the 62 by the 61 running to the station means that users at the bottom of the town not only will have longer journeys but will loose direct services to Tesco at Greenstead. 

    With the bus industry being deregulated since the 1980s and these being mostly commercial services the only options are direct lobbying of the operator First, local counsellors, the MP and the local press. The Town and Borough Councils have little or no leverage over commercial operators.

    First Essex can be contacted at the link below;

    If you have any other query please contact us. If it is not urgent it’s usually best to fill in our email form below so we have all the details we need. Alternatively you can contact us on 0871 200 2233 or on Twitter @FirstEssex




  • The new timetables are now available on First bus website. Go to Essex (via the map) then to NEWS then PLANNED SERVICES.

    There is no real need to print the 61 one!

    Re comments above, other people have reported that some buses on 61 and 66 that are NOT stopping in Queen St currently per management notices, have actually stopped there. This will be due to confusion I dare say. [Although all the 'info' says the layby stop will reopen in January and last statement from ECC Portfolio Holder was it would reopen on 30th Jan - he is now not replying to requests for further info].

    And indeed, thanks to the continuation of the Thatcher/Blair consensus that The Market will ensure that people always get the best possible bus services, there is nobody that one can complain to re the services registered.
        If they do not actually run according to the registered tt, you can in theory complain to the Traffic Commissioners, however they are by their own admission now dysfunctional on such matters, as they have no staff left to investigate.

    These (61-62-87) are ALL commercial services, all day and all week. [In principle that is a good thing because it means they cannot disappear under Loc Govt cuts].
  • Tried to follow your instructions, Peter, to find the new timetables, but I just got the current one.  Could you give a link to the relevant site?
  • Note that it is quite likely that the new daytime 62As from Colchr to the cemetery will not actually convey any 'Cemetery' destination. This requires a computer man at the garage to add in a new destination for the 62 in the programme, and as he has not yet got round to adding 'North station' in for the Sunday 61s (which changed many months back), alacrity is not to be expected!

    ** Please explain to others that whilst the daytime 62As will terminate at the cemetery, the evening 62As will still run straight through to set down at the Coop/Avenue.

    It is also likely that the two Brightlingsea 62 buses per hour (the only direct service from Colchester to Wivenhoe-below-the-Cross) may become overcrowded and late, especially if double deckers are not always allocated, and in late afternoon.
  • peterkay said:
    Note that it is quite likely that the new daytime 62As from Colchr to the cemetery will not actually convey any 'Cemetery' destination. This requires a computer man at the garage to add in a new destination for the 62 in the programme, and as he has not yet got round to adding 'North station' in for the Sunday 61s (which changed many months back), alacrity is not to be expected!

    ** Please explain to others that whilst the daytime 62As will terminate at the cemetery, the evening 62As will still run straight through to set down at the Coop/Avenue.
    @peterkay any idea of how First will define "daytime" and "evening" re the 62A?  If there is a point where they change their termination, given buses are not always right on time, is there any way short of asking the driver to know which one you are on?  If the buses have the same number, having different routing on different days for that number is hard enough to keep track of (e.g. 74) but different destinations on the same day - dare one hope for a clear definition between daytime and evening?  
  • It shows clearly in the website tt which ones terminate at the Cemetery. Hopefully it will in the tt booklet too................

    ** a new complication has now emerged in that the '62b' Sun journeys to Wiv Station have for some mysterious reason been routed from Colchester [but not from Wiv] via Rectory Rd/ Belle Vue Rd, meaning that they will pass no bus stop between the Cemetery and the Post Office. First have been asked to advise if they will stop for 'Coop' just before the zebra crossing at the W end of Belle Vue Rd (as they did in a previous period when they had been registered via this route erroneously).
  • Just a reminder that this starts this SUNDAY.

    I have just had a [rather late] reply from First saying that drivers on the Sunday 62b from Colchester have been instructed to set down Coop passengers by the zebra crossing at the end of Belle Vue Rd. However it would be somewhat miraculous if every driver assimilates this instantly! (especially as it is a weird thing) - and it is also quite likely that initially some drivers will still come down the Avenue anyway.

    Please report here any cases of drivers refusing to set people down at the Coop.

    It would also be surprising if the weekday daytime 62a buses terminating at the Cemetery all actually display this as the terminus! [It is now many months since Sunday 61s were extended from Head St to N Station, but they are still showing HEAD ST!].

    Most passengers will of course know nothing about all these changes, so those of you who have 'read the instructions' can usefully try to help others!
  • As usual when the info from Essex CC is somewhat confusing, I must say a big thank you to Peter for taking the time to help residents. We may not always agree with one another but his outstanding service to the community is awe inspiring. 
  • I'd second that!  :)
  • I'm preparing my big combined timetable at the moment, and while doing some checks I notice some apparent errors in the times contained in the flyer recently distributed by First. In the Monday-to-Friday list of departures from North Station it lists departures at 0901, 0916, 0931 and 0946, followed by the words "Then at these mins past each hour until", implying four buses an hour to Brightlingsea during the day.

    A glance at the list of buses from Brightlingsea will show that of these four buses only two seem to come back. In fact the 0916 and 0946 from Colchester are 62A buses to Wivenhoe Cemetery.

    Seems worth pointing out in case anyone was thinking of using the flyer as a handy pocket guide.

    There's also an 1801 departure from Brightlingsea on Saturdays which the flyer omits.

    And the Saturday listing from North Station similarly seems to overstate the frequency of the new service.
  • Sadly nobody is using this thread to report their experiences on the problematic matters!

    Following an intervention via head office in Chelmsford, the new destination displays WIVENHOE CEMETERY for 62a and WIVENHOE STATION for 61 have been set up by the Colchr depot computerman, but of course not all drivers are actually displaying them yet!

    It is now confirmed that 61s and 62s ARE resuming also picking up at the top end of Colchr High St (stop FC) after a 2-year gap. I did this successfully yesterday! - but there will no doubt be some drivers refusing for a while yet................. 
  • There seem to be a lot of buses within minutes of each other down Belle Vue road now. 


  • I have noticed some of the 62's parked up at the cemetery are parking on the pavement  :(
  • I caught the 62 there on Tuesday and whilst it was parked up (fully on the road) another bus seemed to be struggling to get past it.

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