Author Topic: First Midlands  (Read 4519 times)

Offline Dale

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First Midlands
« on: July 24, 2010, 03:33:46 PM »
I'm sure it will delight our First Northampton fan (think it's only one - but possibly zero) to hear that Leicester will, from tomorrow, also be taking on the management of part of First Potteries/PMT - *just* the Potteries bit, not the Chester, Wrexham and Birkenhead bits (they're going to First Manchester). The Leicester, Potteries, Wyvern and Northampton area will become 'First Midlands'.

Just in case the Northampton fan expects this to bring in a vast fleet of brand new vehicles (!!), perhaps I should add that Potteries has a good many old heaps of their own and has, deservedly, lived up to the full Wirst reputation on a number of occasions...........

 ::)

Dale

Offline Mutly

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2010, 03:28:56 AM »
 Oh delightful, so we can expect some of the garbage that PMT don't want anymore to show up soon to replace the last Volvo Citybuses (How much longer can the final three last?),

 Im sure they still have some knackerd old ex West Yorkshire Scania's decomposing in the back of one of their depots that they think would look good on the streets of Northampton, ::)

Offline Dale

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2010, 08:01:07 AM »
Steve,

Don't go giving them ideas.........

Do those Citybuses and/or the 2 Geminis do any actual school contracts nowadays where the higher capacity is needed? I've not seen any of the ordinary routes where deckers are really needed, but I'm not sure if any of those industrial estates trips are heavily loaded.

Dale

Offline Graeme Palmer

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2010, 06:57:15 PM »
Half off-topic - will First Manchester and Cheshire and Wirral now be First North West?

Offline AN68

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2010, 09:51:53 PM »
Dale, there are at least two Guilsborough school contracts that require deckers. During University times the 4 quite often requires the capacity of double deckers. If anybody with any commercial acumen at First Northampton stopped to think for even a micro second they would realise what an important revenue stream the University was and would run the4 on a half hourly basis through until midnight rather than the service stopping at 2005 from Town/2024 from Holly Lodge Drive.

As regards the ex West Yorkshire Scanias, they certainly looked good on the streets of Northampton on Easter Saturday 1998 following the flood.

Offline Dennis Lloyd

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2010, 09:59:52 PM »
Dale

Thanks for the recognition as Wirst's biggest "fan", I'm sure you were referring to me.

I will look forward with great anticipation to the influx of heaps from Potteries, hope you will advise me in plenty of time when they are coming so I can get out with my camera !!

Offline Mutly

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2010, 01:40:23 AM »
As regards the ex West Yorkshire Scanias, they certainly looked good on the streets of Northampton on Easter Saturday 1998 following the flood.

 They probably did look half decent back then, but the last time i saw them at Rock Ferry they were in a condition that made the Citybuses look smart (including 38099).

 Needless to say, Rock Ferry soon Binned them off to Chester, where they were so good, that Chester preferred to carry on operating ex Crosville Olympians instead (and Still do).

Offline Dale

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2010, 02:20:01 PM »
Ah, thanks - hadn't realised that they still did the Guilsborough school contract.

Have to agree with you about the Uni and the 4. For what *could* be developed into some form of 'showcase' route, it always seems to be more like a total shambles. Even when the Uni is open First have put out a motley collection of just about anything in the fleet, from the Citybuses to Solos.

Dale




Dale, there are at least two Guilsborough school contracts that require deckers. During University times the 4 quite often requires the capacity of double deckers. If anybody with any commercial acumen at First Northampton stopped to think for even a micro second they would realise what an important revenue stream the University was and would run the4 on a half hourly basis through until midnight rather than the service stopping at 2005 from Town/2024 from Holly Lodge Drive.

As regards the ex West Yorkshire Scanias, they certainly looked good on the streets of Northampton on Easter Saturday 1998 following the flood.

Offline Mutly

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2010, 11:34:17 PM »
 The 4 is now my local route, and when you consider that it is one of the "Core" routes that Wirst operate it is a Joke!

 At the moment it is supposed to run roughly every Ten Minutes during the day time, but reguarlly my Wife who has the misfortune to have to use it to get to work, has stood at the stop on Kingsley Avenue for anything up to Half an Hour, only for three to show up together, i didn't actually believe her when she first mentioned it, until it happened to me, and three vehicles came down together, a Solo, an empty as usual) Gemini and a B7L!

 Nowadays, we both walk down to the main road so as we can get an 4A, 21 or X7 as the 4 just isnt reliable enough,

 As for the school services the two Guilsborough school services (391/392) are usually Sold Citybus Duties, these can normally be seen returning through Harleston around 09:00, of interest, 38122 was the normal vehicle on the 392 for over a year until around February this year , but since then, i haven't even seen it on a school duty, (its usually on the 4 with 38121) so i wonder if it has actually been banned of fthem.

 I'd be interested to hear anything about that.


Offline AN68

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2010, 09:27:39 PM »
Mutly, the 4 is also my local route and the problems that you mention re-bunching started to occur from about March onwards. Prior to March the 4/4A were interworked turn and turnabout, ie. one rotation as a 4 the next as a 4A followed by a 4. This worked perfectly well and kept the required schedule. However since March all duties are now interworked and this causes problems, ie an incident on say Billing Road causes a 5 to run ten minutes late for its next run as a 4, meanwhile the Kettering Road is clear and an inbound 2 is on time, this bus is due to work the next 4. Therefore a 20 minute gap appears in the timetable and two 4s run in tandem. Simple solution, keep the same bus on the same service all day. It seems to work perfectly well in my home city, Nottingham, were they work there GO2 services on this basis.

With regards to 38122, it does still work Guilsborough schools, along with any of the other four deckers left at Northampton. I pass them everyday on my way to work on Lodge Farm.

Offline Mutly

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2010, 10:15:37 PM »
 Cheers An68, since moving up to Kingsthorpe, i never get to see the Guilsborough much these days and tend to find 38122 out and about on the 4 most days.

 As you say, back up home in Merseyside, each route kept the same vehicles on set running boards all day and this works perfectly well, when you start putting the same vehicle onto different interworking routes it is bound to cause problems, as you said, a hold up on Billing road ends up with consequences right across the town. the worst thing they did was to split the 4/4A

 But then again, since when do Wirst care?

Offline Dale

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2010, 10:31:58 PM »
I think what it really highlights more than anything is that First must do too little monitoring. Either that or they don't take any notice of what the statistics should be telling them (very loud and clear!).

The people who know what is *really* going right/wrong will invariably be the drivers on these routes - and I'm going to be highly surprised if someone tells me that they're regularly asked for comments, input to possible changes etc.

I've just been reading a piece about Brighton & Hove (possibly the best bus company in England) - the senior managers there spend half a day riding around on their buses, at random, *every* week. The equivalent 'senior manager' for First Northampton will usually be in Leicester [where they also exhibit little common sense].

Common sense and First ...............now I bet you've never seen that in the same sentence before!

 :o

Dale

Offline Mutly

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2010, 11:46:21 AM »
  The equivalent 'senior manager' for First Northampton will usually be in Leicester [where they also exhibit little common sense].

Common sense and First ...............now I bet you've never seen that in the same sentence before!

 :o

Dale

 i doubt if the senior management at Wirst even know what a bus is...not that they would get on one anyway...the avarage Wirst Northampton vehicle would leave nasty stains all over their nice clean suits  ;)

Offline Dennis Lloyd

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2010, 10:24:28 PM »
I think what it really highlights more than anything is that First must do too little monitoring. Either that or they don't take any notice of what the statistics should be telling them (very loud and clear!).

The people who know what is *really* going right/wrong will invariably be the drivers on these routes - and I'm going to be highly surprised if someone tells me that they're regularly asked for comments, input to possible changes etc.

I've just been reading a piece about Brighton & Hove (possibly the best bus company in England) - the senior managers there spend half a day riding around on their buses, at random, *every* week. The equivalent 'senior manager' for First Northampton will usually be in Leicester [where they also exhibit little common sense].

Common sense and First ...............now I bet you've never seen that in the same sentence before!

 :Dale, I think you will find that it is generally acknowledged that Southdown (when it WAS Southdown) was the finest bus company in the country although I agree that Brighton & Hove ran it a close second.

Dale

Offline Graeme Palmer

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2010, 04:04:09 PM »
It must be a First Midlands thing, this interworking nonsense - they do the same in Redditch and Worcester, I recall.  It makes it a nightmare if you're trying to track the interesting older vehicles!

Not sure Brighton & Hove are best - there's still competition for that accolade from Western Greyhound.

I think what it really highlights more than anything is that First must do too little monitoring. Either that or they don't take any notice of what the statistics should be telling them (very loud and clear!).

The people who know what is *really* going right/wrong will invariably be the drivers on these routes - and I'm going to be highly surprised if someone tells me that they're regularly asked for comments, input to possible changes etc.

I've just been reading a piece about Brighton & Hove (possibly the best bus company in England) - the senior managers there spend half a day riding around on their buses, at random, *every* week. The equivalent 'senior manager' for First Northampton will usually be in Leicester [where they also exhibit little common sense].

Common sense and First ...............now I bet you've never seen that in the same sentence before!

 :o

Dale

Offline Dale

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2010, 04:27:57 PM »
Quite agree, Dennis - I was only talking about current-day operators.

[.....and yes, Graeme, Western Greyhound are also excellent]

Dale




I think what it really highlights more than anything is that First must do too little monitoring. Either that or they don't take any notice of what the statistics should be telling them (very loud and clear!).

The people who know what is *really* going right/wrong will invariably be the drivers on these routes - and I'm going to be highly surprised if someone tells me that they're regularly asked for comments, input to possible changes etc.

I've just been reading a piece about Brighton & Hove (possibly the best bus company in England) - the senior managers there spend half a day riding around on their buses, at random, *every* week. The equivalent 'senior manager' for First Northampton will usually be in Leicester [where they also exhibit little common sense].

Common sense and First ...............now I bet you've never seen that in the same sentence before!

 :Dale, I think you will find that it is generally acknowledged that Southdown (when it WAS Southdown) was the finest bus company in the country although I agree that Brighton & Hove ran it a close second.

Dale

Offline northantsbusman

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2010, 02:26:47 PM »
A few years ago First in Northampton split up is through routes at Northampton Town Centre to help with better time keeping. It then went to interworking them as suggest with 5's / 2's / 4's etc. Doesnt this not defeat the object.

Keeping a bus on a particularly route happens in Northampton with Stagecoach, with buses staying all day on the 1's, 16's, 9/9a's etc with the only cross working with some of the infrequent services such as the 62's, oh and a few usual strays at night.

I do agree with the Nottingham buses, my partners local route is the Trent Barton Bingham Xpress or Ratcliffe Line, both keeping the same vehicles on all day, with strays in evening and Sundays with Xpress workings going through Ratcliffe, but as Ratcliffe Line to help with capacity.


Offline Graeme Palmer

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2010, 08:44:59 PM »
I don't quite see the need to interwork routes that run every 10min really - did all that extra work planning the encyclopedic web of bus workings really save enough mileage to make it worth paying the person/people to bother coming up with it?

A few years ago First in Northampton split up is through routes at Northampton Town Centre to help with better time keeping. It then went to interworking them as suggest with 5's / 2's / 4's etc. Doesnt this not defeat the object.

Keeping a bus on a particularly route happens in Northampton with Stagecoach, with buses staying all day on the 1's, 16's, 9/9a's etc with the only cross working with some of the infrequent services such as the 62's, oh and a few usual strays at night.

I do agree with the Nottingham buses, my partners local route is the Trent Barton Bingham Xpress or Ratcliffe Line, both keeping the same vehicles on all day, with strays in evening and Sundays with Xpress workings going through Ratcliffe, but as Ratcliffe Line to help with capacity.



Offline Mutly

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2010, 12:54:01 AM »
 Changing the subject slightly, i saw a major development with Wirst today, this being 38121 on the 4, with its Screaming Belt FIXED!! it only took them about two months, does this mean they are actually spending some time fixing things?  ;D

Offline Nat2

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2010, 12:54:51 AM »

Offline Dale

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2010, 06:04:37 AM »
No, Steve. What it means is that First Northampton will still need to use it on their final route once they've killed off all the others.

 ::)

Dale



Changing the subject slightly, i saw a major development with Wirst today, this being 38121 on the 4, with its Screaming Belt FIXED!! it only took them about two months, does this mean they are actually spending some time fixing things?  ;D

Offline Graeme Palmer

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Re: First Midlands
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2010, 09:29:44 PM »