The decline in passenger numbers
#1
There isn't really a suitable place for this, and it is probably something that merits it's own discussion thread.

Here's why bus passenger numbers are falling in the North East
https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/nor...g-15536961

Quote:North East travellers are turning their backs on buses and the Metro, transport bosses have warned.

Millions of journeys are still made each year, but the numbers are falling.

And local transport experts think congestion caused by the number of cars on the road may be partly to blame.

Marshall Poulton, assistant director for transport at Newcastle City Council, said “congestion in and around the city centre” was slowing down bus journeys into Newcastle city centre, and services running between the East and West in the region.

A fall in the number of Metro users may be connected to poor reliability, he said.

He was speaking at a seminar for transport leaders in the North of England, held in Manchester.

Mr Poulton, speaking in a personal capacity, said one answer to cutting congestion could be to increase parking charges in Newcastle city centre. This is not currently city council policy.

He said there were around 164 million bus passenger journeys each year in the area covered by the North East Combined Authority, which includes Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, County Durham and Northumberland.

But the number had fallen by 22 million in recent years.


And there are 36 million trips annually on the Metro system - but this is 1.3 million journeys fewer than a year ago.

Mr Poulton said: “Our general feeling is that from a bus perspective, the congestion in and around the city centre is preventing buses penetrating East-West and into Newcastle.

“It’s not as bad on the North-South route, but East-West is definitely held up.

“That is then maybe making the car more attractive to travel into the city centre.”

Car travel may also appear to offer better value than bus transport, he said.

He added: “I personally feel we’ve got to look at parking policies as well.

“The supply of car parking and the pricing policy. It’s very affordable in Newcastle compared to other cities.”

The Metro was “very successful” and offered good value for money, he said.

But he added: “One challenge we’ve got there is the resilience of the network.

“Sometimes it’s unreliable a bit further out from Newcastle, not so much in Newcastle itself.”

Bus passenger numbers have fallen across the country.

Earlier this year, the bus company that owns Go North East urged local councils to consider road-charging schemes to cut congestion on the roads.

Go-Ahead Group, which provides 175,000 bus journeys every day under the Go North East brand name, said authorities should be more willing to introduce road charges, or to impose charges on workplace car parks used by employees.

In a written submission to House of Commons Transport Committee, Go-Ahead Group said councils should use the powers they already have in order to get cars off the roads and cut congestion.

It said: “Powers are available for local authorities to tackle congestion through the Traffic Management Act 2004 but are not effectively used and enforced.

"Through the Transport Act 2000, measures such as workplace charging/road user charging should be more readily deployed, as a means of achieving target journey times.”

A congestion charge was introduced in London in 2003 and other parts of the country are now beginning to follow suit. Birmingham is introducing a “clean air zone”, which involves imposing charges on many private vehicles coming into the city centre, while Manchester City Council is considering a similar scheme.
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#2
Nothing to do with the changes over the years and losing direct links making people buy multi journey tickets... The list is endless. Then the metro - every day trains are withdrawn etc

I would rather cycle than take the bus. Even then the car or van is more appealing.
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#3
(11/12/2018, 19:47)Adrian Wrote: There isn't really a suitable place for this, and it is probably something that merits it's own discussion thread.

Here's why bus passenger numbers are falling in the North East
https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/nor...g-15536961

I think I've said as much before, but seeing as it isn't mentioned in the article... 

*Fares. 
They need to be attractive. Pricing car users away from car parks doesn't guarantee they will switch to public transport. 
It is well documented that the high streets are struggling. 
If councils increase parking charges, it makes out of town or Internet shopping even more attractive. It doesn't make the bus more attractive. 

*Direct buses. 
Having to get 2/3 buses to the town and the same back and paying a premium for the priviledge isn't attractive. Even less so when I'm lumping kids and bags of shopping with me. Even less so when there's very little space on the bus to put the shopping. 

Operators need to start looking at their own practices, before pointing the finger at someone else. 
They need to accept some responsibility, before blaming someone else. 

I've actually been to the town tonight. Popped in with the kids for an hour or two.
Didn't get the bus, because connections and services drop to a level that isn't suitable. 
Timings aren't convenient. 
The duration of the trip compared to taking the car, wasn't favourable. 
I won't have been the only one to have made that decision tonight.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
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#4
I went from home to Gosforth park last night in the car. used just under 8 quid in petrol.  To use the bus I would have to walk 1/2 mile to bus stop, wait in the cold for the bus. Get to town. Hopefully not have to wait to long for a 43/44/45 and of course hope I got a seat at peak time. then do it all in reverse but after 6 pm I only get the option of 1 bus per hour home so would have to have fingers crossed that I'd get to town for that. And the cost of a day rover to do this?  I think its about 7.80?

Who in there right mind would use the bus for that journey when it costs roughly the same??

If they want more people to use the bus, as I've said before they need to use carrot method rather tan stick. Make using the bus cheaper!
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#5
(12/12/2018, 11:43)Rob44 Wrote: I went from home to Gosforth park last night in the car. used just under 8 quid in petrol.  To use the bus I would have to walk 1/2 mile to bus stop, wait in the cold for the bus. Get to town. Hopefully not have to wait to long for a 43/44/45 and of course hope I got a seat at peak time. then do it all in reverse but after 6 pm I only get the option of 1 bus per hour home so would have to have fingers crossed that I'd get to town for that. And the cost of a day rover to do this?  I think its about 7.80?

Who in there right mind would use the bus for that journey when it costs roughly the same??

If they want more people to use the bus, as I've said before they need to use carrot method rather tan stick. Make using the bus cheaper!

Strewth, what you driving!? Think I'd be looking at a service....

But seriously, I take your point.  Unattractive fares and unattractive frequency aren't a good combination.
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#6
Yess my car is a bit of a gas guzzler but that makes my point even more. If it was a 1 litre igo it would probably cost less than 4 quid which makes the bus even worse value for money.
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#7
(11/12/2018, 19:47)Adrian Wrote: There isn't really a suitable place for this, and it is probably something that merits it's own discussion thread.

Here's why bus passenger numbers are falling in the North East
https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/nor...g-15536961

It's already about £8 for a few hours in Eldon Square car park, so if that's not enough to encourage local people to use public transport, I don't know what would be. 

But people taking the car instead of the bus are going to be stuck in the exact same traffic. Last time I went into Newcastle by car, with husband, it took us almost half an hour to get off the Felling bypass and over the Tyne Bridge. Why? Because there had been yet another power failure on the Metro, that morning, that's why.
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#8
(12/12/2018, 18:49)BusLoverMum Wrote: It's already about £8 for a few hours in Eldon Square car park , so if that's not enough to encourage local people to use public transport, I don't know what would be. 

But people taking the car instead of the bus are going to be stuck in the exact same traffic. Last time I went into Newcastle by car, with husband, it took us almost half an hour to get off the Felling bypass and over the Tyne Bridge. Why? Because there had been yet another power failure on the Metro, that morning, that's why.

Compared to the equivalent bus fare for me and two kids, the car park is cheaper.
I'm traveling within T&W entirely too. 
Add in Mrs Constanopolous and the equivalent bus fare is more than twice as much as the car park - unless we are savvy enough to know about any family type tickets. And then it's not quite double the price of the car park.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
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#9
Cant speak much about the Tyne & Wear area, although I guess you do better than many because of the high population, option of Metro and trains, several operators and so on.

Agree with some of whats already been said, traffic congestion is a problem but thats the main thing bus operators complain about and they dont do anything about the things they can control. Every time new timetables are published the policy seems to be to save money and save a bus where possible, cut one here or there and basically reduce the services to the passengers.

People want or need fast, frequent buses. Direct or limited stop, fewer changes. Reasonable fares. Comfort and space. Reliability.

And one of the main factors which is often overlooked is off-peak services. If there's little or no buses on an evening for people to get home from work, they'll not travel into work on the bus earlier in the day either. Sunday services are stuck the same as they were donkeys years ago when few people used them, but its a different era now and there should be a better service.

Arriva offer a more basic service than some others, in as much as there are practically no genuine express services. Very little in much of their patch on an evening, certainly no night buses. Nothing on Boxing day again this year except a couple around Newcastle. Yet Isle of Wight buses are even running a decent service on Christmas Day this year!

I'm not saying a massively increased level of service is viable, but they are cautious to the extreme and unwilling to even attempt fairly small scale levels of improvement, instead pointing the finger only on things like traffic congestion or fuel tax and not looking at their own failings.
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#10
(12/12/2018, 19:52)Andreos1 Wrote: Compared to the equivalent bus fare for me and two kids, the car park is cheaper.
I'm traveling within T&W entirely too. 
Add in Mrs Constanopolous and the equivalent bus fare is more than twice as much as the car park - unless we are savvy enough to know about any family type tickets. And then it's not quite double the price of the car park.

With gne, that fare for the family would only be a tenner, though that would be the same for us, travelling in from Durham.

(12/12/2018, 22:01)tvd Wrote: Cant speak much about the Tyne & Wear area, although I guess you do better than many because of the high population, option of Metro and trains, several operators and so on.

Agree with some of whats already been said, traffic congestion is a problem but thats the main thing bus operators complain about and they dont do anything about the things they can control.  Every time new timetables are published the policy seems to be to save money and save a bus where possible, cut one here or there and basically reduce the services to the passengers.

People want or need fast, frequent buses.  Direct or limited stop, fewer changes.  Reasonable fares.  Comfort and space.  Reliability.  

And one of the main factors which is often overlooked is off-peak services.  If there's little or no buses on an evening for people to get home from work, they'll not travel into work on the bus earlier in the day either.  Sunday services are stuck the same as they were donkeys years ago when few people used them, but its a different era now and there should be a better service.

Arriva offer a more basic service than some others, in as much as there are practically no genuine express services.  Very little in much of their patch on an evening, certainly no night buses.  Nothing on Boxing day again this year except a couple around Newcastle.  Yet Isle of Wight buses are even running a decent service on Christmas Day this year!

I'm not saying a massively increased level of service is viable, but they are cautious to the extreme and unwilling to even attempt fairly small scale levels of improvement, instead pointing the finger only on things like traffic congestion or fuel tax and not looking at their own failings.

I couldn't agree more about Sunday buses. They're always packed. To get to Newcastle, we can either aim for the X21 and hope that there's still seats by the time it reaches our side of Durham - often not the case when they put a single decker on - or get a pretty much guaranteed seat on the much slower 21 but inevitably end up with someone's backside in my face. There were people standing on the stairs when I was on one, a few Sundays ago.
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#11
Without studying overall population figures and number/percentage of households without private transport, the basic issues are many and complex, but very similar across the northern conurbations. I think Andreos is bang on the money with his reasoning, and the "nowt to do with us" attitude of the Operators is typical of the private sector throughout industries that millions depend on; Usual pattern, we develop policies forcing millions out of our business; those millions of individuals find alternatives that create major problems across society and then the private sector whinge about problems THEY largely created. Supermarkets are the same; Try finding a ready meal with wholegrain instead of white rice. try finding any ready meal without unnecessary amounts of sugar; try finding fresh fruit in affordable amounts that won't go off before a single householder can get through them; same principle - they make things as unhealthy as possible an them whinge about taxes going to the NHS.

Equally, though the story highlights basic flaws in other parties, although this first one might apply in Greater Manchester more than Tyne & Wear.

1. This narrow obsession that traffic congestion is something that only happens within a mile of the regional centre (or on Motorways). Tonight, I made the fatal mistake of a bus in the hand is better than two buses (or even one bus and one train and a long walk) on the bush. With yet more warnings of the notorious MSIRR works and Champions League football creating the usual Wednesday night "perfect storm", I came out of Manchester Royal Infirmary at the right time to catch a 42A, which although the journey distance is easily double the 4 miles it would have been if I had been a proverbial crow, it meant I wouldn't have to fight for a space for an inbound bus past the University, risk said perfect storm and then risk a repeat getting out of M'cr again. The signs were even better when the 42A arrived not only on time, but the correct type of bus (E400H). The 42/42A/42B (along with others along Wilmslow Road) are designated hybrid services, but last Wednesday when I attended an identical appointment ALL buses I saw on this group of services (and the majority on the other Wilmslow Road services) were 10yo Euro4s.
Note I said it arrived on time, and given the usual school traffic through Fallowfield etc, pretty much maintained time within the increased peak hour timings (this was 1545-1600hrs). However, once beyond Withington and into the borough of Stockport, it lost TWENTY-THREE minutes.

2. The news report states that "Manchester" are considering charging private vehicles for entering parts of the city. It doesn't mention that "Manchester" are also considering punitive charges for buses below Euro6 or even Euro7, nor does it say how much "Manchester" are being dictated to by Whitehall under "CleanAir" given that GMCA plans were always to charge/ban buses below Euro *4*.

Its usual media reporting; Motorists are human beings; Rail users are human beings; bus passengers are statistics.
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#12
Operators are quick to jump on the back of Transport Focus type surveys or awards ceremonies that tend to massage the ego a bit. 
However, have they ever tried finding out why punters mooching around Eldon Square chose the car over the bus?


As I see it, the on-board surveys and industry awards ceremonies, give a skewed view of their business. 
'we must be doing alright. We scored 91% on a survey of our passengers and we picked up a couple of trophies at the last dicky bow tie event we were at. People must be leaving us in droves because of traffic jams and roadworks'.

The potential passengers or passengers who have given up using the bus aren't spoken to or consulted. 
They aren't involved in sharing thoughts or ideas. 
They don't have any input or voice that could help shape or improve public transport. 

The ignored majority.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
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#13
(12/12/2018, 23:37)Tamesider Wrote: Without studying overall population figures and number/percentage of households without private transport, the basic issues are many and complex, but very similar across the northern conurbations. I think Andreos is bang on the money with his reasoning, and the "nowt to do with us" attitude of the Operators is typical of the private sector throughout industries that millions depend on; Usual pattern, we develop policies forcing millions out of our business; those millions of individuals find alternatives that create major problems across society and then the private sector whinge about problems THEY largely created. Supermarkets are the same; Try finding a ready meal with wholegrain instead of white rice. try finding any ready meal without unnecessary amounts of sugar; try finding fresh fruit in affordable amounts that won't go off before a single householder can get through them; same principle - they make things as unhealthy as possible an them whinge about taxes going to the NHS.

Equally, though the story highlights basic flaws in other parties, although this first one might apply in Greater Manchester more than Tyne & Wear.

1. This narrow obsession that traffic congestion is something that only happens within a mile of the regional centre (or on Motorways). Tonight, I made the fatal mistake of a bus in the hand is better than two buses (or even one bus and one train and a long walk) on the bush. With yet more warnings of the notorious MSIRR works and Champions League football creating the usual Wednesday night "perfect storm", I came out of Manchester Royal Infirmary at the right time to catch a 42A, which although the journey distance is easily double the 4 miles it would have been if I had been a proverbial crow, it meant I wouldn't have to fight for a space for an inbound bus past the University, risk said perfect storm and then risk a repeat getting out of M'cr again. The signs were even better when the 42A arrived not only on time, but the correct type of bus (E400H). The 42/42A/42B (along with others along Wilmslow Road) are designated hybrid services, but last Wednesday when I attended an identical appointment ALL buses I saw on this group of services (and the majority on the other Wilmslow Road services) were 10yo Euro4s.
Note I said it arrived on time, and given the usual school traffic through Fallowfield etc, pretty much maintained time within the increased peak hour timings (this was 1545-1600hrs). However, once beyond Withington and into the borough of Stockport, it lost TWENTY-THREE minutes.

2. The news report states that "Manchester" are considering charging private vehicles for entering parts of the city. It doesn't mention that "Manchester" are also considering punitive charges for buses below Euro6 or even Euro7, nor does it say how much "Manchester" are being dictated to by Whitehall under "CleanAir" given that GMCA plans were always to charge/ban buses below Euro *4*.

Its usual media reporting; Motorists are human beings; Rail users are human beings; bus passengers are statistics.

There is a rehash of this story with NO extra detail and the same "easy target" blame on buses/passengers on the MEN website tonight. The only things to add are that it is clearer that Whitehall are dictating this CleanAir edict to "Manchester" and indeed many other local authorities up and down the country. They in turn are supposedly driven by "ClientEarth" whose clients I assume are the Rail Lobby and uber/gett/wambamm etc.
Also, after a private meeting last week there will be a "public" meeting on 11th January, 14 days *after* the plans have to be submitted to Whitehall.
Lastly, it is confirmed the IPPR North figures quoted 6 months ago are based on Euro6 and electrics only (not Hybrids). As all talk locally until then had been based on GMCA banning just Euro3 and worse, this indicates that not only have Whitehall moved the goalposts, but IPPR *knew* months ago that they would.

(14/12/2018, 12:04)Andreos1 Wrote: Operators are quick to jump on the back of Transport Focus type surveys or awards ceremonies that tend to massage the ego a bit. 
However, have they ever tried finding out why punters mooching around Eldon Square chose the car over the bus?


As I see it, the on-board surveys and industry awards ceremonies, give a skewed view of their business. 
'we must be doing alright. We scored 91% on a survey of our passengers and we picked up a couple of trophies at the last dicky bow tie event we were at. People must be leaving us in droves because of traffic jams and roadworks'.

The potential passengers or passengers who have given up using the bus aren't spoken to or consulted. 
They aren't involved in sharing thoughts or ideas. 
They don't have any input or voice that could help shape or improve public transport. 

The ignored majority.

People are going to accuse me of being your "man in GM" because again, I totally agree. Obviously, these "on bus" surveys are contrived by talking to people on the routes giving the best value. It also helps that passengers don't know which services are making the most money and the massive fares differences between individual services, alongside service cuts v enhancements. Dare I say that they will also exploit the fact that people on captive market routes have lower expectation levels, partly because they are more likely to have other big problems to contend with in socio-economically divided Britain, nay socio-economically divided Greater Manchester.
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#14
https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/sto...ssion=true

Interesting figures to come out of Stoke.
Operators blame the bus station.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
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#15
(03/01/2019, 15:17)Andreos1 Wrote: https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/sto...ssion=true

Interesting figures to come out of Stoke.
Operators blame the bus station.

That's some photoshop skills on the Omnicity there. 

I believe the Stoke situation is a toxic combination of a disinterested council and a disinterested operator - Potteries is now a single depot operation for  First, out on a limb around 60 miles from the next nearest First Midlands outpost. 

The bus station is marginally out of the way, though it's also adjacent to the previous (derelict, undeveloped) bus station. There is the opportunity for First to easily have their buses run in a terminal loop fashion to serve both the retail quarter and bus station, like D&G bus do, but they choose not to. 

First Potteries' apparent contempt for their customers may have more to do with the present situation. To indicate my point, First have just bumped up their annual ticket to £715 - blatant robbery when you realise the local council regulated multi-operator ticket (akin to Network 1), which covers everything the First ticket covers plus a larger area, comes in at £540!! This is in the face of accelerated service cuts, with yet more to hit later this month. Entire corridors have been abandoned in the few years I've lived here, 2 depots have closed and evening & Sunday services have been decimated. Vehicles are hardly attractive either; there's not a single on-board USB port to be seen in the North Staffs area and of the grand total of 9 buses which are meant to have wi-fi, I've never known it to actually be on. The mainstay of the fleet are 13-15 year old Transbus E300s, a number of which still wear the Barbie livery discontinued 7 years ago. 

The other factor is the council. They have the bundled several roles together and now have the bizarre department of 'Regeneration, Transport & Culture'. How on earth can one team be simultaneously responsible for bus priorities and museum cafes? The dangerous fool quoted in the article, Daniel Jellyman, sums up the council's stance on bus users succinctly; 'Bus operators are private firms that are free to make their own decisions'. Read: 'Not our problem'. Since taking over, he's been busy removing bus lanes, cancelling the last scraps of subsidised services and selling off gifting away for free the council's house fleet of Solos and Versas.  

Bus use in Stoke-on-Trent is in free-fall and I can't see things getting any better. Certainly interesting to watch - glad I have a car.
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#16
(03/01/2019, 23:06)James101 Wrote: That's some photoshop skills on the Omnicity there. 

I believe the Stoke situation is a toxic combination of a disinterested council and a disinterested operator - Potteries is now a single depot operation for  First, out on a limb around 60 miles from the next nearest First Midlands outpost. 

The bus station is marginally out of the way, though it's also adjacent to the previous (derelict, undeveloped) bus station. There is the opportunity for First to easily have their buses run in a terminal loop fashion to serve both the retail quarter and bus station, like D&G bus do, but they choose not to. 

First Potteries' apparent contempt for their customers may have more to do with the present situation. To indicate my point, First have just bumped up their annual ticket to £715 - blatant robbery when you realise the local council regulated multi-operator ticket (akin to Network 1), which covers everything the First ticket covers plus a larger area, comes in at £540!! This is in the face of accelerated service cuts, with yet more to hit later this month. Entire corridors have been abandoned in the few years I've lived here, 2 depots have closed and evening & Sunday services have been decimated. Vehicles are hardly attractive either; there's not a single on-board USB port to be seen in the North Staffs area and of the grand total of 9 buses which are meant to have wi-fi, I've never known it to actually be on. The mainstay of the fleet are 13-15 year old Transbus E300s, a number of which still wear the Barbie livery discontinued 7 years ago. 

The other factor is the council. They have the bundled several roles together and now have the bizarre department of 'Regeneration, Transport & Culture'. How on earth can one team be simultaneously responsible for bus priorities and museum cafes? The dangerous fool quoted in the article, Daniel Jellyman, sums up the council's stance on bus users succinctly; 'Bus operators are private firms that are free to make their own decisions'. Read: 'Not our problem'. Since taking over, he's been busy removing bus lanes, cancelling the last scraps of subsidised services and selling off gifting away for free the council's house fleet of Solos and Versas.  

Bus use in Stoke-on-Trent is in free-fall and I can't see things getting any better. Certainly interesting to watch - glad I have a car.

Yes. But for "dangerous fool" could you not just as easily say, populist politician. I don't know anything about the politics of Stoke or North Staffordshire, but I doubt its any different to anywhere else outside of south east England (or Lothian). Local politicians are under the control of the voters, powerful lobbyists (including the media) and Central Government. Thus, they are only trying to satisfy those groups. There is a trend towards cheaper and free parking in most towns that don't already have it, and every day you get Media stories of either how downtrodden motorists and Rail users are or how new policies are going to protect said groups. Two today:
1. An all party group of MPs wants Petrol/Diesel prices regulated so that wholesale price reductions are passed on to motorists. These MPs will doubtless complain about urban pollution and congestion when it suits them, but can't see the link. Nor are the slight bit interested in regulating bus fares in the same way.
2. Due to ongoing Strikes and "investment delays" Northern Rail are being handed an £11 million subsidy without a by your leave. Yet Hammond scrapped KickStart to save barely half that (a year) in 2010 and everyone from Jeremy Clarkson to Julian Peddle would be up in arms if £11 million of public money was spent to benefit bus passengers in conurbations where not only elected Mayors have called for franchising but (in Greater Manchester) SIX out of seven of those who stood against Andy Burnham also had greater Bus Regulation in their manifesto.

Similary, the location and environs of the new Hanley Bus Station are little different to elsewhere. Because Rail is historically far more remote than bus from people's O&D, the answer has long been to push buses and bus stations away from city and town centres. I was there in September and it shares the same problems as most other Bus Stations, being infested with drunks, beggars and criminal cyclists. And yes, I am talking the middle of a working day. Again, I can't speak for the area in general, but in GM since the introduction of the Health Act 2006, I have felt FAR safer on a bus than I do waiting for or alighting from a bus, whether in a bus station or at a bus stop. I should point out though, I rarely travel after 1800hrs nowadays, so that might skew my perceptions slightly.
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#17
(04/01/2019, 22:42)Tamesider Wrote: Yes. But for "dangerous fool" could you not just as easily say, populist politician. I don't know anything about the politics of Stoke or North Staffordshire, but I doubt its any different to anywhere else outside of south east England (or Lothian). Local politicians are under the control of the voters, powerful lobbyists (including the media) and Central Government. Thus, they are only trying to satisfy those groups. There is a trend towards cheaper and free parking in most towns that don't already have it, and every day you get Media stories of either how downtrodden motorists and Rail users are or how new policies are going to protect said groups. Two today:
1. An all party group of MPs wants Petrol/Diesel prices regulated so that wholesale price reductions are passed on to motorists. These MPs will doubtless complain about urban pollution and congestion when it suits them, but can't see the link. Nor are the slight bit interested in regulating bus fares in the same way.
2. Due to ongoing Strikes and "investment delays" Northern Rail are being handed an £11 million subsidy without a by your leave. Yet Hammond scrapped KickStart to save barely half that (a year) in 2010 and everyone from Jeremy Clarkson to Julian Peddle would be up in arms if £11 million of public money was spent to benefit bus passengers in conurbations where not only elected Mayors have called for franchising but (in Greater Manchester) SIX out of seven of those who stood against Andy Burnham also had greater Bus Regulation in their manifesto.

Similary, the location and environs of the new Hanley Bus Station are little different to elsewhere. Because Rail is historically far more remote than bus from people's O&D, the answer has long been to push buses and bus stations away from city and town centres. I was there in September and it shares the same problems as most other Bus Stations, being infested with drunks, beggars and criminal cyclists. And yes, I am talking the middle of a working day. Again, I can't speak for the area in general, but in GM since the introduction of the Health Act 2006, I have felt FAR safer on a bus than I do waiting for or alighting from a bus, whether in a bus station or at a bus stop. I should point out though, I rarely travel after 1800hrs nowadays, so that might skew my perceptions slightly.

Jellyman is a populist politician, the worst kind. 'Dangerous fool' is just my pet name for him since a clash of heads we had when I expressed my opinion as a resident, rate payer, employer and high street unit occupier over his [lack of] direction for the city centre.

I don't believe the core issues are all too different in Stoke than many other places, just perhaps more acute on both the operator and local government sides. While the car is king around these parts, local rail isn't really an option, largely due to there being no real 'local' services and the main station being a good couple of miles from the city centre.
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#18
(03/01/2019, 23:06)James101 Wrote: That's some photoshop skills on the Omnicity there. 

I believe the Stoke situation is a toxic combination of a disinterested council and a disinterested operator - Potteries is now a single depot operation for  First, out on a limb around 60 miles from the next nearest First Midlands outpost. 

The bus station is marginally out of the way, though it's also adjacent to the previous (derelict, undeveloped) bus station. There is the opportunity for First to easily have their buses run in a terminal loop fashion to serve both the retail quarter and bus station, like D&G bus do, but they choose not to. 

First Potteries' apparent contempt for their customers may have more to do with the present situation. To indicate my point, First have just bumped up their annual ticket to £715 - blatant robbery when you realise the local council regulated multi-operator ticket (akin to Network 1), which covers everything the First ticket covers plus a larger area, comes in at £540!! This is in the face of accelerated service cuts, with yet more to hit later this month. Entire corridors have been abandoned in the few years I've lived here, 2 depots have closed and evening & Sunday services have been decimated. Vehicles are hardly attractive either; there's not a single on-board USB port to be seen in the North Staffs area and of the grand total of 9 buses which are meant to have wi-fi, I've never known it to actually be on. The mainstay of the fleet are 13-15 year old Transbus E300s, a number of which still wear the Barbie livery discontinued 7 years ago. 

The other factor is the council. They have the bundled several roles together and now have the bizarre department of 'Regeneration, Transport & Culture'. How on earth can one team be simultaneously responsible for bus priorities and museum cafes? The dangerous fool quoted in the article, Daniel Jellyman, sums up the council's stance on bus users succinctly; 'Bus operators are private firms that are free to make their own decisions'. Read: 'Not our problem'. Since taking over, he's been busy removing bus lanes, cancelling the last scraps of subsidised services and selling off gifting away for free the council's house fleet of Solos and Versas.  

Bus use in Stoke-on-Trent is in free-fall and I can't see things getting any better. Certainly interesting to watch - glad I have a car.

I won't pretend to be familiar with services in the Stoke area (it's just over a year since I was down there and there was a big gap between that and the last time I was down there). 
The first thing that crosssd my my mind, was the similarities with the accusation of a poorly located bus station in Hartlepool.
Operators left Hartlepool interchange well alone and like you say, First could do the same in Stoke. 
They've chosen not to. They've also chosen to raise fares and finger point (I see a pattern emerging here...).
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
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#19
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019...-jobcentre

Sad times.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
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#20
I
(07/01/2019, 16:32)Andreos1 Wrote: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019...-jobcentre

Sad times.

He’s entitled to a Stagecoach Jobseekers card, offering half price single & return fares. Article doesn’t mention that.
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