Reversing the decline in passenger numbers

320 Replies, 37931 Views

(07 Jan 2019, 5:21 pm)James101 Wrote: I
He’s entitled to a Stagecoach Jobseekers card, offering half price single & return fares. Article doesn’t mention that.

Does the guy know?
Moot point if/when the bus is cancelled.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(07 Jan 2019, 6:56 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: Does the guy know?
Moot point if/when the bus is cancelled.

Has the guy asked? Asking would almost certainly be easier than featuring in The Guardian. 

If the 30 is withdrawn he can take the 21 and change onto the 35 or take the more frequent 31 to Peterborough and swap onto the Busway to Huntingdon from there. I've never been to his town but it took me 5 minutes to find another way to get to where he needs to be. I'm not a fan of seeing bus millage withdrawn but this is a poorly researched article clutching at straws to meet an agenda.
(07 Jan 2019, 11:06 pm)James101 Wrote: Has the guy asked? Asking would almost certainly be easier than featuring in The Guardian. 

If the 30 is withdrawn he can take the 21 and change onto the 35 or take the more frequent 31 to Peterborough and swap onto the Busway to Huntingdon from there. I've never been to his town but it took me 5 minutes to find another way to get to where he needs to be. I'm not a fan of seeing bus millage withdrawn but this is a poorly researched article clutching at straws to meet an agenda.

He probably still couldn't afford even the half fare if he's being sanctioned, mind.
(08 Jan 2019, 9:41 am)BusLoverMum Wrote: He probably still couldn't afford even the half fare if he's being sanctioned, mind.

Catch the bus, don’t get sanctioned. He could go to the supermarket whilst in town. The money saved versus shopping in the ‘express’  supermarket in the village cancels out his [half price] bus fare, magic!

If the gent insists on walking instead of using the bus, why is the author surprised the bus service is under review?
(08 Jan 2019, 10:45 am)James101 Wrote: Catch the bus, don’t get sanctioned. He could go to the supermarket whilst in town. The money saved versus shopping in the ‘express’  supermarket in the village cancels out his [half price] bus fare, magic!

If the gent insists on walking instead of using the bus, why is the author surprised the bus service is under review?

I might have missed it, but I can't see the information in there that talks about where he does his shopping or how he uses the 'express' type store in the village.

I did see the comment about the three hourly service being busy (obviously that's just one person's view). I also saw how it's the amongst the lowest recipients of subsidies in the area.
We are well aware of how operators suddenly find that previously subsidised services are viable when a competitor wins a contract. 
I wonder if this service would fall in to this category?
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(08 Jan 2019, 2:21 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: I might have missed it, but I can't see the information in there that talks about where he does his shopping or how he uses the 'express' type store in the village.

I did see the comment about the three hourly service being busy (obviously that's just one person's view). I also saw how it's the amongst the lowest recipients of subsidies in the area.
We are well aware of how operators suddenly find that previously subsidised services are viable when a competitor wins a contract. 
I wonder if this service would fall in to this category?

My logic regarding the gent’s shopping habits was in response to BLM’s assertion the claiment could face sanctions. Given the context of this thread and the discussion of affordability of bus fares,I assumed the link was reasonably clear. I’ll be more detailed in future.

I read the low subsidy part as perhaps meaning the route is only just commercially unsustainable. I agree that it’s likely to be the case once any funding dries up Stagecoach may decide to keep it on commercially.

The whole thing could be a moot point anyway, the 30 does not appear on the linked list of supported services under review, I wonder where The Guardian got their information from?

https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/reside...-services/
(08 Jan 2019, 3:39 pm)James101 Wrote: My logic regarding the gent’s shopping habits was in response to BLM’s assertion the claiment could face sanctions. Given the context of this thread and the discussion of affordability of bus fares,I assumed the link was reasonably clear. I’ll be more detailed in future.

I read the low subsidy part as perhaps meaning the route is only just commercially unsustainable. I agree that it’s likely to be the case once any funding dries up Stagecoach may decide to keep it on commercially.

The whole thing could be a moot point anyway, the 30 does not appear on the linked list of supported services under review, I wonder where The Guardian got their information from?

https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/reside...-services/

If he only changed his shopping habits (that we have no idea about), then he can afford the half price bus fares, (that we have no idea whether he knows about)...

...Meanwhile in the real-world, we have people who can't afford shopping, so rely on foodbanks to get by.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(08 Jan 2019, 5:25 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: If he only changed his shopping habits (that we have no idea about), then he can afford the half price bus fares, (that we have no idea whether he knows about)...

...Meanwhile in the real-world, we have people who can't afford shopping, so rely on foodbanks to get by.

Agreed; he should research support available and try to live within his means. As we all should. 

As the article states, his appointments are changing to fortnightly rather than weekly. If Jobseeker’s Allowance or it’s equivilant is around £144/fortnight that means he’s expected to save just 2.5% of this for his half price return bus ticket. He is welcome to use his bi-weekly visit to Huntingdon to do whatver else he likes; regardless of shopping habits, do you not agree there’s probably something else he can do in town to bolster the efficiency of his travel spend?

It’s the sign of a decent society that we help those fallen on hard times. What do you suggest is the best thing the state could do to help Mr Taylor?
(08 Jan 2019, 5:25 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: If he only changed his shopping habits (that we have no idea about), then he can afford the half price bus fares, (that we have no idea whether he knows about)...

...Meanwhile in the real-world, we have people who can't afford shopping, so rely on foodbanks to get by.

(08 Jan 2019, 6:07 pm)James101 Wrote: Agreed; he should research support available and try to live within his means. As we all should. 

As the article states, his appointments are changing to fortnightly rather than weekly. If Jobseeker’s Allowance or it’s equivalent is around £144/fortnight that means he’s expected to save just 2.5% of this for his half price return bus ticket. He is welcome to use his bi-weekly visit to Huntingdon to do whatver else he likes; regardless of shopping habits, do you not agree there’s probably something else he can do in town to bolster the efficiency of his travel spend?

It’s the sign of a decent society that we help those fallen on hard times. What do you suggest is the best thing the state could do to help Mr Taylor?

The Gentleman in the article has been sanctioned. Its alright people suggesting that others live within their means, but he has gone 13 weeks without a penny. Its no good suggesting people need to live within their means, when they've been kicked square in the bollocks by Government policy. I couldn't live in the JSA rate of £73.10 a week - my weekly travel would be over a third of that alone! 

Andreos1 highlights a good point, and its worth looking closely at what this scheme is. The Stagecoach scheme is national, and is part of the Government scheme. It is available from months 3-9 of being signed on when aged 18-24, and months 3-12 when over 25. Once you hit the upper limits in each age bracket, you are automatically referred on to the Work Programme. You are not eligible to hold one of these cards when on the Work Programme. So we don't know that he is 'entitled' to it - its an assumption. Once on the Work Programme, there'll be discretionary reimbursement of reasonable expenses (such as bus fares) associated with finding work. This does not include your travel to the Job Centre, as it is seen as your own responsibility. I accept that it is, but come on, at least give people a level playing field. 

I don't see the relevance of questioning shopping habits. There's someone here who has gone without any income for 13 weeks, and his 24 mile journey on foot out of necessity, is highlighting the importance of good quality public transport to all communities. They're a lifeline for many to reach education, employment and other vital local services. We should be making the case for proper funding for services, not trying to justify the removal of them.
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(08 Jan 2019, 10:49 pm)Adrian Wrote: The Gentleman in the article has been sanctioned. Its alright people suggesting that others live within their means, but he has gone 13 weeks without a penny. Its no good suggesting people need to live within their means, when they've been kicked square in the bollocks by Government policy. I couldn't live in the JSA rate of £73.10 a week - my weekly travel would be over a third of that alone! 

Andreos1 highlights a good point, and its worth looking closely at what this scheme is. The Stagecoach scheme is national, and is part of the Government scheme. It is available from months 3-9 of being signed on when aged 18-24, and months 3-12 when over 25. Once you hit the upper limits in each age bracket, you are automatically referred on to the Work Programme. You are not eligible to hold one of these cards when on the Work Programme. So we don't know that he is 'entitled' to it - its an assumption. Once on the Work Programme, there'll be discretionary reimbursement of reasonable expenses (such as bus fares) associated with finding work. This does not include your travel to the Job Centre, as it is seen as your own responsibility. I accept that it is, but come on, at least give people a level playing field. 

I don't see the relevance of questioning shopping habits. There's someone here who has gone without any income for 13 weeks, and his 24 mile journey on foot out of necessity, is highlighting the importance of good quality public transport to all communities. They're a lifeline for many to reach education, employment and other vital local services. We should be making the case for proper funding for services, not trying to justify the removal of them.

Therein lies another inconsistency in the article. It’s introduction sets out Mr Taylor’s inability to afford the bus fare is directly due to being sanctioned. Yet a few paragraphs later it says he had made the journey ‘20 or 30 times’. Is he consistently being sanctioned? If so why’s he walking there anyway? Or is The Guardian misleading us? Just like how I accept there’s no evidence either way on Mr Taylor’s current entitlement to a Jobseekers Travelcard, as the author doesn’t address the issue altogether. She’s either not done her research or is intentionally trying to exegerate jobseeker’s hardship.

I agree shopping habits are irrelevant. Another forum user suggested it would be hard to afford a £3.50 (or even £7) fare. I made a reasonable suggestion how one could save such a sum. 

I am an avid believer in the social necessity of community bus services and as such could argue all day long to save route 30. Access to public services and employment is key to that argument. However, this particular article, from this particular author, is poor.
(08 Jan 2019, 6:07 pm)James101 Wrote: Agreed; he should research support available and try to live within his means. As we all should. 

As the article states, his appointments are changing to fortnightly rather than weekly. If Jobseeker’s Allowance or it’s equivilant is around £144/fortnight that means he’s expected to save just 2.5% of this for his half price return bus ticket. He is welcome to use his bi-weekly visit to Huntingdon to do whatver else he likes; regardless of shopping habits, do you not agree there’s probably something else he can do in town to bolster the efficiency of his travel spend?

It’s the sign of a decent society that we help those fallen on hard times. What do you suggest is the best thing the state could do to help Mr Taylor?

2.5% sounds like a drop in the ocean.
Having claimed JSA in the past, I know the reality. I only 'got by', by having a few quid squirelled away.
JSA was nowhere near enough to run a car to get to/from the JCP+, eat, socialise, use public transport, pay utility bills, mortgage etc. That's without a sanction. 
My JCP+ was within reasonable walking distance. So I saved money by walking.
I used the £3 fare that was saved, to supplement my JSA.

I was confident enough (my esteem hadn't been eaten away completely) to ask for support to get to an interview in Manchester.
I was fortunate enough to live in an area where public transport is still accessible and also have the option of having the car. 
I was able to get on and search for the cheapest way to get to/from a city on the other side of the country and find accommodation for the three day programme.
I was fortunate enough to find employment and be in a position to pay back the JCP+ funds for that trip.

I was however, a month from running out of those pennies squirreled away. 
The £3 I saved each time I went to sign on might only be 2.5%, but it made a huge difference to my life over that period.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
https://www.kenilworthweeklynews.co.uk/n...ssion=true

The residents are not happy!
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(17 Jan 2019, 2:06 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: https://www.kenilworthweeklynews.co.uk/n...ssion=true

The residents are not happy!

The child ticket situation is pretty poor. It seems there’s a term ticket available but even that’s fairy expensive for a child fare.

Regarding the service cuts more generally I don’t understand what planet the councillors are on by hauling Stagecoach to a meeting to explain why they’ve withdrew services the Council decilned to contribute to.

The councillors need to be lobbying government for reform of how supported bus services are ran, not blaming the operator.
(18 Jan 2019, 1:03 am)James101 Wrote: The child ticket situation is pretty poor. It seems there’s a term ticket available but even that’s fairy expensive for a child fare.

Regarding the service cuts more generally I don’t understand what planet the councillors are on by hauling Stagecoach to a meeting to explain why they’ve withdrew services the Council decilned to contribute to.

The councillors need to be lobbying government for reform of how supported bus services are ran, not blaming the operator.

What I find interesting about it, is that neither of the parties appear to be budging.
For all the finger pointing and accusations, what is already a poor, expensive network, is going to get worse. 
The cycle continues and the network is left with what? 

If the opposite was to happen and rather than axe routes, improvements were made, the network has the potential to grow and numbers increase.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(18 Jan 2019, 8:28 am)Andreos1 Wrote: What I find interesting about it, is that neither of the parties appear to be budging.
For all the finger pointing and accusations, what is already a poor, expensive network, is going to get worse. 
The cycle continues and the network is left with what? 

If the opposite was to happen and rather than axe routes, improvements were made, the network has the potential to grow and numbers increase.

Well, it paid off when arriva made that sort of investment into the 22 and 24. They doubled the frequency and more paying passengers used it.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-47045872

Huge drop in passengers according to latest report.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(30 Jan 2019, 1:53 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-47045872

Huge drop in passengers according to latest report.

Less than 2% is hardly huge in the context of lost patronage. GM has lost more than 2% a year every year for many years and historically has only seen a couple of "blips" in 32 years when it has either stabilised or increased. Typical BBC to use stills from Manchester where their stories are often inappropriate and always inaccurate. Doubtless the original caption said "this hybrid bus is killing your child - not the unregulated 15 year oid diesel taxis clogging up the city; not the 44 tonners crawling through every junction on the M60 8, 10, 12 hours a day - its Euro4, 5, 6 and hybrid buses, used by lobbyless oiks".
(30 Jan 2019, 1:53 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-47045872

Huge drop in passengers according to latest report.

"It's nearly impossible for councils to keep subsidising free travel". 

Well here we have the same old problem - ENCTS. Councils are forced to pay for the bus travel of all pensioners, regardless of if they can afford it or not. The only result can be marginal services are cut for the entire population.  

(30 Jan 2019, 10:13 pm)Tamesider Wrote: Less than 2% is hardly huge in the context of lost patronage. GM has lost more than 2% a year every year for many years and historically has only seen a couple of "blips" in 32 years when it has either stabilised or increased. Typical BBC to use stills from Manchester where their stories are often inappropriate and always inaccurate. Doubtless the original caption said "this hybrid bus is killing your child - not the unregulated 15 year oid diesel taxis clogging up the city; not the 44 tonners crawling through every junction on the M60 8, 10, 12 hours a day - its Euro4, 5, 6 and hybrid buses, used by lobbyless oiks".

Not wanting to repeat a previous conversation; but is Manchester not slightly different in that there's been a modal shift to Metrolink? I maintain I'd rather be a bus user in a PTE area than a non-PTE area. When changes occur TFGM produce a 91 page document to asses the impact and any necessary action to be taken [ https://www.gmcameetings.co.uk/meetings/...-committee ]. Conversely, Stoke-on-Trent city council respond with 'Not our problem, guv'.
(30 Jan 2019, 11:34 pm)James101 Wrote: "It's nearly impossible for councils to keep subsidising free travel". 

Well here we have the same old problem - ENCTS. Councils are forced to pay for the bus travel of all pensioners, regardless of if they can afford it or not. The only result can be marginal services are cut for the entire population.  


Not wanting to repeat a previous conversation; but is Manchester not slightly different in that there's been a modal shift to Metrolink? I maintain I'd rather be a bus user in a PTE area than a non-PTE area. When changes occur TFGM produce a 91 page document to asses the impact and any necessary action to be taken [ https://www.gmcameetings.co.uk/meetings/...-committee ]. Conversely, Stoke-on-Trent city council respond with 'Not our problem, guv'.

Metrolink is a complicated one as yes, it does skew the figures a bit, but the decline in GM has been more constant than just coinciding with Metrolink extensions/abstractions. Of course, the irony is that only a tiny minority of people can readily access the system.

TBH, the TFGM document is overkill in that the vast majority of commercial changes are minor (odd journeys withdrawn or retimed earlier) or outside their remit anyway (10 minute service reduced to 12, but first and last buses roughly the same times), so rather than repeating "No further Action at this stage" for dozens and dozens of services, they should just list minor commercial changes

ENCTS is another example of conditions varying drastically between areas. In purely financial terms it is much less of a problem in GM because the gap between Retirement Age and Life Expectency is closing rapidly. And that's before you get into "Active Life" Expectancy. Also, arguably its not that much of a perk; On weekdays, Concessionary holders can't really travel very far with off-peak running speeds often in single figures (mph) and wanting to get home before the schools finish at c.1415-1430.
(31 Jan 2019, 10:10 pm)Tamesider Wrote: Metrolink is a complicated one as yes, it does skew the figures a bit, but the decline in GM has been more constant than just coinciding with Metrolink extensions/abstractions. Of course, the irony is that only a tiny minority of people can readily access the system.

TBH, the TFGM document is overkill in that the vast majority of commercial changes are minor (odd journeys withdrawn or retimed earlier) or outside their remit anyway (10 minute service reduced to 12, but first and last buses roughly the same times), so rather than repeating "No further Action at this stage" for dozens and dozens of services, they should just list minor commercial changes

ENCTS is another example of conditions varying drastically between areas. In purely financial terms it is much less of a problem in GM because the gap between Retirement Age and Life Expectency is closing rapidly. And that's before you get into "Active Life" Expectancy. Also, arguably its not that much of a perk; On weekdays, Concessionary holders can't really travel very far with off-peak running speeds often in single figures (mph) and wanting to get home before the schools finish at c.1415-1430.

I dare say Metrolink abstraction from bus ridership will continue for years to come, if the GM Transport Plan is realised. For summarise for anyone that's not seen it - the plan is to turn every lamppost in Greater Manchester into a tram stop. The counter argument to your concern Metrolink stops are less accessible than bus stops would be the greater appeal of trams over buses. It's been proven time over that passengers will walk further from their origin to reach a tram than they would tolerate walking to a bus stop. Of course there is a legitimate concern about passengers with mobility restrictions, in this situation I think the fairest use of resources is a limited mini-bus or local-link feeder service into Metrolink. 

The expansion of Metrolink seems to be the best way to please the majority of the people. Public transport passengers may have to walk a but further, but they get a more consistent (if not always faster) journey time to the city. This can be achieved with less visible impact to the road network for the motorist, keeping that lobby happy. I'd love to see greater bus priority in the city, but realistically what can be done?

I think Stagecoach can see this coming and this is demonstrated by the recent 168/150 changes. They're trying to remove the necessity for a city centre change (and a temptation to switch to tram over the X50) from the east of GM to Trafford on this new direct route before Metrolink Trafford Park opens, to hell with the local links provided by the previous set-up.