Go North East | Sunday timetables all weekend

118 Replies, 7353 Views

(06 Jan 2022, 7:09 pm)Driver9*** Wrote: So what's the alternative then? Russle up 30 or whatever extra drivers from thin air?

Expect the fit drivers to come in on their rest days for the same rate of pay and in the process probably get zero thanks for doing so from the company or general public?

Encourage people to use their own private car instead? I know that isn't the message they'll be wanting to send, but that is exactly what this is doing. The public perception in public transport reliability is already poor, without it hitting a nuclear low.

Even if this was planned in advance, doing it with less than 48 hours notice is rash and does not give people the time to plan alternative transport.

I realise that this is not impacting one operator, and that it is industry-wide, but as has been discussed on this forum previously. It's not an issue solely created by the pandemic. There are numerous factors involved, but it's one exacerbated by it.

The industry has struggled to recruit and retain staff for years, and must have spent millions over the years in the process.
Forum Moderator | Find NEB on facebook
Visit my Buses & Beyond website. Also on Facebook.
(06 Jan 2022, 8:18 pm)Adrian Wrote: Encourage people to use their own private car instead? I know that isn't the message they'll be wanting to send, but that is exactly what this is doing. The public perception in public transport reliability is already poor, without it hitting a nuclear low.

Even if this was planned in advance, doing it with less than 48 hours notice is rash and does not give people the time to plan alternative transport.

I realise that this is not impacting one operator, and that it is industry-wide, but as has been discussed on this forum previously. It's not an issue solely created by the pandemic. There are numerous factors involved, but it's one exacerbated by it.

The industry has struggled to recruit and retain staff for years, and must have spent millions over the years in the process.
Well Arriva still seem to think £9.30/hr is a reasonable starting rate for drivers. Of course it's a pittance but they know there will always be some desperate enough to work for it, hence they get away with it.

In fact, thanks to the Unite union allowing them to bring in a new pay structure unopposed a few years ago, any driver with less than two years service is now earning less than they would have been 6-7 years ago.
Not sure how much this would help but could GNE not suspend all their NX services and use the NX drivers on service work to cover the shortages.
(06 Jan 2022, 11:23 pm)GNE6312 Wrote: Not sure how much this would help but could GNE not suspend all their NX services and use the NX drivers on service work to cover the shortages.
I don't think National Express would be happy about that.
(06 Jan 2022, 11:49 pm)omnicity4659 Wrote: I don't think National Express would be happy about that.
Of course contracted work comes first!!
(06 Jan 2022, 11:23 pm)GNE6312 Wrote: Not sure how much this would help but could GNE not suspend all their NX services and use the NX drivers on service work to cover the shortages.

Surely from a business point of view the National Express work would be more important. It's guaranteed money rather than running a bus that might make money. I'd prioritise those any day of the week.

Not to mention cancelling them will come with a cost aswell.
(06 Jan 2022, 8:18 pm)Adrian Wrote: Encourage people to use their own private car instead? I know that isn't the message they'll be wanting to send, but that is exactly what this is doing. The public perception in public transport reliability is already poor, without it hitting a nuclear low.

Even if this was planned in advance, doing it with less than 48 hours notice is rash and does not give people the time to plan alternative transport.

I realise that this is not impacting one operator, and that it is industry-wide, but as has been discussed on this forum previously. It's not an issue solely created by the pandemic. There are numerous factors involved, but it's one exacerbated by it.

The industry has struggled to recruit and retain staff for years, and must have spent millions over the years in the process.
Absolutely this.  Why anyone with any other possible alternative would stick with, let alone even consider switching to, public transport after the eternally worsening provision is beyond me.  Realise a lot of this is to an extent (but far from entirely) unavoidable due to current levels of sickness/absence, it only serves to highlight even more the biggest weakness of public transport vs the car - you are at the absolute mercy of the operators in terms of if, or when, your transport turns up (with very little or no notice) let alone how direct or not your route is etc.  Martijn has been really vocal on social media demonising the car and cooing about why there's no need to own one...really?
(07 Jan 2022, 1:17 am)stagecoachbusdepot Wrote: Absolutely this.  Why anyone with any other possible alternative would stick with, let alone even consider switching to, public transport after the eternally worsening provision is beyond me.  Realise a lot of this is to an extent (but far from entirely) unavoidable due to current levels of sickness/absence, it only serves to highlight even more the biggest weakness of public transport vs the car - you are at the absolute mercy of the operators in terms of if, or when, your transport turns up (with very little or no notice) let alone how direct or not your route is etc.  Martijn has been really vocal on social media demonising the car and cooing about why there's no need to own one...really?
I was unable to get home last night because of a late running 49, so I had to stay over at my grandfather's.

I was even begrudgingly going to pay for an Arriva ticket from Durham to Tindale (since GNE don't have the late X21s anymore), but I only had I think 2 minutes to get the the 21 in Gateshead and the 49 was running about 4 minutes late by the time it left the MetroCentre.

Even then, at Durham I would have only had 1 minute to switch from the 21 to the Arriva 6, so that would have been risky!
There was one last 6 to Bishop after that, but I wasn't going to be standing around for an hour when it's freezing and then walking the 2 miles home when it's icy.

Sent from my AC2003 using Tapatalk
(06 Jan 2022, 8:18 pm)Adrian Wrote: Encourage people to use their own private car instead? I know that isn't the message they'll be wanting to send, but that is exactly what this is doing. The public perception in public transport reliability is already poor, without it hitting a nuclear low.

Even if this was planned in advance, doing it with less than 48 hours notice is rash and does not give people the time to plan alternative transport.

I realise that this is not impacting one operator, and that it is industry-wide, but as has been discussed on this forum previously. It's not an issue solely created by the pandemic. There are numerous factors involved, but it's one exacerbated by it.

The industry has struggled to recruit and retain staff for years, and must have spent millions over the years in the process. 
I started to do the maths (granted its using figures and procedures which are 15 years old), but that's when I was last involved in the training of drivers, booking tests, allocating vehicles etc.


At the time, I was in charge of allocating 5 members of the training team to 5 vehicles using a paper based system, booking the tests and ensuring those going through the tests got as much training as they could.
The tests at Sandy Lane were something like 8.45, 10.30, 13.30 and 14.45. You had to book them in advance by ringing the DVLA at the Regent Centre and checking to see what they had.
If there were issues at Sandy Lane or someone had booked the tests up before I'd had a chance to speak to someone, it was a case of hoping for a cancellation (ringing Regent Centre up again and again) or using either Carlisle or Darlington.
So in addition to avoiding the early test, I had to take in to account a range of factors whilst hoping for a late morning test or the afternoon ones (where possible and when available). 

I was paid to do all of that. 


There were the 5 instructors, 5 vehicles (that needed to be roadworthy) and fuel that needed funding too.
This was all in addition to any medicals, theory tests and provisional licence applications.


Quite a significant outlay financially and quite a bit of admin to overcome before the trainee had even set foot in the vehicle.

I appreciate things have changed, with some processes becoming easier or different over the years, but costs were significant. Even then.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(06 Jan 2022, 5:22 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: Wonder when they decide to share it with the wider public? The people using those services and needing to use them to get places. 

There's not much time left to get the message out there.
Is it cynical of me to expect quite a few complaints over the weekend and in to next week?
Is it even more cynical of me to expect a shrug of the shoulders and a 'we told you, we updated the website and notices went on buses - you should have paid attention' kind of response?
Is it inevitable that the drivers who have managed to bat Covid away and haven't moved on to bigger and better things, are the ones who will get it in the neck?
Will the Sunday running times cope with Saturday passenger levels and Saturday road traffic?
or will there be lots of late running?
Given there is still mileage to cover at Washington tomorrow based on this https://www.gonortheast.co.uk/short-noti...0Januaryen

It makes you think how bad it would have been without the Sunday times
(07 Jan 2022, 7:05 pm)DeltaMan Wrote: Given there is still mileage to cover at Washington tomorrow based on this https://www.gonortheast.co.uk/short-noti...0Januaryen

It makes you think how bad it would have been without the Sunday times
It also makes you wonder if public transport is as safe as its claimed to be, with little in place to protect the driver and customers.

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
Forum Moderator | Find NEB on facebook
Visit my Buses & Beyond website. Also on Facebook.
(07 Jan 2022, 7:27 pm)Adrian Wrote: It also makes you wonder if public transport is as safe as its claimed to be, with little in place to protect the driver and customers.

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
At the start of the pandemic "patchy" is probably a fair statement

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com...455845.amp

I have to say some of the travelling public do not help. I've witnessed first hand customers passing masks between themselves onboard
(07 Jan 2022, 6:22 pm)busmanT Wrote: Will the Sunday running times cope with Saturday passenger levels and Saturday road traffic?
or will there be lots of late running?
Given the levels of traffic around key retail sites recently, I'd hazard a guess there's going to be even more delays and missed runs tomorrow. In addition to the runs already cancelled. 

Can see people waiting an hour for a service which is normally every 12mins or so on a Saturday.
It's not going to do the operators long-term prospects any good.
People will see these services as unreliable (regardless of the pandemic) and I can't see too many being that understanding when that hour waiting is cold, wet and possibly snowy. Particularly with kids in tow.

I have some sympathy for the operators being put in to this situation, but I still think a lot of the issues are a legacy of poor management and those poor managers getting away with far too much, for far too long. Drivers aren't just a number to be easily replaced. The pandemic has shown that.

(07 Jan 2022, 7:56 pm)DeltaMan Wrote: At the start of the pandemic "patchy" is probably a fair statement

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com...455845.amp

I have to say some of the travelling public do not help. I've witnessed first hand customers passing masks between themselves onboard
I'd love to know what measures have been put in to place around driver handovers.
I've seen driver handovers, but I've not seen any drivers clean and sanitise the cockpit (either getting in or getting out) or the van they've used to get from Washington depot to the Galleries and vice versa.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(07 Jan 2022, 7:56 pm)DeltaMan Wrote: At the start of the pandemic "patchy" is probably a fair statement

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com...455845.amp

I have to say some of the travelling public do not help. I've witnessed first hand customers passing masks between themselves onboard

Patchy to non-existent then, but sad to say that I don't find that report surprising at all. 

I notice that some operators still have the 2m marking and front seats blocked off for example, but others have nothing. I don't think any have measures in place for customers either, which is actually putting the driver at more risk due to having more people crowding into a confined space. A space that is poorly ventilated and left to the mercy of the customers to control. 

You may find this paper from Feb 2021 of interest; especially the table on Page 21. Quite clearly there's a lot more that operators (and other businesses) could do to keep staff safe, but the bare minimum approach and stripping back safety measures as soon as possible, shows a complete lack of regard to staff never mind the customer.

(07 Jan 2022, 8:39 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: Given the levels of traffic around key retail sites recently, I'd hazard a guess there's going to be even more delays and missed runs tomorrow. In addition to the runs already cancelled. 

Can see people waiting an hour for a service which is normally every 12mins or so on a Saturday.
It's not going to do the operators long-term prospects any good.
People will see these services as unreliable (regardless of the pandemic) and I can't see too many being that understanding when that hour waiting is cold, wet and possibly snowy. Particularly with kids in tow.

I have some sympathy for the operators being put in to this situation, but I still think a lot of the issues are a legacy of poor management and those poor managers getting away with far too much, for far too long. Drivers aren't just a number to be easily replaced. The pandemic has shown that.

I'd love to know what measures have been put in to place around driver handovers.
I've seen driver handovers, but I've not seen any drivers clean and sanitise the cockpit (either getting in or getting out) or the van they've used to get from Washington depot to the Galleries and vice versa.

People already see public transport as unreliable. This is, in addition to months of daily service disruptions, going to take that opinion to a nuclear low and perhaps do some irreparable damage. 

I've seen cab cleaning taking place at changeovers, but its few and far between. I believe the companies provide the equipment and substances to do this, but it's still up to whoever is taking the bus over to do it. It's a human factor and one within the worker's control, but this aside, there are so many environmental factors outside of the worker's control that is putting them at high risk. which that paper I shared in the post above illustrates.

The environmental factors may be outside of an individual worker's control, but they're certainly within the employer's control. 

I've never actually seen any risk assessments from the transport sector, but have reviewed and worked on them throughout COVID in other sectors. Happy for anyone to drop me an email with any (anonymously of course Smile )
Forum Moderator | Find NEB on facebook
Visit my Buses & Beyond website. Also on Facebook.
Noticed these couple of tweets earlier in regards to the X1

[Image: f713bfd1366dfceb6a8d320925cbc4f3.jpg]

[Image: cfa524421e97056af795afb6853ee04d.jpg]

Likely to be this journey, with people trying to get into Newcastle in time for the match. Most of whom likely only use buses on match days, and won't have seen the (less than 48 hours) notice in the app or website unless they to looking for it.

[Image: e37acaca3f936ad1a57c32934b740e63.jpg]

Opening the app itself only shows the disruption once you select an individual stop that the service serves. The general banner doesn't mention it at all.

[Image: 42870b9a5a5cdb34e273ae61e2081a2a.jpg]

If I was on that X1 today and I had another option available, I just wouldn't bother again in the future.

Clearly 'BETTER than ever' is alive and kicking, and that's before I get onto my 35 minute wait at Birtley for a 21...

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
Forum Moderator | Find NEB on facebook
Visit my Buses & Beyond website. Also on Facebook.
(08 Jan 2022, 4:46 pm)Adrian Wrote: Noticed these couple of tweets earlier in regards to the X1

[Image: f713bfd1366dfceb6a8d320925cbc4f3.jpg]

[Image: cfa524421e97056af795afb6853ee04d.jpg]

Likely to be this journey, with people trying to get into Newcastle in time for the match. Most of whom likely only use buses on match days, and won't have seen the (less than 48 hours) notice in the app or website unless they to looking for it.

[Image: e37acaca3f936ad1a57c32934b740e63.jpg]

Opening the app itself only shows the disruption once you select an individual stop that the service serves. The general banner doesn't mention it at all.

[Image: 42870b9a5a5cdb34e273ae61e2081a2a.jpg]

If I was on that X1 today and I had another option available, I just wouldn't bother again in the future.

Clearly 'BETTER than ever' is alive and kicking, and that's before I get onto my 35 minute wait at Birtley for a 21...

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk


Sounds like another SAFE bus situation to me.
(08 Jan 2022, 4:46 pm)Adrian Wrote: Noticed these couple of tweets earlier in regards to the X1

[Image: f713bfd1366dfceb6a8d320925cbc4f3.jpg]

[Image: cfa524421e97056af795afb6853ee04d.jpg]

Likely to be this journey, with people trying to get into Newcastle in time for the match. Most of whom likely only use buses on match days, and won't have seen the (less than 48 hours) notice in the app or website unless they to looking for it.

[Image: e37acaca3f936ad1a57c32934b740e63.jpg]

Opening the app itself only shows the disruption once you select an individual stop that the service serves. The general banner doesn't mention it at all.

[Image: 42870b9a5a5cdb34e273ae61e2081a2a.jpg]

If I was on that X1 today and I had another option available, I just wouldn't bother again in the future.

Clearly 'BETTER than ever' is alive and kicking, and that's before I get onto my 35 minute wait at Birtley for a 21...

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk

Regardless of the decision to reduce service level, it's beyond belief that the driver decided to risk their livelihood to get a few extra punters into town. They shouldn't have been put in that position by the company anyway, but you don't go and make it worse by allowing folk to stand upstairs and inevitably also breaking capacity limits. 

It was well publicised that today's cup game was going to be essentially sold out well in advance, which makes the decision to cut service to a Sunday level even worse.
(08 Jan 2022, 5:20 pm)mb134 Wrote: Regardless of the decision to reduce service level, it's beyond belief that the driver decided to risk their livelihood to get a few extra punters into town. They shouldn't have been put in that position by the company anyway, but you don't go and make it worse by allowing folk to stand upstairs and inevitably also breaking capacity limits. 

It was well publicised that today's cup game was going to be essentially sold out well in advance, which makes the decision to cut service to a Sunday level even worse.
Chances are it is full from Washington, where there are no other links and through Springwell. 

Where else are they going to go. Wait for the next one - then the one after that will be full.
(08 Jan 2022, 5:41 pm)Omega54 Wrote: Chances are it is full from Washington, where there are no other links and through Springwell. 

Where else are they going to go. Wait for the next one - then the one after that will be full.

And? As a driver that isn't their problem.

Put a "Bus Full" display on, as many ANE buses I saw today did, and direct any complaints to customer services.