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146 Bus

Very disappointed the 146 will stop going to Norwich.
It is the only comfortable bus going, the new gas powered ones.
The X2 double decker is like sitting on the pavement the seats are so hard, the single decker has leg room only enough for small children. I could not travel from Lowestoft to Norwich on either of them. I can suffer the double decker around town, the single I will never use again.
Norwich car parks here I come.

Comments

Showing 12 of 12
Blue Poppy
.......but what did you travel on before the recent gas powered ones arrived
Michael P
Not on but how. With a very numb rear.
Blue Poppy
I ve never noticed them being that bad just felt like a normal bus to me  I agree the gas powered ones are lovely but then they are new so would be lovely
Howard M inactive
Michael P, you say you are disappointed that the Anglian Bus service 146 to Norwich is to be withdrawn, but are you surprised?

I wonder if you would agree that a bus service should be assessed on the basis of the service it provides, and not on the extent to which its seats are comfortable.

The sheer inadequacy of the 146 service was brought home to me fairly soon after its introduction when we boarded the 1750 out of Norwich one weekday and discovered it didn't go beyond Worlingham except by special request.  There was/is no through service to Lowestoft later than that. Furthermore, there is no service on Sundays and on bank holidays.  Following that discovery regarding its timetable I refused on principle to use the 146 again.

It is perfectly clear that the 146 service was introduced by Anglian Bus because under the terms of the 1985 Transport Act any bus operator is allowed to register any route they wish and at the times they wish, and Anglian Bus doubtless felt that by introducing a shiny new fleet of buses in direct competition with the already existing X2 First bus service they would be able to return a comfortable profit by poaching many of First's customers who were content to travel at conventional times.  They evidently succeeded, Michael P, in winning over you.

At the time I took up the matter with both First and Anglian Bus, essentially questioning the rationale of running two services in tandem, when there might be some profitability for one or other company running at least some express services.  I received most interesting replies.  Anglian Bus gave a rather weak defence of what they were doing, and freely admitted that the profit motive was a major factor. First gave a most thorough and honest appraisal of the situation, and I will quote the following prophetic sentence: 'I fully agree with you that these kinds of situation are "wasteful" and there is little spare profit on most routes to allow two operators to stay the course in the long term.'  It was inevitable that First, which is a commercial giant, would have no trouble seeing off the competition, and this has proved so. 

However, if comfort is your paramount consideration in getting from A to B, Michael P, I certainly agree with you that your best course is to get out your car.
Gloria L
Hello again Howard , quick question. How did you manage to get an answer from the bus companies? I didn't
Howard M inactive
Gloria, I realize I put a comment on your other posting and forgot to add your name.  I hope it will be obvious! 

In this matter I don't know why you didn't get an answer if you contacted the bus companies.  Something must have gone wrong.  I wonder if you pursued it with them.  

In my case, I wrote virtually the same letter to the two companies since I was making the same points to each.  It was a polite letter with the content clearly set out, and it was obvious that a reply was expected. The managing director of Anglian Bus himself replied to me later on the same day.  First took much longer to reply, but when they did it was an excellent reply.  I don't write many letters to companies or utilities, but certainly this reply was the best I've ever had.  They examined the situation I put to them very thoroughly and took a range of examples to answer the questions I raised.  Because I have had direct experience of the bus industry in the past I responded to some of what they said and they replied again saying they were considering my comments.

On the whole I was left with the impression that First take their business seriously and appreciate constructive feedback from the public.  Above all, they are willing to run routes which, even with appropriate government subsidy, return little if any profit.  Anglian Bus I felt, although thanking me for my input, were perhaps more anxious to fend it off.  Still, as Michael P is quick to remind us, the seats on their gas buses are very nice.  I wonder if he noticed that the drivers don't get much help from the silly, dinky little rear view mirrors?
Gloria L
Yep I knew it was me you were talking to, actually I didn't even notice that there was no name on it so no problem there.
On the subject of Bus companies, i sent an email which was ignored and if I remember rightly I wasn't the only one. Do you have names and addresses for both companies. If you have I will try again.
Michael P
Didn't say I was surprised, just disappointed. Of course it's all about profit they are private companies, why not. 
And I would have thought it obvious there was never enough custom for both, I was just remarking that if one had to pull out it would have been nice to have the comfortable one remaining. Same applies to anything Planes, Theatres, Trains.
Michael P
I e mailed First to complain about the leg room on the single decker X2, (totally ridiculous). They did reply, but did not comment on my comments, said it would be passed to the Lowestoft manager.
Like he buys the buses and designs the seat spacing, I don't think so. They make Easy Jet seem like first class.
By the way I am not obese and only 5 ft 10,
Maybe I am a foot to tall, I get it it's all my fault,
I wonder if HSE have an opinion, there is probably an EU regulation on seat spacing.
Howard M inactive
Michael, I know I have been teasing you about the seating on the buses, but seriously of course you are quite right: people do want to travel comfortably.

I think one only has to go along to the wonderful transport museum at Carlton Colville and travel on the old vehicles to be made aware of how different things used to be. I was travelling recently on one of the swish new trains on the London overground and thinking that it was actually more comfortable to stand up than to sit down.

The problem of seating has been a long-standing one for transport operators. Ease of maintenance, cost, and, sadly, the modern problem of vandalism unfortunately mean that the cheapest solution is to provide seats that make the passengers feel they might as well be sitting on a mobile park bench.

As for travelling to Norwich, I suppose you have considered the X1 service?  Not all of the First buses have uncomfortable seats, and because the X1 is a long-distance route the vehicles do make some concession to comfort. Of course the route caters more for central and north Lowestoft, and so it may not suit you.

You say as well that you thought it was obvious there never was enough custom for both operators. That is a good point, and it raises the question of why Anglian Bus introduced their 146 service. Doubtless they knew they couldn't sustain it in the long-term against the greater muscle of First and it would only be a matter of time until their new service ran out of steam (or gas?).  It may have been a case of testing the waters to see how much money they could make.  Nevertheless, it has been a classic example of the effects of competition in the free market.  When I came to the area a little less than a year ago the first X1 service ran hourly. In order to see off the competition from Anglian Bus First had to double the frequency, and subsequently turn the screw a little more tightly by introducing a 20 minute frequency.  Now that Anglian Bus has backed out, will the service retain its 20 min. frequency. Perhaps it will, but I'm not holding my breath.
Howard M inactive
Sincere apologies: the ending of my previous post eluded the scrutiny of normally reliable proofreader. Here it is again as it should have been the first time—

When I came to the area a little less than a year ago the First X1 service ran hourly. In order to see off the competition from Anglian Bus First had to double the frequency, and subsequently turn the screw a little more tightly by introducing a 20 minute frequency.  Now that Anglian Bus has backed out, will the service retain its 20 min. frequency? Perhaps it will, but I'm not holding my breath.
Howard M inactive
Sorry Gloria, I didn't have time respond to your earlier comment ("On the subject of Bus companies, i sent an email which was ignored and if I remember rightly I wasn't the only one. Do you have names and addresses for both companies. If you have I will try again.") because I got sidetracked with your pots! Since that subject has now fortunately died a death I can get round to it now.

Regarding the names of the bus companies, they are clearly written on every bus that you see on the streets every day!  Likewise the address is written on the so-called "legal lettering" on the side of each and every bus. Contact details would also be available on the company websites.They are also obtainable elsewhere, but I would add that anyone who wants to find out anything will never go away disappointed if they approach their local library!  Libraries are a source of all information and their staff, from my experience, only too happy to dispense it. Support your local library, I say, otherwise you will lose it!

Since I contacted the bus companies via e-mail I don't personally have their addresses. I will add however that any e-mail approach to the companies will normally receive a response, and my own experience has not indicated otherwise. I have to wonder why you have not had success, and without wishing to cast aspersions at anything you might have written I am not necessarily inclined to suppose that the fault rests with the bus companies.

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