Archive for Stroud’s Buses

Public Talk on Stroud’s Buses

The author of the book “Stroud’s Buses” will be giving a two-hour talk on Stroud’s Buses, on 7 March 2009 at the Broadmead Baptist Church in central Bristol, starting at 1345. It will cover the period from Stroud’s first motor buses near enough to the present time. Enter via Union Street (opposite bus stop SJ).

The talk is organised by the Omnibus Society and is open to members and non-members alike. In other words, all are welcome!

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New Tesco Bus

Swanbrook Transport has taken over the free bus service on behalf of Tesco. It originally started on 9 February 2008 and continues Mondays to Fridays at every 20-minutes between Merrywalks and Tesco, via Beeches Green, between approximately 0930 and 1430 hrs. Swanbrook also has the weekly services from more outlying settlements.

Tesco’s website still refers to the Stagecoach West service.

Nationally, Tesco and bus services have in the past had an uneasy relationship, with some embryonic services curtailed and disputes over buses entering car park. Now, though, Tesco appears to have grasped the idea and even have what is becoming a standard livery.

Mercedes Mini for Stroud Tesco

Given that users are likely to be more elderly people, it’s such a pity Tesco feels unable to contract an accessible vehicle. Still, every little helps, a phrase seemingly embedded within the nation’s psyche. Mind you, it also seems to imply that Tesco only helps a little and that the help is almost imperceptibility small and useless.

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Merrywalks really that Bad?

Yesterday, we reported criticism regarding the new Merrywalks bus facility. Today, we wonder how bad the new facility really is.

Shortcomings the new Merrywalks terminus certainly has, but could it be described as a ‘complete disaster’?

We’d say not. One of its bonuses over the old bus station is that it avoids buses reversing and although there were few incidents, there was always that potential.

Has it added to congestion? We’d say that any congestion is associated with the number of vehicles in general now using Merrywalks. And, there are fewer buses along there at any time in its history as a bus terminus (1968-1992; and again from 1997 as the old bus station or current facility ).

Buses are now able to join the traffic flow more easily, especially those heading towards Beeches Green, on the north side of Merrywalks. And, since buses when parked are well out of the way of through traffic, they hinder general movements very little. If buses *do* impede traffic then surely this is an advantage in calming road speeds.

And, since the town was vehemently against buses on its streets (during the period 1992-1997), it’s hard to think of where a terminus would be, if not on Merrywalks, other than at the railway station, of course. Even here, access is limited by narrower streets.

One weakness is passengers crossing the road inappropriately. Then again, there’s a footbridge and pedestrian controlled crossing.

The old Merrywalks dated from 1968 and it may have been innovative back then but it had a slightly down-at-heel look to it in the early years of the 21st century. It did its job well enough though, and certainly kept off the rain, even if it would be hard pressed to keep someone warm. The replacements aren’t any better. But are they much worse?

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Bus ‘Station’ Criticised

A Stroud Town Council survey has revealed deep discontent over the lack of a proper bus station in Stroud, said the BBC this morning. The new bus arrangements on Merrywalks attracted one of the longest lists of questions and criticisms in a survey carried out by the council, with the council revealing that the issue would be addressed as a ‘key priority’. Without prompting, about 10 per cent of people chose to complain.

Report on the BBC on Stroud's Bus Station

Two representative comments as reported were:

1. Merrywalks bus station was, as we were led to believe, to be temporary. We were definitely conned. Now we have to wait in the cold and rain under shelters that are definitely inadequate.

2. The ‘bus station’ being situated on a main street has caused a huge increase in congestion. It is also dangerous for pedestrians, as many do not use the crossing and ‘chance it’ by running between cars. This has been a complete disaster.

Deputy mayor Andy Read said,  “The fact that, with no prompting, more than 10% of people chose to complain about the bus facilities at Merrywalks certainly shows that this is an issue which requires urgent attention.

Go to BBC News Gloucestershire

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School CCTV

CCTV placed on some  Stroud’s school buses since the start of the current academic year are said to have reduced incidents of anti-social behaviour by as much as 80 per cent, according to Stroud Life.  Only three pupils were banned since the cameras’ introduction.  So successful has the pilot been the county council is considering a wider roll-out. It relies on match-funding from both operators and the county council. Of the six participating schools, Marling, Stroud High for Girls, Archway and Thomas Keeble (Eastcombe Manor) are in and around Stroud.

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Order Relaxation?

A “sudden surge” in passenger numbers seems likely to result in a relaxation of the 1997 traffic order that restricts buses using Stroud town centre to just 33 seats.

The order was designed to keep bigger buses out of London Road at the time when there were concerns about fumes and congestion. It dates back to 1997 when the bus station was reopened. At the bus station’s closure in 1992, buses had been using on-street stops. This arrangement, though introduced for good reason, had never seen widespread approval from the people of Stroud.  The idea behind the order was therefore to restrict town centre access to local services only.

These local buses are principally operated by Cotswold Green whose services have enjoyed a 25 per cent increase in the last 12 months, partly as a result of changing school catchments. Cotswold Green is said to struggle to meet demand with its smaller buses, without passengers standing, and wishes to use 40-43 seaters.

The order is subject to a sixth month trial and consultations.

It’s rather ironic that modern DDA compliant easy access single decks seating some 33 passengers are almost as long as traditional 10m double decks that the order bans.

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Positive Press

It rather reminds me of the positive stories of which you used to read in the Bristol Omnibus house journal, “Bristol OMNIBUS Magazine”. There were always a few pages dedicated to inspectors, drivers and conductors who’d offered good service.

In the December 2008/January 2009 edition of Nailsworth News, a correspondent applauds BOC successor Stagecoach for the way in which it operates the “outstation” service between Nailsworth & Minchinhampton. It’s a “pleasant social occasion” with the driver known well to passengers as he swings the bus through The W. Not too much swaying, we hope.

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