Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Changing times for the Y36

Below are three Y36 timetables, showing weekday journeys from Victoria Centre to Beeston and Chilwell for 2013, today and from this coming Monday (21 November), but first some background.

I admit to having a love-hate relationship with YourBus. They originally took advantage of de-regulation to offer a bus service in competition with Nottingham City Transport's route 36 between Nottingham Victoria Centra and Chilwell via Lenton, the QMC and Beeston c2010. At the time NCT were operating a crap service with single deckers, often full and with passengers standing for long parts of the journey. I know. It happened to me often enough. Their arrival on the scene also affected Trent-Barton.

How YourBus chop and change timings and routes is something I have written about before (see here for a post I made in May 2015)

Some readers might remember the first buses, branded 'yourcity', with orange fronts and destination displays saying 'Orange Line 36'. I took the above picture in 2010. NCT quickly took action and got this sharp practice stopped and the buses changed colour, branding and became the Y36.

Both NCT and Trent-Barton responded after a few months, introducing better buses and more buses per hour.  YourBus then got new Citaro single deckers, which they still use and I think are the best buses in Nottingham for comfort and quality of ride. Being a bus nerd, I also like the throaty sound of the engine.

YourBus were also the first Nottingham bus operator to introduce a Boxing Day bus service after an absence of a good few decades (I took the above picture on Boxing Day 2013). 

For a while they were such a threat to NCT's 36 that NCT positioned staff at the Victoria Centre terminus outside John Lewis to chase away Y36 bus drivers if they arrived too early or overstayed their departure time. When this didn't work, they got the bus stop arrangements changed, so that the NCT 36 and YourBus Y36 used different stops (as they still do and the same has happened at the Beeston Interchange).

YourBus have always indulged in sharp practices, timing their buses to run within a couple of minutes of NCT 36s. Instead of buses every five minutes, we got two buses coming together most of the time (bus 'headway' allows buses, when running on time, without obvious holdups, to run two minutes either side of their timetable times, if I understand the regulations correctly). At first YourBus were content to cream off day-time passengers, then they introduced evening and late-evening journeys.

YourBus tried to challenge NCT and Trent-Barton on other routes and failed, with the exception of the Y36 and Y5. The latter follows the same route as Trent-Barton's Indigo service, except for a small section in Beeston (the Indigo goes via Broadgate and the Y5 via Queens Road). I could go on, but this a Beeston blog and a good few of you will know about these things already.

The point of this blog post is to share extracts from Y36 timetables for 2013, the present timetable and from the new timetable which begins on Sunday.

Click on the timetable and you will enlarge enough to read the times of Y36s Monday–Friday:

2013: 0502–0010
Today: 0500–2130
From Monday: 705–1815.

YourBus is no longer competing with NCT. It is just trying to cream off day-time passengers. In August it withdrew buses between Beeston and Chilwell (Bramcote Lane, Inham Nook and Field Lane loop), diverting the route to run in a one-way loop around Beeston via Wollaton Road, Broughton Street, Park Street, Cator Lane and Chilwell Road to Beeston Interchange. 

This is a case of history repeating itself, especially if you use the YourBus routes Y28 and Y4 as recent examples. NCT and Trent-Barton learnt the lesson from failing to tackle the first Y36 incarnation and immediately upped the competition and this year saw the demise of both the Y28 and Y4. All the evidence suggest the Y36 (and probably the Y5) will go the same way.

Now I should say that I am in favour of bus regulation and have had articles about Nottingham public transport published in Buses and Nottingham Post, plus my own blog of course. I love the fact that NCT is Britain's second largest municipally owned bus company (only Edinburgh is larger), and believe that we need London style public transport controls in Greater Nottingham (ideally the entire joint Derby-Nottingham conurbation), with public funding to match.

I'll leave it to you to make up your mind about YourBus. All I would ask you to do is to look at their Y36s and Y5s as they run through Beeston and the number of passengers you see on their buses. You do not have to be a genius to ask the question 'How long?'

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