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Most Buses Will Have A Reduced Bus Timetable From 25/1

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50 minutes ago, busdriver1 said:

How much of that is down to covid 19 and how much is down to the general decline in the use of smartcards?

 

Certainly the only major operator that uses smart cards for their own products is Stagecoach with First and Arriva switching away from them and have both removed the facility to load a card "on bus".

There are also massive regional variations. Nottinghamshire have staff  going onto buses checking on the necessity of travel being made and issuing fines to people making non essential journeys in that area. As a result bus use in Nottinghamshire is down to about 10% of pre covid levels.  South Yorkshire do not check and bus use is comparatively higher. I believe West Yorkshire are now using covid officers so would expect bus patronage to fall in that area as a result. I would not use smart cards as an indication, but would look at overall bus patronage. That is down to between 10 and 40 % of precovid levels depending on operator and area.

It started with the first lockdown, they went down to 10% of normal journeys then and gradually climbed back up to about half but from this lockdown they are back down to about 20-25% (80-100K a day).

First and Stagecoach are going to NFC thanks to Ticketers new ETM supporting it plus the apps. A lot of South Yorkshire operators dont have the required upgrade to their ETM's yet to accept contactless and its a cost thing to upgrade.

West Yorkshire have a new app for loading products onto which has only just launched to replace thier existing but early use of that is encouraging.

4 minutes ago, RollingJ said:

I'm curious, why are they switching away from 'smartcards', having invested heavily into the technology and equipment to use them? Seems a retrograde step - to me.

The smartcards were based on a spec called ITSO which in theory meant you could take your card anywhere in the country that supported it and use it (like the concessionary passes). Unfortunately ITSO is fast become a dead duck and commercial travel smartcards are being replaced with things such as QR codes or NFC.

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18 minutes ago, sheffbag said:

The smartcards were based on a spec called ITSO which in theory meant you could take your card anywhere in the country that supported it and use it (like the concessionary passes). Unfortunately ITSO is fast become a dead duck and commercial travel smartcards are being replaced with things such as QR codes or NFC.

OK - I wasn't aware of that, and am a bit surprised, to be honest -the ITSO system seemed to work well - I know of at least one operator who have developed it into quite an impressive system (Go-Ahead) and it works very well in the area I use their buses on a regular basis - Brighton & Hove and surrounding areas, and the card is accepted on other operators in the area, so for instance, you load one of their 'all-area/all day' tickets onto the card - electronically, and you can travel virtually all over East and West Sussex with no problem.

 

QR codes mean the passenger has to have a phone with the capabilities - I don't - and I suppose the NFC idea is feasible, but could it handle what the card does - I'm not sure.

 

Can NFC handle concessionary passes?

Edited by RollingJ
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1 minute ago, RollingJ said:

OK - I wasn't aware of that, and am a bit surprised, to be honest -the ITSO system seemed to work well - I know of at least one operator who have developed it into quite an impressive system (Go-Ahead) and it works very well in the area I use their buses on a regular basis - Brighton & Hove and surrounding areas, and the card is accepted on other operators in the area, so for instance, you load one of their 'all-area/all day' tickets onto the card - electronically, and you can travel virtually all over East and West Sussex with no problem.

 

QR codes mean the passenger has to have a phone with the capabilities - I don't - and I suppose the NFC idea is feasible, but could it handle what the card does - I'm not sure.

ITSO in theory is great, take a card and use it where you want including Rail. But rail went and intrepreted the spec differently to buses with regards to location identification.

Then you have the issue of operatros acceptign each others products which can always fall down. In SY with TravelMaster that agreement is made but it still doesn't stop operators creating their own smart products either ITSO based or non ITSO based 

NFC does work well for individual journeys and there is still a lot of work going on with regards to capping (ive been involved in smartcards for 10 years plus and it was being talked about when i first started) because everyone wants the Oyster style of payment. Oyster is great but its a closed system run by TfL and distributed by TfL which isn't the same as up here.

NFC is an alternate form of payment. the card is a form of product holding. Its no different to when you used to have flash passes but at least on a smart card / phone / nfc the journeys are logged a lot more accurately and enables better and more accurate payment of funds to operators. Smartcards wont disappear but people will adopt new methods for paying for public transport such as they did when moving from cash to cards

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1 hour ago, RollingJ said:

I'm curious, why are they switching away from 'smartcards', having invested heavily into the technology and equipment to use them? Seems a retrograde step - to me.

It's simple. They take far to long to process on bus when loading a product. 

Smartcard in West Yorkshire can now only be loaded off bus. 

Operators are keener on a user friendly and fast ticket machine - the ticketer. This machine by lack of demand does not support on bus loading of smartcards. 

1 hour ago, RollingJ said:

 

 

QR codes mean the passenger has to have a phone with the capabilities - I don't -

Not so. Daily and weekly tickets are available in paper form with QR codes on them. 

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55 minutes ago, sheffbag said:

ITSO in theory is great, take a card and use it where you want including Rail. But rail went and intrepreted the spec differently to buses with regards to location identification.

Then you have the issue of operatros acceptign each others products which can always fall down. In SY with TravelMaster that agreement is made but it still doesn't stop operators creating their own smart products either ITSO based or non ITSO based 

NFC does work well for individual journeys and there is still a lot of work going on with regards to capping (ive been involved in smartcards for 10 years plus and it was being talked about when i first started) because everyone wants the Oyster style of payment. Oyster is great but its a closed system run by TfL and distributed by TfL which isn't the same as up here.

NFC is an alternate form of payment. the card is a form of product holding. Its no different to when you used to have flash passes but at least on a smart card / phone / nfc the journeys are logged a lot more accurately and enables better and more accurate payment of funds to operators. Smartcards wont disappear but people will adopt new methods for paying for public transport such as they did when moving from cash to cards

The "move from cash to cards" is often overplayed. Whilst there is a move, cash still had a major part to play. 

In Doncaster there is a form of capping but at the price of a standard flat fare for the area resulting in fare increases for shorter journeys. 

 

Oyster and all the myths surrounding it is not a great system. When it was being trialled, I was involved, and when reliability was dragged up to 75% tfl decided that was good enough. I am not aware of any increase in reliability. 

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15 minutes ago, busdriver1 said:

The "move from cash to cards" is often overplayed. Whilst there is a move, cash still had a major part to play. 

In Doncaster there is a form of capping but at the price of a standard flat fare for the area resulting in fare increases for shorter journeys. 

 

Oyster and all the myths surrounding it is not a great system. When it was being trialled, I was involved, and when reliability was dragged up to 75% tfl decided that was good enough. I am not aware of any increase in reliability. 

Its not the reliability that i was referring to with Oyster, its the notion to the customer that you have a capped rate. Peopel travel down there then come back and say "why cant we have this". I was using cash to cards as an example of people using different/new methods for paying or having journeys same as going from cards to NFC/QR. Cash will always be there as it should

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2 hours ago, busdriver1 said:

How much of that is down to covid 19 and how much is down to the general decline in the use of smartcards?

 

Certainly the only major operator that uses smart cards for their own products is Stagecoach with First and Arriva switching away from them and have both removed the facility to load a card "on bus".

There are also massive regional variations. Nottinghamshire have staff  going onto buses checking on the necessity of travel being made and issuing fines to people making non essential journeys in that area. As a result bus use in Nottinghamshire is down to about 10% of pre covid levels.  South Yorkshire do not check and bus use is comparatively higher. I believe West Yorkshire are now using covid officers so would expect bus patronage to fall in that area as a result. I would not use smart cards as an indication, but would look at overall bus patronage. That is down to between 10 and 40 % of precovid levels depending on operator and area.

First certainly haven't removed the ability to load a smartcard on buses, at least in South Yorkshire although it is true there's a push towards the 'mTicket' via the app and there are often incentives like discounts.

You are correct about the unnecessary travel going unchecked within South Yorkshire. From experience (using buses for work travel purposes) the main  demographic for unnecessary travel is OAPs. For a week I was catching the same service which during the journey clocked over 0930 and within a few stops the bus was full of OAPs, the same ones every day. 

What's the point of a lockdown to protect the NHS and the older generations when the older generations refuse to follow the rules and stay at home?

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1 hour ago, busdriver1 said:

It's simple. They take far to long to process on bus when loading a product. 

Smartcard in West Yorkshire can now only be loaded off bus. 

Operators are keener on a user friendly and fast ticket machine - the ticketer. This machine by lack of demand does not support on bus loading of smartcards. 

Not so. Daily and weekly tickets are available in paper form with QR codes on them. 

Ticketer ETM's do support on bus loading of smartcards. The large operators and (in WY) MCard Ticco has a big enough sales network through Payzone and rail TVMs to not need the top up function but the machine certainly can top up cash or products on bus.

 

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1 hour ago, busdriver1 said:

It's simple. They take far to long to process on bus when loading a product. 

Smartcard in West Yorkshire can now only be loaded off bus. 

Operators are keener on a user friendly and fast ticket machine - the ticketer. This machine by lack of demand does not support on bus loading of smartcards. 

I totally agree with the bolded bit . B&H Buses, which I referred to a few posts back as an example of a clued-up' operator, do not have any smart-card purchasing available on buses, it is all online, with the only 2-3 second delay being when you first use a newly-purchased ticket, while it registers them on the system - and that is only on the first ticket of a batch. As I am in the area for two to four weeks at a time, I buy a number of both the 'City' - Brighton and Hove and immediate surrounding area, and the 'Network' - the full area served by B&H and a few other operators, BEFORE I get down there and just load all the lot on my first trip.

 

They also have 'Tap & Go' for those who don't have the smart-card, which automatically tallies journeys up, and charges you bank account at the best rate possible - if you make one trip inside the 'City' zone, you pay £2.60, if you make  10 trips on the same day, you pay the 'Citysaver' price, which I think is £4.60 - can't remember as I've not had cause to use buses down there, even on my last visit last September.

Edited by RollingJ

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On 20/01/2021 at 11:20, Annie Bynnol said:

The Government has instructed public transport in England  to reduce service levels on buses and trains.
......................................

Annie, do you have a link anywhere for that comment please.
It could clear up some queries over where I now live
Thanks

Edited by peak4

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9 hours ago, peak4 said:

Annie, do you have a link anywhere for that comment please.
It could clear up some queries over where I now live
Thanks

The re-nationalisation of the railways means that the franchise system has ended and the train operating  companies(TOC) are running services on behalf of the Government through massive subsidies. Originally reported by the Telegraph "One in five train services could be cut to slash rail spending " on Dec 26 , each TOC has  subsequently reduced  its timetable. eg TPE services to Manchester are now every 2 hours during the day.

 

The  Covid-19 Bus Service Support Grant works by operators applying for money that the Government has given  to the LTAs (local transport authorities with the specific requirement to keep rural and key worker services going). The total money available has been capped to £27 million per week for England - London, hence the reduction in services like in daytime frequency of the 52a.

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32 minutes ago, Annie Bynnol said:

 

The  Covid-19 Bus Service Support Grant works by operators applying for money that the Government has given  to the LTAs (local transport authorities with the specific requirement to keep rural and key worker services going). The total money available has been capped to £27 million per week for England - London, hence the reduction in services like in daytime frequency of the 52a.

The  current reduction in services was not government lead as you implied though. It was very definitely operator lead, triggered by  the arrival at a certain figure of reduced patronage. These reductions had to be sanctioned by the local authorities prior to implementation resulting in a staggered reduction as some areas were quicker to respond than others. South Yorkshire was one of the last to get the reduction.

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