Thursday, 14 July 2011

fbb goes to Hospital

Southbound from Salisbury

 Blog posted late : Broadband Busted!  

Buses to the west and North of Salisbury City Centre leave from New Canal, which, as its name suggests is neither "New" nor a canal (although it was probably both, once upon a time.)  This is nicely near Marks and Spencers, suppliers of packed lunch to fbb  and Mrs, and Old George Mall. He sounds like a celebrated but slightly seedy local tramp, but it is actually a shopping precinct.
Buses travelling south and east use the stops next to Debenhams on Blue Boar Row, seen here, unusually, somewhat bereft of "Reds".
fbb was continuing his tour of "Red 1" by journeying to the District Hospital. See "fbb goes to School" (read again).  The timetable for this service allows 8 minutes "layover" or "recovery time" in the City centre in both directions; that's 16 minutes on a 70 minute round trip time, which seems generous.  But fbb's trip caught up with the previous journey running nearly 10 minute late.

Unfortunately the internet is intrinsically unreliable with a number of web sites referring to the previous branding, "Pulseline" ...
... the most unhelpful and guilty contender being the National Health Service itself on its web site page for Salisbury's Hospital.
Apart from advising a change in the centre when none was (or is) necessary, it also erroneously suggests that Woodfalls and Downton get a bus every 10 minutes.  For the record, the replacement 44, unknitted from Red 1, is approx every 90 minutes!

Clearly the web site author has never travelled by bus. The "click here" text gives an infuriating "404 page missing" error. Memo to web site builders. Check your public transport information regularly OR provide a simple hyperlink to the operator's site, rather than risking a detailed quote.

For fbb, one highlight of the trip to the hospital was that the bus picked up an unaccompanied wheelchair-bound passenger who expertly manoeuvered himself on to the bus (and off) with consummate ease. The driver offered assistance but none was necessary. On the whole, a good public transport experience for all members of the community.
Fares in Salisbury are typical of recent pricing policy throughout the industry. One off cash fares seem quite high but are, nevertheless, advertised in detail on the City route map, as here, for Red 3; ...
...  showing, for example, a hefty 60p jump from one stop to the next. This seems harsh, but a day rover is just £3.70, significantly cheaper than most "cross city" returns.  A weekly ticket has just been reduced from £13 to £11 which would be a bargain for a five day commute (£2.20 a day) with any weekend travel "free". Monthly and three monthly versions offer an even better deal, £1.10 a day in the unlikely event of the 90 day ticket being used every day. Cheap as chips.
It's not surprising then, that most passengers are using such "deals" and consequently buses are usually well loaded.  Indeed, watching, pre-breakfast, the morning peak from his B&B window, all services were comfortably full.

The only empty buses, each with only 2 or 3 passengers, were those from the Britford Park and Ride site.  A waste of resources?

So, despite previously blogged bus stop publicity deficiences, W&D seem to be getting it about right. As Young Mr Grace might have said ...
 ... "You're all doing very reasonably well. Just get out and put up a few timetables here and there!"

Next blog : due Friday July 15th  


  1. And from Pic you must gave also been there for the Tuesday market. Pic taken about 2 pm.

    No wonder the "But fbb's trip caught up with the previous journey running nearly 10 minute late."

  2. It wasn't a Tuesday, anonymous, but it might have been for Google Streetview! fbb rode on a Wednesday