Understanding Ipswich Buses 2018 bus changes

Discussion in 'Ipswich Buses' started by dan5, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. dan5

    dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

    Messages:
    2,657
    The full extent isn't yet known but we will share what we already know, and the introduction of a Service 7 isn't the only confusing change. We already know the bus fare increases to £2.
    • X1 (Gainsborough & Greenwich) - bus service cancelled. Greenwich and Gainsborough via new service Route 3 or Route 1 (?).
    • X2 (Greenwich) - bus service cancelled. Greenwich via new service Route 3.
    • X3 (John Lewis via Nacton Road) - bus service cancelled. Futura Park via new service Route 1 (why not 3?)
    • New Route 1 - (John Lewis at home Crane Boulevard Via waterfront university Greenwich & Ravenswood)
    • New Route 2 - (Ipswich Hospital Garrett Anderson Centre Via waterfront university Cliff Lane Ravenswood & Sainsbury's Warren Heath)
    • New Route 3 - (Greenwich Holbrook Road)
    • 4 (Martlesham Heath Tesco via Bixley) - bus service changes.
    • X5 (renamed as 5 & 5E)
    • New Route 5/5E - (Ipswich Hospital)
    • 6/6A - bus service variation. (6: Cliff Lane, Hospital, Sidegate Lane)
    • New Route 7 - (Tower Ramparts bus station to Anglia Retail Park Via Dale Hall, Henley Road, Stratford Court, Meredith Road) - It is anticipated the 8 service may cease serving Anglia Retail Park. This will confuse many who remember Route 7 (before it was renamed as 15A) to South West Ipswich. The number was clearly chosen to conform with North West numbering scheme... 7,8,9,10
    • 8 (ASDA via Ulster Avenue) - bus service changes.
    • 9/10 (North West Ipswich) - bus service changes.
    • 12 (Cambridge Drive shops) - bus service changes.
    • 13 (Tesco Copdock via Chantry) - bus service varied. Not known what the variations will be, might be timetable, could be re-routing Ward Road to Scrivener Drive.
    • 14 (Wallers Grove, Lupin Road) - bus service cancelled.
    • 15/15A (South West Ipswich) - bus service changes.
    • 16 (Montgomery Road) - bus service changes.
    • 17 (Stratford Road) - bus service cancelled. Likely new Route 7 will include much of this route.
     

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  3. Luke F

    Luke FNew Member

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    Location:
    Ipswich
    As it seems like the X3 will become the new 1, will it still be operating the same as it is now, along Nacton road etc? Also do u have an idea if the number 1 bus is going to operate the same route, or is it going to be shorter by going down Duke street instead of fore hamlet like the x1 is now. Thanks, just need to clear things up.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
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    dan5

    dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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    I think you are right - it is likely the X3 will become the 1 with very few changes. At this stage it isn't clear if this route (or any other) serves Ransomes Europark either at peak times. I am also interested in whether Ravenswood will become better served (a bus used to go along the perimeter) or whether it will take the brief route the current 6/6A takes.

    I will send them over an email on Monday to clarify their new changes, and will keep you posted with any updates. They have already said that timetables won't be released until the end of January and I assume they haven't yet specified the exact times and routing.

    Hopefully they will reveal the route maps themselves to give an indication of where they go and frequency would be nice too.
     
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    dan5

    dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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  6. Ipswich

    IpswichAdministratorStaff Member

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    Apologies for the delay Luke.

    Just received a reply from Ipswich Buses:-


    There doesn't appear to be any publicly available information on the new bus changes. It would be obvious for them to know where their new routes will be going before they announced them to the press; so it seems Ipswich Buses are keeping this under wraps.

    Looks like it will be the end of the month before any details are released. I can't say I am surprised at this attitude but to be fair they were polite and did choose to reply back.
     
  7. Luke F

    Luke FNew Member

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    2
    Location:
    Ipswich
  8. Steve Lee

    Steve LeeNew Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Ipswich
    This response from Ipswich Buses simply isn’t good enough - these changes are major and they know full well what the timetables and routes are as they’ve all been registered 56 days in advance.

    I’ve had complaints ignored and forgotten about from the so called ‘customer services team’ and indeed if you try complaining in their office you are met by two rude, arrogant and generally unpleasant young ladies.

    The new service 1 will clearly not be using Nacton Road as the via points are Greenwich and Ravenswood. This therefore leaves Nacton Road with potentially only the new service 3 - which could leave the top end of Nacton Road with no service at all.

    The new service 7 is only every hour so cannot see that being a big success - they’ll probably be wanting subsidy from the council after just 6 months.

    I’ve spoken to bus drivers in the town and they already know large parts of Chantry, (including Dickens Road), Northgate and Rushmere will be left with no evening service at all. So how long are the company going to leave it before letting their ‘customers’ know!?

    The company is being run from Grafton House and long term members of staff have been forced out by the councils own staff.

    Questions need to be raised about the long term viability of this company and what is best for the residents of Ipswich. If privatised company First bus can run commercial services to Gainsborough, Felixstowe and Martlesham late at night then why does Ipswich Buses expect to be paid to do their own?

    It would also be interesting to find out how much the company paid for ‘Carters Coaches’ whose services run over parts of Suffolk and Essex - why are Ipswich people paying for these services? They also seem to have been cutting those services as well so if the business wasn’t viable why purchase it in the first place?
     
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      dan5

      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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      I quite agree Steve (welcome to IPSWI!)

      People who could give up their cars (or choose the bus instead of driving their cars for town journeys) are being alienated by public transport provision. Ipswich Buses expect you to turn up at a bus stop and be grateful if a bus arrives; you could expect such of First Eastern Counties.. but being owned by a council, they should know better!

      It isn't too much to expect passengers want some forward-planning. Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) doesn't work.They know where these new routes will go and what the timetable is, but it isn't for the public to know. It is none of our business (apparently) and that attitude is appalling. Timetables changes every 6 months with little information given out in advance, however, it was Ipswich Buses who decided to publicise these changes so far in advance. Without a doubt, information won't be released until the last week, and bus drivers will get annoyed at people asking about the bus changes 3 months later...

      We shouldn't lie to ourselves. First Eastern Counties used to be awful. Ipswich Buses used to be really good. I have to say (First are far from perfect) the tables have changed. I got on a service 4 bus last year, only to realise not all buses go to Martlesham Heath... (or more to the point come back!) and the next bus is 3/3.5 hours later (if my memory serves me correctly). To be fair, it does state this on the timetable and it was pretty much myself to blame. Furthermore, if I wasn't intending to stop-and-go it wouldn't really be a problem. So what happened? The bus was there, I caught it with about 20 seconds to spare (not time to check the timetable) and the destination had "Martlesham Tesco" (or similar) as the large text on the destination... so this is obviously the terminus right for service 4? Anyhow, I had to get FEC's service 66 back... blimey, I was shocked at how pleasant the journey back was, how immaculately clean the bus was and just how professional it all was. I am sure it is different during peak times and the like. Maybe I got lucky (other than the additional expense!)

      Well, Ipswich Buses recently refused to serve Ransomes Europark... people are wondering if the new services go that far! Without this information how can people make an informed decision or plan alternatives!?

      A new service just every hour?! Makes you wonder if it is worth it. This is the problem they will do what they can to save money, refusing to run services to expect a subsidy or cutting driver wages which creates a bad service. I don't agree with urban route subsidies... rural is one thing but having taxpayers subsiding a town route is silly. I remember when they rerouted the 6A to Broke Hall in the evenings... no one got on it. So it got pulled.

      These changes are intended to privatise the bus company. I cannot see the changes being all that popular. The borough council owner tendering out to a management consultancy firm to see if it is worthwhile saving. £1.3m later of loans.... The bus company is also expected to lose up to £500k a year by the way free bus passes will now be calculated. They have also lost around £200k a year profits for running Park & Ride since losing the contract. I cannot say I am surprised the council has the company under its roof and is paying for outside help. This is before we mention pensions...

      Ipswich Buses purchased Carters Coach Services Ltd for £337,450. I think it was partly due to acquiring the 12 buses and inflating the turnover by around £600k. I am not sure maybe the routes they acquired were SCC subsidised? They probably later found the funding pulled lol

      I think they are keeping the specifics of changes quiet due to them not being popular... I am sure if you run a bus company you can focus on 80% of your current customers and increase your profitability by reducing waste alienating the remaining 20% (such as reducing route length to save fuel, running less frequently or stopping at less bus stops). Not much of a bus service!! Increasing prices will boost turnover (or so they hope!).
       
    • Steve Lee

      Steve LeeNew Member

      Messages:
      8
      Location:
      Ipswich
      Thanks for the welcome!

      Yes; I quite agree once upon a time Ipswich Buses were brilliant (until around the mid 2000’s) and First Eastern Counties have improved massively the past few years - I don’t think they have the most modern fleet however they are all fitted with free wi-fi (which these days is pretty standard in the bus industry - Ipswich Buses have just about a handful fitted) and they all have leather seats with pretty good standards of cleanliness inside and out. So the basics are there I’d say but it is a shame the old ‘superoute 66’ seems to have deminished and been down-graded in recent years. I remember when it ran 24 hours at one point!

      It’s a shame Ipswich Buses cannot be honest and just let everyone know what’s going on now... can’t imagine how annoying it must be for shift workers at the hospital, in supermarkets etc. who have no idea if they’ll be able to get home from work in the evenings in a months time! (And even more annoying if you pay for a bus pass aswell but will no longer be able to get the full use of it) And from what I’ve heard from drivers certainly Sainsbury’s Hadleigh Road will be left with no service at all at night.

      Ipswich appears to have become such a ‘backward’ place for bus travel now when compared with other towns and cities of a similar size but the question is who’s to blame!? And more importantly what are they going to do to fix it? As a succession of continuous cuts to routes/times and using old buses in a hideous colour scheme can surely not be the way forward.

      Perhaps it’s time the council either got a proper Managing Director in to sort out the mess (rather than using one of their own team - indeed didn’t this Bellamy chap used to be in charge of refuge collection - says a lot about what the council thinks about bus travel!) or just sell up! Mind you if they carry on running it into the ground it won’t be worth anything to sell anyway. Wasn’t Colchester’s Borough bus operation sold for just £1 back in the early 1990’s?
       
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      dan5

      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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      You raise two really interesting points. No one wants an really old bus but I don't think people care too much about the age of the vehicles generally. There is a novelty factor with new buses which are likely to boost turnover, and this is clear each time Ipswich Buses obtains a demonstrator bus, people talk about it; but I think when you are talking price, frequency and reliability etc. these are far more important. I doubt many people snub a bus deciding to wait for the next one based on the registration plate!

      The other one is Ipswich Buses goes through fads, whether it is a new livery which dies ("taking you to the waterfront"/"taking you to your studies" and guess what? the bus doesn't go to either destination... and it is the same with route branded buses, you cannot just decide to stick it on another route it confuses people), having wifi (why don't they have them across their buses? After all "MiFi" is standard on smartphones these days, and lets be honest with 4G it makes it so much easier for improved speeds) or next-stop announcers. What happened to them? At one stage they were rolling out this "technology" and the next moment gone. I have to say I was impressed when they set their internal LED matrix screens to tell the time, this is how good the bus company is.

      I don't quite get the superoute thing... I think they got bored of that branding and let it slide. It is quite complicated, you have the 66, the H66 I think it is and the express route X66; but then they have their bus rotations also.

      I don't think Ipswich Buses have any right to burden people with additional stresses on their inability to want to communicate their changes. I sincerely hope there isn't any nurses etc using the buses. Sainsburys Hadleigh Road (and why not, Hadleigh Road industrial estate) are badly served. In the evenings it is an hourly service. I also think this is what part of their problem is... traditional double-decker routes that ran every 15 minutes overtime have been replaced with a 20 minute service mostly single-decker. Losing an extra bus each hour in each direction is a bad downgrade of service. Funny enough it isn't simply about waiting another 5 minutes, if you miss the bus, it came early or didn't run, you have a 20 minute wait plus however late it is, and if you got to the bus stop 5 minutes early realistically you could be waiting 30 minutes for a bus.

      It is something they don't quite yet grasp in modern life where people go to supermarkets but also work... it isn't as simple as going food shopping after work when you are waiting an hour for a bus; and time management goes out the window to factors beyond your control. As strange as it sounds why don't they run an improved timetable on one day of the week to allow this to happen. It is no fun in the winter but same applies in the warmer months when your frozen and refrigerated items are thawing or warming.

      I have to say Ipswich is about 50 years backwards in general - and no one with any responsibilities care too much about changing it. Two recent examples were Suffolk County Council rejecting regulating bus services and roadworks... they weren't interested. The former would have allowed a scheme where you could have a ticket valid on multiple operators services (council has to control to prevent it being a cartel) and the latter would have reduced the problems of roadwork induced congestion and delays around town. To be fair they cannot even solve the Buttermarket Car Park problem. When it comes to bus services you are fighting a losing battle when you cut routes, renumber, re-route, adjust timetables and be inconsistent. Going back to wifi... what is the point of it? You aren't guaranteed the bus you get on will have it so there is no point offering it if not across their entire fleet. I think their major inconsistencies is their biggest downfall but when the arms-length company is micromanaged by politicians anything they implement is for a good story and photo opportunity, no desire to follow it through. Recently this was about the borough council stepping in to subsidise some services (probably just for 6 months) and before that saving the free shuttle.

      I think they need to privatise it. It is difficult if you are an operator like First in Ipswich but Ipswich Buses have a monopoly over the town, so any serious business would care more about milking the services to get the most profit rather than axing routes. You know, if you decide to drop routes someone will take them off you... and you never know they might start eating away at your whole operation. Yes, Colchester Borough Transport was sold to British Bus for £1 (plus a lot of debts). Ipswich Buses maybe similar story at some stage.

      Unfortunately Labour has a strong hold over the bus company (it shouldn't be politicised) - they only want to provide services to certain segments of society. NW and SW have pretty good coverage but north central and east Ipswich is pretty poor covered. Until now, we could see some major changes next month. The lack of interest in Kesgrave is astounding, as is Martlesham Heath.
       
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      dan5

      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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      There is some misconception about council-owned bus companies (i.e. as it isn't in private hands it is more investment in buses and a better service) but Reading Buses appear to be cutting-edge...

      ... whilst Ipswich Buses have completely the wrong attitude. It is like no one wants to run the company (provide a good bus service), but feel like they have to. Then it becomes a whole situation of the big I am, where someone takes "charge" of the "responsibility"... the current MD was in waste fleets, the previous one appeared to stick Stagecoach influence upon the company (possible acquisition?) and the one before that was allegedly an alcoholic... the borough council bus company gave him a directors loan to buy a car! This is how bad the whole operation is... but lets not mention pensions lol

      As stated above (in previous message) in recent times it has deliberately planned the bus company to make the "commercial" decision to axe routes being "unprofitable" with a follow-up "political" decision for the borough council (the owner) to step in and save the day.
       
    • Steve Lee

      Steve LeeNew Member

      Messages:
      8
      Location:
      Ipswich
      Good to see you mention that not all council owned bus companies are bad; indeed Blackpool, Reading, Nottingham to name but a few are all brilliant it just seems Ipswich are one of the poorer relations!

      Another interesting observation to note is that when the Go-Ahead group purchased Thamesdown Transport last year (who were council run) one of the first things they did was to start giving change on their buses and introduce mobile tickets etc.

      I can never understand how it encourages people to use the bus when they have to fiddle around finding correct change or receive one of these stupid credit vouchers and have to make the effort to go the shop in town to get your money back! And they’re certainly not the most welcoming staff when you do ask for your cash back - a couple of teenagers with an attitude.

      It just shows that when it comes to initiatives like mobile tickets, contactless payments and even buying brand new buses you have absolutely no real buying power when you’re company is so small - you can understand why the council thought about the idea of selling the company off in 2010. They need expert transport professionals running the business with the buying power and resources available to them that no small independent could realisticly have.

      What made me laugh last year was that they had one demonstrator bus after another but still ended up just buying a selection of second hand vehicles - with next to no seat padding I might add! I guess the managers at the company never have the misfortune to travel on their own buses either.

      I remember visiting the event on the cornhill last year when First took over the Park & Ride and Ipswich Buses were displaying a brand new demonstration double decker with plush leather seats, a glass staircase etc. and when I asked if they were going to buy any of these vehicles the young lady I asked replied ‘oh no this is just to show you what you could have!’ - says it all I thought - I guess when they have some second hand ones available in around 10 years they may get some!
       
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      dan5

      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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      It is a recurring theme with Ipswich unfortunately. Think of the UK-wide building societies that are named after where they originated... then you have Ipswich Building Society that has just a few locations in Suffolk. It isn't tiny as building societies go they are 20th in the league by assets (out of a little over 40) but are one of the oldest still in existence being founded in 1849, but today they have just 9 locations and 2 agency locations.

      Ipswich Buses are still proud with their smartcards (the newer ticket machines much slower loading). They should be diversifying through other payment methods including contactless card payments. It will cost more money to give a selection of options but the convenience has so many benefits including increasing turnover and speeding up loading (i.e. people trying to find the right change). There is no way other bus operators would have kept these options if they weren't profitable.

      They like credit tickets as they know most people won't bother cashing them in or using for part-journey including throwing them away, fading tickets, expired (i.e. after 28 (?) days) or destroyed in some way. This isn't much different to their parent company picking price points in their car parks where they know most people would have to overpay. Park & Ride gave change and it didn't cause too much problems with loading but was with fewer stops. I don't think giving change would work in Ipswich (especially if people didn't try to have the correct change - you know £10 note for a single fare) - the reason they don't do this is to prevent theft-by-employee... they don't appear to trust or have respect for their own drivers. It is them who literally run the bus company, not the management.

      The enquiry office is a poor experience, why they didn't get the ground unit in Electric House so it is more professional, less claustophobic and can act as a waiting room, I do not know. They had an opportunity to take it... would have been more cost... but you could have utilised journey planning tools and automated loading their smartcards in a similar nature to in London with Oyster cards. You could even be a bit fancy having a map showing where your buses currently are just for the sake of it! lol But yeah, my last experience was rather inhuman, that is how bad the customer service is... handed in the ticket with an explanation of my request, not a smile or a word spoken... wandered over to the till at her own pace, busy speaking to colleague, spent a good few minutes with the change in her hand speaking and upon receiving it on the counter (rather in my hand, despite clearly gesturing it) took a brief while to retrieve it... and despite all this a "thank you" went unacknowledged. Are they volunteers/work experience or paid members of staff?

      The bus company is Labour's baby and the other administration wanted to get rid of it. It was probably a better time to dispose of it... since the shit has hit the fan, the Finance Director and Managing Director both quit... they had a strike they managed to cancel but that lost a lot of trust with their customers, and the council has bailed them out financially - in return for taking over direct control. So when Labour took control of the borough in 2011 if I recall correctly, they are using it politically... and it appears the council (whilst still in control by Labour) will keep rescuing the day from Ipswich Buses cuts to win votes.

      They have a non-compete agreement with First - it is "bus wars" when another steps on the others turf. This means Ipswich Buses look to run typically subsidised routes to villages just outside Ipswich... when really, commercially speaking... any Ipswich (or similar situation town) bus company would naturally expand into Greater Ipswich area... but these places are all dominated by First. If they could expand within this area they will likely - with the right expertise - double their turnover. Using Reading Buses as an example they have a much larger turnover, in part they have an separated branded service for Newbury and run Park & Ride.

      The demonstrators I think are only to benefit from an extra bus. It is quite a shame they hint about possibility of getting new buses only to not follow through. Their newish single deckers are awful - so it isn't about the age of the vehicle. Back to the whole fad mentality... Who would have the audacity to showcase the company with a hired demonstrator bus?! Isn't that like test driving a car to a business meeting or on a date?
       
    • Steve Lee

      Steve LeeNew Member

      Messages:
      8
      Location:
      Ipswich
      Well with just over a month to go we still have yet to be fully informed by Ipswich Buses of exactly what’s changing - and from taking a look on Reading Buses website they also have changes to their routes from the same date and have all the information, timetables etc. displayed already. (Take note if anybody from Ipswich Buses reads this!)

      I’d of assumed they are proper company employees in that ticket office but whenever I’ve been in there they have loud music playing, are sitting on their mobile phones and generally seem in no particular hurry to want to help you. I’ve even heard them make rude comments and gestures about other customers and bus drivers too - it’s disgusting really. You’d never get the same thing happening in normal shops!

      I don’t even think they know what they are talking about half the time. I’ve been told conflicting information on more than one occasion when calling in for advice.
       
      Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
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      dan5

      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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      Their phone number has been rather inconsistently working for over a year but people are starting to complain that it is down. They seem in no urgent rush to fix it. I am not sure if they have sacked the staff operating the phones to save money, moved out of the offices where the phones are and just haven't transferred the number across yet or chopped it as they are sick of being asked about the changes next month! Either way it is pretty poor customer service.

      I was going to suggest this is due to it not being a favourable service but I don't recall Ipswich Buses ever giving much advance notice of changes (might just be perception of course, I don't keep a diary of it lol)

      There was a guy who worked in there that they fired for stealing money. Anyone who uses the buses will know about rude and poor quality of driving from time to time, but overall the service from the drivers is pretty exceptional I think most people would agree. It is an industry with a lot of workplace politics (the new MD (former one who had left) wasn't popular and this impacted the customer service from the staff i.e. morale ) and they really do treat their drivers badly. Anyone making a point of demanding a driver gets sacked as a complaint is likely to have that wish granted... although it isn't the customers place to make such HR decisions... makes you wonder how genuine it is when most of their complaint is about an outcome. They have also been in trouble for unfair dismissal so many times!

      For some reason, this micromanagement doesn't extend to the customer service at the enquiry office. They are free to do whatever they like and they handle money. Unlike bus drivers where it all goes into the locked hopper. No wonder an opportunist was stealing from under their nose. I am sure they have insurance and just claimed on it rather than losing much money.

      Could you imagine the demand on that "customer service" etiquette when these new changes happen?! It is going to really be an awkward experience. Perhaps they will just hand out timetable leaflets!
       
    • Ipswich

      IpswichAdministratorStaff Member

      Messages:
      129
      Latest Route Information

      We haven't been told anything a lot of this is guesswork based upon scraps of information we can find.

      As Steve correctly suggested it seems the new Route 7 will be an hourly service. Doesn't operate Sundays.

      Route 1 to John Lewis/Futura Park will not operate on Sundays. Current X3 is hourly on Sundays. No hint whether it will serve Ransomes Europark - I suspect not.

      Route 2 to the hospital and Sainsburys will be every 30 minutes (hourly in evenings and Sundays). This appears to be a very similar route to Route 1 - with the only difference being what I assume heading north up Ransomes Way to Sainsburys instead of going into Futura Park. (Will Route 1 be every 30 minutes too giving a 15 minute frequency on shared route?)

      Route 3 appears to be a variation on X1,x2,X3 (PF0000147/78) - so I assume technically neither X1, X2, or X3 is being cancelled just the route is being modified just to Greenwich.

      Route 4 appears to remain the same with timetable changes.

      Route 5 appears to be a renamed X5 - the 5E being an evening service - to keep the same route with timetable changes. I am not too sure the logic of an evening designation... currently the timetables significantly drop in frequency after 6-7pm (ish time) and elsewhere in town services get rerouted to Cardinal Park in the evening without any different designation. The current X3 and 4 services varies in length depending on time of day. I cannot say I quite understand why they are making it doubly complicated for people.

      Route 6 appears to remain the same with timetable changes.

      Route 8 appears to remain the same with timetable changes.

      Route 9/10 appears to remain the same with timetable changes.

      Route 12 appears to remain the same with timetable changes.

      Route 13 appears to be a change of route and timetable changes. Current speculation includes routing the service away from Ward Road to better serve Suffolk ONE and going via Cardinal Park to ease congestion at the bus gate. There is also speculation of re-routing this South West bus service away from the bus loop (Museum Street and/or Friars Street/Falcon Street) thus using Civic Drive.

      Route 15/15A appears to have a changed route with timetable changes. Current speculation include leaving out Triangle Estate/Dickens Road (to be served by London Road stop near Kelly Road) and Hadleigh Road Sainsburys. I cannot see them leaving out Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate but there might be evening and Sunday/weekend changes avoiding this part. There is also speculation of re-routing this South West bus service away from the bus loop (Museum Street) using Civic Drive.

      Route 16 appears to remain the same with timetable changes.

      Services 14, 17, 19 and 30 appear to be cancelled. Some of the routes being combined into Route 7. They will need to reinstate the 14 if being subsidised. I don't know if it was an error but I have never heard of a Route 30!

      Hope this helps. We will have to wait for the actual official information to make any informed decisions.
       
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      dan5

      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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      dan5

      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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      Source: 18 February 2018 Service & Fare Changes | Ipswich Buses
       
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      dan5

      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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      It appears Ipswich Buses may accept contactless debit cards as payment for fares on its buses.

      Very speculative at the moment. Not sure:
      • if it will be on just a few selected buses (such as a specific route),
      • whether it will begin next month with the other changes,
      • if there will be a minimum usage amount or service charge,
      • if it is just a trial,
      • if it is for all fares or just smartcard top-ups,
      • if it will actually be on the buses or just at the Travel Office/Enquiry Office,
      • if it will include credit cards (going to be awkward for people trying the wrong card!)
      • whether it will be controversially sensitive to use the wrong card or maybe another customers card,
      • whether it will slow the loading of buses
      • if it is just an idea in the pipeline unlikely to happen this year
      Sounds like a long overdue step in my opinion... for most passengers... you either use a note if you don't have change and have to cash in the credit ticket or keep it in good condition to use next time, have to go to an ATM machine followed by a shop to get change likely missing the bus in the process or hunting around the house for the exact change. A very positive step.
       
    • Steve Lee

      Steve LeeNew Member

      Messages:
      8
      Location:
      Ipswich
      At last atleast we have a slightly better understanding of what these changes involve and how they’ll effect us now. Just need the timetables now to see how they tie in with my shifts at work!

      Positive news about the contactless payments too; as you say seeing is believing though and will they slow the buses down etc. Also what happens if the driver makes a mistake and money is taken off your bank card - hopefully not too difficult to be refunded!

      Yes I do recall seeing in the Ipswich Star a few years ago about the guy in the travel office who took money I think that went to court in the end. They obviously have a bad track record of choosing who they decide to have working in there - and these latest ladies are no good either.

      Let’s hope this is the start of the company improving however, they have a long way to go but we’ll see!
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • OP
        OP
        dan5

        dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

        Messages:
        2,657
        I think they will release the new timetables on Wednesday 31st January 2018. Until this and their network map, we won't totally know what the changes are. I am quite pleased they have considered the concept of evening/night buses... I think any bus which deviates from the normal route should have a different number (such as a letter suffix).

        I am not too sure how the contactless card payments would work with their system. It would simply connect into the ticket machine as a module (similar to the current smartcards) however, unlike the smartcards and an Oyster card price-capping system... not only will it take around 5 seconds for the card to be authorised for payment... before this you would then need to instruct the driver what ticket you would like first... it would need to display the amount to be debited to the customer also. You could be looking at 10 seconds per payment (remote machines can be slow) which could be a problem at busy bus stops at peak times with many people using the payment system. Likewise, it would require the printing of a receipt for card payment in addition to the bus receipt I suspect.

        I do worry that they will target only certain areas for this and that it will be a short-lived feature. Unfortunately, when you offer new features you are creating more reasons to dislike their service if it gets withdrawn. The lack of wifi is a relatively cheap and easy feature to roll out and when your main competitor is offering it you really need to offer it to keep up.

        The major concern isn't just the departure of top-level employees or the borough having one of its own people going in as the MD in their council offices, but these changes required outside help. The council spent however many thousands to work out how to improve their company, which is surely what you employ management for! So time will tell.
         
      • OP
        OP
        dan5

        dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

        Messages:
        2,657
        Looks like it is a paid job...
        http://www.ipswichbuses.co.uk/assets/timetables/Enquiry_Office_Assistant_16.pdf
         
      • Steve Lee

        Steve LeeNew Member

        Messages:
        8
        Location:
        Ipswich
        Before employing anybody else it would be nice if this Danielle could make sure the existing staff in that office meet all those requirements listed!

        ‘Courteous’, ‘helpful’, ‘professional’ and ‘deliver great customer service’ are certainly not what I would associate with those two girls already in there (and that’s from experience of being served by them!)

        And if your name is Carol or Will they certainly do not like you - those are the names I’ve overheard them being extremely rude about whilst I’ve been in the office getting my money back from a ticket.

        The drivers however are mainly on the whole brilliant.

        Like you say though does say something when the managers running the company aren’t actually making the crucial decisions about its future; and wasting yet more money paying an outside firm to do the work for them. Bizarre - but then this is Ipswich Borough Council so anything goes!
         
      • OP
        OP
        dan5

        dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

        Messages:
        2,657
        It is normally "if the face fits"... but that doesn't really apply here does it? lol

        Perhaps they don't get many applicants! Especially weekend working on a Saturday...

        I don't think the enquiry office is big enough or inviting for their dominance in the town - even before you step inside it.

        ipswich-buses-enquiry-office-option-2012.png
        The above ground retail unit in Electric House would have been ideal with a waiting room/passenger lounge - they could have even shared it with a coffee shop which would have capitalised on its location near the main bus station in the town. However, they aren't looking to innovate but trying desperately to stay relevant. We will know in 2 weeks time what the new timetables and routes are... their silence on changes are likely damage limitation.

        Today, they re-routed their South West buses (12,13,14,15) through Civic Drive (like they have been doing every Saturday for a while now) missing 2 bus stops out due to Buttermarket Car Park causing traffic chaos. I am curious whether they see this as an ongoing problem with the bus loop, thus removing as many buses from Museum Street as they can... or whether they will still be going down there.
         
      • Steve Lee

        Steve LeeNew Member

        Messages:
        8
        Location:
        Ipswich
        Another case here of a council owned bus company pushing forward into the 21st century. Link here: Lucky Thirteen For The Cheshire Cat

        Why can’t those in charge of Ipswich Buses be more forward thinking!? You’d think the council would look at what goes on around the country then look at what they’re offering and realise just how poor they are.

        They need to either go ultra modern and bold like Warrington or perhaps return to the traditional green and cream but with a modern twist? This may restore some faith and loyalty from those customers they’ve alienated in recent years. I guess when you compare it with shops Tesco has always been blue/red/white, Sainsbury’s orange etc. Like you’ve said in previous messages people do not like change - and you still hear people around the town saying green buses or red buses.

        I think you’re right about why they are holding the new timetables back a bit longer. They’ve given everyone a rough (and mainly positive) idea of what’s going on but the damage will be in the detail and it’ll be those parts they’ve glossed over! eg: this new service 7 to Henley Road etc. doesn’t mention if it’ll still do the section of route from St Matthews up past Coes, Warrington Road and around Westholme Road like the 19 currently does. There’s a lot of elderly people who rely on the buses around this hilly area.
         
        • Agree Agree x 1

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