Monday, 2 September 2013

Buses and Towns

It’s reported that the government’s communities & local government sectary wants to do two things to help town centres: gives motorists 15 minutes’ grace while parking on double yellow lines; and discourage councils who are being harsh on parking policies.


An example of a queue.
You can tell it’s an historic shot because Jessop’s is still open
: )


We all know that shopkeepers would welcome this, were it to be made law. So hard pressed are they that they’d welcome anything. But they tend to inflate the importance of the car when, actually, it’s the bus that is the key to the regeneration of our traditional shopping streets. Some already see ¾ of shoppers arrive by public transport.

If endorsed, this will improve things for private motorists but affect bus services and I can’t see the bus industry winning. But in a recent edition of Logistics & Transport Focus, the journal of the chartered institute of transport (sic), there was this quote from the ambassador of the institute’s bus & coach forum, Giles Fearnley, about the importance of the bus in towns. Said Fearnley,

“I’ll never forget the time when a shopkeeper in Yorkshire was lobbying in every direction… to have a bus stop removed from outside his premises. It [the bus stop, not the premises] was duly resisted but within a month I took a call from him enquiring whether it could be moved back”

Image used under creative commons

32 comments:

Ray Stenning said...

You can tell it's an old shot because of the bus!

viewfromthesouth said...

Dear Mrs (Beverley) Bell,
As you are now consulting on 100% on time compliance in a "window" reduced from 6 to 5 minutes, could the industry please have your views on how this idea from Mr Pickles might assist us in achieving this aim? Or shall we just give up?
Yours sincerely,
Confused bus operator

Anonymous said...

More drivel from politicians trying to appear hip, helpful and friendly. Does it not occur to these people that one person's 15 minutes will be followed by another, and another, and another so the result will be the double-yellow lines being permanently blocked? And I thought they were there for safety and to keep the traffic flowing.

Near me is a built out bus stop in a busy street with car parking on each side of the road. It doesn't stop people parking at the bus stop ('just for two minutes, it won't matter') to nip into the nearby newsagent. The problem is it's a constant stream of people stopping there for two minutes.... and every time that lane of traffic comes to a halt as traffic can't get by.

50 yards up the road is a filter lane from a one-way system. The car parking is replaced by double-yellow lines for the corner with the filter lane. But it's a busy town centre and there's space for two cars to park on the double-yellows. So they do, constantly. This selfishness means that no bus or lorry has the room get around the corner as the other side of the road is full of traffic queuing at traffic lights.

A fifteen minute grace period sounds great in theory but it's surely just going to help jam up our town centres. I'm sure we can all cite situations like those I've described.

Anonymous said...

...then there will be a campaign for triple yellow lines.

Anonymous said...

How annoying, I'd typed it all out and forgot to set "anonymous" and it was all gone when i went back.
Typical for a Monday i suppose.

The whole idea of the 15 minute grace period is utter tripe, on every level.
Car pandering Tory idiots, as far as I can tell.

There, I feel better now.

Anonymous said...

And an old shot because the bus is still upright rather than having been ploughed into and knocked over by a Porsche.

Anonymous said...

You can also tell it's 'old' because the route number is 150.

plcd1 said...

I suggest someone who runs a bus company, whose services are affected by errant parking, invite Eric Pickles and Norman Baker to spend a full shift with one of their drivers on a busy route with a challenging timetable. Fat Eric and Uncle Norm can then see for themselves what the bus industry has to put with *under the current rules* never mind the ludicrous proposal from Mr P. Hopefully they will also see the contribution the bus makes to getting people to and from the shops in town centres.

This sort of populist claptrap is only put forward by clueless politicians keen for a soundbite and Mr Pickles is more clueless than most. How did he ever get to be a Secretary of State?

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's just me but.... Mr Pickles appears to be some publicity hungry, soundbite hunting fool.

The idea that the ills of the high street will be put right by allowing 15 mins grace? What will people do in that time? Pop to the cashpoint? Pick up dry cleaning?

If they wish to improve the lot of the high street, they could tackle the issues of exorbitant business rates? Perhaps tackle the ability of on-line businesses to "offshore" their profits e.g. Amazon UK turnover £4.3bn, Corporation tax paid £2.4m, UK government grants received £2.5m. That's hardly a level playing field for UK high street retailers? Those two issues alone need tackling; instead, Mr Pickles goes for some faintly ridiculous populist utterance!

And of course, the stream of traffic held up by people parking up for 15 mins will not only include buses, but also trucks delivering to said shops!!

Anonymous said...

Won't through trains soon run to Swanage again? That will avoid all the congestion of Corfe Castle,and all the old folk will have to pay realistic prices to travel.

Anonymous said...

I have had a full licence for 48 years,have driven both buses and lorries for a living.Never had a parking ticket in my life.
Reason? I park responsibly.There are just too many people too lazy to walk 50 yards.

Neil said...

"...then there will be a campaign for triple yellow lines."

Double yellow lines allow loading. The concept of loading is so confusing that replacing this with the rule that any vehicle may remain for a maximum of 15 minutes is a useful simplification. In some places this is already happening in practice.

There already exist kerb markings which do not permit loading. In those situations, presumably this will not be allowed.

I think it is a sensible idea. Another option would be 15 minute bays, but the cost of painting these would be huge.

Neil

Neil said...

FWIW, I think bus operators moaning about losses because of easier/cheaper parking in city centres may be missing the point.

Town and city centres, particularly smaller ones, are dying. This is because people are shopping/working elsewhere by car, and it also means the bus industry's captive market (those who don't own cars) are finding other ways to get to those locations, thus resulting in a reduced bus market.

If the city centre becomes popular again, there are more reasons to go there, it'll be busy and so more people will choose public transport, particularly if suitable dedicated infrastructure is provided.

Who loses?

Neil

Neil said...

"The idea that the ills of the high street will be put right by allowing 15 mins grace? What will people do in that time? Pop to the cashpoint? Pick up dry cleaning?"

Park outside a shop to collect a heavy item, making a city centre shop selling e.g. domestic appliances more viable?

Pop into a shop for a paper, when the only other option would be to park for one hour for over £1?

Neil

Anonymous said...

Some already see ¾ of shoppers arrive by public transport.

Where was that survey done - the Bus Station Kiosk?

Anonymous said...

Frankly I think this is the least that the hard pressed motorist deserves.

Also, far too much road space is wasted with bus stops - cars should be allowed to park in empty bus stops to nip into the shops, after all bus stops are often well located.

In many places too much of the carriageway is given over to pedestrians, when it's plain to see there aren't many of them. In the short term, parking across the kerb well onto overly generous pavements should be encouraged, in the longer term pavements should be shrunken in size or even eliminated altogether. Any pedestrians that do exist will manage just fine.

Bus subsidy should be ended and all monies better spent in improving the roads in this way. The side effect of fewer buses as a scourge on the roads would be a welcome side effect. The bus is after all a ridiculously archaic form of transport which has long had its day.

Toot toot.

plcd1 said...

Dear Mr Toot Toot 1403 - you missed out cyclists and mums with buggies from your list of "scourges of the modern day, hard pressed motorist". Nice to see the Association of British Drivers (or their best friends) popping by for some Monday afternoon wind ups / trolling :-)

Makes a change from Mr Glum.

Ding Ding, move right down inside please.

Anonymous said...

Neil, really?

"Park outside a shop to collect a heavy item, making a city centre shop selling e.g. domestic appliances more viable?

Pop into a shop for a paper, when the only other option would be to park for one hour for over £1?"

People popping in to buy a paper is not going to help the high street, is it?

As for people collecting domestic appliances is laughable!

A significant number of items aren't actually held in stock by the retailer. The stock is pushed up the supply chain and held by the manufacturer.

Smaller items and the odd TV may be collected but many more prefer the heavier items to be delivered to them, not least because they don't have to manhandle it, the packaging gets taken and (if they pay the extra), the old appliance is also taken under WEEE regulations for recycling.

The issue that is killing the high street are those areas that allow an internet provider to have a disproportionate cost advantage (e.g. corporation tax, business rates).


Anonymous said...

I think we've had a "whoosh" moment with plcd1. Whilst I didn't write it, the lines

"In many places too much of the carriageway is given over to pedestrians, when it's plain to see there aren't many of them. In the short term, parking across the kerb well onto overly generous pavements should be encouraged, in the longer term pavements should be shrunken in size or even eliminated altogether. Any pedestrians that do exist will manage just fine."

seem to be a tongue in cheek mickey take! At least, I hope so

Anonymous said...

So...by way of fair play,I think all local buses should be timed to wait for 15 minutes at busy city centre stops,and all the passengers can then go and buy a paper and some fags.

Really,as if bus operators don't have enough petty and stupid laws and rules to obey.Will the soppy and soft 'industry bodies' just nod and roll over as usual?

Come on Mr Souter,you take no prisoners,give old Porky Pickles both barrels.

Anonymous said...

Possibly the most cretinous idea I've heard yet from a Government that's already had more than its fair share. Anyone working to improve bus punctuality might as well give up and go home.

Clive C said...

Does no one remember what happened in Aberystwyh a year or two ago when when the Police lost their responsibility for dealing with parking on the highway and the traffic wardens were laid off.

Total and utter traffic chaos as so many 'very important' motorists and others parked wherever they liked brining the town centre to a standstill.

Mr Pickles no doubt uses a Government Chauffeur and so doesn't have to worry about parking - perhaps someone he knows was complaining that they couldn't stop outside a shop to get a missing something for their dinner party!

Anonymous said...

The Jessops store wouldn't necessarily date the photo nowadays as they're back in business under new management - but the bus would certainly date it.

RC169 said...

"It [the bus stop, not the premises] was duly resisted but within a month I took a call from him enquiring whether it could be moved back”

resisted? resited, surely?

To the point - daft idea, and clearly not thought through. It will backfire on those it is supposed to help. If the motorists are allowed 15 minutes longer, then throughout the day, the potential total number who can park will actually be reduced, not increased. One space outside a shop open for 10 hours - if they can all stay for 30 minutes, the shop can gain 20 customers. If they can all stay for 45 minutes, then there can only be 13 or 14. Result: shop has less customers each day. Own goal!

I suppose the fact that shoppers' car parking is often restricted to short periods of time might have occurred to some people, but presumably not to a politician, who almost certainly not only never travels on a bus, but probably never has to go shopping either.

John said...

Since Lendal Bridge has been shut in York to private motorists between 10:30 and 17:00, most traffic has (for right or wrong) been rerouted over Skeldergate Bridge in an area that is already congested at peak times.

With this 'one-size-fits-all' populist nonsense being spouted on a national level they had better take London's initiative and start painting red routes....

Stevie D said...

As you would expect from a soundbite from this government, it is totally unworkable, because fag packets (rear side thereof) don't have enough room to work out that kind of subtle nuance.

What Piffles really wants is to be able to say to the Daily Mail readers who would never dream of travelling anywhere other than by car that he is trying to fight their corner, but it's the nasty evil lefty hippie-lovin' commie bastards in the councils who are waging war on motorists despite him telling them not to.

Steve said...

Looks like we've been struck by the Curse of the Troll - Anon @1403.

As for Pickles, he may be publicly-hungry, but certainly doesn't look like he goes hungry. :-)

RC169 said...

Steve said...

"Looks like we've been struck by the Curse of the Troll - Anon @1403."

Doubt it - just somebody playing devil's advocate!

Kenneth Grahame said...

Oh dear, poor old anonymous at 1403.

He/she writes a humorously ironic piece, even finishing it with Mr Toad's catchphrase. Perhaps the younger generation isn't aware of "Wind in the Willows".

Some of us appreciated it, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely KG! Another whoosh moment as it went over another non literary head

Stevie D said...

@Kenneth Grahame
Surely you remember writing Mr Toad's catchphrase as “poop poop”, not “toot toot”!

Busing said...

Thank you all again for your interesting and informative comments.

For the record, I ought to point out that my mentioning Jessop's rather than the bus, livery or route number as an indicator of the old photo was my attempt at humour : )

I thought the 1403 comment was heavily laced with irony rather than it being a troll...