A couple of commenters yesterday got the irony of possible on-street ‘parking deregulation’ versus the senior traffic commissioner’s revised punctuality target consultation (thus almost pre-empting today’s post).
For the two seem mutually exclusive: the tightening up on punctuality when congestion might well get even worse.
One thing that the STC wants to do is change the +1/-5 minute ‘window’ to +0/-5. This means an operator may continue to run a registered bus service journey up to six minutes late without sanction. He can no longer run a journey a minute early. More than 10 years ago, when the +1/-5 was set, all we had were wristwatches. Now, I have to confess that there really isn’t much of an excuse for being one minute early, not with modern ticket machines, telematics and two-way comms.
Of more interest will be the proposed change from operating 95 per cent of buses within the (revised) ‘window’ to 100 per cent. 100 per cent? Always assuming there’s VOSA staff available for thorough, unbiased, proportionate and properly sampled monitoring.
Might this simply load expense for operators who are already struggling to keep time in urban areas?
Further increases in PVR and driver costs to account for punctuality. Someone has to pay for it.
A further reduction in timetabled timing points to minimise the prospect of being caught out. A 30-minute service need only have three timing points: the two termini and one after 15 minutes. Will this assist passengers in judging when their services arrive?
Lengthening journey times, as companies work to the worst-case scenario. This will make the bus appear even less attractive when compared to the car and result in more waiting for time
Disjointed timetables owing to differential running times for Saturdays, schooldays and school holidays, when peak congestion differs. Will the public get the hang of it?
I see no talk of measures to assist punctuality and thereby begin to reduce costs for operators. This is out of the STC’s hands. The consultation draft does say, though,
“Delivering punctual and reliable services is a joint responsibility between operators and local authorities”
But there is little redress against local transport authorities. The STC also expects LTAs
“To use civil parking enforcement to deal with parking issues that can often obstruct buses and contribute to late running e.g. bus lane enforcement as well as using signal junction improvements, including the introduction of bus priority at traffic lights”
Does this seem slightly at odds with the thinking at the communities & local department?