Wednesday, 20 July 2016

University Bus Stops Relocated

From Stagecoach's website:

Sunday 17th July** at 19:00 to Friday 2nd September 2016
The University Underpass will be closed to enable essential drainage remedial works to be undertaken. All bus services will be operating to and from the University Chaplaincy Centre.
There will be no bus services stopping at Lancaster University Underpass. Passengers should use the temporary bus stop provided outside the Chaplaincy Centre in Bowland Avenue. 
Services 3, 3A, 4, 40, 41, 42 from Alexandra Park to the Chaplaincy Centre will be using South West Drive instead of South East Drive. The bus stops at InfoLab21 and Furness College will be closed. Passengers should use the bus stops at the Chaplaincy Centre or Alexandra Park. 
The University would like to apologise for any disruption caused. Further information regarding the works can be found on Lancaster University’s website here.

** The University website gives the starting time as 18.00hs but presumably the buses will be diverted from start of service.

If you are unsure of the locations and the road names mentioned here is the Campus Map

Sunday, 3 July 2016

The next meeting of the Bus Users' Group is on Thursday, 7th July  at 2pm in the upstairs meeting room at Lancaster Library. All welcome.

Agenda for Bus Users' Group Meeting
7th July 2016
2pm Lancaster Library

1.    Welcomes, introductions and apologies
2.    Matters arising
3.    Updates on Moor Hospital (s106 money) and bus station issues
4.    Appointment of new treasurer 
5.    Feedback from Rapid Transport Workshop report
6.    Bus Services Bill - introduction to this and discussion
7.    Any new issues on the buses
8.    Publicity for BUG
9.    Dates and times of future meetings
10. AOB

 Notes of previous meetings are posted 

Monday, 27 June 2016

New Buses for the 555 - But you can't see them in Lancaster!

For the second time in five years Stagecoach is introducing new buses on its flagship 555 service from Lancaster to Keswick via the heart of the Lake District.

The new double-deck fleet of twelve vehicles, some of which will be allocated to Lancaster depot, will be easily distinguishable by what the company calls a "striking brand-new livery" and will be equipped with comfortable Italian leather-style seats. The buses will offer free WiFi to all passengers as well as USB charging points on board and will be powered by diesel engines that meet the latest "Euro 6" emissions regulations and are some of the "greenest" diesel-powered buses on the road.

The new look on the 555
Stagecoach are obviously proud of their new fleet and naturally want to show them off to the travelling public in advance of them entering service on 4th July. They will be on show in Kendal Market Square on Thursday 30th June; and in Ambleside and Keswick on Friday, 1st July.

But if you live in Lancaster you'll have to travel if you want a preview - the company's plans to show them off in the city centre have been scuppered by the City Council, which has refused permission for them to be exhibited in the Market Square.

Stagecoach hasn't explicitly said so, but the arrival of twelve new double-deck buses in the fleet willbe a big step towards eliminating the last few step-entrance buses that cause so many problems for people who need accessible buses on routes such as the 42 to Blackpool.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Changes to Service 51 Carnforth - Silverdale

The April 2016 revisions to services operated under contract to Lancashire Council Council combined Stagecoach service 51 (Lancaster - Carnforth - Silverdale) with Travellers Choice service 1 - the dedicated shuttle service linking Silverdale village to Silverdale Railway Station, which lies some distance from the village centre.

The shuttle service was expressly designed to connect with trains to Lancaster and Barrow at Silverdale station, whilst service 51, although catering mainly for local traffic, did offer connections with trains - and other buses - at Carnforth station. Both services were therefore subject to alteration when train times changed, although as a "dedicated" service, service 1 was more often affected.

From 11 July 2016 Northern Rail, which now runs all the trains on the Barrow to Lancaster line is introducing a number of changes to daytime trains which necessitate changes to connecting buses. Now that the services are combined any alterations affect the whole route. 

The Bus Users' Group, responding to local residents' concerns, had asked the county council to consider retiming the 0939 bus from Silverdale to Carnforth so as to offer a connection into service 755 to Bowness and we are pleased to learn that it has proved possible to incorporate this change. The bus will now run seven minutes earlier and arrive in Carnforth 8 minutes before the 755 departure.  The Group has also asked for an early evening bus from Carnforth back towards Silverdale to offer a connection in the return direction and also to allow passengers to leave Lancaster an hour later than the present last bus at 1730.  The Council has agreed to consider this whilst pointing out that as a journey aimed primarily for "leisure" journeys it does not meet their criteria for support. This being despite the fact that it would bring villages on the 51 route into line with similar communities south and east of Lancaster in having later journeys aimed at workers. We have also identified a number of ways in which such a journey could be provided at minimal cost and await the county's decision with interest.

A copy of the new timetable can be seen here.

Friday, 24 June 2016

A6 North Closure Disrupts 55 and 555 this weekend.

From Stagecoach's website:

Between 2300 on Friday 24th June & 0600 Monday 27th June, the A6 will be closed where the new Heysham Link road crosses near Beaumont.
During this time, Service 555 will be unable to operate between the Coastal Road and Skerton Bridge so will divert via Coastal Road / Broadway / Morecambe Road in both directions.
Bus stops at Town End, Greenwood Crescent, Greenwood Avenue, Slyne, Hest Bank Lane, Beaumont, Slyne Road and Skerton Triangle will not be served by Service 555.
Service 55 will operate normal route to Beaumont Bridge, then Whalley Road, Halton Road, Kellet Lane, Bottomdale Road, Main Road (Slyne) and Throstle Grove, regaining normal route with the junction of Hest Bank Lane. The return from Carnforth will be the reverse. Bus stops not served will be St Johns Hospice, The Trough and Hest Bank Lane. Slyne and Hest Bank will continue to be served.
Delays are expected through the duration of the roadworks
Stagecoach apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Coming Soon: Free Wifi at the Bus Station

Passengers who have noticed that the electronic stand indicator and departure screen at Lancaster Bus Station hasn't been working recently will be pleased to hear that the problem is well on the way to being sorted out.

Following the end of the previous data contract a new broadband line is now in place and whilst the display may be "up and down" a few times as the connection "profiles itself" there will soon be a stable connection in place.

Normal service will then be resumed, and the new connection will allow an enhanced display including real time information to be provided in due course.

Also on the way is free public wifi. This is already in place on Stagecoach buses on service 2/2A but will soon be available to everyone on the bus station concourse as soon as the City Council installs the necessary data points.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Lancaster Bus Information Good News and Bad.

The Good News is that Stagecoach has published its new Lancaster Bus Guide. The Guide includes, for the first time, an easily-portable paper version of the company's bus network map for Lancaster, showing clearly where all the services go and where the boundaries of the various Bay Rider and Bay Rider Plus ticket areas are.
Unfortunately, only Stagecoach services are included but as this is a commercial publication by the company that is not unexpected.

Also included are times of first buses to Lancaster and last buses back on each service, although in the case of the 40/41 to Preston and 42 to Blackpool the times given are the first buses to those towns and last ones back to Lancaster. A summary of the frequency of buses on each route is also shown.

As the Guide points out, details of single and return fares for all journeys can be obtained from the company's website but the Guide itself gives details of Day Riders, Mega Riders and Explorer tickets that offer better value for regular users.

The Bus Users' Group was invited to review and comment upon an early draft of this publication and we are pleased to see that most of our suggestions have been incorporated, leading, we hope, to an improved end product.  The Guide is available from the Stagecoach Enquiry Office in Lancaster Bus Station.

Less good however is the situation with the electronic bus information display at the bus station. This handy device, telling passengers the time of the next bus on each service from the Bus Station and the departure stand it leaves from, has been out of action since the start of the week.

The Bus Users' Group understands that the problem is not merely technical and that the display is likely to be out of commission until at least the middle of next week.  However a spokeman from Lancaster University, which maintains the display following the county council's withdrawal of funding, has told us that a solution is in sight. The University is also working on a project to enhance the display and the quality of the information shown which it hopes to bring to fruition towards the end of the summer.