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I totally see your point re pension liabilities and you’d expect them to consider it really, but in terms of buses First have bought 284 new low emissions ones so the fleet is in as condition as it ever had been (no idea what percentage of the total fleet this constitutes though).
 

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I totally see your point re pension liabilities and you’d expect them to consider it really, but in terms of buses First have bought 284 new low emissions ones so the fleet is in as condition as it ever had been (no idea what percentage of the total fleet this constitutes though).
But surely a new company set up by the council could lease 100% new buses...? Why pay over the odds and do First any favours.

I think also people's ambitions won't be met simply because the council takes over. Remember it'll likely be the same staff but with added protection and red tape of being council employees! The only thing the council will offer is increased service frequency to areas deemed needy. Those services could well be little used and costly.
 

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But surely a new company set up by the council could lease 100% new buses...? Why pay over the odds and do First any favours.

I think also people's ambitions won't be met simply because the council takes over. Remember it'll likely be the same staff but with added protection and red tape of being council employees! The only thing the council will offer is increased service frequency to areas deemed needy. Those services could well be little used and costly.
The first thing to do will be to make the service more reliable. This is likely down to staffing issues and First cutting everything to the bone.

The next thing to do is to set fares at a reasonable level, particularly for shorter journeys. A 10-15 minute journey at full fare is ridiculous.

Those two things alone will attract more passengers.

However, WYCA need to be careful. I wonder why First is looking to sell the whole operation rather than simply pull out of unprofitable routes and concentrate on its core? Has UBER upset the whole business model?
 

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I totally see your point re pension liabilities and you’d expect them to consider it really, but in terms of buses First have bought 284 new low emissions ones so the fleet is in as condition as it ever had been (no idea what percentage of the total fleet this constitutes though).
The problem with that is that they won't just be buying First Leeds. It's the whole West Yorkshire operation of First Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax & I believe First York.

First B/Hu/Ha have some newer buses but mostly older knackered ones cast off from Leeds because of the CAZ coming in for Leeds.

No idea what state Arriva Yorkshire buses are in but I would imagine similar to the rest of First
 

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I generally find Arriva busses in Leeds to be nicer than First. My local ones - 166 and 163 - have the new screens telling you what stop you’re at, plus USB chargers behind the seats. The 19/19A and the 40 are still largely crap.
 

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Something like the 16 should be broken up into 2 routes. One from Pudsey to Leeds & then Leeds to Whinmoor. That way delays could be minimised a lot more and provide more flexibility for drivers.
I recall reading somewhere the explanation for pairs of routes out of the city centre like that being joined together is not because there's an interest in travelling from, say, Pudsey to Whinmoor, but to avoid buses hanging around in the city centre.

If you had more routes that started and finished in the city centre, rather than dashing straight through, at any one time there'd be more buses just waiting on the streets until their departure time. And the centre's already pretty crowded.
 

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But that has reminded me of some tweaks to the number 7 (and variants) which seem like they should be an easy fix — the first two are about connecting it better with the railway station, which surely will only encourage public transport journeys:

  • Coming in to the city centre on a First 7/7A/7S, there's a timing point on Vicar Lane. Sometime the bus has to wait for several minutes — only to then get held up at the many traffic lights between there and its final stop on Wellington Street. Nobody ever boards that service at Vicar Lane, so close to the end of its route. It's useless waiting there, and so frustrating to have to dash to catch a train when the bus wasted so long sitting still for no reason.

  • For somebody with limited mobility arriving at the station, it's awkward to have to stagger all the way across to Infirmary Street to catch a First 7 northbound. The Wellington Street stop is much nearer. But technically that's the end of the southbound route. It then dwells there for a while, until it's time to begin the northbound journey from Infirmary Street (possibly with a different suffix on the 7).

    I've known an infirm person attempt to board there, only to be told by the driver that they can't because it's the last stop. The driver pulls round the corner to park and read the paper for a couple of minutes. The would-be passenger starts slowly making their way round to Infirmary Street. It now being now time for the next journey, the driver also takes the bus there ... overtaking the passenger on the way. That benefits nobody. Make the northbound journeys start on Wellington Street.

  • Finally, Transdev run an unrelated number 7 service between Harrogate and Leeds, which also travels southbound down Vicar Lane and northbound up Briggate — meaning you sometimes see two adjacent buses with exactly the same number on, yet going to completely different places! That's absurd. Transdev (I think they were second) should've been told to pick a different number — it isn't like there's a shortage of potential numbers.
 

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I'm fascinated what value Leeds council see in buying First Leeds vs setting up a depot, leasing some buses and hiring some staff...
Already having infrastructure in place, with vehicles, staff, and so on used to the current system — which isn't perfect, but it's a start, and at least provides the current level of service from day 1.

Compared with, recruiting hundreds of staff all at the same time, buying in dozens of new buses, then trying to get everything ready to start a service from scratch?

And which ends up competing with whoever else does buy First?

If they buy First they'll inherit pension liabilities, a fleet of old polluting buses ...
Both sides will know that, so it should be priced in accordingly — costing significantly less than a fleet of new vehicles without any pension liabilities.

... and a stack of rebranding costs...
Surely new buses would need branding too? You're paying for somebody to paint your logo on either way.

Is it really cheaper and better to buy first than to set up a fleet of brand new leased vehicles and operating company?
Is there a bus supplier with the required number of brand new buses just sitting around waiting for a new operator to start using them?

Even if First decided to completely pull out of the market, and found somewhere else to take their existing buses off them, would it be possible for the council to obtain dozens of brand new buses in a short space of time?
 

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I recall reading somewhere the explanation for pairs of routes out of the city centre like that being joined together is not because there's an interest in travelling from, say, Pudsey to Whinmoor, but to avoid buses hanging around in the city centre.

If you had more routes that started and finished in the city centre, rather than dashing straight through, at any one time there'd be more buses just waiting on the streets until their departure time. And the centre's already pretty crowded.
I heard it was because these were the original routes of the horse-drawn trams, and they wanted to minimise how often and where they had to turn the horses around.

Could be an urban myth though...
 

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Possibility of Northern Rail being bought into public ownership due to the poor performance of the rail franchise: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50067806

Would be a positive move imo considering the difficulties Northern Rail has faced in particular with industrial action, cancelled trains as well as delays in launching new rail services. Certainly the railways in this part of the world need to be improved significantly.
 

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Good start for the Class 195 from Leeds to Chester this morning, standing room only thanks to it being only 2 carriages.
 

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Sadly these new trains seem to have been heralded as the solution to all Northern's woes, but in reality it'll often just mean standing up on newer trains. Wikipedia suggests Northern will operate 25 x Class 195s in a 2 car formation (33 in a 3 car formation), which is surely inappropriately short on most lines, let alone a long distance train like Leeds to Chester.
 

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Discussion Starter #5,453
I'm not sure many people will use this direct service end to end - it's quicker to use TPE to Manchester then change. It's more a local connecting service.

I don't really understand why everyone feels a need to have direct services from everywhere to everywhere. I'd rather have lots of reliable short distance services running on contained routes as much as possible.
 

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I don't really understand why everyone feels a need to have direct services from everywhere to everywhere. I'd rather have lots of reliable short distance services running on contained routes as much as possible.
You've hit the nail on the head here for me. We wonder why our city regions have terrible transport links, but all these one-horse towns been connected directly must be hammering the UK's rail infrastructure.

If you want to get from Southport to Leeds, there's a direct (massively slow) direct service. Flip that on its head there isn't a direct train from Wakefield to Bradford, despite them both being in the top 15 biggest cities in the UK. The service takes 45 minutes to travel 15 miles with a change in Leeds.
 

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I'm not sure many people will use this direct service end to end - it's quicker to use TPE to Manchester then change. It's more a local connecting service.
It's only 30 minutes longer and you'd be surprised how much some people do not want to change trains (I can't blame them if Manchester stations are involved).

Advance's on Northern's direct service from Leeds to Chester work out to £19 return, as opposed to the £51 off-peak/£70 peak return (the cheapest I could see splitting tickets via a TPE route is £34 off-peak/56 peak, and that has the risk of missed connections, and ironically has you on the Northern service between Victoria and Chester anyway)
 

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If you want to get from Southport to Leeds, there's a direct (massively slow) direct service. Flip that on its head there isn't a direct train from Wakefield to Bradford, despite them both being in the top 15 biggest cities in the UK. The service takes 45 minutes to travel 15 miles with a change in Leeds.
Without reinstating a direct line between Bradford and Wakefield that's not going to get much faster though. 30 minutes is about as fast you could make it (if it didn't stop at New Pudsey, Bramley and Outwood and given you'll need a 5 minute turnaround for the driver at Leeds).

The direct Southport - Leeds service takes an agonising 2h45, but the faster connecting option is still 2h15, on par with the faster Leeds to London services.

We need faster connections across the whole of the north, Northern currently doesn't fill that role, but it does offer a cheaper alternative (if you can book in advance, T&Cs apply, etc etc.
 

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Journey times on routes served by the Class 195's will improve once the routes can be fully operated with the new trains (rather than a mix of new and old).

The new trains are currently running to times that expect them to max out at 75mph (the top speed of the Pacer/Sprinter classes*), but they can hit 100mph (where the line allows, which might be the trickier part on the Bradford-Manchester route). Timing improvements can be made to the timetable once they can guarantee availability of the Class 195 along a route.

*Excluding the 158's which can do 90mph, but only hit that speed where the line allows and if it's trying to catch up on late running
 

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Discussion Starter #5,458
It's only 30 minutes longer and you'd be surprised how much some people do not want to change trains (I can't blame them if Manchester stations are involved).

Advance's on Northern's direct service from Leeds to Chester work out to £19 return, as opposed to the £51 off-peak/£70 peak return (the cheapest I could see splitting tickets via a TPE route is £34 off-peak/56 peak, and that has the risk of missed connections, and ironically has you on the Northern service between Victoria and Chester anyway)
The latter point is a problem with the fare system and franchising model that needs to be sorted rather than a reason to have different service types.

I do understand that some people don't want to change trains, especially if the changes are difficult, but I am speaking in general here about the philosophy governing the rail network rather than a blanket rule across all services.

In most countries you won't find many towns with direct services to their respective capitals, but you will find reliable connecting services to the nearest major city where equally reliable intercity services connect to other major cities frequently.

One example looking in the Leeds region, do we really need direct London services to continue from Leeds to Harrogate 6x a day, considering the need to reverse and the dwell time at Leeds? It just creates more possibility for delays along the ECML if there are any problems on the Harrogate line. Let's remember that, despite this direct service, it will still be quicker to change at York using the top of the hour fast services from KGX. I'd rather see a connecting fast service timed to connect with the London trains.
 

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One example looking in the Leeds region, do we really need direct London services to continue from Leeds to Harrogate 6x a day, considering the need to reverse and the dwell time at Leeds? It just creates more possibility for delays along the ECML if there are any problems on the Harrogate line. Let's remember that, despite this direct service, it will still be quicker to change at York using the top of the hour fast services from KGX. I'd rather see a connecting fast service timed to connect with the London trains.
I believe the eventual plan is for the Harrogate services to be through services at Leeds, i.e. approaching/departing Leeds from the East and joining the main line at Hambleton?

On the basis of this document https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/17535/east-coast-main-line-company-limited-application-form-p-section-17.pdf it looks like the direct London-Harrogate time will be 2h41 which may be faster than the York connecting service.
 

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Discussion Starter #5,460
Does anybody know why Leeds hasn't gone down the Workplace Parking Levy route, or similar, as yet? Is there a feeling it could disproportionately affect poorer people, or what? I did hear something that suggested Leeds had far less in the way of workplace parking than Nottingham, so the monies raised wouldn't be as high. Either way, surely the council needs to start thinking outside of the box and figure out new ways of delivering significant public transport investment without relying so heavily on a disinterested Westminster. Parking levies, an emissions zone, congestion charging; it should all be implemented with a clear aim sold to the public as a means of funding significant transport upgrades. And Westminster should be strongly challenged if they object to any decisions made locally - Westminster telling Leeds how it's allowed to spend money is ridiculous.
I don't think you can do much to impose restrictions on car usage when there are no alternatives in place. Nottingham has a much better transport network than Leeds with a council-owned bus company integrating with a high frequency rapid transit network. I'm sure if Leeds had that we would have introduced something similar.
 
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