Parkway Parking Pricing Problem

Thanet Parkway station opened last year. It was planned to be, amongst other things, the station for Kent International Airport (RAF Manston as was) via a bus link …

… with a large direction sign and a lavish (?) bus shelter.

But no buses!

The station is at Cllffsend just to the west of Ramsgate and, although staffed, is blessed with narrow platforms and not much shelter.

It is served once an hour by the Javelin trains from St Pancras International.

The xx37 is typical, taking one hour and fourteen minutes for the journey, so it is fast compared with normal South Eastern trains!

There is parking for 300 cars although currently only about 60 limos will be seen on a typical working day. 
The general feeling is that the lavish facility for a paltry hourly service will now be even less used.

Clearly the price has not gone down well with the locals.

Well, it all seemed a good idea at the time.

Prince Bishops, X Rated?

“Increase the number of buses per hour to 50%?? fbb guesses they mean by 50% but felt obliged to check. Having checked, he was reminded of a well known and oft quoted couplet.
Something old, something new
Something borrowed and not quite true.
Until 27th January the service between Sunderland and Durham is provided by branded Prince Bishop single decks, the historic allusion being to the ecclesiastical big noises that used to run and rule what we now call County Dirham.
The service runs every 15 minutes with half the frequency extended from Durham to Langley Park.
GoAhead cannot manage proper maps but you may pick out bits of the name “Durham” under the coloured lines and Langley Park is to the left. Sunderland is off the wonderful  map (!) top right.

Good, innit?

The new timetable still runs every 15 minutes but no longer extends to Langley Park; it just nips up the road to Durham Hospital.
And there is no 20A!
That is because a new X20 starts.

This runs every 30 minutes and picks up the Langley Park service and, presumably (there are no maps!) the 20/30A variant south of Sunderland. So for most passengers there is the promoted 50% improvement Monday to Saturday.

This is something to shout about BUT perhaps not as voracious a shout as it might at first seem.
The X20 is not new. It is actually quite old.

It was one of the services to be re-branded “X lines” some time ago …

… complete with a purple wedge on the livery hinting at the episcopal royalty of its non-X service 20.

It later ganed full-sized single deckers.

In one version of the X20 buses were only hourly on Saturdays, so that is a progressive improvement starting in a week.

fbb guesses that the withdrawal of the X20 was Covid related and the “improvement” actually only puts these  routes back to where they were. Nevertheless it is good news for the snivelling minions as they touch their forelocks to the Prince Bishops, that’ll the buses not a rebirth of history’s leadership!

Positives in today’s bus industry are hard to come by, so well done GoAheafd!
Huge Electric Bill For Oxford
Another dash into the he somewhat precarious world of all-electric bus fleets, but a much bigger dash than any other project so far announced.

It would appear that the fleet is being shared with Stagecoach.

Big money, eh? And how much of this are the bus companies shelling out?

Over half the bill is provided by you and me, and we were never asked!

Slightly Less Expensive

Seems a ood idea if the technology is sound and the equipment is vandal-proof!

This video shows one in operation.

The spoken word is simply a repeat of what is shown on the screen above. Observant readers will recognise that only one of the four departures is in “real time” – the rest could be very “unreal” information from the timetable and not what is actually happening.
But a good thing despite this limitation.
Thursday Got Worser Than Worse
Readers will remember the red frightener that arrived, tactfully reminding fbb that he had not paid his car tax.

So fbb paid – quickly and on-line. 

But, apparently, he didn’t.
Next a text. 
It arrived from the he bank asking fbb if he had really paid £7.95 to a very strange account. fbb typed “NO”. What the bank did not tell fbb was that they immediately suspended the card.
This made life very difficult at the bakers …
… and the coffee shop yesterday morning.
Like royalty, fbb does not carry cash!

Fortunately, the baker gave fbb short term credit and Mrs fbb was waiting at the coffee shop, paid there and both returned to the bakers to do the same.

Then it was a lengthy phone call to thr bank.
Somehow fbb has been caught in the early stages if some sort of scam, prevented from escalation by the bank. Card stopped and new card ordered and fbb’s pot of pennies saved fom deletion by persons unknowm.
Many many thanks to the bank who spotted the start of something potentially VERY nasty.
Thursday was a less than appealing day all round, but there were many positive answers to some hurried prayers. Maybe there is something in this God business!
 Next Birkenhead blog : Monday 22nd January 
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