Tuesday, May 15, 2012

OK, so I might have found that para button - which I may have to re-set for every post...we'll see...


I'm getting really annoyed with Blogger as it won't show spaces between paragraphs. I've searched 'help topics' and whatnot but can't find anything - this is rubbish!

It's them again...

This isn't much fun I know but here's my (very measured I felt) complaint to Firstbus from today...My personal theory is that the drivers get behind schedule so they let them turn off the lights and bugger off back to the depot to avoid paying them overtime. There's often a 40 minute gap in the period between the daytime and evening timetable. So you wait 45 minutes for a bus that's supposed to be 'every 10 minutes or less' just as everyone is trying to get home and when one does finally arrive it sits there waiting for time, it being, presumably, the first bus of the evening timetable.

They can blame the traffic all they want but I think someone should make them act like they had some responsibility to run a service and to get people to the places they've usually already paid to get to. I hate Firstbus and their contempt for anything but making money out of their monopoly service...Anyway,like I say, I thought this very polite - think of what I could have said!

Dear Firstbus. I bought a Dayrider today - and have just walked all the way home from the Headrow in Leeds City Centre! I wanted to get a 49, 50 or 50A bus but you weren't running any.

I got into town at about 6.30pm (changing from a number 2 from Middleton) and walked along the route (which I know well) until getting home (about 5 minutes from the nearest stop on Easterly Road) at just before 8 o'clock. In all that time not a single bus passed me. I waited for short periods at the Playhouse, Quarry House, St James's, the end of Harehills Road and the bottom of Easterly Road. There were even buses showing as being due (eventually) on the 'TV' screens but none arrived and none passed me.

Even following the evening timetable there should have been at least 4 buses in this time! Too often there's a gap of around 40 minutes between buses at this time of day (and sometimes buses that had clearly been on the route are suddenly 'out of service' despite the fact there hasn't been one for ages) but this was an exception even by your low standards.

I know there will be traffic problems etc that you can't predict but there were certainly no road delays along this route between town and Dib Lane. I think you should run a regular service and I think you should run all the buses on the timetable. It surely must be possible to get relief buses running or relief drivers called in or whatever.

I don't think having a gap in the timetable for an hour and more when people are trying to get home is acceptable. I bought a Dayrover with the reasonable expectation that there would be buses running along this route at a busy time of day to get me home. This isn't the first time this sort of thing has happenend and I'm fed up of it. I don't want to be offensive but I think this is taking the Mickey.

I think you should at least give me part of my Dayrider money back. That cost me £4.60 on bus 37116 (service 13) at 8.39am - tkt no 34077.

Yours sincerly

John Parkes

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bloody Blogger!

Shit! They've been messing about with Blogger and I can't find anything. And gaps between paragraphs don't seem to be possible anymore. Why can't people stop changing stuff and pretending it's 'improvement'

Cheese, Doctor Tesconstein?

I thought we had a rogue batch of Tesco’s ‘Value’ cheddar cheese recently but it turns out that Tesco’s ordinary ‘Mild Cheddar’ is also weird and unnatural.

Thing is that Tesco’s cheese appears to be indestructible and could perhaps be used as a building material in sub-Saharan Africa. IT WILL NOT MELT! On toast it sits there and goes brown but stays stubbornly in the shape in which it was cut. Cut it into small chunks and boil it up with milk in a saucepan and you get white sauce with rubbery chunks in. Try making cheese sauce in the microwave and the milk boils away while the cheese sits there like rubber coated single Lego bricks. I guess this means that the emulsifier is cheaper than the cheese (as well as being indestructible). Or that Tesco’s customers have been complaining that their cheese keeps kind of like, melting on their ass and this is kind of like, bad? But I’ve lived for decades with the belief that cheese is something that melts when heat is applied. And now the rules have changed and I'm left angry and confused.

Another plank of what I had fondly believed was 'reality' is torn apart by capitalism. Mind you, I’ve also believed that politics was about changing things and that unopenable packaging would give way to practical, ergonomic designs. And I still know people who think that ‘juice drink’ is juice and that what appear to be slices of ham (or whatever) are actual slices of ham (or whatever). To finish on an optimistic note, I did have the little red stripey bit successfully open a KitKat once...

Hold the bus!

Yikes! Freaky! If you’re a bus user you’ll know that feeling when a bus engine stops. There’s a shudder, an unnatural silence and a slight feeling of dread. It generally means the driver will soon appear on the stairs to tell you why the bus isn’t going any further and you’ve got to get off and wait for the next one or whatever. On occasion the bus driver stalls the bus. When it happens more than once you sit there and wait for the driver to make a call and give up because there’s summat wrong with the bus. You feel like the steerage passengers on the Titanic who have realised that the engines have stopped (see, I told you the engine had stopped!) and that they can’t necessarily believe the reassurances anymore.

Anyway, yesterday I got on a bus and it kept stalling. All the time. After a while I realised it was one of those clever engines that stops at traffic lights to save fuel. So that’s good really. However, like a 2 year old who keeps jumping at every bang on bonfire night I couldn’t shake the feeling of ‘oh bugger, I’m going to have to get off the bus’ every time it happened. It was just weird and unnatural. This was of course a posh bus. I should have known that the posh bus would be on the X98 route from Wetherby and not the scum buses they run from where I live. But perhaps it’s to do with the fact that it’ll stop less on route so it makes more sense to use clever engine stop bus on this route. Nothing to do with a poorer service for the poor areas. Maybe.

But don’t go running away with the idea that I’m being easy on Firstbus. They still just stop all the buses that are running late during the rush hour so there’s a 40 minute wait until the evening timetable kicks in and they can run the usual 50% of the buses that are scheduled. Then of course that bus waits for time everywhere because it’s the first one to be running to timetable. So it sits there with 500 people on it while the other buses put up the ‘out of service’ sign and bugger off back to the depot. This clearly saves Firstbus money. Still, we’ll have trams down the end of our road by the end of 2007. And if that goes tits up we’ll at least have the cut-price trolleybus. Or maybe we’ll just have toss all…