It would be fair to say that in the intervening period between the last posting and this, the most notable event took place today. Having arrived late last week, for a suspension fault to be rectified at King's Lynn, Enviro 33423 saw its first run to Peterborough sporting the First Great Yarmouth colours today. 33813 working the 07.45 Lowestoft - Peterborough (L12-XL18) was required at Vancouver Avenue for attention and 33423 took over briefly for the Peterborough leg, before 33813 resumed its turn.
Here she is with Gareth at the wheel passing near my work premises in Wisbech :
Despite there being plenty of prophets of doom regarding the new fleet, they seem to be coping well with the intensive work schedule given to them and this surely must reflect on the care given to them by Richard Tucker and his engineering team. Various issues have cropped up revolving around issues as diverse as sourcing replacement seats and malfunctioning air cooling systems, but none of these have been sufficiently serious to disrupt the service. The only reason 33423 appeared today was because of servicing commitments combined with the absence of 33809 which had only just returned from bodywork repairs at Full Circle following an incident on 2nd April.
I had an email from one of my correspondents saying that he had seen less than flattering reports in some bus blogs about the comfort and overall experience of travelling on the X1 Enviros. He says "I trust you more to give a balanced account if they are in trouble. Each time I use them I find no cause for complaint ". Well it would seem that the majority of X1 passengers I have spoken to agree with this, although Victor Meldrew did contact me during my holiday to say he was sitting near a particularly rattly part of 33814 last Thursday, but let's face it, he will moan about anything ! I hasten to add that I base my observations on a sample of the general public, rather than bus enthusiasts. Certainly the loadings on the western part of the route have increased dramatically since the Enviros arrived. Incidentally, several of the fleet have now exceeded the 60,000 mile mark in just 7 months
First themselves have cause to celebrate and Lucy Wright says "The results of a national bus passenger survey published by independent watchdog, Passenger Focus, have revealed that First’s customers in Norfolk have seen an increase in satisfaction.
89% of First’s customers in Norfolk said that they were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘fairly satisfied’ with the service in the county – a 2% increase since 2011. Passenger Focus’ National Bus Survey is considered the bus industry’s definitive gauge of passenger satisfaction. The survey was carried out between 8 September and 1 December 2013. The survey also noted improvements in punctuality, the cleanliness and appearance of the buses and drivers’ attitudes.
Managing Director of First Eastern Counties, David Squire, said: “We are thrilled with our score which reflects the hard work and commitment of all my colleagues. We’ve got excellent teams in place at our depots who are improving our services and helping to encourage more people to travel with First.”
Finally this time, a picture sent in by Des Speed who says "Thought you'd like this one" :
|Some of the former X1 stalwarts at Caister Road garage. Photo : Des Speed