Monday, November 05, 2007


Woohoo! I only have to get the bus to work once this week and the same next week. The Good Lady Wife is working late so I’ll be on the late afternoon/evening nursery run and it makes more sense for me to have the wheels.

I left the house at 0600 and arrived at work at 0628 to find loads of spaces. The road outside my place of work has a wide road and they’re bringing in pay and display parking and the rest will be free. Over the next few days Edinburgh Council is adding lines on each side of the road and spaces will be at a premium. Can’t see it being a problem with the times I’ve been getting in.

I killed some time by posting my weekend competitions and crosswords in the nearest post box and going to the bank for some money. One cash point machine was empty and at the other one a gentleman had all his paperwork from his wallet spread out all over the machine! He was just asking to be robbed! After a wait, I politely inquired whether he was finished or not. He mumbled something and moved his “stuff” over to the other machine. “Damn, this machine’s empty too”, I moaned. “Oh, I must have got the last of it”, piped up the wizened old man. I was the one now mumbling as I left.

The bus fight goes on as I replied to Councillor Martin’s e-mail that arrived on Friday (the quotes from his previous e-mail are in italics):

“"It's is (sic) interesting you do not use the bus coming back."

My decision not to get a Stagecoach bus home is a conscious and very deliberate one. I would now rather pay (more) money to First Scotrail than get a Stagecoach bus. Where humanly possible I will avoid using Stagecoach.

"We can bring in the new early bus by telling the Commissioners this was as a result of a community meeting and the Council will support the need for the bus although it is not costing the Council."

What is the point in having a process for revising services, involving Fife Council and the Traffic Commissioner, albeit one that involves no consultation with the public, if you can just ride roughshod over it by citing a "community meeting" as a reason for adding an extra bus. It makes a mockery of the whole system. If it's that easy then get our direct bus back because that was also discussed at length at the same meeting.

"You over simplify the relationship between the Council and Stagecoach"

I'm not sure that I do. A succession of Fife Councils have allowed Stagecoach to 'take over' Fife and certainly not to the benefit of passengers. As other companies were squeezed out of Fife, the fares went up and up and up. The methods used by Stagecoach to take over the bus routes of Fife are well documented and it has got to the point where it is probably too late for Fife Council to do anything about it, even if they wanted to. Stagecoach, in my humble opinion, has Fife Council over a barrel. (Those last two sentences could just as easily apply to Tesco too).

People are put off using buses because the timetables are changed so frequently; bus routes are revised/removed with no consultation or proper marketing and the addition of 29 new buses on the roads flies in the face of the council's green credentials. I can understand why people further afield than the DEX might be happy to get a bus to the Ferrytoll to change buses but the DEX is too close and an on-off-on-off bus journey from the DEX to the capital is needless. There was nothing wrong with the direct service we had and all the party lines spouted by Stagecoach and individuals on Fife Council amount to nothing more than management/business speak waffle.

It would've been interesting to see what you'd have done had this issue arisen closer to an election. Your party's claims (in one of your post-election leaflets) that you helped bring buses to the DEX is the greatest work of wishful thinking since Neville Chamberlain said the 1938 Munich Agreement would guarantee "peace in our time".“

I was particularly pleased with that last paragraph. As usual, I copied it to the local press, friends, family, councillors, MSPs and MPs.

Sunday was a busy day. After dropping off the ladies at church (I go to church religiously, every Christmas Eve) I bought the papers and popped back to the house for an assault on the comps and crosswords. After collecting the girls from church, I dropped them off at home, filled up the boot with rubbish from the garage and headed off to the big Recycling Centre.

I always pains me to throw out old audio equipment, especially the stuff I regard as “family”, the stuff I've had for years that I know every nook and cranny of. I don’t know if there is actually any of my old tried and trusted separates left now. I now have the new Tape2PC twin tape deck and an amplifier/receiver as well as the 5-CD changer I won on Wheel of Fortune many moons ago, although this may well go into the garage too if I can find a CD Player or CD Recorder that’s reasonably cheap (Richer Sounds is always a good shout).

The garage is definitely my next project. I want to gut the whole thing out and start again. I’ve got a dartboard and cabinet that I’ve had since May and I’m desperate to get them up. I’m not too good with drills so I’ll probably enlist some help. I’ll need an oche too. At the moment the garage has the usual DIY stuff plus a mountain of board games, baby stuff, quiz books, bootleg tapes and a variety of mystery bags and boxes full of god-knows-what. A trip to IKEA may be on the cards after Christmas.

Although I support Hibs, I find it difficult to watch them on telly; the stress is too much, so the family and I trotted off to Homebase, Asda and Focus while the game was on. We got some more Christmas presents bought, some new plants for the garden and a reindeer nose for our daughter that looked more like some sort of festive gimp mask.

I pick up Flick from nursery and then drop my friend and colleague Louise off at her boyfriend’s. The curse of Louise strikes again as I stall three times on the way home!

I come home to find an e-mail from my MP Willie Rennie:

"Jim Tolson and I had a constructive meeting with Stagecoach on Friday.
We expressed our concern at the change and ask for an explanation.

They said that as there had been very few customers from Duloch Park using the service and that there had actually been a reduction in the number of customers using the service from other areas because of the detour. They agreed to supply us with actual figures on this. They said that the D7 and direct D7 services would provide fast access to Ferrytoll from where there is a greater selection and frequency of services. They also said that as the number of servcies (sic) to Edinburgh had been increased from Ferrytoll there will be sufficient capacity so that customers from Duloch Park should not have to stand, as was feared may be the case.

They explained in detail the reasons for the change in the timetable and that all councillors had been consulted on the revision some time ago and no objections had been raised then.

I would be grateful if you could let me have your comments on these points.


The letter raises a number of points. Firstly, I would dispute that "very few customers" were using the rerouted X57. At no point have Stagecoach said that the reroute was not "commercially viable", the first phrase they usually churn out when "revising" services. Secondly, I don't understand his point about standing. Finally, how can councillors who don't use public transport (a) comment on it and (b) make a decision without consulting constituents? I shall be asking him these questions tomorrow.

It makes my blood boil...

Coming soon: Why I'm a Veteran, Why Breast Isn't Always Best and Why O Why O Spells Yoyo

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