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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A flatter Wales?

A Western Mail headline this morning announces that buses are finding that Welsh hills are making them late.

Fear not. Further on in the article the Traffic Commissioner is promising to ensure a level playing field for these buses.

I wonder which hills he will flatten first.
I've not read the article, but this strikes me as incorrect just by the headline. "Finding hills are making them late"? What, the hills have grown in the last year or two?

More likely: Some of these drivers have been working these routes for years. They know how long it takes to go from Cardiff to Merthyr. The problem comes when some manager steps in, brings in a new timetable that is totally impractical, and expects his/her drivers to stick to it. Bus driving isn't an exact science, like maybe train-driving is. The time taken to traverse a route depends on weather, traffic, road-works, number of passengers, time spent at each stop. When plotting timetables, they would be better off asking someone who knows the route, has "the knowledge", than complaining that their drivers aren't reaching their targets because of the hills.

(While this seems flippant, the bus and train services are still a lifeline in Wales. I can see them using this as an excuse to cut routes or lessen frequency, which is the reverse of what is needed at the moment)
I remember when the Tiger Cubs of Western Welsh used to feature in Leyland adverts because of their alleged hill-climbing ability. :-)
There's an old joke that's done the rounds: If Wales was flat, we could all escape.
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