Yesterday a small brochure was posted to most houses in Crewe. It helpfully shows timetables for all the area’s bus services, and a quick scan shows how few of these there now are, together with a stark demonstration of how fractured this travel mode has become.
Some services are run on what is called a “commercial” basis: the operators, in this case Arriva (as successors to Crosville) and First (as successors to PMT) run them without subsidy. And there aren’t many of them, with some routes having had a reduction in frequency recently – the Arriva 6 from four an hour to three, and the First 20 from three an hour to two.
Many services are nowadays provided with local Government subsidy, and most in the Crewe area are run by D&G Bus. Sometimes this operator takes over from Arriva of an evening, as operators are under no obligation to cross subsidise between day and evening services – so they do not.
It goes without saying that each operator issues their own tickets, which are only accepted on their buses. So any idea of integration goes out of the window, and in any case, by now, those who can have bought a car, making the bus a remaindered transport mode.
Thus more than twenty glorious years of deregulation – as in failure.