Russell Nunn's article in the October Newsletter was of particular interest
as I live in east Ipswich roughly in the middle of the two main contested
routes and had been coming to similar conclusions about the unsustainable
nature of the current services.
It seems both our local Ipswich Buses and the Norwich- based part of the
national First Group are throwing all they have into this battle, cutting
fares and investing heavily in new buses and additional staffing to provide
a more frequent service, which overall is far in excess of our needs. With
so many buses running during the day there is currently no need to consult
timetables as there will always be a bus of some description along soon,
which is just as well as the actual timetables seem less well adhered to
than they used to be.
If passengers take pot luck like this, using whichever bus turns up,
the patronage will remain evenly split and the 'war' could well be long
and protracted. This will seriously drain the resources of both companies
and is indeed unsustainable in the long term. The ultimate winner will
come out of the battle scarred and less able to continue providing such
a good and cheap service, which is not really in passengers' best interests.
Rather than awaiting the outcome, I think passengers can have some say in
this by exercising their discretion and choosing to ride with whichever
company they would prefer to see running these services in the future. If
they vote with their arms in this way, only flagging down their preferred
bus company, their votes will count and we will sooner reach a conclusion
to this unnecessary battle.