Thursday, September 25, 2003

Not sure how best to describe yesterday in one, pithy phrase. I guess mildly interesting but also tedious would be the most accurate description.

We left Ipswich at 0730 and were expecting to get there before 10. Actual arrival time was just after 11 due to excessive numbers of accidents on the A14 (some of which were not pleasant to see as we passed) causing us to sit in queues an awful lot. It did prove the car was happy at both high and low speeds, but not much else. Still, at least the roads were generally free of tree screens so I could look at the scenery (mainly fields with the occasional cow, admittedly) as we flashed or crawled past.

The Passenger Transport Solutions part of the show was surprisingly small. Considering that it has previously been held as a stand alone event I wasn't particularly impressed by the number or quality of exhibitors. Some of them were quite good and it was nice to put a few faces to names, but mostly I was happy to leave it well alone. The Bus side was a bit more interesting - always nice to see shiny new buses up close, meet some people and see our stuff being used as show examples (in this case the bus stop announcements for Martlesham Park & Ride). But neither of them managed to hold my attention for the whole day. Perhaps if I had gone to the seminars I booked up for things might have been better, but we missed one through traffic and the other because I was sorting out some fine details on our bus order.

Big disadvantage was the enormous cost of food at the NEC. Still, at least that can be claimed back.

When we got shot of Sonic, Charles and I took a wander over to Birmingham International Airport which is located on the same site.

There we had a trip on the new mono-rail, cable-hauled people mover thing. Which was wonderful and unsurprisingly turned out to be Swiss technology. Say no more. It also successfully killed some time for us.

Trip home went much better and we stopped for dinner at a very nice pub in Bury St Edmunds which I hadn't known about before.

Today I have been plugging away at various bits of timetable change, P&R price change and other work. Feel like I haven't got anywhere but do have a pile of finished stuff to prove me wrong for a change. Colchester and the final dental work tomorrow.

Whoopee doo.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

So here I am back at the desk. Not quite sure how I made it through yesterday really as much of it was very frustrating.

Started off badly. We are now back in the old car park we used to use before the summer, having been chucked off the College

waterfront one now that their new term has started. Except of course they have built a new block in the middle of our old place so we

have fewer spaces to play with. It was tight before but now things are ridiculous. Yesterday I arrived at 0825 - earlier than I would

normally and it was already full. Luckily I was able to find a space on the road nearby but that did of course mean a longer walk in the

rain at the end of the day. Today I arrived at 0810 and got one of the last remaining places. We are supposed to be able to start

work any time between 0730 and 0930 and some people who prefer a later start are sure to be getting more and more irate as the

weeks pass. I think I might just bite the bullet sooner rather than later and just use Park & Ride all the time. Which could prove

awkward in itself when Joan goes back to work, plus it will involve more potential exposure to the weather.

OK, so I'm supposed to be spending my days helping to persuade people to get out of their cars and use public transport, and as such

ought to be setting an example but frankly this just winds me up. I have already started thinking about possibly switching to taking the

train when we move office to the other side of town - right by the Station - but it still leaves things like taking Joan to work, picking her

up at night (especially in the winter when things get dark...), getting around during the day if needed and stuff like that. It does kind of

wind me up also that throughout the time I have been here people have been leaving all the time with rights to park nearer to the

building than where I end up. But no-one I know of has even been given the opportunity to move to a nearer spot. Yesterday there

were plenty of spaces in the nearer car parks free when I walked past, but no way I can get in to use them. If they were to just change

the system to make all spaces available on a first come first parked basis then half the problem would go. Oh well, we will just have to

grit our teeth and get on with it.

Anyway, yesterday I also found over 300 emails waiting for me, a whole pile of stuff in the in-tray and final confirmation fo the chnages

ot the Park & Ride fares. For the existing sites it was what I suggested basically, but for Martlesham we are going to be looking at

£3.20 which I think is too high and will put people off using it. After all, that's only a 30p saving on parking all day in town (Although

not as close to the shops etc as the bus will go). But, the commercial bus fare on the same(ish) route has gone up and we can't

undercut it. So basically I spent all day wading through words and maps and stuff trying to get a handle on where we were with

everything. How can two weeks generate so much rubbish that it feels like I was off a month or more? It just doesn't make sense to

me. Still trying to make sense of most of it today (and that's without even looking at the new timetable book proofs).

So all in all it was nice to get home again at the end of the day. Wonder if I could have got any more cliches in to that sentence?

Today I am just plugging along for the morning. Then we have a Martlesham meeting this afternoon so that should hopefully provide

answers to some of the outstanding questions.

Tomorrow I am off to Birmingham with Gary, Charles and Sonic for Coach & Bus and Passenger Transport

exhibitions at the NEC. Not sure if they will be really interesting or deathly dull, but they are a day out anyway. Just

so long as I am allowed to nod off inthe car rather than being stimulating conversation all the time.