please empty your brain below

Liam has a counterpart in London Underground too. They only make your train wait when you are late and have a train to catch.
CASM = Computer Assisted Service Modulation
In an ideal world, with adequate resources, they would regulated the service at the terminus only, including injecting a spare bus if the proper one was late. But there are no spare buses.
Spare buses, maybe. But no spare drivers. At least not sufficient to make a meaningful difference. And based in the bus garage.
The places they stop to regulate are often the most inconvenient ones for anyone on board - usally one stop before a stop many people want to get off (a tube station, road junction where you can connnect with other buses, etc.) thus ensuring as many people on the bus as possible miss their conection.

And it's not just the passengers it annoys - I was driving yesterday on a narrow street where two buses, one either side of the road, were apparently "waiting for time". The stops were staggered by less than a bus length, creating a chicane slightly more than the length of two buses, which was causing long tailbacks in both directionss.
I was caught by the surprise ending but all the way through was thinking what an amazingly dry sense of humour Liam had. I really should have guessed!
I assume he works from the same office as ‘the man with the stopwatch’ who lets the slow vehicles out in front of you even when there’s nothing behind you.
I know a bus is being regulated when the driver slows down approaching a junction hoping for a red light.
And I was wondering how he got his name. I couldn't find an anagram to fit.
I was looking forward to meeting this guy so I could punch him...I guess I'll have to punch myself instead. This evening out the service business is now the norm. Seems to happen on most buses I catch. Spent an interminable time going west on a 94 recently, the driver desperately trying to catch every red light he could through Holland Park. Got to Shepherds Bush just in time to see my connecting bus disappear...thanks Liam you non-existent bastard.
I am Liam (not my real name) :(
I suppose the crucial bit here is "all the buses I've slowed down before you boarded them and which you wouldn't have caught otherwise".

Meanwhile First Berkshire have been hoodwinked into paying for an AI timetable compiler system which means a formerly hourly bus will be timetabled at slightly different times each hour so impossible to memorise. We are promised better punctuality. In practice it's likely to turn up at about the same time as it always did, because other than the delays an experienced human planner can predict anyway, most hold-ups are random from one day to the next.
I wonder if TfL have correlated the number of buses that slow down hoping for red lights and those that hold over two stops before the station you want to catch your train from with the numbers of posters they have to put up about not abusing the staff?
For more about Liam and his colleagues, read 'The Maintenance of Headway' by Magnus Mills.
Liam sounded cute until I realised he was AI.
In my part of Greater Manchester, which is still deregulated (and will be until next year), Stagecoach have solved this problem by simply slowing the buses down. It's not uncommon for a bus to be going at 20mph in a 30mph zone. (People travelling in central London and many other parts of the capital may be aghast to learn that buses can actually travel at speeds faster than 15mph, and that traffic actually allows it.)

Another technique, favoured by D&G Bus, is, if a bus is late, to simply skip huge chunks of the route to catch up time. No matter that it's an hourly service and there's no alternative services to catch...
I was thinking that it takes a certain kind of jobsworth to take pride in doing that job properly - then I got to the end!
Very good. If any London Mayoral candidates actually took the bus, they'd realise there are votes in this.

I have previously complained to TfL about this happening regularly on a route I used to regularly use. Apart from all the other arguments I made, if a bus on a route at 7pm is so often having to be slowed down, the timetable is clearly wrong...
But is the timetable wrong every day of the week and every week of the year? Different timetables for December and January?

There was a complaint about different timetables for different times of the day above. So what do people want?
I was on a bus last week that only serves Hackney and Tower Hamlets. I was surprised to hear a controller on the driver’s radio discussing problems at Brent Cross. He then gave really lengthy and detailed instructions on a diversion that drivers should take. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why a driver of a bus that travels nowhere that location should need to know that. Can’t the messages be filtered to specific routes?
If TfL insists on making buses wait and having 20mph limits, then the hopper fare time limit should increase from 60 minutes to 90.
I wonder....which event would annoy you more....the bus stopping intermittingly or the bus being ahead of schedule?
The system is London Irritation Augmentation Management software. Also available for traffic lights and lifts.
Back in the day, and before there was much tech, there were point inspectors who had the responsibility for ensuring an even headway. But they would hold buses at timing points or other convenient locations that didn't, usually, disrupt traffic flow. Nowadays, if everyone had access to an app then maintaining an even headway headway wouldn't be an issue. But not everyone does, so maintaining an even headway adds to making the service attractive to use. Usually.
And the next most annoying bus thing is the people who ring the bell for the next stop when someone has already rung the bell for the next stop after someone has pressed the stop button immediately leaving after the previous stop and the illuminated sign is already showing "bus stopping", then someone rings the bell again. And again. Its the driver I feel sorry for.
I don't see how they can do without this in London. Yes, perhaps, choosing better stops to regulate at, but traffic in London is so random, varies day to day, week to week, month to month, and depending on the weather too.

Abellio controllers were on strike last Friday and all barring 1 of the buses were on the norther half of the route on the 24. I ended up boarding a convoy of 4 24s... traffic wasn't even that bad, it was a quiet day in Central London. And even with that, it shows how without controllers working some magic, the service falls apart.

The only thing more annoying than this is the bus being turned short (in fact, far more annoying!), when they could be a bit more charitable. If there is a convoy, that the last bus isn't turned or if it is, the bus ahead holds so passengers can change to the bus in front, rather than watch it speed away... happens annoyingly often.
Liam is one of the reasons the old fashioned bunching of buses is less of an issue than in the past.
I don’t care about “the buses slowed down before I boarded them and which I wouldn't have caught otherwise”, because if I didn’t catch that bus I’d have just caught a different one or used a different method of transport.
Which would you rather.. a bit of bunching or a journey that totally unnecessarily takes longer than it needs to…Ridiculous padding is as much about the stupid rules that TFL impose on the contracts as it is the unpredictability of London’s traffic, and the operators have various ways to fiddle the stats anyway. Remember, the route controller acts in the interests of the route operator, not the intending passenger. Liam is not trying to provide the best service to those wishing to use the bus, he just seeks to make sure the operator minimises/does not get fines for not meeting the contract conditions.
Give me evenly spaced buses any day - although I can use an app I prefer a world where I don’t need to have access to one to get about.

TfL possess real-time data, so it would be a simple matter to calculate a delay factor based on how long each vehicle is currently taking to travel a given route. Whether they would want to publish that data is another matter.
Well done for slipping in the Magnus Mills reference.

I guessed Liam was fictitious. Does he also have a record of petty crime? Or is that reference too obscure for your readers?
Good choice of name. I worked with half a dozen Liams at TfL and none outside of TfL. I only worked for 5 of 20 year to date career in transport at TfL. I appreciate this sounds like a Dull Men’s Club post.
Tonight I had the farcical situation where my 328 was held to regulate the service, resulting in the next 328 catching us up, and the two 328s reaching the final destination together!

I have put in a complaint on the online portal. I have no expectation of any outcome, but it made me feel better.

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