Thursday, 13 October 2011

An Arbourthorne Argonaut [3]

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fbb's map of Sheffield bus services
 
is now updated to
include changes from 30th October 2011.
It can be viewed here.
WARNING : large file! 
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And so, to Arbouthorne ...
Now it gets REALLY complicated.
 
The dark and mysterious arts of the bus scheduler are worked out in dusty corners, accompanied by broomstick, black cat and cauldrons of bubbling potion. Often this wizardry seems designed to frighten the naive bus passenger into some sort of anaphylactic shock.

It should have been simple.

There was a 105 to Arbourthorne (only), a 101 to Gleadless via Ridgeway Road and a 102 to Gleadless via Gleadless Common. Here's the map again to help you hold on to some sort of sanity.
For reasons of economy, fbb supposes, a bit of trimming was needed. It should have been simple. Extend the 105 via Gleadless Common, withdraw the 102 and leave the 101 unchanged. Jiggle the frequencies a bit and Robert is your Father's brother. But the lords of darkness can do better (or is it worse) than that.

But first let us leap forward to 28th September 1958, when the 101 is extended to serve the rapidly expanding Herdings development.  But not all the 101s; nothing so sublimely simple. At busy times, only half the 101s run to Herdings.
Nothing serves this bit of Herdings now, because off to the left is the half hour frequency tram service at Herdings Park.
 
But now, back to 12th May 1957. 
The 105 extends to Gleadless at off peak (better to say "non busy") times. At peaks it continues to terminate at Arbourthorne. When the 105 is turning at Arbourthorne, the 102 re-appears from the cauldron, following its normal route via Gleadless Common. The 102 has become a peak times only route.

But you've forgotten something, dear reader, haven't you? Oh yes you have!
You've forgotten that some buses DON'T run via Eastern Avenue at "busy times". And the "busy times" are:- morning and evening peaks on Monday to Friday and most of Saturday daytime. They are not exactly the same times as the 102's appearance. So PLEASE try to hold on to reality.

So from September 1958, there are
101s to Gleadless via Eastern Avenue
101s to Herdings via Eastern Avenue
101s to Gleadless NOT via Eastern Avenue
101s to Herdings NOT via Eastern Avenue
102s to Gleadless via Eastern Avenue
102s to Gleadless NOT via Eastern Avenue
105s to Arbourthorne via Eastern Avenue
105s to Gleadless via Eastern Avenue

 So what's so special about Eastern Avenue. Answer, NOTHING!
It was (and still is) just another bit of the estate. fbb presumes that this confusing complexity conferred some cost savings whilst maintaining appropriate frequencies for the long suffering public. fbb well remembers one of his Sheffield university chums trying to explain the whole complex to him. In the end, neither the chum nor the youthful fbb could understand it. Herewith the junction between East Bank Road (101 & 102 straight ahead peak) and Eastern Avenue (101 & 102 turn left off-peak; 105 turns left always). The picture is recent, when things have become simple again:-
fbb suspects that in the 1960s the typically resolute Sheffield resident just caught what "came along" and walked if necessary.

But never let anyone, fbb included, tell you that bus timetables were always nice and simple in the "good old days". Usually, "yes"; but sometimes, most definitely, "no".

For the brave (or the plain stupid) we look at this set-up in a little more detail in episode 4. We will see how well it all was(n't) explained in the timetable book.

Next blog : due Friday October 14th

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