Friday 23 March 2012

Publicity Hazard : Pont Hafren [5]

Clifton and Westbury : Confused and Wondering.
The X14 from Bristol to Chepstow, continuing as service 14 to Newport is jointly operated by First Bus and Stagecoach. The vehicle in this slightly dated photograph is showing "Chepstow via Whiteladies Road" on its blind. That would be unhelpful today!
But a recent change means that First's X14 has a different stopping pattern from the Stagecoach X14. First now runs non stop to the out-of-town shopping "mall" at Cribbs Causeway. The significant suburban stop at Westbury-on-Trym ...
... and the call at Clifton Down Station (on Whiteladies Road) ...
... serving an area packed with student life-forms, are both omitted. But Stagecoach still calls. According to First, this allows their drivers to vary the route in the event of heavy traffic. But it leaves the intermediate points with a very umbalanced service. Buses from Clifton at 1055, 1155, 1455, 1630 and 1850 "over the bridge" to Chepstow and Newport, with a similar imbalance on the return, is hardly likely to generate much business.

Oddly, First's "non-stop" journeys are timed for approximately 5 minutes longer that the Stagecoach trip with two stops.

Sensible, or not? Joint service, or not?

Of course, that doesn't worry Monmouthshire ...
... whose timetable omits reference to Westbury and Clifton on ALL its journeys, as well as failing to advertise any "guaranteed" connections at Chepstow. There are, of course, all "guaranteed" as the 14/X14 is a through service.

And talking of through journeys, First's timetable ...
... shows its own journeys as "connecting" (note C), but the Stagecoach trips are shown as through workings numbered  X14 all the way.

Which leaves us with timetables from Traveline Cymru (i.e. Wales) ...
... which appears to show only Stagecoach [SR-O] journeys between Newport, Chepstow and Bristol. But don't be fooled. In the list of services there is another X14 ...
... which runs between Chepstow and the non-existent town of Broadmead **.
Now we know, because we are jolly clever, that "Bus Station Marlborough Street Broadmead" is, in reality, Bristol Bus Station in heavy disguise. Sadly the nerds and geeks at Traveline Cymru have not grasped this important truth for their X14 timetable.
Thankfully the journey planner gets the journey and destination right, IF you remember to switch off rail and coach, but still demands an unnecessary change of bus in Chepstow.

So, from Wednesday's blog (read again) we learned that, for timetable information  ...

Stagecoach have got it nearly right
South Gloucestershire haven't quite grasped connections
Monmouthshire haven't grasped connections at all
Traveline South West is utterly useless
Bristol doesn't understand the route numbers ...

to which we may now add ...

Monmouthshire doesn't explain where the buses go (or don't go!)
First have got it nearly right
Traveline Cymru (Wales) is utterly useless

That means, perhaps, that the Bristol web-site timetable is the best at explaining what really happens, despite its incorrect route numbers? What do you think?

Our next "Pont Hafren" derived blog might help us all form a reasoned opinion. Or might not! But our eager readers will have to wait a while because other matters of note and import need our attention.

Watch out for "Never be Forced to Travel to Aust", coming soon to a blog near you.
A Bristol Bristol at Chepstow [Cas-gwent]
on the original service 300
when it all made sense!

** Notice also, in Traveline Cymru's list, a bus service between the delightful welsh towns of Glasgow ["Glasgow" in welsh] and Bathgate ["Ymdrochfa-clwyd" in welsh]. A cursory glance at a map of Wales and its associated gazetteer fails to reveal either locality in the Principality. Isn't Traveline great?

 Next Blog : due Saturday March 24th 


  1. From the First bus website, Changes from 1st April 2012:

    Service X10/X11/X14 (Bristol - Clevedon)
    Some journeys have been re-timed: please check the timetable before travelling.

    Note the revised route!!!

  2. Thanks anonymous. An extra blog is published today:-

  3. First have changed their timetables so that it only shows Stagecoach services. However, Stagecoach correctly show both operators on their website.