Sunday, 25 November 2012

Slick Schedule for Sheffield

You're going where?
There are many who may well doubt the sanity of a nearly-68-year-old going on safari to Sheffield. To ride on buses! Within that many is Mrs fbb! The aim was to meet up with a couple of chums, namely bro-in-law John and chum from way back, David. John's health is not as good as it has been and such jaunts may not be possible for much longer.

And, of course, the bus companies in Sheffield have formed a "Partnership" and planned an integrated network with (some) integrated ticketing, of which more anon. This commenced on 28th October, so an investigation two weeks later should allow sufficient time for a "shakedown".

Then, of course, there is the roulette wheel of Sunday Travel. So here goes (well, actually, "there went" : on Sunday 11th November).

 1347  Wightlink ferry, Ryde Pier to Portsmouth, arrive 1405

 1432  Southwest Trains, Portsmouth Harbour to Waterloo 1614

Oodles of time to saunter in troglodyte mode to St Pancras via London Underground; eschewing official advice and changing from Northern to Piccadilly at Leicester Square. It's a good thing that there's good signage to guide the hapless passenger through this lot!
fbb's method:- "Travel in rear of train from Waterloo, alight, turn right and use convenient linking tunnel to Piccadilly platforms.

"quick link" tunnel on left of train
Northern line northbound platform

Remain in rear of Piccadilly line train and you will be right next to the exit escalators at Kings Cross St Pancras."
There is then the route march from Underground to the East Midlands Train platforms in St Pancras.
Whichever way you go it can be a real drag, especially if you have a load of luggage. No alternative, though, so press on!

 1725  Stagecoach East Midland Trains to Sheffield, due 1950. 

Now here's the clever bit. As the train arrived early catch the Supertram at 1953 and alight two stops later at High Street thus avoiding a trek through some of Sheffield's less inviting alleys.
A 10 minute service runs every day from Station to City centre, but operating to a different pattern on Sundays with some links running only every 20 minutes.
Oddly, for example, the "purple" line runs every 20 mins on Sundays but only every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday. Tram travellers need to be a bit careful!

 1953  Supertram, Station to High Street 1955
The actual vehicle was the one tram in supposedly Sheffield Transport blue and cream; but, sadly it's the wrong blue; although you wouldn't know as it was dark.

 2007  First svc 22 from Arundel Gate to Prince of Wales Road 2022
And so to bed. Previously, fbb expressed his uncertainty about the existence of a Little Chef at the Travelodge.
His fears were well placed as "it closed about 18 months ago, luv."
So where and how was fbb going to break his fast? This challenging problem will be resolved in due course.

But the elderly and corpulent one completed his journey without incident, on time, at a good speed and at a good price. When our nation's public transport system works well it is, indeed, splendid.

As a sort of P.S., it is worth pointing out that the Little Chef, reduced to nonexistence for about 18 months, still appears on over a dozen web sites purporting to keep us all up-to-date and informed about the Sheffield area. It's not just public transport that is so easy to access now it's all on line.
And, of course, the little blue tab on the map is in completely the wrong place. The Little Chef was attached to the Travelodge, which is in the right place.

The internet is so wonderful!

 Fat Bus Bloke's Bible Blog starts looking at Noah (read here)

Tomorrow we start a short series about the Sheffield Bus Partnership and the background to the current "intergrated" network:-
 Investigation Monday 12th November 

 Next Bus Blog : Monday 26th November 


  1. FBB you really are quite a confusing individual. Your readers (yes, probably all 22 of them) no doubt think you are a clever ‘silver surfer’, a strong critic of all that is wrong with information provision driven by computer. But in this case you have shown yourself to be easily led astray by the very same ‘misinformation’ you so often deride.
    As a regular user of budget hotels I had a quick look at the Travelodge website. There is no mention of an adjacent Little Chef at the Sheffield Richmond Hotel. It clearly states what the food arrangements are. Ignoring this, you appear to have relied upon a Google image clearly dated ‘September 2009’ – isn’t it you that constantly derides reliance of this nature? You could have confirmed this directly with Travelodge via their very useful ‘live chat’ (which usually works very well) or by email with sufficient time. Please FBB, get to the point and stop padding out the blog with drivel – you can’t have it both ways, it leaves you a little ‘exposed’.

  2. anon@11:27 - you are quite correct, but to be fair to FBB, he didn't mention looking at the Travelodge website, and he therefore doesn't say that their site makes any reference to Little Chef. The problem is the other websites, such as Trip Advisor or View Sheffield (which boldly claims to be "the essential guide to Sheffield"). Trip Advisor does at least include dates, so that you can see when the reviews were written. View Sheffield doesn't, which is not helpful.

    I guess the moral is that one needs to be very careful with information obtained from the web, and verify its accuracy. It is always worth reading the URLs of search results, to see if they appear to come from the original source of the information, or a third party. Sites such as View Sheffield are often not updated or maintained, and the owners may like to keep old data online because it increases the content on the site, and gives it a spurious credibility. In this case a look at either the Travelodge or Little Chef websites would have made it quite clear that there is no Little Chef at or near the Hotel - indeed, there isn't one in Sheffield at all.

  3. Dear Anonymous.
    Drivel is my metier. I enjoy reading it and I enjoy creating it! RC169 explains all. The Travelodge website was somewhat evasive about food so I looked elsewhere. Hence my complaint which is still valid. As a non-regular user of cheap(ish) gaffs I find Travelodge sites less than revealing about their details; especially when such detail is negative as here. So I look around. My blogs are not intended to be a scientific investigation into Travelodge facilities but a record of my highly personal impressions whether erroneous or not. As a matter of principle I do not trust any web site for factual information unless it can be corroborated; my contention remains, namely that the internet is a poor tool for accurate details. I certainly would not dream of taking notice of comments on things like Trip Advisor because that site can so easily be a channel for people to express their illogical and often batty and un-moderated conclusions. Somewhere I read that my Travelodge suffered from noisy traffic. My room was as peaceful as a cottage in the remote highlands.
    Confusing individual? I need to think about that! Perhaps I'll take that as a compliment.