Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Nepa, Nalpa, Suba, Notlif! (episode 3)

Where does this bus go?
Having rejected the "pen map" and been less than impressed with the "dotty" Traveline offering, fbb then turned to the button labelled PDF.
This produces a prettier version of the above; but the road names are still obscured by the route colour; not blue, but a fetching shade of magenta. The dots now have names which are too big and enlarge and contract as the PDF is shrunk or blown up. We still do not know which way round the us goes!

And there are other mysteries.
Does the 555 really double run up that dead end road to the left of "Church"?
Seems unlikely. Even less likely is another double run up a cul-de-sac to serve a few industrial units on Elm Park.
Or perhaps the Traveline minions have no idea where the bus goes, leaving it to some convoluted computer system with data derived from the devilish NaPTAN.

More seriously, however, does it go into the Retail Park at Abbey Wood ...
... or are people dropped at the bus stop labelled McDonalds on the Traveline PDF?
Information is inconclusive. Presumably regulars will soon get to know, even if a newcomer is befuddled! The rather "basic" leaflet from bus operator STL (Servernside Transport Limited) suggests hat some of these wiggles are not served.
If that is true then it's full marks to Traveline (again!) for misinformation.

Talking of Severnside's leaflet; they show each journey separately, eschewing the usual time table. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that; it certainly avoids a slip of the eye onto a neighboring column, BUT each journey has a different set of timing points:-
Traveline's PDF version is tidier ...
... as long as you know which Filton is which! fbb is sure that all these repeated place names simply don't help. What's wrong with "Filton Chuch" instead of "Filton Filton Church"? Do we really need to know that Bristol Parkway Station is at Stoke Gifford?
You would get a good trainspotters view from the church tower!
It's quite hard to find the original Stoke Gifford village; but Traveline insists that everywhere must have a "correct" locality name, however misleading it might be to that rare of rare beasts, a genuine enquirer.
fbb must remember to keep his eye open for a Traveline stop outside (o/s) No 700A, because somewhere in the vicinity there is Filton (again?) King George VI, presumably a pub.
Yes, there it is. Now all we have to do is find No 700A, possibly on Filton Avenue - perhaps, Traveline is coy about the road name.
Well, there's the stop. Maybe that hut is No 700A?

Thanks Traveline for helping us all to find our way round Filton!
Nationally, community buses have had a mixed history. On the Isle of Wight, for example, the grand (and award winning) scheme whereby Southern Vectis "managed" a batch of such routes (using volunteer drivers) has sort of fizzled out. Most are now ordinary services supported by funding from the Council. One of the "communities" that refused the Vectis deal, Freshwater's "FYTbus", remains stoically independent and successful. A mixed bag; a pattern reflected in the community bus business nationally.

Only time will tell if the Filton Flyer 555 will have a long term future. But it might be a better future with a bit of better publicity. Fortunately, the Filton "Community" is unlikely to refer to Traveline!

The 555 serves the Coneygre area of Filton.

Coneygre? There's one in Tipton (West Midlands); there's a Conygre Farm near Hoveringham in Nottinghamshire. There are also plenty of Coneygrees and Conyegars. Amazon have no stocks of a book called "The Conygre Story" (and no picture of the cover, either).

So, who, or what is Coneygre?
The clue is "coney", an old name for a rabbit. A conygre was a name once used for a rabbit warren.

 Next bus blog : Thursday 6th February 


  1. Hi. Re all those potential double runs...

    Filton Filton Church is the stop on the main A38, after which the bus does a double run into the Shield Retail Centre (not onto Station Road).

    After rejoining the A38 it then does indeed do a double run up Elm Park, doing a 3-point turn between Filton Folk Centre and Filton Leisure Centre (the 'units' you refer to!).

    At Abbey Wood Retail Park, it does another double run into the car park, and stops outside the brand-spanking-new Asda (which is a bit further into the Park that Traveline would have us believe).

    So, really, for these particular little diversions, Traveline is actually OK!

    However, when the bus leaves Southmead Hospital AOC (Avon Orthopaedic Centre - the stop at the very very bottom of your blue-line map) (which is the hospital bus terminus until the brand-spanking-new one opens with the brand-spanking-new hospital in the next few months) Traveline shows it going right through the new hospital buildings on a road that hasn't existed for a few years, rather than the double run it actually has to do through part of the hospital grounds.

  2. St Michael's Church, Stoke Gifford has a £5.5m development plan of which church members have so far given in the region of half. If any one would like to help with the other half (or even just some of it) a glance at the Church website will show you how to move forward on this.

  3. I don't think it's entirely fair to suggest that Traveline is solely to blame for the shortcomings that are thrown up by being given inaccurate data in the first place. As Colly405 has explained, some of what appear to be its foibles are actually correct.

    We took over some tendered routes after the previous operator collapsed. The routes were neither correct on the transport authority's own map, or in the details that they supplied. The routes included timing points - presumably set by the authority - that had no NAPTAN stop, yet it is that authority that maintains the NAPTAN database. Consequently, we could not register them correctly, and everything else that flows from that - Traveline maps and timetables, Next Bus info at stops and so on - will contain errors.

    Of course, the Traffic Commissioners will accept any old rubbish, as the mangling of details in Notices & Proceeedings regularly reveals. But in the example above, where even local people had got the data wrong, what hope is there?

  4. More relevant to this blog than Coneygre Farm in Hoveringham is Coney Grey Spinney, on the A46 on the opposite bank of the River Trent, as it has a bus stop.

    A look at old maps at suggests that the OS can't make up it's mind whether the wood is called "Coneygre Wood" or "Coneygrey Plantation"! Google maps call it "Coneygrey Wood".

    In any case, the small housing estate that the bus stop serves, built as part of RAF Syerston, has always been "Coney Grey Spinney".

    A wartime bomber base, the RAF station has been used as a gliding school for many years.

    The bus stop is served by the Nottingham - Newark service that was traditionally run by Gash, and is now by Marshall's. Mr Marshall used to work for Gash and paints his buses in a similar colour scheme.

    Coney Grey Spinney provides passengers in the middle of a long stretch of open countryside, and has always been a timing point and fare stage. The actual stop has moved since dualling of the A46 removed the lay-by it used.

  5. Me again.

    Just seen your comment, "It's quite hard to find the original Stoke Gifford village".

    You probably don't realise just how accurate that statement is.

    The original Stoke Gifford village, as most locals consider it, is focussed around the village green, just north of the church, which is also where the school was (now moved, and the buildings owned by the church), post office was (also now moved), and pub is ("Inn" on the OS extract).

    However, archaeological excavations years ago revealed that the original village was further east, just to the right of the "216", where the brown and white dotted road goes in a loop off the main road - this loop, apparently, formed the original village centre.

    As for bus services, Stoke Gifford village has no service, but did have an hourly M-F off-peak service (No. 16) about 15 years ago, that had to go through the whole village heading NE in both directions due to the road layout at the north of the village.