Sunday 20 April 2014

Dolgellau Dilemma

Whilst in Abergynolwyn, the fbb's nipped northwards to Dollgellau, still spelled in English on the fingerpost just outside their holiday "pad".
All buses stop in Eldon Square.
There are two stop poles, numbered innovatively 1 and 2 ...
... each with a timetable frame containing all the information a potential passenger might need.

Oh yes?
Six routes use stop 2 ...
... including the 504 which, as it only runs on college days ...
... has to be in BIG LETTERS 'cos college students are "dwp", presumably.

Then follows a departure list in time order but with all services intermingled. Who, please, thinks that this is a good idea?
Then, to heap confusion on confusion, comes a huge list of notes.
Notice the notes on this notice. On Sundays, the 1520 service T2 (note A) continues to Bangor; whereas on Mondays to Saturdays, the 1520 service T2 (note B) terminates at Bangor.  tip 1  Thanks Gwynedd council for sorting out that important difference!

Note also that the 0810, 0950 and 1250 service 33 headed, helpfully as going to Dollgellau (which is where we are standing, remember!) via Llanfachreth each carry the note "LL". Which, helpfully, means via Llanfachreth.  tip 2  Another really useful thought from Gwynedd.

And SSH? It says "Saturdays College Holidays Only". Isn't the college on holiday every Saturday?  tip 3   It might mean Saturdays and Mondays to Fridays which are College Holidays.

But, do not despair. One of the stops has a "flag" with a real (or un-real?) time electronic information display; so all is well, eh?
The display doesn't photograph properly but it said something like this:-

 gyfeirio at 
 yr amserlen 

fbb's Welsh is a bit "di-liw" but he thinks it means "refer to timetable".  tip 4   A fourth hearty cheer for Gwynedd!

Back to service 33. fbb photographed such a beast, obviously a 33 from the rear destination blind display.
The front destination showed, not ...

 Dolgellau via Llanfachreth 

... as shown on the stop; but ...

 Llanfachreth via Brithdir .

Brithdir, of course, does not appear in the departure list heading, although it does appear in the timetable ...
... which isn't obviously available anywhere in Dolgellau.

Lloyds coaches publish the timetable for the 33 on-line and, as a special Easter challenge, fbb invites his loyal and intelligent readers to understand it. Note that every journey has a note!
click on timetable to enlarge

And the Gwynedd county web-site does have a map, contrary to fbb's earlier and derogatory comment. Here is an extract.
Our readers may further amuse themselves by tracing the route between Dolgellau and Llanfachreth.

This is, of course, not new news. But it begs the eternal question. Does Gwynedd council want to encourage bus use? Or is the "cunning plan" to make travelling by bus so obfuscated that no-one travels any more? That way, the Public Transport subsidy budget can be reduced to nil and any residue spent on extra staff at County HQ. [See "Managing your Money, Strengthening your Staffing" by Sir Humphrey Appleby Bart; now sadly out of print.]

You might also wonder whether staff at Gwynedd's posh HQ ...

... ever travel on the buses they so badly promote.
 9 of 9 Easter Oddities 
In our modern, secular and so-called scientific society, it is easy to denigrate the resurrection of Christ, celebrated joyfully and gloriously in churches today.
It's imposssible! Of course it is. But a God who is outside of our space and time can manipulate the laws of physics easy peasy. 'Cos he is God; that's what it says on the tin.

They (any "they" will do) took the body away. OK; so when the resurrection rumours started, all the authorities had to do was to produce the body - any mangled body would probably do - and the whole daftness of the miracle would be killed off at birth! But they never did produce the body.

It was the wrong tomb. Oh yes? The efficient and bureaucratic Romans guarded the wrong tomb, did they? Well, nip to the right one and find the body!

One of the oddest of the odd oddities is that, after nearly 2000 years of diligent research no credible alternative explanation of the events of that Sunday morning has been provided. Most of the "revelations" that have appeared from time to time are even more impossible than the Biblical narrative ...

... e.g. not really dead. Any volunteers to try it?
How often have I said to you
that when you have eliminated the impossible,
whatever remains, however improbable,
must be the truth.

In the end the ultimate answer has to be either faith; or lack of it.

 Next bus blog : Monday 21st April 


  1. Regarding Dolgellau: 'Then follows a departure list in time order but with all services intermingled. Who, please, thinks that this is a good idea?'

    I do, with the caveat below. For anyone turning up 'on spec' at a location such as this it can be very useful to see at a glance what departures are imminent and then find out whether they offer a means of reaching the required destination.

    The caveat is that for a location like this all departures (i.e from stops 1 and 2) should be listed together.

    Clearly this is useless if it's the ONLY information available.

    In a very different environment, I recall studying the bus stop information at Parkgate Shopping, almost a mile north of Rotherham Bus Station. From the southbound stop every service ran to Rotherham Bus Station via an identical route and with one exception terminated there. Each service (probably 15-20 of them) was listed separately, so it was necessary to look under that many headings to find out when the next bus was due. During weekday daytimes it hardly matters, but in the evening for example it's a different story and a chronological listing of all services is exactly what's needed.


  2. Agreed, Anon. Where everything is going to the same place by the same route separate panels are as daft as the Dolgellau set up. What is needed is some intelligent thought as to the best way to convey information to the "irregular" passenger. This will vary from stop to stop! Computer systems are NOT intelligent enough.

  3. Intermingled lists of departure times, hmm. As in Dolgellau, as in Lincolnshire, where it's often the only t/t info given alas.

  4. Rheolwr Rhanbarthol20 April 2014 at 20:59

    It is sad to learn that Gwynedd's treatment of public transport is on the decline. The old, larger county (which broadly now only covers Caernarvonshire and Merionydd) was a pioneer of good practice in a rural area. GCC staff such as Bob Saxby, Brian Bigwood et al most certainly did use the services they promoted.
    And the comprehensive timetable book was still widely available - and visible - about six years ago, when I last visited.
    Perhaps the current order is the consequence of the Welsh Assembly funding cuts - which I believe is in the order of a quarter - the same cuts that have brought about the demise of Arriva in Aberystwyth, marginal buses in Cardiff and Stagecoach's Brynmawr depot.

  5. In re SSTT panels - Herts CC use the same TT compilation program, and in general the results are acceptable. HOWEVER, sometimes the program cannot cope with "strange" routings, and provided the compiler actually looks at the results for a "sense" check, then they're reasonably intelligible.
    My big beef with Herts is that there is no "sense" check on many panels, and that, at a stop with many routes and many trips, some form of denoting which hour is required would be helpful - if the eye alights on the 0900 hour, and the traveller wants the 1700 hour - there's a lot of times to be waded through before your hour is selected!

    In re Gwynedd timetables - the timetable book finished about 2 years ago - funding cuts. One wonders if patronage has declined in Gwynedd compared with (say) Conwy or Ynys Mon, which does still produce timetable books (Conwy, of course, is where Bob Saxby now works!!).

  6. In Caernarfon TIC about 18 months ago the staff had a petition to bring back the Gwynedd CC book - no doubt fed up with endless requests for info and sympathising with the sentiments above. It included a tick box for "would you be prepared to pay say £1 for it?" which most were. Shame it hasn't got anywhere. Ynys Mon and Conwy books were on display along with Gwynedd's pathetic 'it's on the web or pay 10p a sheet' leaflet.