Thursday, 12 June 2014

212 Pages - a Whole Lotta Timetables [2]

The Cornwall book is "perfect bound" ...
... there being too many pages for a more usual "saddle stitch" technique (with staples).
But the consequence is that timetables that run across two pages are difficult to read, deep in the valley.
And there are a lot of tables that run across two pages. 64 tables (128 pages out of 212) have the potential legibility problem if your times are in the gloom of the page join.

This first edition lacks town maps and a proper alphabetical index that we might reasonably expect from a "new look". What purports to be an index is just a list of the timetables in numerical order ...
... offering little advantage over the simple practice of flicking through the pages. fbb understands that these features are planned for edition 2. In his new role as part of the "advisory team", he will be campaigning vigorously to "make it so." [Love that phrase, "make it so"; popularised by Jean-Luc Picard ...
... aka Patrick Stewart, as Captain of the USS Enterprise.]

It is in the timetables themselves that we see the most change from a traditional First product, as exemplified by Yeovil's 47.
We have moved completely into Ray Stenning Land.
Possibly because he is old and old-fashioned, fbb does prefer lines of dots rather than gaps and arrows. Gaps look as if something has been missed out by misprint and arrows are confusing in profusion; of which more in a subsequent blog.

Nevertheless, the effect of the clean type-face and the colour coded headings (which match the route map) is good and positive; helpful to the user. Well done First.

Looking back, some of us old codgers will remember Western National books of yore ...
... although perhaps not as yore as that - 1947! fbb was 2. More likely is nostalgia for the good and glorious days of National Bus Company standardisation when, no matter where we travelled, the timetables were in the same format.
Privatisation brought changes in design ...
... continued, for a while at least, after the take-over by First.
And then came the proliferation of the dreaded leaflets.

But much celebration as Cornwall reverts to a proper timetable book.
At least one of today's First bus managers has said that he would like to see a Cornwall timetable book on the shelf of every home in the First operating area; an optimistic hope, maybe, but a much better view of public transport publicity than leaflets, charging for the "catalogue" or relying on the internet.

Sadly, however, these positives come with some niggling negatives. To see what these are, fbb intends to share an in-depth study of First Kernow's route 1 group.
Just to whet our readers' jaded appetites for a timetabular challenge, we can offer them: 3 service 1 varieties, 4 service 1As, two 1Bs and four variations on the 1C theme; all on one "simple" timetable. And it's one used by loads of tourists unfamiliar with the local geography.

Or perhaps it isn't; 'cos they can't understand it?

Of course, we mustn't forget service 6A, must we? It's an evening version of 1B.

Cornwall continues next week.

 Next bus blog : Friday 13th June 


  1. FBB. Us locals here in Penwith understand it. It tells us the route between Penzance and Newlyn
    1 and 1A via Alexandra Road
    1B via Alverton Estate
    1C via Newlyn Coombe
    Then 1 is Lands End via Sennen and 1A is Lands End via Porthcurno
    6A operates via Mousehole in the evening

    1. And 1B and IC are to Paul and /or Lamorna Cove. But then some 1/1A journeys go via Lamorna Cove as well...

      It was actually the council that decided that the 5 should renumbered into the 1 series as 1C/1D.

  2. Well that's next week's blog ruined! Seriously, anon, you locals will get used to it. We outsiders will struggle; and you've quietly overlooked the various schooldays wiggles and the odd journeys that don't follow the tidy (?) pattern you have learned to cope with. Perhaps next week's stuff can go ahead after all! WAIT AND SEE!

  3. Try the new Plymouth Citybus 32 timetable!
    5 destinations (Torpoint Ferry/HMS Raleigh/Cremyll/Insworke/Liskeard) with variations of route (sometimes Great Park, sometimes on the outbound, or maybe on the inbound journey) plus school bus services (serving Torpoint School) which use different roads depending on the time of day.
    All lovingly displayed across 3 timetables for inbound and outbound, duplicated for Mon-Fri, Sat, Sun, and in some cases cross referenced when the A or B versions runs.
    Then you have the stop timetable which is festooned with colours and symbols that don't quite explain what's happening.