Monday 27 October 2014

The Case of the Confusing Combinations [2] ...

 Just One More Thing.
As in a Columbo episode, we know who "dunnit"; Arriva North East has re-organised inter urban routes based on Peterlee, County Durham. the new services started yesterday and the evised links are shown on this fbb map.
In yesterday's blog (read again) we read a largely incomprehensible paragraph describing what had happened to service 21 and 21A. In essence, from Peterlee southbound the service was unchanged but with some local re-routing locally in Peterlee. Northbound a service X21 has been added "fast" via the A19 and running "up to every 30 minutes" re-instating some historic links to Sunderland. So here goes:-

 Attempt 1 

Here is the heading, clearly showing X21 ...
... here is the map ...
... and here is the timetable.
Sorry it's so small but (it will be a fuzzy enlargement if you click on it), but, please be assured, there is no mention of X21 on any of them. 

 Attempt 2 

Maybe we need to look in the "Service Updates" and click on the heading there. And, Bingo, there is a timetable PDF which includes the X21. There is a full map ...
... helpfully colour coded so we can all understand the three component parts.
And there is a timetable.

Note that the 21 to Darlington and the 21A to Middlesbrough leave from two different bus stations in Peterlee. Travelling southbound, the 21A to Middlesbrough (xx16 from Peterlee) reaches Sedgefield Black Lion ...
... (a stop so named because it is outside the co-op) at xx28. Then much further down the columns, after Middlesbrough and Sunderland, the 21 to Darlington (xx46 from Peterlee) passes Sedgefield Barclays Bank at xx58. Actually it stops opposite the bank.
The co-op is the shop at the far right in the distance.

And, of course, the times from Sunderland, which should be at the top of the table, appear is totally the wrong place, terminating at a third Peterlee Bus Station. Really, really bad.

 Attempt 3 

But, clearly, the Arriva technophiles have been struggling with their badly designed web site. Because by Thursday afternoon things had changed. All references to current timetables for the 21/21A had vanished. So tough bananas if you wanted to travel Thursday thru' Saturday. In its place was a new map ...
... with distinctive colouring. There is a correct and sensible timetable with (shock horror) only ONE Peterlee bus station.
Sensibly, these go back to the "old style" Arriva web site where today's usual crazy html scrolling timetable bits were replaced with helpful and printable PDF files. It is good to see a "proper" map rather than Google over-engineered overprints scattered with assorted papules and pustules..

 Just one more thing 

Here is the header for NEW service 22
We can be certain it is the new, rerouted service (see map at the head of this blog if you feel a touch of insanity coming on) because it says :-

You are currently viewing a timetable
that starts on Sun, 26 Oct 2014
To view the current timetable, click here

And where does the new, rerouted 22 go?
Yes. It now goes to Sunderland and NOT Hartlepool. According to the map, the new 22 runs from Dur via Sherburn illage, Wingate, rlee, Haswell Easi, Murt, and eaham to Sunderland.

So, if Arriva are bamboozled by their own route alterations, what chance does Cushy Butterfield have?

 Just one more thing 

As a bonus, we have an on-line timetable for the X21, advertised in the verbosity quoted yesterday as "up to every 30 minutes." fbb thought his readers might like to check the frequency for themselves.
Arriva Newspeak : "up to every 30 minutes" means "every hour with a couple of peak time extras on Mondays to Fridays only."

 Just one more thing 

Do we really want to look at details of PAST changes; dozens of them. On the 21/21A/X21 page we can read what happened back in February.

Score out of 10 for Customer Service ...
... A grudging TWO
 Next bus blog : Tuesday 28th October 


  1. Arriva's revamp of their website has given it the unevitable accolade of being worse than Stagecoach's for ease of finding information. The loss of the PDF timetables for the appalling computer-generated standard is particularly sad.
    I now use Traveline for preference, at least in the areas where it produces proper timetables - the North West and Yorkshire versions are spectacularly unhelpful in only showing four journeys at a time. May the onward march of the South East/South West/East Anglia/Midlands standard continue!

    Couple it with own goals such as the

  2. Well Anon, you are forgetting that web sites are there to exercise the skills and enhance the bank balance of web designers. Providing information easily - Phooey! What a risiculous idea! Traveline is daft as well, especiailly with its ludicrous stop names. Death to NaPTAN!

  3. Even the great Columbo would not be able to sort out the mysteries of Arriva's timetables so what hope for us non detectives?

    I love this blog, I'm hooked it always makes me chuckle even when I am not feeling great. Super stuff.

  4. It doesn't make me chuckle - it makes me despair !

    How, as an industry do we contrive to get it Wrong so many times and still expect Mrs Muggins to remain loyal to us with her custom - and her money.

    But I do agree that Mr fbb is a compelling story teller and I can't go a day without looking in.