Wednesday 21 January 2015

Daring Doings in Doncaster's Dunscroft [2]

Travel South Yorkshire Explains All
But not for much longer. Apparently timetable secrecy enters a new phase from March this year; meaning that the current batch of 80 timetable change leaflets will be the last. Whilst printed material IS available for the Thorne Road changes in Doncaster from this coming weekend, it will be a useful exercise to see how well the new "system" will deliver timetables.

The panel above (black for mourning) offers five alternative sources for timetables.

 1  Electronic departure screens:-
No. These do not display timetables but departure information. They are of most use on confirming whether a bus has left. The User needs to know quite a lot about their possible journey before consulting the screens.

 2  Your stop or stand:-
No. This display shows a bus to Fulwood at 2354. It doesn't go to Fulwood! All the buses in the panel below do go to Fulwood but where they eventually end up is not revealed. They all do, however, all make it to the city centre. Timetables are not displayed at any South Yorkshire stop or at any bus station stand.

 2  Information Kiosks:- 
They look a bit like the above; but fbb has never used one. Whenever he has peered at such a beast at Sheffield Interchange it has been decidedly busted. But he would be surprised if these can produce a timetable; and certainly not in print-out takeaway form. Incidentally this one is produced by the Shenzhen Lean Kiosk System Co Ltd and made in China. The on-line blurb describes it as ...

Cold-Roll Sheet Touch Screen
Information Terminal Kiosk
With Mental (sic!) Keyboard

... so very apposite for TSY! Another No, then!

 5  Traveline:-
This service is available on-line and on the line (i.e. by telephone). Via computer, laptop or smart-ish phone you can search for timetables ...
... but a you only get a snapshot, not the full set. Useless for general reference; useful if you have a specific time enquiry. Yet another No from Traveline as such, although links are offered to TSY as below.
The three "View full timetable" links all send you to he same page; presumably three because the confuser is looking for separate pages for 67, 68 and 69. They are all on the same timetable display. Poor.

Or there is Journey Planning. A couple of days ago fbb enquired for a trip from Kirkhouse Green to Doncaster on the current service 69, one of those routes that is changing.
And here is the result.
Seems a slow trip for a journey of less than 10 miles! It really would be quicker to walk. Looking at the detail we can see the problem.
There is a two hour wait at Sykehouse!

Regular blog readers will guess that this is typical Traveline loopy incompetence. In all versions of the timetable data this route is shown as terminating at Sykehouse ...
... about one third of the way round a big loop.
The idiot computer therefore insists that you wait for the next departure, two hours later at 1201. Buses do not "terminate", they keep going via Pincheon Green (etc.) and back to Doncaster.

But perhaps a real person will  have the nous to countermand the software and give a sensible answer?

You must be joking!

fbb rang Traveline Yorkshire at huge expense and asked the same question in the hope that the operator would spot the stupid answer. But, alas, no. After telling fbb that the next bus would leave Kirkhouse Green at 1154 (correct) the young man did not twig that this was the 1201 from Sykehouse.

And, yet again, it is a No to timetables.

Which leaves us with:-

 4a  Downloading:- 
That involves 28 pages of A4 paper for the full set; but we still have to work out what to download! Tomorrow we begin that tortuous process. The key question is, "how many people will have the ability to download, how many will not bother and how many will, therefore, not travel by bus?"
 4b  Real time:-
fbb will hold that bit of the investigation back until the new services are bedded in some time next week.

In the meantime, our readers may like to speculate as to the consequences of withdrawing even the paper leaflets as these were (and still are) the only source of timetable information from TSY.

Please enjoy the video:-
There's lovely!
First Kernow New Livery?
Or Not?
Well, it looks like Buses of Somerset without the apples. The vehicle is ex Regal Busways of Essex.
The application of the pink "F" and a small First Kernow transfer (above the door) suggests that this is NOT a new Cornish paint job but a temporary transfer from Zummerset. Maybe someone "out there" knows what's going on?
 Next bus blog : Thursday 22nd January 


  1. If it was so expensive to ring Traveline then why did you ring them?

  2. Is it expected or known if operators in that area will produce their own printed publicity and make their own arrangements for distributing it?

    One wonders where? and how well this will or won't work?

    Will it actually be that bad or just plain inconvenient for customers?

    In many areas some operators (including those who do print their own leaflets) don't seem very bothered about making them available and its extremely difficult to get information on the ground.

    Why if in a town centre should searching for bus timetable information etc be like a 'treasure hunt'?

    Will this situation change if/when the larger cities take over more responsibility?

    ARGOS have just produced a new large catalogue - please take one away. They don't have a problem.

  3. I rang Traveline (Anon, top) in he interests of blog journalism. It is iniquitous that the bus industry wants us to PAY to find out what they sell. See comment on Argos, above.

  4. I keep hearing different claims as to whether the livery is the new First Kernow livery. "Yes it is", "no it isn't", etc etc. So I'm none the wiser.

  5. Who invented the skip?

  6. Why not try the local rate number that has existed for years?

    Perhaps if you knocked blogging on the head and actually knuckled down to some hard work you would find telephone calls more affordable with the money you'd earn.

  7. Do First even know what their new livery will be or maybe they'll just keep trying different ones for a bit longer keeping us all guessing and wasting money all the while!

  8. To Anon at 1441. I did use the "local rte" number which, of course, is not very local from Seaton in Devon. But why should I have to pay anything. I don't have to buy a catalogue to shop at Tesco. Sadly, at a few days short of 70, I am now unemployable, apparently!