Friday, 1 May 2015

GWR, GWR and GWR [4]

Gotherington Borthering Some?
There was, and there is, a station at Gotherington on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway.It is the first stop north from Cheltenham Racecourse as the intervening Bishops Cleeve is not reopened.
The station is some distance to the east of the village ...
... on Gretton Road (top right).Traveline tells us that buses to the village are provided by ...
... Pulhams and two Stagecoach companies (?). Pulhams service 527 ...
... runs hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes ...
... with evening journeys and the Sunday service being provided by an extra bit tagged on to our old friend, Stagecoach service D.
But really there would be no point in riding the D to Gotherington and walking; you might as well accept the inevitable and walk all the way from the Racecourse Park and Ride. But, according to one of our comment writers yesterday (read again), PLEASE don't take Traveline's advice ...
... by walking along the near-lethal Evesham Road! The recommended route is signposted within the racecourse grounds and thus clear of busy traffic. The only impediment would be heavy traffic manoeuvres on race days. fbb thinks of Evesham Road frying pans and car parking fires!  Enjoy the trek.

But for purely academic interest let's check the journey planner for a bus to Gotherington on a Sunday.
One hour and 12 minutes seems a tad on the slow side. Let's look at the "details".
Look at the Bishops Cleeve times. Curiouser and curiouser. We are advised to wait for 31 minutes "opp Stoke Road (on Bypass A435)" for our bus to Gotherington. Is it some sort of shuttle?

 Stagecoach doesn't think their buses run TO Gotherington at all. 
 But coming back ...
... the time points include three Bishops Cleeves, one Gotherington and one Woodmancote.

fbb is still confused and he is supposed to know about timetables. He thinks that evening and Sunday Ds run as normal ...
... to here, the stop on Church Road Bishops Cleeve as shown above.
Helpfully (?) Stagecoach calls this Mill Parade in the timetable. Presumably D then sets off up Gotherington Lane, circles through the dreamy delights of the village ...
... and returns to Church Road (or Mill Parade) thence setting off for a wander round Woodmancote which, once in happy past times, was a separate village but is now just a "suburb" of a much expanded Bishops Cleeve.
Thus it is that Gotherington and Woodmancote get a far better bus service on Sundays (every 30 minutes) than  on Monday to Friday (hourly). If you don't mind the half hour wait on the bypass!!

Strange are the ways of tendered bus routes and even stranger are the ways of badly managed journey planners! Of course you don't have to wait 30 minutes on the bypass. Of course it is yet another appallingly bad piece of data management; when will bus companies learn to present their loopy services correctly?

But, in a concerted effort to discourage passengers,

There is no stop at Racecourse Station
Traveline guides you along the stopless road instead.
Stagecoach doesn't offer stop naming consistency
The timetable is incompetently presented
Incompetence is mirrored by Traveline
Thus the journey planner delivers rubbish
Traveline's maps are equally mystifying.
Stagecoach's map ignores Gotherington anyway

Welcome to the world of Public Transport Information and Traveline!
"We can help you not find the way that best suits you for making your journey using the most confusing information from around the UK for all transport companies. We receive no public funding (local authorities and your council tax are not public, of course!) and if we make a profit we put it all back into making our services more difficult to use. So we can't get you to Gotherington, sensibly, on a Sunday. We do this by listening to what our customers want then ignoring them and by using the latest technology, naff data input and our years of inexperience to keep costs up and quality down."

Strange, fbb is sure that the above is not quite what Traveline says in their blurb.

Tomorrow : Cheltenham to Winchcombe

 Next bus blog : Saturday 2nd May 

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