Thursday, 30 July 2015

And That Other Journey Planner [2]

No 3 son occasionally travels from Watford (Herts) to an address in Shoreham Beach.
So lets let First't national all-operators journey planner (JP) have a go at that enquiry. Oh yes, let's!
Remember, however, that this fantastic new service is only available to the privileged residents of Aberdeen, Manchester and Bristol.



[To] Sorry, we can't find that place,
did you type it in correctly?
Alternatively try the postcode.
If you need help contact us.

Deciphering the message in red suggests that the JP doesn't know where Shoreham Beach is; which is odd, because if you type in an address ...
... the bits and bytes start chuntering quite happily.

Interestingly the new "national" Traveline is equally baffled by the above "simple" (?) enquiry ...
... whereas good old regional Traveline Southeast finds an answer straight away.

fbb has long since been suspicious of Traveline's ability to knit together its weird data definitions into something that works. First Bus have simply paid a lot of money for crap poor quality information.

Here it comes again; fbb's first law of JPs:-

You can either be comprehensive OR comprehensible but NEVER both.

Write this out 500 times, First, and hand it in before break.

But even with the address on Shoreham Beach, we can't go yet. Because we have to choose our Watford. And that is fun!
A check with No 3 son reveals that we need Watford Juncion (a railway station, mayhap?) because he works just round the corner. We have a choice of three.
Instantly we are helped by those clearly differentiated pretty little icons for "bus" and "train".
See, it is SO easy to tell what they are - ideally designed for folk with weak eyesight. 

Clear as iconic mud. What's wrong with "bus" and "train"? Nah! That would be too simple for today's techies.

Because fbb knows (why do they call 'im big-'ead?) he can identify the top two as the two completely separate (?) stations called Watford Junction, one serving the main lines ...
... and one for the LMS DC electric trains (as indicated by Dc and obviously everybody knows that!).
Clearly either Traveline or First Bus data managers live in a mysterious world of abject unreality. There is (and always was?) only one Watford Junction station.

The third Watford Junction Railway Station is, as its title suggests, NOT the railway station but the adjoining BUS station served by buses and not trains. Here is a bus for the benefit of the appropriate data managers.
Look! No rails.

We still don't know for certain which Watford Junction to include in our journey planner; but again, because fbb knows, he can guess correctly. 

Possibly. But the old man's brain hurts; so that will have to wait until tomorrow.
Bone, Bash and Boats
This is a T-Bone:-
And This is a T-Bone:-
And this looks as if it might be!
But it wasn't - they missed.

Boat photo sent by Alan, our Isle of Wight correspondent. Thanks!
 Next technology blog : Friday 31st July 


  1. I know I'm biased but using Traveline South West regional site it found me Watford Junction to Shoreham Beach in less than 10 seconds, and knew where Shoreham Beach was. Ken

  2. The Stagecoach journey planner has a habit of not finding places that don't begin with capital letters.