Thursday, 24 December 2015

Excellent Technology ...

... As a Surprise Christmas Gift!
Whilst Santa Claus/Father Christmas/Kris Kringle/La Befana et al will be doing their mysterious rounds tonight, fbb has already been given one juicy and completely unexpected seasonal gift. The technology delivers excellent maps and a well indexed set of timetables (real timetables, not just selected bits of departure lists), all in a pocket sized "tablet" look-alike that is oh so easy to use.

It is called a Bus Timetable Book.

Steps back in amazement!

Is this, fbb wonders, the way forward in user-friendly technology?

It was blog reader David who make contact with the fbb office as follows:-

Hi - I'm continually bemused by the problems faced by people trying to obtain printed timetables. Here in leafy Bucks our County Council publishes two timetable books, one for North Bucks and one for South Bucks. They are models of clarity and also contain excellent maps. The edition covering this area is readily available from the local tourist office, in the library near the bus station.

Additionally the two main companies serving Wycombe, Arriva and Carousel also produce their own route timetables, and these are also available in our pleasant covered bus station in the centre of town.
I doubt that the local bus users realise how lucky they are.

Indeed they don't.

Full colour network maps ...
... using the colours to show where services are based, as here for Slough.
The actual timetables are very clear which is more than can be said for fbb's ham-fisted attempts to photograph one!
There is, as you would expect, and index in service number order for quick reference; and an index by place for those less familiar with the network.
Those wishing to find Knotty Green or Poles Hill will have no difficulty.

So fbb tried a speed test. Starting with book closed and computer off he searched for services to Eton (as in posh school). Even fbb knows that you just walk across the bridge from Windsor, but he was approaching from Maidenhead.
Time taken to use the computer TWO MINUTES

Time taken to use the book TWENTY SECONDS


fbb will retire tonight (to await Santa) clutching this book to his bosom in peaceful delight, dreaming of the sheer enjoyment of going to High Wycombe bus station and travelling easily and reliably therefrom.

Or will he have nightmares?

Read on and be very afraid.

Just When You Thought It was Safe
to Go Into the Water City

Another tear-jerking heart-wrenching info-fest from the Sheffield Bus Partnership

Sheffield Bus Partnership has been listening to customers and is making changes to improve the punctuality and reliability of some services as a direct result.

If you had listened in the first place you wouldn't be in this mess.

Timetable changes to services 3, 18, 18a, 20, 35, 38, 51, 75, 76, 85, 97, 98 and 785 will take place on 3 January 2016. Passengers can check for changes to their bus service and plan their journey in advance:
- online at
- at bus stops and Interchanges

As readers of this blog know only too well, there is no timetable information at any bus stop in Sheffield, just an unhelpful list of departures. Likewise there is none at Interchanges.

- via Traveline 01709 51 51 51

And there we will make you PAY for the privilege of being mucked about by incompetent management. Surely, after all the chaos and distress, the least you can do is make the enquiry line free?

Changes to further Sheffield Bus Partnership services will take place in late January and early February 2016 to improve service delivery for customers. Information about these changes will published in mid-January.

So we haven't got it right yet. Two more attempts. More to come?

A Sheffield Bus Partnership spokesperson, said: "Sheffield Bus Partnership continues to monitor customer comments since the network changes on 1 November to identify specific problems with journeys on new routes and to make service improvements as a direct result."

As long as we don't have to spend any more on extra buses.

"Customer satisfaction is important to us and many changes have already been put in place to improve journeys, blah ... blah ... blah ..."

But to show how much we care, once again we haven't produced any printed material so 75% (plus?) of the travelling public won't know what is going on.

Now, in Buckinghamshire, they seem to have a very good idea.

Common sense in Sheffield? No way!

Despair? In Buckets!
And Another Christmas Treat
As the fbb family was about to start a bored game post evening meal, the air was gloriously rent asunder by the mellifluous carolling music of Seindorf Arian Abergynolyn**.
The audience was small but appreciative - a lovely and unexpected pre-Christmas treat. And here they are in daylight.
Diolch i chi bechgyn a merched!

** Band Silver Abergynolwyn

Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim
'Christ is born in Bethlehem'
Hark! the herald angels sing
 Glory to the newborn King.

Scooby Do usually ended with the baddies bewailing something like "We'd have gotten away with it if it hadn't been fro those pesky kids."
Some folk would like to remove angels from the Nativity and try to see things in a harshly human form. "We can get away with it if it wasn't for them pesky angels." But without the super-natural, the birth of the Christ Child becomes meaningless. If Jesus was "just a good man", he was the biggest liar in history. His life would have no more value than hundreds of other do-gooders throughout history.

A non-event.

But the verse of "Hark the Herald" that we don't sing any more takes the story much further. It uses flowery Victorian language but; if we look beyond the dated words we can see that something special is on offer.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
fix in us thy humble home;
rise, the woman's conquering seed,
bruise in us the serpent's head;
now display thy saving power,
ruined nature now restore,
now in mystic union join
thine to ours and ours to thine.
Hark, the herald-angels sing
glory to the new-born King.

Emmanuel came to "bruise the serpents head", to defeat the forces of evil in our lives. Emmanuel came to "restore our ruined nature" and link us in "mystic union" with the God of Love and Peace.

Those that want God to "do something" about all the evil in the world might consider the Christmas Present he offers.
        Next bus blog : Friday 25th December     


  1. Suffolk is pretty good too, though our bus station here in Ipswich is not up to the standard in your blog. Their website "Suffolkonboard" is kept up to date with forthcoming changes too.

    "Hark the herald! isn't Victorian - it was written in 1739! And there is another verse - you will recognise the theological allusions made by Wesley:

    Adam's Likeness, LORD, efface,
    Stamp thy Image in its Place,
    Second Adam from above,
    Reinstate us in thy Love.
    Let us Thee, tho' lost, regain,
    Thee, the Life, the Inner Man:
    O! to All Thyself impart,
    Form'd in each Believing Heart.

  2. Thank you Andrew : re "Victorian"; I was using the word as descriptive of "religious language" rather than specific dates. But thank you for the correction!

  3. Thanks for using my timetables, and I'm glad you are impressed - BUT - the picture of the bus station is that of the horrid windswept one at Slough, not our splendid undercover one at Wycombe. It was the Slough one that won the architectural awards but is very user unfriendly. The Wycombe one has under cover waiting areas, two sandwich bars, timetable racks, free toilets, seating, and a direct exit into the Eden Centre shopping area.

  4. Merry Christmas FBB! Not so Merry for many staff at SYPTE who are in the next group to be made redundant - including staff in the Information Team. So, your pleas for printed matter continue to fall on arrogantly deaf ears. Don't count on Traveline for too much longer - they are going to go too in the medium term future. In South Yorkshire the writing is on the wall - or not as the case might be......