Monday, 25 January 2016

Not Very 'Appy At All! [Part 3]

Oh No, Not More Anti Technology Outrage!
It would be unfair to First's techie gnomes, as they have manipulated bits and bytes in the darkened basement for months to produce this "exciting" App, if fbb didn't have a gander at the rest of the "exciting" facilities thereupon.

Fares and Tickets
For Cornwall (First Kernow) and Somerset (Buses of ...) you get the page from their non-standard Best Impressions web site.
It gives rudimentary and non-specific single and return fares, plus the usual season ticket prices. In other areas the choice can be bewildering ...
... bit it will not calculate your fare for a specified journey. Surely in this hi-tech digital age we should be able to find the price of the product before choosing to use it. With buses that is not always (not usually?) possible. Imagine the kerfuffle at the Tesco check-out if the shelves said "we'll tell you how much it is when you've decided to buy some."

Mobile Tickets
fbb understands that this App, once again, will only sell you "season" tickets and cannot pay individual fares.

Services and Updates
This section is potentially useful, but, of course, only gives a textual summary of any changes and/or disruptions. There is no link to a real timetable unless, presumably you go back to the journey planner. 
There would be less potential for mis-prodding if all the old and thus irrelevant stuff were deleted. Surely it is possible to persuade the confuser to remove stuff once the due date has passed.
One thing that gets fbb's goat, and makes some readers open the phials of vitriol in return, is the "we're putting it on here because we can; even if it is of no use" policy.

At the bottom of the main screen is a line of icons in pale grey with very tiny text. They cannot be enlarged.
"Next Bus" does what it says on the tin icon! Choose a geographic area ...
... tap on a flag and it will give you the next batch of departures from that point.
Again this is useful, perhaps, for regulars if it shows real time; but if it doesn't it is probably easier to read a timetable leaflet. But, of course, you need to know which stop to prod and it is not all that easy to relate these flags with Traveline data.

Why do the flags have a shadow? Because the computer can!

But fbb has left the best/worst till last.

"Route Maps" must be some kind of joke. OK you can swipe the screen and enlarge a route map ...
... when you get to it. You might think that if your chosen location was "Greater Manchester", you would get route maps for, maybe, bus services in Greater Manchester.

Be not so foolish, oh naive enquirer. This is what you get for X35.
fbb is reasonably knowledgeable geographically but could not fully differentiate between the X35 to Bus Station, the X35 to Bus Station and the X35 to Interchange-Std M. Yes, yes; of course he can prod each one in turn until the right one appears.

The top X35 runs from Walsall to Lichfield as opposed to the next one down which runs from Walsall to Lichfield. The next Bus Station X35 runs from Kings Lynn to Hunstanton, and the bottom X35 from Sunderland to Hartlepool, NONE OF WHICH IS IN MANCHESTER.

It's a technological joke.

There are about 275 service 1s to scroll through and there would appear to be no text search. Here are some highlights:-

Galsworthy Road E/b (17175)
Church Street
Meadow Road at Chinese Takeaway
The Hare
Half Moon
Town Service

Surely, Mr First, this isn't the best you can do. Of course it isn't, but you can do it by reading somebody else's database even though it is pretty near useless. So there it is!

The "Town Service" is in Lerwick, Shetland.
Yes, you can enlarge it to see the stops ...
... but tapping a stop ...
... achieves nothing.

Perhaps those who vilify fbb's technology savviness (or lack of it) might explain how to use this "exciting" facility.

Still no response on Service 6 on the T M Travel App.

 Next actual bus service blog : Tuesday 26h Jan 

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