Friday, 8 April 2016

GoTimetable Seaton (3)

Maps in Apps, a Lapse Perhaps?
It is so easy to draw and update maps on a very basic confuser that fbb finds it hard to understand why bus companies make such a meal of it.

The First Bus app's maps are quite well hidden in grey along the bottom of the startup page.
There it is, bang in the middle. Click on this and you are invited to enter a route number, in this case, X53
fbb's local and only First Bus route appears twice, as does a bus from Edinburgh to Dalgety Bar. The X53 to Bus Station (how joyously unhelpful!) runs between Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury. These three are shown despite the fact the First has asked the user to specify an operating area, viz First Bus Wessex, Dorset and South Somerset. (fbb has a better name, "Southern National"!).

Click on either of the local X53s and ...
... you get, as the late Paul Daniels might say, not a lot.

What about Stagecoach Devon? Once upon a time, there was a good network map which included the 52A to Seaton, at least nominally, Off goes our intrepid blogger to plumb the depths of the new Stagecoach web site.

Under maps, you can search for "stops nearby" ...
... which shown the user something, but in fbb's case omits the nearest stop on the Esplanade.
The alternative click does, indeed bring up the network map ...
... but with very limited information. And, frankly, it is hard work to find it.

GoTimetable Seaton Goes to a bit more trouble. In the heading on the home page is a tap for  MAP . Here is a network map focused fair and square on Seaton.
Tap any of the route numbers and it will take you direct to the table(s) as appropriate. Indeed, tap any piece of text (e.g. Primrose Way) and that, too, will take you to the tables which serve that location.
The team is currently working on more advanced map searches with links to GPS data. Watch this space!

In the meantime, you can go to a route map for each service. Having chosen a depart stop and an arrive stop ...
... these are not only highlighted on the timetable, but also highlighted on the route map.
Look, there is Primrose Way at the top of the map and Tramway at the bottom. Is that feature any use, or is it just there because it can be? It IS of use. Combined with the route map it can give an uncertain user a good guide as to when to look out for his arrival stop, superbly confuddling on a wiggly route like the 391!

The team is working on the best way to achieve the same for an "all stops" search. This will, most likely, arrive with the ingest of GPS data. Again, watch this space!

And, again, tap on a location (here Donkey Sanctuary in new 9A) ...
... and you can get all the services that might take you there.
Another way in which users may choose to investigate what is available out there.

One final facility which fbb cannot show "live" is what happens when a service has ceased. Obviously the service would disappear. But is this the right way to do it? In this app a withdrawn service will be tagged with a frightening  RED  label. By keeping it in sight, occasional users will at least be able to track the change.

Time and feedback will tell how useful these facilities are.
Feedback will be provided via the Google App Store structure, please then use that route for comments and expereinces of the app in use.

The GoTimetable app for Seaton will be available   FREE  at the Google Play Store from Monday 11th April.

 Next blog : Saturday 9th April 


  1. What plans do you have to integrate RTPI feeds into the app?

  2. Plans! But, obviously, real time information cannot enhance an off-line app. Much of the real time info round here is simply a timetable extract. By definition we already do that!