Monday, 4 April 2016
Part 1 - A Good Friend Recently Asked ..
... Why is it So Bad?
Seaton chum Mike is not an idiot. He is now retired but held an important senior post in industry and was in the forefront of installing computer systems overseas. He is older than fbb, fitter and more mobile than fbb, has a car and would only use the bus if either he were forced to at gunpoint or, possibly in the future, were unable to drive.
He is just the sort of person that "The Industry" should be wooing.
"Why," he asked of fbb at a church coffee morning, "after over 100 years of bus operation in the UK, is it so difficult to travel by bus?"
Mike lives in Colyford where he has a wide choice of bus stops. By far the best equipped is "The Elms".
It has lavish shelters in both directions.
Both stops have a "flag" which tells him that a service X53 stops there. There is also a label which reads "X53 Jurassic Coaster".
Is that the same as the bigger X53 above it? It might be if only Mike could read the small print.
Which is almost impossible from the "waiting position"
There is also a label for "Traveline" and a phone number. Even more helpfully, there are some timetables. fbb sallied forth and photographed them yesterday.
The X53 panel tells Mike that if He is stupid enough to want to go to all the way to Poole, He gets there at 1504 ...
... but he cannot come back on the same day. What the timetable tells Mike is that the X53 is an utterly useless service in whichever direction it runs.
But also we can see other services to Lyme Regis and the bus to Axminster.
These are headed AVMT; which begs the question, "how can Mike get in touch with these bus companies to make enquiries?" What IS AVMT? What exactly IS Traveline? Can Traveline tell Mike the fare?
There's a customer service number on the First timetable.
What IS "customer service"? Can they tell Mike the fare? How would he feel if he knew that he was ringing an office in Southampton, just under 90 miles away?
And we must remember that this stop, The Elms, is the best equipped stop in Colyford. We will look at other stop options tomorrow but, for the time being, let us assume that The Elms is a suitable place for Mike to wait for a bus. May we also assume that he has a rough idea where he might be able to travel to from this stop?
Will the Village stores and Post Office be able to help? Might they stock copies of the excellent Devon timetable books?
Even if Mike could get one, it will soon be out of date.
From 2nd May the 52A becomes 9A. It doesn't serve Colyford the Elms, but Mike might find it useful.
The pathetic X53 becomes a less pathetic X52 on 8th May
The 899 to Lyme Regis runs its last trip on 27th May
The new East Devon booklet is valid from 31st May
Mike is very computer literate, so he would perhaps go on-line for seek information. What would appear on screen if he typed in Bus Times Colyford?
885 - Traveline South West - English
Local bus, coach and rail information for Colyford - Carlberry.co.uk
Bus Timetable – Musbury Village
885 - Seaton -Colyton - Axminster – Bus Times
[PDF] 885 - Cartogold
[PDF] Exeter - Devon County Council X53 and X31 Jurassic Coaster Bus Services - Jurassic Coast
[PDF] Timetables for Service Number: X53
Colyford to Honiton by line 20 bus, taxi, car | Rome2rio
First Bus Service Timetable - Get Bus Routes, Schedules & Fares
[PDF] Local area map Buses Taxis - National Rail Enquiries Exeter to Colyford by bus, taxi, car | Rome2rio
Several of these links connect to (very!) out-of-date information; and nowhere in the first two pages of a Google search can we discover that the fount of all on-line bus knowledge is supposed to be Traveline.
But what is this?
Colyford to Honiton by line 20 bus, taxi, car
Form a site called, scarily, Rome2rio.
When we exploresd the stop at The Elms, we found information for services 885 (Seaton to Axminster), 899 (Seaton to Lyme Regis) and X53 (Exeter to Poole if you don't mind being stranded there).
Nowhere in Colyford is there any indication that route 20 exists. Here it is.
A complete secret kept hidden from Colyfordians.
"Why," Mike asked of fbb at a church coffee morning, "after over 100 years of bus operation in the UK, is it so difficult to travel by bus?"
He's got a point, you know!
More Mike's blog : Tuesday 5th April