Friday, 30 September 2016

Beyond Belief!

Travel South Yorkshire Is At It Again
 Sheffield's trams to Ecclesall terminated at Banner Cross ...
... which has changed just a bit.
Then services were extended up the hill, past the church and into the top bit of Millhouses Lane.
For many years replacement bus service No 82 terminated in the same place. But it too is very different now.
Just round the corner, beyond the car on the left (there is one in both pictures!) Sheffield Corporation (as it then was) built a splendid shelter combined with ladies' and gents' "facilities"
This was orignally for bus routes, those that ran into the bus station from Derbyshire and those terminating to make connections with the frequent "cars" to the centre of Sheffield. It is very different now.
The toilets have long-since been closed but are not yet turned into a coffee shop or craft workshop. The windows at the back of the shelter ...
... have been bricked up giving the whole experience an aura of unease and doom.

But why the second shelter?
There is competition at that stop! Stagecoach 88 (GREEN) runs every ten minutes into Sheffield City Centre and beyond. First bus 81 (PINK) arrives along Ecclesall Road every 20 minutes. First Bus 82 (PINK) approaches via Woodholm Road combining to give a bus every ten. Under normal circumstances, 82s would turn right at the top of the road ...
... but they don't. They turns LEFT them do a terrifying U-turn across the ludicrously busy Ecclesall Road South and use the lay-by to complete the turn. So the 81s uses the lay-by as well. There is one doing it in the screenshot above.

But nothing else turns in.

Keep that thought in mind for the next bit if the blog.

fbb has already revealed, in a recent blog, that Travel South Yorkshire [TSY] has bought a new toy. This piece of software allows them to merge timetables and produce more bus stop displays; or so said one of the bosses at a recent meeting attended by fbb.

Here is the display as posted on the "front" shelter at the Ecclesall lay-by.
The services are in numerical order so the first is 65 from Buxton.
You might quibble with "towards" Sheffield - what's wrong with "to" -  but for those crowds of people who wait excitedly for the 65 to take them into town, the panel is very useful.

Next in numerical order is Stagecoach's 88. (Are we missing something, do you think?)
From 0739 to 1907 the timetable provides a "ragged" every 10 minute service which TSY manage to complicate with "every 9-10 mins", then a few more tomes, followed by "every 8-10 mins."

Why bother? If you must summarise, rather than list every journey as fbb's birth town bus timetable book used to ...
... then "approximately every 10 mins" is good enough, surely?

fbb is sure there is something missing. Can't quite put his finger on it.

Next we have the 181. This is a real oddity. The route to Dore (now the 81) used to go via the University and the Hallamshire Hospital, but when the 81 was diverted and extended there First created the 181; a few bits and pieces going the old way at Monday to Friday Peak times.
It tells us the the 181 goes "towards Sheffield Centre OR Western Bank". WRONG! No buses go to Western Bank.

All buses go via Hospital and University (Glossop Road stop); there is no "OR" involved, but just ONE bus (0730) continues to "Sheffield Centre"; that is the Interchange, the same place that is called "Sheffield" for service 65.

Next the 215.
This, does indeed run towards the City Centre, i.e. to the Interchange but were are warned to "see notes". We have come across this note before, at the bottom of Cobnar Road (read again). It reads:-
Now lets look at the schooldays service as published on the panel above.
There is the 1659 schooldays (SD) journey; and next to it is the non-schooldays journey; leaving Ecclesall at ...

... erm ...

... 1659. But the computer system cannot show you that, you have to ring Traveline.


Finally we come to the 271 and 272. All buses to and from Castleton used to be numbered 272, but when the Dore service was re-organised, some were diverted via the University etc. and numbered 271.
Of course neither the heading nor the list of departures tells you which way the buses go; from this display there is no way of finding out. The panel does tell you which company operates this messy timetable.
For passengers who might only travel on buses that ran in 2015, this panel is really helpful. But there is a note against each time, a very small note, which tells you which company runs which journey. Again, no mention of which way the bus goes.

fbb is still bugged by that niggle that something isn't there that should be.

And again we are warned that this timetable has notes.

And we all know what the note is, don't we?
Yes, on non schooldays the 1646 leaves at 1643 so you MIGHT be in time. The 1610, however has passed by 27 minutes earlier at 1543 - so you have missed it big time. But the computer cannot tell you that.


And which days, pray, are schooldays?

Yet again we go back to ex Brighton MD Roger French's telling quote ...
... clearly a concept completely alien to the bosses at TSY!

There is another notice on the "front" shelter.
It tells you that First Bus routes 81 and 82 will serve this stop; actually the lay-by behind the "front" shelter. but the notice is on the front shelter.

Aha! fbb has Twigged.


It is possible that a second timetable frame on or near the old shelter (the "back" shelter) may have a timetable for the 81 and 82, but most passengers would look at the obvious diplay next to the poster about the 81 and 82 in the "front" shelter. If this service is competing with the 88, surely the information should be in the same place.

But because the First Bus stop is given a different name in the dreaded database, it will be treated as a separate stop.

See the Roger French quite above!

If TSY really want to serve the public, then services 65, 181, 215, 271 and 272 can be merged together into one departure list. After all they do all go to the same place(s).

0700 181 University ONLY
0730 181 University and Interchange
0750 272 Moorfoot and Interchange
0800 181 University ONLY
0807 65  Moorfoot and Interchange
0813 271 University and Interchange
0953 271 University and Interchange
1037 65  Moorfoot and Interchange
1048 271 University and Interchange
1143 271 University and Interchange
1207 65  Moorfoot and Interchange
1243 271 University and Interchange
1343 271 University and Interchange
1407 65  Moorfoot and Interchange
1543 271 University and Interchange NOT on schooldays
1610 272 Moorfoot and Interchange schoolday ONLY
1643 272 Moorfoot and Interchange NOT on schooldays
1646 272 Moorfoot and Interchange schooldays ONLY
1659 215 Moorfoot and Interchange
1700 181 University ONLY
1741 272 Moorfoot and Interchange
1837 65  Moorfoot and Interchange
1845 272 Moorfoot and Interchange
1945 272 Moorfoot and Interchange
2007 65  Moorfoot and Interchenge
2200 272 Moorfoot and Interchange
2359 272 Moorfoot and Interchange

Something like the above would be very helpful. fbb has asked the GoTimetable Sheffield technical team and they say that a well designed and simple piece of software could create a list as above very easily.

Of course, it would need a computer operator who understood where the buses went.

No, it's too much to ask!

 Next Meringue blog : Saturday 1st October 


  1. What is your favourite ice cream. Is it a Wall's Vendetta?

  2. Re anon above; as a Sheffielder who is confronted with this rubbish every day, I totally agree with fbb's views.It could all be done so much better.My local stop is served by one service on a 10 min headway and one on 20 mins. A good service, indeed.And what is the top line on the stop timetable? Two buses which go two stops down the road and terminate there because it's on a loop. The ladies and gents of TSY never, it seems, stop to look at, still less use, the garbage their computer churns out.

  3. Broken record. Change it.

    The only new pompous daily mail brexiteer style rant on I can see on here is a quibble over Western Bank which shows just how little the fat lad actually knows.

  4. I would like to meet Anonymous. If he thinks that some of these buses run via Western Bank he can only be a senior member of TSY staff. They don't. Indeed NO BUSES towards the city centre now run via Western Bank.

    The rants and vendetta will continue as long as TSY pour out this drivel.

  5. Just to clarify the "terrifying" u turn is actually the request from drivers who suggested it was a better to do this than turning right out of Woodholm Road!!!