Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Have You Been to Conder Green? [2]

It's All On Line - If You Can Find It
The old and abandoned xephos database confirms Darren Wichman's memory that his bus from Knott End to Conder Green used to be Stagecoach service 89. (See "Have You Been to Conder Green? [1] " (read again). Way back in the early 2000s, buses ran every two hours (daytime) seven days a week  with a proper evening service; last bus from Knott End was 2134.

The first port of call to trace the present service (if any - Lancashire have joined the cut-backs club and are well to the top of the slash-a-service league) has to be Traveline North West.

Here we get our first shock.
"Where you can plan any public transport journey within our region."

Only you can't!
The North West Journey Planner
is no longer available.
To be directed to a journey planning service
for the area you are travelling in,
please select from the list below,
thank you:
And here is the list below.
Click on Blackburn with Darwen and up pop "a journey planning service for the area".
Only it didn't. It linked to the "national" Traveline web site. Surely there is a local journey planner for some or all of Cheshire?
Nope. And for Lancashire, where be our troublesome locations, the same again.

HOPELESS

What about Manchester? Ir does have a journey planner that looks very different from Traveline. It must be much better because it has lots of huge whirling circles to entertain you while it is thinking.

An enquiry for a journey from Knott End to Conder Green finds the locations; they are all in the database.
But the sneaky folk in Transport for Great Manchester wont give away national journey data.
Meanies. Merseyside has a journey planner but ...
... cannot get there from Knott End. You can take nearly all day from Liverpool, but the planner resorts to a taxi for the last leg.
But there is yet hope. National Traveline will find a timetable, but only after you have planned a journey. Not much good if what you want is to interrogate the 89 - if it still exists. An enquiry yesterday evening offered another ...

... smidgen of hope.
The 1930 appeared to be the last sensible bus of the day but best not try the 2005 departure arriving Cinder Green at 0653 the following day!
MORE HOPEFUL

From Esplanade By Esplanade, Knott End On Sea, take 89 bus to Ship Road By Conder Bridge, Conder Green

fbb is not a party to what, or where, "Esplanade by Esplanade" is. Perhaps there are two Esplanades at Knott End.

37 minutes, Depart 19:30, Arrive 20:07

We are told the operator - looking better so far.

Kirkby Lonsdale Coaches

Shall we click on "Service Timetable?

Today's Live Departures / Service Timetable

Why not? fbb is always willing to have a go. And, tada! The timetable is electronically generated from the database. How jolly clever ...
... and utterly useless.

There are NO DAYTIME JOURNEYS!

HOPES DASHED

Listen to Roger French, AGAIN.
Of course, the average bus user will have long since given up - as did Darren Wichman, fbb's enquiring friend.

But, armed with the operator name, fbb was able to inject some small amount of sanity into the problem.

A GLIMMER OF HOPE

And Kirby Lonsdale Coaches web site HAS TIMETABLES.
And, with much rejoicing ...
... here it is (click on the table to enlarge it):-
And now we can see why fbb had so much trouble with his databases. The main daytime service is numbered 89H, possibly because it runs via Lancaster Hospital, so the idiot computer system (or the people that designed it) treats it as a separate and unconnected service ...
... which it isn't.

IF the closed Traveline North West had chosen to announce its demise HELPFULLY, it might have provided a link to Lancashire County Council's bus timetable site. Here the "split of 89 and 89H will befiuddle a search by route number. BUT, joy of joys (?), a search by location will reveal the two services that are really one.
But there is still a snag. The search her is by stop name (too much information?) so you really need to know what you want before you can look for what you want. The associted map, however, is better but you need to scroll to see the ferry from Fleetwood. Surely the Bourne Arms Stop should have "for Fleetwood Ferry" added to its name?
More guessing?

Knowing the truth (AT LAST) meant that fbb could offer Darren the comfort of knowing that he could get to Conder Green and back.

If the pub is still open?
Jim assured us that it is!

Phew.

 More Missing Common Sense - Thursday 29th September 

12 comments:

  1. I sometimes get the feeling that the people behind all of this really want us to become Cybermen (as in Doctor WHO). We will all then do exactly what THEY want, when THEY want, how THEY want. THEY will control exactly where and when we travel (and more) all to suit their computerised system. Which is of course faultless!!!!! Less resources will be needed, costs will decrease, profits rise and little boy blue will get a gold star for having increased profits the most. (That was a bad dream last night!)

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  2. I've long since given up on Traveline North West and Lancashire CC as sources of information. If I do feel the need to use Traveline I use either the South East or South West sites, which cover the whole country but in a more user-friendly fashion.

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  3. As an aside Compass Bus are taking over the operations of thesussexbus as of 1 October. Details on news section of Compass Bus website.

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  4. Computers are great as long as you already know the answer, or at least that there is one!

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  5. The national traveline.info website found the journeys in seconds. It was then possible to get the full timetable, but only for either 89 or 89H separately - it is usually possible to combine routes at the input stage, but perhaps Lancashire's hands off approach to buses extends to Traveline too.

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  6. I can't help but feel Fbb is being disingenuous here.

    Traveline NW has never been the best site (in fact, has quite possibly always been the worst). That the local planner has gone is hardly surprising. As suggested by Jim, Traveline SE covers the whole country for journey planning, albeit not for timetables. I have long thought the SE approach should be extended to the whole country.

    Why would Greater Manchester or Cheshire stock a timetable for Lancashire? That is like expecting Tesco to give you a price for a Sainsburys product.

    I presume the choice of timing was accident rather than design - as of course, daytime journeys would have provided the timetable for the 89H (as indeed they do, in remarkably similar format to that used for Go Timetable!). If it was design because Fbb's pal was travelling at that time, why worry about a lack of daytime journeys? It could plausibly be a peak-hours only service, and presumably the designation of hospital-serving journeys as 89H is designed to help the locals.

    Not sure what Stagecoach have to do with this, other than they were a previous contractor, possibly being followed by someone else before returning to Stagecoach.

    I believe Traveline data is usually entered by councils. The withdrawal of support from bus services, the removal of its own timetable leaflets from the website, the poor addition of data to Traveline... it rather seems as though the problem lies with Lancashire CC (Although unlike Traveline SE, the national planner does not list the responsibility for data upload).

    Maybe the next project for GTT should be Lancashire?

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  7. I'm sticking up for FBB here! If Traveline SE's journey planner covers the whole country, why can't Greater Manchester's or Merseyside's. Merseyside used to be the promoter of that famous place 'out of county'.
    It's a shame that JP's can't recognise that 89s are like 89Hs and need to be kept together - the common sense argument again.
    The 'too much detail' thing is also a constant irritant. As a foreigner to an area I usually know I want to leave from Knott End and I want the planner to tell me where the bus stops, not the other way round! Journey planners don't work in the way people ask questions: Dear journey planner, which is the best bus stop to get off at for the shops?

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  8. Ideally Traveline Southeast would provide access to timetables for the whole country.

    It must *have* the timetables for the whole country - which Greater Manchester perhaps doesn't - since it can plan journeys everywhere. So why not make them available, as it makes them available for the Southeast, Southwest, East Midlands, and East Anglia.

    It seems an artificial restriction, and is nearly as annoying as the silly guessing game with pictures that one has to play before one is allowed to post here!

    Traveline Ssoutheast did at one time say that nationwide timetables were to be added, but they never were.

    Traveline Northwest was certainly never the best of the various Traveline websites, but the *worst* is surely Traveline Northeast. While others make it harder than it ought to be to find a timetable, Traveline Northeast just hasn't got timetables and refers you to the operator.

    Northern Ireland doesn't even have a journey planner which covers all operators.

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  9. Anonymous @1551

    Who else provides services in Northern Ireland other than Translink?

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  10. There are a handful. Aircoach (ie First) and Bus √Čireann both run to Dublin alongside Translink, and Bus √Čireann also runs a couple of local cross-border routes.

    Ulsterbus traditionally did not operate west of Derry/Londonderry; services from there into Donegal belonged to Lough Swilly, and so did one of the town services in Stroke City.

    Lough Swilly went bust in 2014, and its routes have all passed to other operators. As well as Ulsterbus and Bus √Čireann, that includes independent firms like McGonagle of Buncrana and Foyle Coaches aka North West Busways. No mention of these on any journey planner.

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  11. Anonymous @2217
    Thank you. Interesting to note that McGonagle's route fails to show up on the Transport for Ireland website too. Perhaps these cross-border services have a status that isn't recognised by journey planners - after all, Traveline doesn't show Eurolines, Flixbus or any other scheduled service crossing the English Channel.

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  12. True enough that it doesn't, but then Eurolines services are intended for pre-booked passengers, just as National Express services are. The same applies to the Belfast-Dublin services.

    But the McGonagle service and a handful of others are conventional bus services. Reservations are not required or even available, you pay the driver and off you go.

    If Scotland ever becomes independent, we wouldn't expect the buses from Carlisle to Gretna, or from Berwick to Eyemouth suddenly to disappear from the journey planners. Similarly, Translink shouldn't really be keeping these services from Derry/Londonderry into Donegal secret just because *it* doesn't operate them.

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