Thursday, 6 April 2017

Oooh La La : C'est Le Tour de Yorkshire (Un)

It is a cycling event which, on Sunday April 30th, ends up in Fox Valley which, being interpreted, is a "Retail Park" at Stocksbridge to the north west of Sheffield.
The poor cyclists start at Bradford, do a quick nip up hill and down dale via Grassington and end up whizzing through Penistone and Thurgoland to their eventual destination. Only it is worse than that. Having made it to Stocksbridge, the lycra-clad athletes then do a loop of the hilly bits to the west of the town.
They pass through Wigtwizzle (pronounced Wig-Twizzle, by the way!) on what used to be Sheffield Transports popular "Lakeland Tour". It would be fair to say that Wigtwizzle is not the throbbing metropolis of Stocksbridge's hinterland ...
... but the circuit is adorably picture-skew as they say. 

In order to accommodate these masochists, roads are being closed and buses diverted from their normal routes; and yes, there are buses in Stocksbridge and nearby on Sundays. But not many!

Rather jumping the gun, fbb knows (clever lad that he be) that the affected buses will be :-

Stagecoach SL1
T M Travel 24a and 29
Yorkshire Tiger 21a

How he knows that will be revealed in due course. But for detailed information he whizzed off an email to each of the operators. In each case fbb, in mystery shopper mode, purported to be writing on behalf of Stocksbridgian friends who "had heard rumours" and did not have access to a computer.

The results were, to say the least, interesting.

First to Stagecoach Yorkshire. A very prompt reply came back:-
i.e. "nuffink to do wiv us, guv!"

It is just possible that the Barnsley bit of Stagecoach Yorkshire was responding whilst SL1 is operated far far away by the Sheffield lot "and we wouldn't want nuffink to do with them in Sheffield!"

Next, a similar query to T M Travel. Prompt reply again.
O.K. fbb has to accept that T M Travel do NOT run any buses "in Stocksbridge" and someone in an office somewhere may simply type "Stocksbridge" into a confuser and come up with nix. So try again and specify 24a and 29.

Another prompt but mystifying reply.
Bev (M or F?) seems to be referring to the evening journeys on service 4 which always serve Tesco ...
... and always stop at the Interchange. They never run via Nether Edge and they have nothing to do with cycling or Stocksbridge.

Beyond belief.

Finally, Yorkshire Tiger. Here is their reply, 30 hours later than the others, with reference to the 21a:-
It is really helpful that a detailed enquiry for a bus service in the Barnsley area is being answered by someone in Luton. fbb sent back "route 21a" and awaited a reply. This is what had appeared by 2030 yesterday.
Well done Arriva and/or Yorkshire Tiger.

In fact the source of the information about the whole shebang came via a correspondent and he, with a little digging ...
... had discovered it deep in the seams if the Travel South Yorkshire web site. You need to know to click "disruptions" and there are loads of them.
They seem to be in no particular order, neither date nor route number and, as usual, the only way to check if your service is disrupted is to plough through the lot.

Surely there should be a link from the timetables page ...
... and, equally importantly, on the journey planners.
As this blog was prepared earlier this week, there was no warning to lead you to the appropriate "disruption" panel.

Tomorrow we will look at what IS available if you can find it.
One of the dubious privileges of using the interwebnet is that lots of unwanted "stuff" drops into the in-box day by day. Mostly it is trivial and harmless advertising but, occasionally, something really silly arrives.

Like this:-
Just the thing fbb needs for his model railway project!
 Next Tour de Yorkshire blog : Friday 7th April 


  1. So, let me get this right. An aged blogger, who has nothing better to do with his time than rubbish the efforts of bus operators, makes spurious enquiries of hard working bus company staff, who possibly don't yet have sufficient details of the road closures to know what their services will do, distracting them from their main work?
    And the 'cherry on the top' is that he takes great delight in naming said operators.

    1. Well said.

      Its a bored old man obsessed with the sound of his own voice making a nuisance of himself under the guise of performing some kind of public service.


      Read this for an insight into what FBB's real motivation is.

  2. Quite right, Anonymous. The response of all concerned is appalling and very bad for the passengers and the future of the bus industry. As you will read on Monday, it is possible for smaller companies to do a good job with publicity and it should be even easier for the Stagecoaches of this world to do so as they have greater resources.

    If you read tomorrow's blog, you will see that full details of the arrangements are in hand and published. Sadly not published where anyone can easily find them and, presumably, not provided for Customer Service staff.

    If the bus company staff WERE hard working and/or well managed, this blog would not have been unnecessary.

    My only concern is for the passengers on April 30th who will, almost certainly, have no information that is easily available.

    1. If and when information is easily available will you publish a full retraction?

      In the interests of fairness?

    2. You've crossed a line here naming and attacking individuals in this way.

  3. Whoops! Delete "not" in para 3.

  4. Is FBB jumping the gun (three and a half weeks before the closure)? Possibly. Should the companies in question have told their customer services teams what operations clearly already know? Probably. Does it make sense to have all queries from your nationwide operations answered in Bedfordshire? Unlikely. Is it acceptable to name and shame people doing their job? Never.

    It brings nothing to the blog to name the people trying to "help" his "friends". Their "failure" to answer his "question" probably lies within the realms of the information they are given, not their own refusal to answer questions. It would be bad enough on a blog where the author's name is publicly available, and even worse on one hidden under a presumably amusing pseudonym. As if that wasn't bad enough, it is then followed by an equally unnecessary questioning of one of the recipients gender. What difference would that make to the whole affair, and why does "fbb" even care?

    Regardless of whether "all will be revealed tomorrow" or not, it is a far cry from what could be considered acceptable.

    (A different anon from those above, simply due to not having a named log-in, and not having any connection to the individuals concerned!)

    1. correction: the gender of one of the respondents.

  5. Can I suggest that if anons don't like what they read they read something different? Anon (different to the other ones)