Wednesday, 6 September 2017

YooHoo Number Two!

90 Years Of The 65 Or 265
Route 65 was conceived in 1927 (see yesterday's blog) and renumbered 265 as part of a county-wide scheme introduced by the newly-formed South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive. On Sunday last it was consigned to history as the Sheffield to Barnsley service was renumbered 2.


Why Knows? There is an entirely unsubstantiated craze throughout the industry that single digit route numbers are "good for business". We must assume, therefore, that now the 265 is numbered 2, droves of additional passengers will flock to use the service.

It's Sheffield terminus since 1963, namely the bus station/interchange, now an empty echoing shadow of its once busy self ...
... has been abandoned in favour of an on street terminus in Eyre Street outside the recently opened Moor Market.
Sheffield correspondent Roy was out and about on Sunday to photograph the first departure for Barnsley.
It stands in front of an X1 to Rotherham and Maltby, another example of history-destructive renumbering and re-routing. It used to be service 69, also running from thee bus station, and before that from Exchange Street.

Roy's service 2 was not the first, however as the previous trip is a short working to Ecclesfield.

Early publicity for the change announced that the service "would be promoted" and the banner on the Stagecoach Yorkshire web site looked promising.
The panel included a bus in a promotional livery, a vehicle which did not appear on the first run!

The new timetable was totally underwhelming. Instead of something flashy, all the web could offer was a version of the company's working timetable.
Every passenger knows that YTC stands for Stagecoach! Roy also added this note to an email accompanying the "not-quite-first" bus picture.

One of the problems is the bus stops have not been updated. At least one person I saw was very confused as they had been dropped off there but couldn't find it on the stop and were wondering where to catch their return journey.

Another slight snag is that the fount of knowledge of all thing omnibological namely the Travel South Yorkshire timetables pages ...
... are keeping the new 2 a secret. Ask for 2 and this is what you get ...
... nothing! Well done PTE/TSY!

But a new service will have lots of posters and leaflets all over the place, surely? Another Sheffield correspondent, John sent this report yesterday.

Just come back from Sheffield City Centre and Rotherham. Situation unchanged since Friday: 10 First leaflets available in Sheffield (9 at Arundel Gate, 10 at the Interchange), nothing from  Stagecoach except the 737 available only on buses. No printed timetables at all in Rotherham, and a friend in Barnsley says that he has not seen anything there on Service 2, up to Saturday.

So, in effect, no tangible publicity for the new service; nothing that might be called "promotion".

Service 2 is on Traveline, timetable and journey planners, and on the Stagecoach App journey planner.

There are new network maps on-line ...
... correctly showing route 2.
The new terminus is also correctly shown.
fbb does know know when these actually appeared, but thy were in place yesterday at 0930.

But if you are a normal human being and seek a piece of paper (map or timetable) to have and to hold ...
... Stagecoach's service 2  and Sheffield's network maps will ever be a complete mystery.

fbb's Sheffield correspondents are beavering away trying to assemble a full set of leaflets and maps for fbb; how long will he have to wait?

Meanwhile bus investigator Roy has seen a Stagecoach bus in the new route 2 branding as shown very small on the panel above.
It is obviously "branded" and we may smile at the strapline "Sheffield 2 Barnsley" but it hardly shouts with a stand-out image. There is "stuff" on the rear end, too ...
... including a personal testimonial to the excellence of the new service.
Presumably Gemma and Albert had an appointment on Sunday 3rd as the bus was running around emblazoned with their effusive enthusiasm on Monday 4th? Do they travel regularly from the city centre to the Hospital? In which case First Bus 1a/3 and Stagecoach 1/88 would have provide 24 buses an hour Monday to Friday rather than the two of the 2?

fbb is not convinced!

Perhaps fbb has been a bit negative about "promotion"? This billboard is on Barnsley Road in Sheffield (Roy again; many thanks) ...
... but still no route 2 leaflets at lunchtime yesterday. there might be some on the buses themselves. John sent this note yesterday evening:

This afternoon yielded Stagecoach timetable leaflets on an 88 bus for 57, 86 and 737 (normal "small" leaflets), but not 88. There may well be others around on Stagecoach buses.

But they are all at it! We are moving our exploration to Exeter tomorrow.

 Next Cowley Bridge blog : Thursday 7th September 


  1. It's the marketing people wot does it!!
    Apparently brands need a "refresh" every 5 years or so, in order to prevent them from becoming "stale" and "oh so last season".
    This might be the case in ordinary retail, but buses are a tad different, and passengers "seem" to prefer stability above all else.

    Having said that, the Really Nice Bus Company in Derby and elsewhere refresh brands every so many years, and they do seem to grow passenger numbers, so maybe I'm just an old git who needs to retire . . . . .

  2. Public hangings.....torture chambers.....we're normal part if life too once....also consigned to the history books....thankfully!!!

  3. If leaflets are so scarce why are you trying to assemble a full set for your own gratification. Fairly anti social, that.

  4. In response to greenline727 above, Trentbarton's process of 'refreshing' its brands doesn't extend to unnecessary renumberings (or in their case renamings), and even if it did I suspect it would be accompanied by copious and well executed publicity for the change.

    The matter of public perception and understanding of service numbers appears never to have been properly researched (I enquired extensively as to what research existed when I was actively involved in the industry, and drew a blank even from the likes of TfL).

    If I were introducing a new service I might be more tempted to call it the 1 than, say, the 864, but I don't know how sensible that would be - the latter would actually be more distinctive.

    Renumbering 'for the sake of it', without any other major change to the service, seems to me counterproductive, and I would argue that in the case of the 265/2. It will just confuse people, although no doubt most will very quickly get over it - despite the lack of publicity.

    The X1 was a different matter. It was created by amalgamating the 1 and 2 between Maltby and Rotherham with a substantially modified 69 between Rotherham and Sheffield (taking in Meadowhall, which the 69 never did). A new number was called for and 'X1' seems to fit the bill admirably. Where I would perhaps quibble is use of the same number throughout, when alternate journeys follow different routes at the Maltby end, with only the destination indicator distinguishing between Quilter Road and Salisbury Road journeys. How much confusion (if any) this causes in practice, I don't know.

  5. The choice of the number 2 isn't so daft; it dose overlap with 1 and 1a for a large chunk of the way, south of Chapeltown. In PTE days the 265 missed quite a few stops in Sheffield to give a faster service, but now it stops everywhere.

    PS- the prove you're not arobot software is geting to be a total pain!

  6. A lower number is easier to remember, remembering less digits.

  7. Only very obliquely relevant... Checked the posted timetable on the departure stand at Poole (until further notice) for the First X54 to Weymouth this afternoon, 15:22, and came back some 20 minutes before its scheduled departure at 15:22 to see it leaving the stand. New school year, new contracts, it's been retimed to leave at 14:45; next one is at 18:00. First cannot be bothered to update the timetable display (admittedly at a remote destination.)

    1. It is First's responsibility, but there is one man covering the whole patch from Exeter to Poole. Normally he gets it done in time so i'll send him an email in case it's an oversight.
      Ken Traveline Dorset

  8. Is it First's job to update the display, though? Where I used to live (Ipswich) this was the responsibility of the Council.