Monday, 13 November 2017

Matters Arising

How To Encourage More Passengers
First Dorset and Lots of Other Places has extended its parlous and pathetic X52 to Exeter St David's Station. But it was not clear whether buses would serve the open-closed-open Exeter Bus Station.

Two correspondent have finally resolved the question. Ken, from Dorset, sent a map.
It shows the inbound route (MAGENTA) running via Paris Street where it has a stop close to the pedestrian entrance to the bus station. As it is highly unlikely that anyone would want to board there, the stop is not inconvenient.

The outward route (PINK) is totally unhelpful. Exeter City Council prevents buses from running direct to the bus station, so the X52 is forced to use Longbrook Street and York Road (where there are stops, yellow triangles on Ken's map), after which diversion it could pull into the bus station via Sidwell Street and Cheeke Street as other routes do.

But First, in its on-going policy of discouraging passengers, ignores the bus station completely and stops next at Lower Summerlands, the first stop along Heavitree Road (just off the map, lower right).
Meanwhile, on stand 14 in the bus station, First has posted a notice. fbb is grateful to correspondent Paul for the picture.
It says (in poor English) "This service will no longer service Exeter Coach Station"

There is, of course, a helpful map guiding prospective customers to the inconveniently sited revised departures stops? Of course there isn't.

Here is fbb's alternative notice:-

T M Travel Timetable Teaser
By Saturday evening, the company had managed to post a timetable for the revised Monday to Saturday service starting tomorrow. All the boffins could manage is an Excel spreadsheet.
Of course, to read it you need either Excel or some other compatible spreadsheet reader. fbb's "LibreOffice" software on the laptop does so, but his phone ...
... doesn't. The file is marked with a green "X" at the top of the screenshot.

So for phone users, the folks at T M Travel are keeping the timetable a secret. [Note for young Ryan, who "does" the TMT web site - if you ask Excel nicely, it will output a CSV file which can be read by all sorts of confusers and phones.]

Any printed leaflets available?


Bangor's Barmy Bus Stops
Some time ago, fbb was promulgating some blog stuff about public transport in North Wales - or the lack of it. The blog was based on the first hand experience of Northampton correspondent Alan. A while back, blog reader Roger sent some pictures of his very similar experiences at Bangor and Caernarfon.

On leaving Bangor Station Roger discovered a list of departures. Departures of buses? Oh no! This was a list of departures by train in destination order from Bangor Station - really, really useful as you have just arrived there.
The right hand panel does contain some bus information ...
... but with no sign of such a ludicrous thing as a timetable. Without that basic collection of actual times, the poster might just as well not be there.

And please remember that most trains and most buses in North Wales are run by Arriva. Do the rail people ever talk to the bus people. Does either party have any thought for the benefits of integrating their information provision?

What a really silly idea!

Even if you do find your bus stop, the experience is depressingly poor.
The "real time" information was not working when Alan visited; and still showed blank when Roger wandered past several weeks later.

The stop "flag" was a glorious advertisement for a moribund and decayed bus service that simply wasn't fit for purpose.
The collection of route numbers was, of course, utterly out of date. And the timetable displays?

A computer printour of for everything that uses the stop irrespective of destination ...
... together with a faded list of times.
The small red print consist of a list of fifteen notes which apply to various journeys collected together in the appallingly useless set of departures above.

When this topic was previously aired, a couple of correspondents jumped to the defence of hard-done-by Gwynedd Council who couldn't afford to do their self-elected job of publicising bus services. If, as some claim, this is the Welsh Government's funding cuts, then why is that hallowed body of folk giving free bus travel at the weekends on the Traws Cymru bus network?

And why do the bus operators tolerate such shoddy work?

And why, if money is short, have Gwynedd Council erected three bus stop poles and flags at Caernarfon station? 
Completely potty!

If Gwynedd cannot do the job properly, surely the bus operators should do it for themselves. And, please do not bleat about the cost - it is utterly insignificant compared with the profit margins of the larger parent companies and it should be a requirement of tender contracts.

In the October edition of Buses magazine, our Northampton correspondent had a letter published.
Q E D!!

Tomorrow we search for a snack in France

 Next French Ham blog : Tuesday 14th November 


  1. The X52 stops outside the bus station on Cheeks Street in the new and 'unused' bus stop closer to Vue. There is no stop sign or any clue it stops there except for a full X52 timetable in the bus shelter!!!! Obviously the passenger is just supposed to know to go to the bus shelter not used by any other bus!

  2. ".. if you ask Excel nicely, it will output a CSV file .."

    ...or even a PDF, which is just as easy, and rather more useful, I would suggest!

  3. You would think that Cheeke Street would be a better city centre timing point than Lower Summerlands.

  4. I'm more interested in how that red car managed to park itself atop the departures list!

  5. X52 isn't as hopeless as you like to portray it. 44 passengers boarded during the 0930 journey from Lyme Regis to Exeter on which I travelled on 23 November. Outbound from Exeter X52s do pick up in Cheeke Street near the rear entrance to the Bus Station.