Friday, 9 February 2018

Thorny At Thornbury (1)

Another Piece of Confuser Confusion
This picture arrived from Paul, our Bristol correspondent, of another timetable framed at Filton (near Bristol).
It is a bit small for the space provided by Blogger, so fbb will copy the information into something easier to see. 
Whoops! Sorry about the "holidat" typo.

The smudged heading says that buses run to Thormbury Sibland Way ...
... which doesn't have any bus stops on it. But there are bus stops on Sibland Road, at the end of Sibland Way ...
... where the fickle finger of fate points to a stop for the 77. Here, on the right, is the very stop; but it doesn't look much like a terminus - no shelter and no oil marks on the road surface.
The line of "average" (whatever that means) running times from Bristol also shows the terminus as "Sibland Way"
Now look at the 0659 Mondays to Fridays which shows note B terminates at Rock Street and therefore, we must presume, never makes it to Sibland Way/Road.

But what of the afternoon journeys tagged note A? They continue to Thornbury Rock Street, despite having already been there.

There are two stops on Rock Street, one at the north end of the thoroughfare near Aldi with stop name Rock Street ...
... and one at the southern end which isn't called Rock Street although its stands, undeniably, on Rock Street.
Maybe the Stagecoach timetable will help unravel this mystery?
More Stagecoach sillies with Highworth and Cirencester moved to North Bristol! But, undaunted, fbb clicks on "77 Bristol - Thornbury" an up pops:-
Services 60 and 62. Isn't the internet good?

What about maps?
Which one to choose?

One doesn't help in the slightest as route 77 does not appear ...
... but the other has a Thornbury town map.
Look; Rock Street has got a star - but Sibland Road has no such attachment. One thing is for sure, the route of the 77 in Thornbury is unfathomable.

Traveline outbound ...
... and inbound ...
... doesn't help, however much you enlarge it. But we can glean that the problem is caused by an arrangement of a loop or loops.

All we have to do is to understand them.

But how?

Correspondent Paul offers some slight assistance; which we will explore tomorrow.
But one thing is certain; that bus stop display at the head of this post is USELESS in its explanation of what happens.

Odd, isn't it? Bus companies whine about loss of passengers yet encourage new customers with stunning publicity of the high standard provided for the exciting and useful service 77.

And, to prepare for tomorrow's explanation, please bear in mind that the main routes from Bristol to Thornbury are run by First Bus.
The roads served are the same with the exception of a diversion via Cribbs Causeway shopping centre for the 58.
And not many aeons ago, First Bus used to run a version of the 77 to Thornbury!
Please pass the pills, Mrs fbb.

 Next Thornbury blog : Saturday 10th February 


  1. And on that stagecoach map extract Severn Beach appears to have morphed into Pilning (Pilning is actually roughly where that 628 label is)!

  2. I'm unsure what you mean about the stop name/road name, it is the custom to provide the stop name rather than the road name.

    1. Andrew Kleissner9 February 2018 at 07:14

      Yes, that's true. For instance, here in Cardiff there are several stops on Heol Pontprennau each which the name of the nearest intersecting side road. I think the problem that FBB is pointing out is that, quite often, timetable information may make sense to the operators or regular users, but seems misleading or just confusing for potential casual passengers.

      I quite often go onto the Portuguese Railways website (I once lived in Portugal) and they are quite good as posting up things such as "due to engineering works on February 10th, trains 1234 and 5678 calling at Coimbra-B station will use the northbound platform instead of the usual southbound one" - or whatever. Clearly I don't know what printed info. is available locally but that sort of detail is, I think, helpful.

  3. To anonymous above.
    It may be "the custom" to provide "the stop name", but very often that name is simply not helpful to a "new" user. The point about stops on the 77 in Thornbury is that, without a map, they are meaningless.
    See tomorrow's blog for further thoughts.

  4. It seems to be a NAPTAN convention to use a 'road the bus is on/intersecting road' model to name stops. This has been brought home to me now that Service 120 in Sheffield (which passes an earlier manifestation of fbb towers, I understand)has visual and spoken next stop announcements (the posh voice of Mr Cholmondeley-Warner who does them is already getting quite tiresome). This ignores district names, pubs and other commonly used landmarks and endlessly repeats Fulwood Rd, the main road which the bus follows for a couple of miles. It's presumably dome by someone using Google Maps 200 miles away (or even a computer) rather than anyone with local knowledge.

  5. Stop names in the NaPTAN database do follow a convention: in fact, in most cases, it cannot be the road the bus is travelling on (a main exception being if it qualified with a stop identifier letter). So the principal part of the name should be derived from side roads and other landmarks.
    NaPTAN is generally vested in the transport authority, so the stop names will have been determined within a few miles of where the 120 runs. Sensible authorities collaborate with operators to determine appropriate names: some PTEs show a marked reluctance to use the name of a commercial business for a stop, but it does sound as though someone has mis-interpreted the information for use on the 120.
    Nevertheless, it is the NaPTAN names that are used by Google maps (other mapping is available) and as this week's Transport Focus "Using the bus: what young people think" report shows, 46% of them use Google maps for bus information. Operator websites only score 37% - and paper timetables just 21%.