Sunday, 25 March 2018

A Short Wait At Cartgate (B) - PLUS

Buy It From The Driver
Poor old fbb; he got it in he neck well and truly yesterday for daring to criticise a Stagecoach advert for their "rover" tickets. Apparently any old fool knows you get them from the driver.
fbb advises quite a number of "old fools" on the benefits of bus and rail tickets, attempting to dispel fear and misunderstandings. Folk who do not regularly travel by public transport are put off by the abounding complexity and lack of information - SO THEY DON'T TRAVEL!

The panel at the bottom of the Torbay version of the ad (which fbb was so unkind to yesterday) reads thus:-
The implication, if not the intention, is that you can only pay by using your phone. And to do that you have to download an App.

Here is part of the "Tickets" information from the Southern Vectis web site.

Rover tickets

Available for unlimited travel across our network for either 24 or 48 hours, ideal if you are out and about for a day or weekend!

multi-day ticket bundles

If you only travel now and again, multi-day tickets offer our cheapest fare. They are available exclusively on the key. Please note that multi-day bundle tickets are special offer tickets and may be withdrawn from sale without notice.

These are available in 5, 15 and 30 day bundles giving unlimited travel across our network including open-top and seasonal routes. Days do not have to be used consecutively and are valid for two years from purchase.


If you're going out in the evening you can get unlimited travel from 7pm - 7am the following morning. With a nightrider ticket, taking the bus means no parking worries and no need to worry about who's driving!. Available every night, just buy from the driver. There are no concessions on nightrider tickets

nightrider   £6

buy from the driver 

So there it is in black and white; the ONLY ticket you can buy from the driver is the Nightrider. How else would a very occasional bus use interpret this page of information?

So blinkered are the management to the benefits to the company of Smart Cards, "Season" Tickets, Wave and Pay etc. that they have forgotten that a huge percentage of their potential customers will want to pay using money (illustrated here for the benefit of those who have forgotten what it is.)

Let's Be Positive!
If you are travelling to or from Bristol Airport, you may spot a very large billboard as you approach the terminal in your car.
Inside he terminal the advert is repeated, but smaller, for those wandering around waiting to be herded onto their plane.
This time the web site does tell you that you can buy fares from the driver, presumably with money, ...
... but the list does not mention the Airport as such! Is that useful nugget on display at the Airport.

Back to Cartgate
One booklet caught fbb's beady eye, that for "South Devon" ...
... particularly three words printed along the top.
"Bus trips" sounded interesting. Obviously the Torquay area will have far more visitors than Yeovil and Totnes as reviewed yesterday, so it came as no surprise to find loads of information about the steam railway ...
The boats between Dartmouth and Totnes have to take note of the tidal bits of the river Dart at the Totnes end, so times vary throughout the season - but fear not, intrepid sailors all, the booklet contains FULL TIMETABLES month by month right through until October 2018.
None of this information appears in the Totnes book, not even in summary form.

Other ferry services are covered ...
... as is the bus that links Paignton and Totnes Steamer Quay allowing a whole range of "Round Robin" bus plus train plus boat.
Many of these were enjoyed by the fbbs three years ago as a gift from friends to mark their joint 70th Birthdays. Joyous in the extreme!

But "Bus Trips"? Was there more than the service 100 and the Stagecoach "Rover" ticket Ad?

Indeed. Two bus timetables are printed in full. There is the Hop12 between Torquay and Brixham ...
... and, oddly, service Gold between Torquay and Plymouth.
It is not at all clear why these two routes are the only ones quoted in full.

fbb is surprised that the Golden Hop 122 ...
... with distinctive open top buses does not feature.
And you might even meet Gary the Rabbit.
Is that Sir Brian in disguise?

But maybe Stagecoach had to pay for the pages and chose the most likely services to bring extra business.

The South Devon book also includes train times. Sadly these are unedited pages from FGW timetable leaflets.

It is good to have train times available, but (here goes with another negative) it is just too complicated for a casual user.

Perhaps a selection of simplified "extract" tables might encourage extra business. And what about the Devon Day Ranger ticket? This offers excellent value for a day's ferroequinological pootling.

Despite some misgivings, this booklet was the most public transport orientated guide book on display. It does seem a pity that bus companies seem unwilling to advertise the opportunity for "going on a nice bus trip". There are plenty of we aged crocks who enjoy riding around!

Tomorrow we move from Cartgate in Somerset to elsewhere in Somerset for a sorry bus tale.

 Next Porlock blog : Monday 26th March 
The story is still reasonably familiar, even in these sadly secular days. About a week before he was crucified, Jesus rode into Jerusalem accompanied by joyous followers. It all looked great.

He rode on a humble animal ...
... illustrating a victorious king coming to his conquered city, but in peace.

There were palm leaves (obviously) ...
... indicating a humble worship of that king -  accompanied by ... 
... a deep seated desire to be a real follower. The crowd cried out ...
... praise God.

When the authorities told Jesus to order his followers to be quiet, the Master replied "even these stones would shout out" ...
... because something big was going to happen.

But it wasn't big in the way the palm-wavers expected.


  1. Andrew Kleissner25 March 2018 at 08:15

    I'm not sure that all that many people these days actually do want to pay with cash! We are living at a time when the way in which money works is rapidly changing and my impression is that many younger people (which translates into paying passengers on buses!) are impatient of cash, preferring to pay for everything by debit card. This has become much easier since the advent of contactless payments. Certainly here in Cardiff the local bus company trialled contactless (and phone payment) for some months and has just rolled it out across the whole fleet. I do travel by bus quite a lot and my impression is that 50% of passengers are on free concessions anyway, and probably another 25$ use either "smartcards" or some kind or their phones. The remainder pay either by cash (no change given, not even a credit note) or by contactless card, and the proportion doing the latter is rising.

    I appreciate that the situation will vary between busy city routes and rural/holiday routes. One definitive disincentive to paying by cash is the combination of "no change" fare policies coupled with "not knowing how much it will cost". In such cases, paying by card is much easier and now also quicker. I suspect that it will only be a matter of time before most urban operators, at least, follow London's example (where. don't forget, there are many visitors and casual users of the service) and make cash on buses a thing of the past.

  2. Buses in London have not taken cash since 6th July 2014, by which time only 1% of fares was being paid in cash. Older people have a plastic card for free travel. The biggest users of contactless cards, at least initially, was over 60's; small purchases and no more fiddling with pin numbers.

    One reason that First Bristol has been able to speed up peak journeys, is that loading a full 70 seater is so much quicker with cards than cash + change. The effect of completion of parts of the Metrobus road construction was the other main contributor.

  3. Falcon Fares; Falcon like many buses uses Fare Zones not stage points. The fare is from any stop in Exeter to any stop in Bristol. Saying Airport or Cabot Circus would be confusing.

  4. Oh dear. Now timetables are too complicated. Perhaps a departure list would suffice!

  5. One more thing; the "" web address on that advert doesn't work (although "" doesn't)

    1. Huh? It works fine for me.

  6. The train timetable has been simplified! It does not have the lines for Paddington, Bristol, Tiverton or Penzance etc. (GWR D1)

    More interesting this year is the GWR D4 timetable for Paighton to Plymouth. This is not a through service, but shows available connections at Newton Abbot. It is a deliberate challange by First GWR to Stagecoach Gold Bus between the same points.

    Stagecoach's X64 leaflet for Exeter to Dartmouth via Totnes is only 25% timetable. The rest is publicity included suggested timed days out using either the Explorer ticket or the cheaper Torbay Dayrider. I actually did the Torbay suggestion on holiday in December as I hadn't appreciated it that way.