Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Silliness in Sevenoaks? Part 3

Commercial Sense or Commercial Suicide?
Occasional correspondent Roger is nothing if not made of supreme bravery and dedication. He had explored Arriva's very mini minibuses in Hemel Hempstead ...
... where they replaced conventional buses with no increase in frequemcy. Then he went to Guildford where silly minibuses were introduced to route 3 to Bellfields.
When the locals planned pitchforks at dawn, these luxury buses were transferred to the "highly successful" X1 [FAKE NEWS ALERT] ...
... where they replaced coaches and big buses in order to cope with the crowds of happy passengers. Bringing surprise to many bus watchers (NOT!!) the X1 passed quietly away on Friday 9th March ...
... although there is plenty of publicity for the coaches still on line!

Roger also tried out the bigger minibuses in Macclefield (Arriva) and Wemyss Bay (McGills). Does the lad not experience fear?

On Monday 12th inst he hied expectantly to Sevenoaks to enjoy the replacement for big buses on the 402 to Ryewood ...
... but, in this case, not only were the new vehicles miniaturised, but the frequency was reduced from every 20 minutes to every 30.
To add to the luxurious travelling experience, peak hour "commuters" can enjoy an elongated journey via Chipstead.
Picturesque but tedious if you are in a hurry to get into town.
Also, please note carefully the important difference between departures at 0708 Note 1 (schooldays only) and 0708 Note 2 (school holidays only); Arriva would absolutely hate you to get it wrong. But you do get a short double run to Tesco at Riverhead ...
... a sensible source of fares revenue.

But Roger's opinion of these fiendish little beasties has not improved in the slightest.
He explains in a note to one of the pictures.

A Service 2 loading up in Sevenoaks bus station - about 6 passengers decided not to squeeze on and wait for the Go-Coach 452 - you can see why, it is a crush on board. Especially the lady buying new dustbins to take home!

Ooo-er missus - more 452s.

But we must interrupts this blog for two pieces of news from South Yorkshire.

Brilliant Branding (NOT) Part 2
Following on from the high level of excitement engendered by the application of Buses of Sheffield branding by First, correspondent Roy has sent the Stagecoach equivalent.
There was no room for the bright and breezy stand-out "strapline" on a surround of the destination blind, so it is in an even more dynamic position below the fleet name.
Once again crowds of extra paying passengers will flock to Sheffield City services lured by the new publicity.

No sign yet of the Underground-style route map!

Travel South Yorkshire Travesty
Having pointed out a strange bit of timetable information from Arriva (above) this item arrived from a Sheffield blog reader, Jake. He sent a piccy of the service 28 departure list at a stop in the Rotherham area. (click on the graphic to enlarge it)
Thanks to the clever technology of Google Lens, fbb can print the actual words.

 Monday-Friday (see notes) 
Departure Times     0604 1432 1432 1553
Bus times shown in bold red terminate at Dinnington.
Visit to view the full timetable or ask the driver for more information
important notes regarding Monday-Friday departures: Operates a revised timetable during school holidays
important notes for departures in bold grey as follows. 1432 Monday Only: 1432 Tuesday to Friday

The second set of "important notes" is the most interesting/stupid; but the whole thing is decidedly poor. Which is why we need timetables and NOT computer generated departure list nonsense.

 Final Sevenoaks blog : Thursday 22nd March 


  1. Meanwhile in Bournemouth and Poole the results of the tenders were announced yesterday. With routes 18 (formerly H1 and before crazy letter/numbers was 18) - Broadstone to Bournemouth, 33 (part of D1) - Bournemouth to Christchurch and 36 (U8) - Kinson to Talbot View via Bournemouth. Timetables for these routes are now on Yellow Buses Website.
    The route from Poole to Castlepoint via Bournemouth Square will revert to No. 20 ( was part of D1 and C1) and will be operated by Morebus - details to follow. All four routes will have their their new timetables (9 April) on Traveline this Thursday.

    1. All four of the above tendered routes are now available on both Bournemouth Councils website and Poole Councils website, the latter is in downloadable format on a side panel.

  2. Please note that the Go-Coach 452 is withdrawn from April 14th (Go-Coach Website). Go Coach is the Sevenoaks based local operator with many routes. They must recon that the 2 is not worth competing with.

    As noted yesterday Sevenoaks is an affluent London commuter dormitory. The driving demand for buses is for Schools and transport to Railway Stations. Sevenoaks station off-peak gives 10 trains an hour to London with some including local stations like Dunton Green. With London traffic it is walk and train.

    The new service 1 has an unusual timetable in that the day time frequency is half hourly, but between 4pm and 8pm it increases to every 20 minutes and diverts outbound via Chipstead. It is too far for commuters to walk to the station.

  3. There's nothing wrong with computer-generated nonsense per se . . . . what is needed is a sense-check by a Mark 1 human eyeball attached to a Mark 1A human brain (Mark 1A because said brain needs to understand and interpret the computer-generated nonsense!).

    Regrettably the brains involved in generating such nonsense are neither sensible nor bus users. The data is there and can be manipulated, but although there's a way, there's no will.

    Mind you . . . if there were, what would FBB blog about . . . . . .

    1. Andrew Kleissner21 March 2018 at 13:12

      Yes, I agree. There's also the issue of people within an organisation knowing how things work and where to look, forgetting that the casual user is coming "fresh" to the information.

      One good thing about the GWR website is that the Home Page has a tab called "Train times", click on it and the next menu gives you "proper" timetables as one option.

      Conversely, I find it very hard to find any kind of comprehensive airline timetable - although our local airport does produce on for all flights during the sumnmer (but not the winter!)

    2. I would also add expensive computer systems being foisted on employees and them having to use it because the money has been spent, even though those employees would much rather do it the way they know and which makes much more sense.
      Ditto pressures on staffing, meaning said employees have less time to check over what has been produced by said computer system. I wonder how long it would take one person to check every bus stop timetable for accuracy in advance of a large scale service change?

    3. Also Change. We change, the world changes and too many people cannot cope with change. New things won't always be right first time, so don't complain if they change. The 402 change in 2017 was big; expect refinement. Locally we changed from bus stop timetables to departure lists. But it was done at a major timetable change and so you have change on top of change and no time to check locally for obvious mistakes - like missing routes!