Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Bewildering at Beauchief (2)

fbb has, in an earlier blog, marvelled at the changes that have occurred to bus services between Sheffield and Bakewell. For Sheffield Transport and its PTE successor two sporadic routes were operated.
The 40 (later 240) ran via Ecclesall, A625, Fox House, Grindleford and Hassop ...
... whilst the 37 (later 237) used the A621 via Baslow. The service pattern remained pretty constant (and uninspiring!) over the years. During the winter, single decks were the usual motors ...
... but in the summer, the double decks were common and there was much duplication on sunny Sundays.
Both routes were popular with Sheffield folk.
Indeed on the big bank holiday Bakewell market days, the road to the station was nose-to-tail with Sheffield Transport buses! No doubt drivers were happy to be paid take a load to market, have time off to enjoy the fun, then be paid to take folk back.

A few years ago, T M Travel shocked Sheffield and Derbyshire bus watchers by increasing their hourly 218 (the equivalent of the old 37/237) to half hourly seven days a week for the summer season. One bus every hour diverts via Chatsorth House.
Only the Sunday service drops to hourly for the winter.

Publicity was (and still is) excellent and plentiful ...
... putting to shame the Sheffield Bus Partnership a k a Buses for Sheffield which produced absolutely NOTHING in print for the recent (April) Sheffield changes! But it is the latest timetable that has caught the eagle-eyes of some Sheffield users and bus historians.

It all began with this note in the Travel South Yorkshire (TSY) non-leaflet.
Not only is the syntax poor but it is almost impossible to work out what it actually means. Clearly it is a "setting down restriction", a principle that was common on the good old pre privatisation days.

"Minimum fares" (i.e no local fares) were applied on some routes OR "no passenger will be set down before XXX", both designed to keep "inner city" passengers off the bus and ensure that longer distance travellers could always get a seat.

Presumably T M Travel's inbound restriction is to help speed up the journey. It is unusual, whatever it means, because companies are usually happy to grab any passenger's money!

But we still cannot work out exactly what it means and the TSY non-leaflet is of no use.
By combining the 215 and 218 in its oddly titled "areas served" list, it succeeds in confusing the passengers. The 215 is an "odd journey" actually following the old 40/240 route. It is, in effect, a Lady Manners School bus which also runs during the holidays!
The "Matlock" place served refers to a peak hour "coomuter" journey staring from Mtlock and returning there in the evening. Should occasional journeys be given the same emphasis as the core timetable?

The TSY map does not show the set down only restriction ...
... as usual it doesn't show very much at all. The T M Travel map is so much better (TSY please note) ...
... but, again, it does not show the restriction. [The use of "Nether Edge" for a stop some distance from the traditional city bus route of that name is misleading on both maps. A Sheffielder would refer to "Broadfield Road" or "Sheldon Road (traffic) Lights"]

Fortunately there is a much better note on the timetable itself.
Which leaves on final conundrum!

Which Archer Road?
Archer Road appears TWICE on the Abbeydale Road, once near the former Millhouses Station ...
... and, nearer the city centre, its second appearance is opposite Bannerdale Road.
At least the second manifestation has a road name to help us!
Where does the restriction begin?

The bus industry does not make it easy for its customers. Even with his encyclopaedic knowledge of roads and bus routes in Sheffield (?), fbb still does not know what this note actually means.

But there is worse to come for the 218! And we return to Beauchief and to the "to city" stop.
There is no doubt that the 218 does stop here; if you are lucky enough to the there at the right time, it will appear on the electronic screen.
TSY doesn't post any timetables at stops, merely a list of departures. They are posted in a rotating spinny thing  and the "front" of the "carousel" at Beauchief shows departures for the 97 and 98
Although it tells you that the 97 and 97 have different routes (between Southey Green and Hillsborough - fbb map explains) ...
... the bus stop display does not tell you which way each bus goes.
Below the 97/98 poor information comes the times for school bus 781 ...
... but, where are the times for the 218?

All together now, "THEY'RE BEHIND YOU!", i.e. on the back of the carousel.
On no, they're not!

In fact there are no times for the 218 at the Beachief stop, none at all; unless you happen to be there when the electronic sign is showing a passing T M Travel journey.

Could it be that the TSY (South Yorkshire PTE) confuser gnomes have misunderstood the "setting down only" restriction and expunged 218 times from this ...
... Abbeydale Road SOUTH stop?

They couldn't be that incompetent, surely?

For a complete contrast (and thanks to No 3 son), a bit more tomorrow about international bus services in Switzerland.

 Next Basel blog : Wednesday 9th May 

1 comment:

  1. As usual fbb hits the nail on the head, especially regarding TSY incompetence. I THINK the answer to the question of where the restriction begins is the junction of Archer Rd/Abbeydale Rd/Springfield Rd, as this where Abbeydale Rd becomes Abbeydale Rd South. But of course TSY's 'live departures' facilty still shows 218 from this stop, as for all stops on Abbeydale Rd!