Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Missing Map Materialises (1)

Once upon a time there was a fighting chance that someone (usually the Local Authority) would be happy to produce timetable booklets and a comprehensive route map. It made very good sense because, as everyone knows, the better the printed publicity, the more passengers will use the service.

On-line is, of course, a more recent resource, but you have to be really keen to use it. The biggest obstacle to overcome these days is the lack of a comprehensive network map.

Try finding your way round new bus territory with only timetable pages available. It simply is not easy.

The utter daftness is that Local Authorities bleat incessantly about having no money for publicity and bleat equally incessantly about the sadness of declining passenger numbers and the increased cost of tendered services.


So it was a thrill  to learn that the Lancaster Bus Users Group (LBUG) was anxious to provide an all-operator City map for display in Lancaster bus station and available for download from their web site.
For those who like technical stuff, the map was prepared using a piece of antediluvian software developed for the BBC series of confusers. Called Artworks it is a vector graphics drawing program. That means that everything, even text, consists of outlines which can then be filled in with colour. Not only that, but the outlines can be manipulated in real time on-screen.

The advantage of Artworks is that it is very simple. Other vector graphics programs have been stuffed full of twiddly functions which demand a much greater knowledge and skill that any normal person would ever need. It is called in the trade "bloatware"!

This weekend, service 2 (ORANGE) is being diverted away from Torrisholme Road ...
... and its (in)famous low bridge ...
... via the same route as service 2 (BLUE). The equivalent bridge on Morecambe Road offers no hazards.
It then turns north along Scale Hall Road to join Torrisholme Road beyond the top-deck crunching hazard.
O.K., the bridge above is at Wootton Bassett Wiltshire NOT in Lancaster; but you will get the idea!

LBUG has been told of this change which leaves part of Torrisholme Road completely bus-less and the group seeks to ensure that folk can know about it. As of yesterday, fbb could find no mention of the change on the Stagecoach web site.
Only six days to go?

The Stagecoach map tell you nowt.
LBUG's site has the revised timetables ...

Lancaster and Morecambe All-Operator Network Map. until 12 January 2019
Lancaster and Morecambe All-Operator Network Map from 13 January 2019

1 University - Lancaster - Morecambe - Heysham  via Greaves, Torrisholme and Kingsway
until 12th January 2019
NEW TIMETABLE from 13th January 2019

2 University - Lancaster - Bare - Morecambe - Heysham via Bowerham and Torrisholme
until 12th January 2019
NEW TIMETABLE from 13th January 2019

2X Lancaster - Bay Gateway - Heysham - Morecambe via Heysham Village and Battery
until 12th January 2019
NEW TIMETABLE from 13th January 2019

... but the new map was not yet available. The ever-keen Group intended to update the new map themselves, but the challenges of using new and over-engineered software proved too much to ensure that things were fettled up on time. 

Understandable considering the typical bloatware.

So it was back to the original cartographer to make the change. 
It took fbb five minutes. Seemples. The revised PDF files were with LBUG yesterday and will be on-line soon.

To be fair, fbb has done the work (happily) for a pittance because LBUG is a volunteer organisation and has very limited financial resources. But the point is made. Instead of paying mega bucks to map-making specialists, it is not beyond the wit of an average teenager to create and maintain a map at minimal cost.

If fbb can do it, almost anybody can with practice. (fbb is available for commissions!!).

The second phase of LBUG's map manifestation is to present the longer distance services in a clear and understandable way.

Travel north and you soon enter Cumbria where the IS is good network map.
Tomorrow, then, we look at the "longer distance" map, also centred on Lancaster.

This has been more of  a challenge, as we shall see.

Tanks For The Memory
Castle Square, Sheffield's famous "Hole in the Road" was built as fbb settled into post Uni working life and was destroyed by the Supertram soon after the old man moved away.
"Down below" were entrances to some of the stores, a bus enquiry office and a huge fish tank.
Latterly it was allowed to fall into disrepair and after a year or so of displaying fetid brown water and nothing much else ...
... it was boarded up, never to display piscatorial pulchritude again.

No 1 son remembers trips with dad into the centre of the city (by bus, of course) all of which involved a visit to the enquiry office and, on the way, a disappointing peer at the tank in its declining years.

No 1 son gave the fbbs a mystery print of a work by a Sheffield artist Pete McKee.
At first fbb did not recognise the a subject matter. But No 1 son had remembered those treks by service 60 into town. McKee's cartoon style rendition of the tank and its hopeful watchers brings back a selection of happy sad memories both for the old man and his "boy".

It now has pride of place above the telly!
Very nice indeed.

 Next cartographical blog : Thursday 10th January 


  1. Pete McKee is also in a band famous to many a Sheffield lad or lass, The Everly Pregnant Brothers. They have a song about the 'Ole In Road too.

  2. Andrew Kleissner9 January 2019 at 08:19

    I am intrigued to see that Castle Square (which I must have visited once as a small boy) was ... ROUND!

  3. Stagecoach's changes are now shown on their website.

  4. I remember the old Solent Blue Line website having that style of map. It worked well!