Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Blackpool, An Illuminating Thought - 2

But First ...
BARNLEY explained. fbb should pay more attention! On close examination the village sign for Barnley instead of Barnsley was nothing more conspiratorial that a Streetview stitching error. The Streetview car-mounted camera takes lots of pictures, rotating through 180 degrees that some clever computer stuff stitches them together. Sometimes, unlike with Ernie Wise, you CAN see the join!
Had fbb bothered to look, "Please drive carefully through the village" reads "Please dre carefully thrugh the vile"! Barnsley Glos is not at all vile!

Less excusable, however, is the on-line map from one of the national dailies showing the location of the bus contretemps near Tortnes.
 LOMBCROMBE CROSS  doess not exist. A quick reference to a map - even a Google map shows the name to be Longcombe.

Back to Blackpool
Mention should be made of an extension currently in progress. This will tun from a junction via Talbot Road to Blackpool North Station.
From some of the track plans it looks as if all trams will double-run to the station rather than trundling straight along the esplanade.
Or maybe the through tracks will remain?
A route via Talbot Road to Layton closed in 1936 with the tram below having just turned off the Esplanade into Talbot Square. Yates Wine Lodge, on the ground floor of a theatre, later a cinema, is now demolished.
The building was destroyed by fire in 2009.

Trams will serve a new station on the Wilko site ...
... with the Bllackpol North railway station just across High Street. There is, presumably, some good (and financial) reason why the tracks don't actually run into the station forecourt.
Access to the station is via a gloomy subway and/or steps and lengthy ramps from where Wilko's car park is/was.
And Now, Illumination!
It was Sheffield correspondent Roy who emailed with the offer of a "Blackpool Timetable" which he has used on a recent visit. fbb was unsure of what to expect but certainly was NOT expecting a 192 page (plus cover) printed booklet!
What he also was NOT expecting was a booklet valid for just over two months!
What also bowled the old man over (not literally) was that this tome contained FULL TIMETABLES for the illuminations "disruption". It covered, for example, extended running times and, as quoted in yesterday's blog, "split services".
There were also plans of town centre bus stops, substantially revised during illumination evenings.
If fbb were to be a tad picky (surely not?) he would comment that these excellent maps were simply too small to convey the necessary information. Of course, Blackpool Transport would want to mitigate the curse of "perfect bound" booklets and avoid losing detail down the trench where the pages come together, but fbb thinks a smaller area and a little tweaking of geographical truth would produce something easier to see.

Having recovered from his shock at this excellent production he also noted that no price was shown, implying that it was free, gratis and for nothing.

And yes it was also ALL ON LINE.

The quality and content of this booklet should put other operators and local authorities to shame, especially those who are waving goodbye to passengers in their droves by not providing any printed material.

Tomorrow we will look in detail at some examples of the major rejigs of timetables to cope with the celebrated illuminations.

 Next Blackpool blog : Wednesday 9th October 


  1. "those who are waving goodbye to passengers in their droves by not providing any printed material."

    Does FBB have statistical proof of this? Or is it, rather like the Google Streetview photo, an inaccurate stitching together of suppositions?

    1. The evidence on this is conflicting.On the one hand, Lothian, a few years back , said that demand for printed leaflets had dropped by 50% in the smartphone era(they still seem to be punctilious in printing them though). The wonderful Swiss Kursbuch, which covered all public transport, saw demand drop by 95% in 10 years resulting in its discontinuance(although two cantons, at least, have continued to produce free books which, at least in Ticino, are widely available.
      But if the printed world is so old hat how come every TIC and hotel is stuffed full of leaflets for tourist attractions? Someone somewhere must have done the maths and decided that traditional marketing methods have their place. And a network book might encourage potential customers to try journeys that they might not otherwise have made.

    2. I don't think anybody doubts that the uptake of printed publicity in the bus industry has dropped: as well as reducing print runs to avoid throwing huge amounts away (Southern Vectis have apparently removed 60,000 copies from their print run this winter), information is available in other formats. I often use both: a journey planner or App to do the donkey work, and paper leaflets (or downloadable PDFs of the same thing) to refine their choices.

      The thing Anon @08:31 seems to have an issue with is the completely unsubstantiated claim that bus companies are losing passengers purely and solely because they do not provide printed timetables. Fbb produces no qualitative or quantitative evidence, and it is ripe for dispute.

      If he can prove it (with a sample larger than a few existing chums or people he knows in a Devonian high street), I'll happily accept it. Until then, it's just unsubstantiated personal opinion, and up for challenge.

    3. Anon 08:31 here.

      Thank you both for your replies. As an officer at a LA which stopped producing publicity 5 or so years ago, but where our Councillors have had the vision to retain funding for our bus network with very few cuts (other than responses to demographic changes) any substantiated figures are of interest.
      Current funding would struggle to provide a publicity officer, but proof that such a post would significantly increase ridership would be hard to ignore. I regularly push the benefits of good publicity (in all forms) with our Head of Service, and whilst none of us think that what we currently do is enough we would have to justify any additional expenditure with solid figures.

      Whether local authority or commercial bus operator, the dilemma is the same; how much to spend, for how much return.

  2. I can confirm that the promenade tracks are retained at Talbot Square / North Pier allowing the continued operation of direct trams along the promenade