Wednesday, 20 November 2019

It's All On Line - Episode 277

Electronic "Frame" - a P.S.
The Stagecoach Sherwood Arrow ...
... runs from Nottingham to Ollerton every hour (Monday to Saturday) calling at the R S P B place on the way. Thereafter the route splits into two, one going to Worksop every two hours, the other to Retford ditto.
The combine route is what is known as a split registration to comply with EU legislation. For the technologists it is registered as THREE separate services; Nottingham Ollerton, Ollerton Worksop and Ollerton Retford. In a really loony bit of advice from DaFT, the operator can run buses through Ollerton without the need for passengers to change and can offer through fares.
Some operators seem to think they must show this nonsense on destination blinds and in printed timetables. According to opinions from a very high level in the industry this is totally unnecessary. Sadly, "the industry" doesn't have the guts to stand up for common sense, so journey planners give DaFT results ...
... get off, wait for three minutes, then get back on!

The consequence of this weak data management is that, on the wizzo electronic timetable frame the 1516 and 1616 departures are shown as terminating at Ollerton rather than running through to Retford and Worksop respectively
Thankfully, the departure list does explain what happens ...
... but there is no good reason on the technological superhighway why the 1516 and 1616 are shown with their correct destination!

Of course, you could stick up a timetable in a second frame in the shelter.

Which Brings Us to Maisie Miggins
[see yesterday's blog] The "main" bus service from Donnington to Newbury is the service 5 complex. It is not "main" by any normal definition of the word AND it is complex - the result of a desperate attempt to provide some sort of service at the lowest possible cost.
But the 5/5a/5c runs Monday to Friday only.

West Berkshire Unitary Authority do produce a timetable book of comparatively good quality but its Newbury local map is poor.
What of the 6a, also shown as calling at Donnongton Castle Inn.
At first glace this looks odd.
Two journeys are shown, OUT from Newbury in the morning and BACK to Newbury in the evening. Surely that is the wrong way round?

In fact these are "positioning" journeys which get the bus to its outer terminus a bit quicker.

As West Berkshire shows the timetable you can clearly see that, if Maisie Miggins didn't mind a nice trip round the villages, she could leave The Castle at 0857 and arrive at Newbury Station at 1018 ...
... in good time to buy her ticket and catch the 1058 to the Capital.

Just for the record, although West Berkshire produces a timetable book (at considerable expense, no doubt) the county does not print it!


Another crackpot decision designed to reduce the number of passengers on its buses.

Furthermore, because of the way the data is (badly) managed, the journey planner never finds Mrs Miggins rather obscure but workable option. They only offer is a lengthy walk!
Maisie Miggins would not like that at all due to "them twingeing screws".

Of course, in reality, Mrs M might book a taxi, get a neighbour to take her, or sadly, not go at all because the prospect is "officially" so daunting.

But IF the data were thoughtfully managed by the simple expedient of putting Donnington to West Ilsley times at the top of the inbound column ...
... theoptions would be, at least, available.

Maisie had a lovely lunch (thanks for asking) and enjoyed herself so much that she stayed with Minnie until Monday catching the 1807 from the station and alighting at The Castle at 1914.

When fbb ran the catering for youth holidays of 128 persons, his manual advised "treat the local butcher with polite suspicion!"

Those who adulate the computer age might well take on board similar guidance, namely ...

"Treat what the data says with impolite suspicion"!
Service 6, incidentally, is run by Kennections, a brand of Reading buses. They way they present the timetables make spotting the "long way round" option is more difficult.
The two tables are on separate pages.

Services 5/5a/5c are operated by the Council's own vehicles.

Tomorrow : The Challenge of Chesterfield

 It's All On Line - 278 : Thursday 21st November 


  1. The journey planners default to a 20 min walk as an acceptable part of the journey. If Maisie doesn't want to walk that far you go into Options and reduce the walk time and speed.

    What the journey planners struggle with is the stand time at West Ilsley is too short to meet the minimum connection time on all but one of the possible journeys. They however find the 08:57 to Newbury Station at 10:18 if the walking is reduced.

  2. However, the Sherwood Arrow timetable is displayed in exactly the same way in the leaflet. One table shows all journeys between Nottingham and Ollerton, and it then folds out to show the full service to Worksop on one side and the full service to Retford on the other. Each set of communities (Ollerton, Worksop, Retford) thus has a timetable for themselves. It is quite wrong to assume that everybody wants to travel to the outer destinations.

    Also, West Berks do print the guide, it is just updated online more often, presumably using some overworked council employee and some design software. Barry Doe's site (with his unusual and 'individual' use of PDFs rather than web pages, rendering it utterly unhelpful to most modern devices) says quite clearly that the next printed version is scheduled for early 2020.

  3. If we leave Europe then the definition of a local bus service within the driver's hours regulation can be changed back to a British version. The minister may for example be able to simply alter the 50km to 500km, without an act of Parliment and the "connecting" problem goes away.