fbb received a Chinese whisper (from a St*g*c**ch employee) on Wednesday 8th May informing him that First Bus changers were expected from Monday 11th. A quick look at first's web site revealed this:-
But here's a map to help. fbb has moved the label for Greystones because the PTE map has it in the wrong place!
On Thursday morning, fbb received the timetables from his very helpful chappie at First and started processing.
What about the PTE a k a Travel South Yorkshire?
First Bus (2)
Meanwhile, back at First, by Thursday morning enquirers were getting stuff like this ...
Alternatively, you can call Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 or visit www.traveline.info
... and this.
We are experiencing problems serving our timetables at the moment. Until we get this resolved, you can call Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 or visit www.traveline.info
They did finally appear on Monday morning, the same day that the service changed - better than nothing but disappointing and frustrating for all involved - including, fbb suspects, the hard working chaps and chapesses who drew up the improved schedules.
Such is the joy and delight of large unwieldy web sites (note cancelled 638, X54, X54 in the heading and timetable layout above) designed up by people who don't run the buses - or travel on them. It would be so much easier to get the lad, Gavin, to do it on a simple timetable site, uncluttered with adverts and Covid Advice, from a desk at Olive Grove depot a k a East Bank bus garage.
And as for recommennding Traveline ...
The correct number for Traveline in South Yorkshire is ...
Traveline On Line
What would you find, then, if you took up the suggestion above, say for the X5 via Todwick?
Yep, you guessed it - the old pre-virus timetable with no mention of Todwick!
And what would Mrs Miggins find in the frame at her bus stop by the shops at Todwick?
fbb asked a chum who lives in the city what was on display at stops and what was showing on the electronic departure indicators (where provided).
timetables in frames
The timetables displayed are still the pre-virus ones, and have not been changed since then. They are even displayed (unchanged) at the stops now unserved such as those served only by 83a ...
... where unsuspecting would-be passengers will wait for ever for buses which will never arrive. All the changes are a state secret unless you know where to look on various websites.
People have no idea what is operating and when.
What about telephoning Traveline?
Oh dear! fbb is really sorry for the folk answering the phones. They are working from home, which is never very satisfactory, but they appear to have totally inadequate information.
fbb telephoned 01709 51 51 51 ...
... and asked about a journey from Todwick to Hallamshire Hospital for an appointment at 1400.
The agent apologised that it might take some time. It took 5 minutes. Part of the delay was due to the operative's initial search for Northern General Hospital; but even after that, he struggled.
fbb thinks he was trying to match paper (remember that?) information with inaccurate computer output. What was absolutely clear is that the poor man was very inadequately equipped to help the public.
Appalling, unnecessary and quite wrong!!
BUT HE GAVE THE RIGHT ANSWER
1310 from Todwick shops, direct to the Hospital arriving just before 1400.
Give that man a chocolate peanut for doing his best!
So, back to the opening question.
How does Mrs Miggins of The Pastures know that she has her buses back?
Assuming she does guess that something different is happening on the streets of Todwick, where can she find the times of these buses?
Who will she ask?
Does she have to ring Traveline and hope the agent can work it out from the poor information he is given? Is she prepared to pay the high price of enquiring every day that she might wish to travel, just in case.
Or maybe trawl through a whole heap of tedious over-engineered web sites just in case something has changed?
What she needs is a one-stop quick access to timetables.
It is called a timetable book or a timetable leaflet. It is cheap to produce, can be done area by area and could, with a little effort be made available in time for even emergency changes. It can be done in-house using a photocopier and be ready in minutes once the revised timetable is created.
The bus operator has to organise schedules, organise staff shifts, organise maintenance and fuelling all of which take time. Printed material or at least quick and obvious access to oniline timetables supported by, say, press advertising and a general notice on the buses and available in local shops, is needed to help people cope.
If only there were a simple app or web site where timetables could be checked easily without wading through clutter and multiple key prodding.