Saturday 8 January 2011

How to Ruin a Bus Service (Lesson 2)

Stop providing information.
Once upon a time, back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, it was possible to call into any local bus enquiry office (like the dinosaurs, more or less wiped out by some all-pervasive national disease called the world wide web - ugh, horror!) and purchase a bus timetable.   The latter species is now one of the rarest creatures in the country, only hiding in a few almost secret places.
But there were a few beacons of blinding beauty, one of which was Hertfordshire.

But, alack and alas, never no more (as they used to say - probably still do - in South Yorkshire). Word is getting around that Hertfordshire will be producing no more printed timetable books ...
No more printed maps ...
And no more "Intachange" magazine which gave a regular updates and news of changes.

So unless you re prepared to use your computer as a book, carry around a laptop as a map and download all updates to print out as hard copy, "so much information it will blow you away" becomes "so little information it will drive you mad"!
Of course it will all be available"on line" - although many other counties have even given up their internet presence in favour of the dodgy and over engineered Traveline and Transport Defunct. But, here's the key question:-
Do those politicians, who extol the excellence of an "internet only" presence, ever use the buses? Do they ever despair of finding information away from the comfort of cuddling their computer?
By far the vast majority of bus users would never dream of "logging on" to check whether the 0845 to Tring still rings a bell.  They will no longer be able to find out where the bus to Ware stops.  It will become increasingly tiresome if they are itchin' to get to Hitchin.  And  how many excursions will have a rotten end stuck at Potten End?   The mind boggles.

By far the vast majority of the ordinary bus users don't have easy access to a computer, at home and certainly not "on the go". So where will Mrs Miggins get her information from?   I expect she'll buy a car or, even cheaper, stay at home and be miserable.

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