Tuesday 31 May 2011

What the Heck!

From 1st June, fbb reverts to blogging regularly three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with occasional extras on other days.

Back to today's blog

Impractical Information Interlude
Sadly, the village of Great Heck will long be remembered as the site of a tragic rail accident which happened on 28th February 2001 at approx 0615.  A Land Rover plunged down an embankment, was struck by a train which was, in turn, struck by a second train.  10 people lost their lives. Otherwise, the village is not memorable, except, of course, to those who dwell there.  Its limited bus service is provided under the auspices of  North Yorkshire County Council [NYCC] ... 
... two Monday and Friday trips to Selby, service 486 ...
... and a Wednesday journey to Goole, service 488 ...
... both operated by the inaptly named Utopia Travel! Of course, you would expect to find full details in NYCC's Tadcaster and Selby travel guide; in case you wanted to travel, ahem, in the Tadcaster and Selby area.  Tough!   There is a map:-
But the rest of the leaflet is filled with huge amounts of empty space and, in typical modern, helpful style, nothing much that helps. There is a "frequency guide".  Now you know that because it lists bus frequencies; and, in case you have left your brain in Selby, there is a huge "Frequency Guide" label.  Thanks for that.
Here is a really helpful guide to one particular route:- 
So that's crystal clear, then.

Of course, this is similarly and parlously not pertinent to Great Heck. Five round trips a week could hardly be described as a "frequency" and you desperately need a "timetable" to make use of them.  Fear not; after six menu clicks, three aspirins and a mild attack of the habdabs, you can find them on-line. 

That is, assuming that your georgraphical knowledge overrides the lack of a complete route number index on the site.  You have to know that Greak Heck is in the Selby district in order to find it!  fbb just hopes you've got your Wifi enabled laptop (or equivalent) stuffed in your back pocket as you saunter towards the stop.
The operator of each service is shown.  But, despite huge amounts of space in the column, you have to go to another list to interpret the code.  [UT = Utopia Travel]
Perhaps this is another Utopia Travel.  This one is based in Essex and runs posh holidays.  To Great Heck?

And a couple of further grumps at the boundlless (bounded?) efforts of North Yorkshire.
Illegible route numbers?  The pale numbers actually signify services with low floor buses, not, as you might think, infrequent routes.   And, talking of "frequency".
What is a "regular" bus?  If you use the English language properly, one bus a year is regular.  Indeed, every timetabled bus is "regular", by definition.  NYCC's guardians of good grammar (?) probably meant to imply "frequent"; although very few bus services in the County could realistically be so described.

Conclusion : This sort of leaflet (map excluded) is really no use whatsoever.  If NYCC wants to promote bus travel, then a timetable book is essential.  Anything less is not worth the paper it is printed on, particularly in rural areas where services are sparse. Now, once upon a time, NYCC produced excellent area timetable booklets.   But why bother now?  It's all on line and takes just a minute to download (a minute, fat chance!). That's what the residents of Great Heck are doing, tirelessly, day by day; albeit fruitlessly on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday when they have the bounteous benefit of buslessness.
Personal note :  fbb's two cats are named after the community on the left side of the map (village illustrated above).  They are called Cridling and Stubbs. Here is Stubbs, helping with a blog!

Thanks to James, a loyal blog reader, for supplying leaflet and suggestion!

Next blog : due Wednesday June 1st


  1. Utopia's own website (http://www.utopiacoaches.co.uk/5.html) doesn't even mention the service!

  2. Utopia Coaches must have been reading this blog, as both the 486 and 488 timetables are on that page now!