Tuesday 26 July 2011

fbb - Take 100 Lines!

fbb is in trouble. Wrong again!

But first some earth shattering news.
 fbb has regularly forwarded blogs to David Brown,
Director General of South Yorkshire PTE.
Also a formal letter, expressing concerns about poor
standards of publicity.
until  yesterday, 25th July, when this email arrived.
fbb will report on developments - if any! 
All the missing tables had appeared by
Monday evening; RESULT!! 
(but the 73/74 is still WRONG) 
see "It's South Yorkshire Party Time" (read again
back to today's blog. 
In "the Axe Man of Seaton" (read again), fbb wrote:-

Unfortunately the May 2011 version [East Devon timetable book] of the service 899 pages suffers from very bad pruntign mistooks, which could well be misleading to an innocent Joe Public.  

What is more frustrating is that Devon does not publish any timetables on its web site, so has no way of issuing a correction; except by expensive reprint.

Apparently both the statements are palpably untrue.

"Anonybus" wrote:-

Devon CC has its own site for public transport (Journey Devon) with timetables accessed via an interactive bus map. The timetables linked to are usually the operators' own, unless, like AVT, there are none, in which case the county's own are used. It would be great if all counties could use such a useful system instead of presenting people with plain old PDFs.

Now fbb has been using the Devon web site for several years, so how come the befuddled idiot failed to find the information he required?

Maybe this is what happened? First fbb goes to Devon County Council's site and types "Bus Timetables" in the search box; and gets this ...
... etc. etc. fbb's reaction is that there are no Devon "Bus Timetables" on the site, especially as the "New Summer Bus Timetables" pages simply list arrangements for picking up or ordering the books; nothing about content.
Scrolling down from that, you can ...
... find out more about all sorts of stuff, EXCEPT timetables.

Now if you were to go to Derbyshire's site, there on the home page it says:-
In a couple of clicks you have a complete list of timetables in a standard form; in fact pages from the County's excellent timetable books.

Of course "Anonybus" now tells fbb that he should have clicked on the logo below. But, nowhere does it tell the inexperienced enquirer that this is a "clickable" logo.
Should have been obvious what to do? Maybe in hindsight; but fbb wants access to TIMETABLES, not a "guide" or, as it turns out,
a twiddly interactive map. fbb tried to get the map to interact but nothing much seemed to happen.

And, indeed if you do "click on the relevant service number on the", presumably "map" a word missing from the instruction, you can get to the timetables. There is also a clickable list which, annoyingly, keeps sending you back to the map and not the list. And the timetables are not in strict numerical order but offer a separate section for "Town Services". Is the user necessarily aware of what actually constitutes a "town service"?

But, despite publishing ALL their own timetables, Devon's super "interactive" system delivers company pages of varying formats, and thus varying potential confusion. So, despite fbb's error (for which grovelling apologies are offered, grovellingly) the question remains ...

Which system for delivering timetables is the most helpful?

A simple click to a list, like Derbyshire? Or, a complex excavation of the bowels of an over-engineered web site? Anonybus seems to be favouring the latter, à la Devon. fbb has no doubt. Derbyshire have got it EXACTLY right.
But Devon IS a lovely county and fbb and Mrs fbb LOVE Sidmouth; it's like stepping back into the peace and simple seaside pleasures of 50 years ago.

Devon's timetable books are pretty good (subject to comments in previous blog) but the web site leaves a lot to be desired. BUT, there is just the slightest (?) suspicion that Devon's public transport information system is a toy for the IT team and NOT run by the people who know about buses.

"I must learn how to use complicated web sites
 I must learn how to use complicated web sites   
 I must learn how to use complicated web sites   
 I must learn how to use complicated web sites ..."
etc ... 

Next blog : due Wednesday July 27th  


  1. Essex CC use a similar system to Devon, with the link placed under the "Bus Travel" heading on the public transport page (http://www.essex.gov.uk/Travel-Highways/Public-Transport/Pages/Public-transport.aspx), which is itself linked to from the homepage. The direct link is http://www.cartogold.co.uk/Essex_Public_Transport/. This does not have the useless 'Town Services' subdivision but it does have separate subdivisions for school services (probably a good idea) and express services (which would be a good idea, if they were all in the section!). The only issue comes with new routes, changed routes and withdrawn routes as these are only amended once a month - after they've happened. If the timetable has changed but the route stays the same then this is not a problem as the timetables are sourced from Traveline (another issue). In fairness, timetables on Traveline SE & EA are normally well implemented.

    Suffolk CC also have a dedicated website (http://www.suffolkonboard.com/) which is linked to straight from the council homepage (twice). The only problem is finding a county bus map - which is there somewhere although most of the links to it have been removed (can you dind it?). When you do find it, it becomes obvious why it is almost impossible to find - it is a year out of date, and in that year services have changed a great deal as a result of council cutbacks.

    P.S. if you can't find it, try looking under 'Further information' and then 'Download additional passenger transport information', not the obvious 'Timetable & leaflets' ink. I rather suspect that they'd meant to remove all reference to it.

  2. I ought to proofread my comments: 'dind' (in the 2nd paragraph) should be 'find' and 'ink' (in th 3rd paragraph) should be 'link'.

  3. Did mrs fbb make the humble pie!!!!!!!

  4. mrs island boy says you should know that island boy wrote the last post under island girl's profile!