Thursday 21 July 2011

Real Time or Real Pain [1]

What does it all mean?

A recent Saturday visit to No. 1 Son (and family) presented an opportunity for an hour's observation outside "The Bear" on Market Place.
The focus of investigation was to try to understand what the little electronic numbers scrolling across the bus stop actually meant. The research began on-line before arrival by looking via the Oxfordshire web site ...
... for what was available. fbb looked for times for the X30, formerly branded "Vale Shuttle", at Wantage ...
... which offered the following:-
Wantage Hospital is not in the centre of town and Wantage Road Bungalow is ...
... here; but it's at Didcot and utterly indubitably NOT Wantage. Not only that, neither the hospital nor the bungalow are served by the X30 route at all - ever. It's going really well so far, isn't it?

Does a map of route 32 help? Probably not. Wantage Hospital is located near the "32" under the word "Charlton".
Meanwhile the X30 approaches Wantage more or less directly from the north, entering the town via Grove and not even via Charlton.

So Mr. Oxotime, whither has the wayward Wantage wandered? The inexpert investigator may well search in vain but fbb, that fearless forager for fact, discovers that to find Wantage you have to type in ...
... "Market Pace". Yes, that's right, just "Market Place". Of course everyone knows that "Market Place" is the secret code for Wantage, don't they? But how would you find it if, unlikely though it be (?), you were befuddlingly bereft of that essential but obfuscated snippet of local knowledge?

But fbb found it (eventually) and looked at the output with a somewhat worried expression.
The X30 "direct" to Oxford runs every 30 minutes, so that looks OK. The 31 via Marcham and Abingdon is every hour, so, again, it looks OK. But the 32 (Thames Travel, now part of the GoAhead empire) also runs every hour. But Mr Oxotime thinks there are TWO departures, a minuscule two minutes apart.

WRONG! And not a convincing contribution to customer confidence.
Before proceeding with this perplexing problem, we need to remind ourselves what all this electronic coggage is for. It SHOULD be to help the customer, to encourage the motorist to abandon his personal little tin box and travel in well-informed timely comfort.

Evidence of that aim, so far, is not convincing! 

Episode 2 will follow later with eye witness observations from our man on the spot, outside "The Bear" on Saturday 16th July.

More recent clients of the fbb blogfest may also like to refer to:-
"Worrying Wantage Wangerings (Part I)" (read again)
"Worrying Wantage Wanderings (Part II)" (read again)

Next blog : due Friday July 22nd  

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