Wednesday 10 August 2011

Are They Having a Laugh?

 Today's scheduled post is postponed 
  to allow for this stop press blog  
      It's ALMOST unbelievable          
Travel South Yorkshire [TSY] does it again!

Regular readers will remember that, from 24th July, Stagecoach and First shook hands, kissed,  made friends and started JOINTLY operating the busy cross-city bus route between Fulwood, Sheffield and Halfway as service 120. The Optio Orange scheme (as it is imaginatively and meaninglessly called) provides for day and weekly tickets to be fully inter-available between the two operators and, most significantly, offers a jointly promoted timetable for the main cross-city route.
Both operators have published the same (combined) timetable on their individual websites. It is genuinely and indubitably now a jointly operated route.
So let us stroll round to the terminus on Barncliffe Road ...
... and check the times of our next bus as displayed in the frame at the bus stop. First, Monday to Friday buses:-
A very frequent service down the steep Crimicar Lane and terminating at Fulwood shops. Nice if you need to go to the co-op, every 10 minutes; the stop at the bottom of Crimicar Lane is on the right.
But look at the times for journeys to Halfway or Sheffield Centre. According to this panel you can only get into town in the evenings. Curious and obviously totally wrong.

Saturday is similar, so let's look at Sunday:-
First and Stagecoach jointly (that's supposedly the top panel for each block of days, including Sundays) appear to run a shuttle down to Fulwood every 20 minutes and Stagecoach alone offers a 20 minute frequency to Sheffield Centre and Halfway on the bottom panel. At least you can get to the City all day on Sundays.

What actually happens is this, TSY please note (as you don't seem to understand timetables):-

Monday to Friday daytimes, First Bus runs from Barncliffe Road to City and Crystal Peaks every 8 minutes; Saturday daytimes similarly but every 10 minutes. Meanwhile Stagecoach operates from Hallamshire Hospital to Halfway giving a joint 4 or 5 minute frequency over the core busy section.

In the pictures above, the top panel actually gives the First Bus times; Stagecoach NOT included, despite the heading. And these buses go to Sheffield Centre, continuing to Crystal Peaks, NOT to Fulwood only as TSY would suggest.

In the evenings and on Sundays, First Bus and  Stagecoach run alternately over the full length of the route from Barncliffe Road to City and Halfway. Frequency is usually every 10 minutes, dropping to every 15 minutes late evenings and early Sunday mornings. So some of the buses in the upper panels, which generally run to City and Crystal Peaks, also continue beyond to Halfway.

The bottom panels are the Stagecoach (only) times and here TSY is, astoundingly, correct; they also go on to Sheffield Centre, Crystal Peaks and Halfway. An fbb diagram will explain all. 
So the timetable at Barncliffe Road is:-
Wrong about which company operates the services
Wrong about where most of the buses go
Wrong to ignore (undermine) the First and Stagecoach scheme
In a word, absolutely DISGRACEFUL
And, finally, SYT kindly published a leaflet with a simple list of all the changes from 24th July:-
The published list is a bit too big to add to this blog, but reference to the following revised Sheffield services was omitted completely from this utterly useless leaflet.

40, 41, 42, 43A, 44, 47, 48, 50, 50A, 56, 61, 62, 64, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 81, 82, 83, 87, 88, 88A, 95, 120, 123, 201, 206, 251, 252, 257, 261, 267, 268, 271, M64, X4, X5, X10, X14, X15, X17.

So, NEARLY right, SYT, but not quite!

And the 73 and 74 are still WRONG on the SYT web site, anyway; they haven't published an update, yet. Here's the correct timetable ...
... courtesy of Derbyshire, which started on Monday 25th July. It's not the same as TSY's November 2010 version; now there's a surprise!

Information on service 120 has been kindly supplied by Mr John Hardey who lives round the corner from the bus stop featured. Many thanks, John.

Next blog : due Thursday August 11th
    delayed Dagenham Dock Part 3     


  1. "ALMOST unbelievable?". "absolutely DISGRACEFUL"


    I'm glad I happened across this blog, as it highlights the sensationalism of some bloggers perfectly.

    You have identified one (I'll repeat that in case you missed it, one) stop on a route containing hundreds of stops that is incorrectly displayed. Stop the presses! Potentially, roughly between 0.5% and 1% of stops on a route aren't exactly (they are partly correct, as your blog admits) correct? This is an outrage! I can see why you were compelled to drop everything else and report on it straight away!

    I am no fan of TSY, but to say that they don't understand timetables when they have got the display of one wrong is a bit rich don't you think?

    To openly write that they are trying to undermine the Optio scheme is borderline libellous. If you're interested in going down the undermining route then have a look at the ticket prices the operators have set to 'encourage' people to buy Optio tickets rather than single operator tickets, that seems like a good idea for your next pointless (sorry, I meant worthwhile there) crusade...

    You'll be happy to know my last is a question that is rather easy to answer on your part. Did you report this error to TSY so they could correct it? Or did you run off as fast as your chubby little legs would carry you, to go and type up a borderline libellous, inflammatory and sensationalist blog (about bus timetables. Bus timetables! Never thought I'd use any of those words in connection with this subject matter!) to appease something possibly lacking in your life? I've guessed the answer myself without too much Sherlock Holmes style deduction.

    "Are they having a laugh?". Probably, if any of the TSY employees read your blog. But if you'd reported it to them I think they'd probably have been fixing the problem instead...

  2. I am loathe to respond you your commment, Anonymous, because in doing so I would engender further ire. But I'll have a go.

    If you wish to know more, then please contact me by e-mail via this blog (I am NOT anonymous), give me a phone number and I will be able to answer you more fully.

    In general your conclusions are utterly wrong. It may be that you do not travel widely in Sheffield, or that you do not need to refer to TSY's publicity. I do both and I can assure you that my blog is in no way libelous, it is frighteningly truthful.

    I was designed to be sensational and, I am very pleased to say, it has more than achieved its object.

    And OF COURSE I have regularly informed TSY of my concerns. I have even travelled from my south coast home to Sheffield (at TSY's invitation but at my own considerable expense) to make a presentation to the department concerned with these errors.

    Where errors have been corrected I have ALWAYS acknowledged it in subsequent blogs. I am more than happy to publish examples of correct information, please send examples and I will acknowledge the source. Photos or scans are best.

    Just as a further example try:-

    There are many other examples tagged "Sheffield".

    My own rather limited survey suggests that about 50% to 60% of TSY's roadside and printed publicity unhelpful, misleading or just plain wrong.

    The poor quality of the "system" is recognised by Sheffield bus users (who don't use it), by some TSY staff, but some local bus oerators (at the highest level) and by bus departments of neighbouring local authorities.

    I am currently in correspondence with the Director General himself who has been sent a hard copy of the blog which causes you so much offence.

    TSY is spending MY money (and yours) via Block Grants and I think it should be spent properly.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  3. I would like to say that I have posted a comment to answer the points raised in fbb's response which was successfully submitted but has now subsequently disappeared from the blog...

  4. I love the chubby little legs comment. I have a picture in my head of a fat bus bloke, dribbling with excitement with moist palms on the discovery of a piece of inaccurate bus timetable material. Hey FBB guess what, do you know how many errors and mistakes are contained in the first and the last star wars films, the multi million pound productions which happily took our ticket money at the cinema? Answer, hundreds! And do you know what, who cares! I live down in Bristol and work in public transport and it is plain to see from down here that you have a grudge against Sheffield and often jump in bed with derbyshire. Perhaps you have a hidden agenda. I do hope that the director general at sheffield doesn't give you the time of day. Have you thought about stamp collecting. 

  5. Belated comment on Thursday 7th October

    I have only just spotted 12th August at 2249 comment. Clearly you, anonymous, have never been to South Yorkshire or tried to use their appalling pubicity. If you had, your works would stick in your throat. Anywy, the good news is that the poor stuff was replaced with slightly better poor stuff. It has now (5th Sept) been replaced again with the previous ludicrously wrong stuff.

    I am not dribbling with excitement, I am incandescent with rage at their incompetence.

    See tomorrow's Blog (Friday 9th September)