Monday 13 August 2012

To Travel Hopefully : No More PLEASE

Sorry, there is more ...
In addition to on-line mis-information, ATOC also provide station posters. fbb has referred to these but was unaware that they could be found on-line until a kindly blog ready guided the aged information seeker as follows:- On the National Rail enquiries site go to ...
... as before. Enter "Sheffield" in the box ...
... but instead of ticking on any of the options just scroll down and you will find this ...
... which, when clicked, reveals a copy of the station poster. The file is, to use a technical term, BIG. But if you wish to see the whole thing a copy is available (here).

An innocent blog reader might expect the information to be either the same as the on-line stuff or, at the very least, a useful subset thereof. But ATOC wouldn't be as consistent as that, would they? Of course not! The poster information is different, very different.

In some ways it is better (shock, horror rushes to get the bottle of smelling salts). It does label the station stops correctly.
there they are, SS1 to SS4. The poster also admits to a tram stop but doesn't tell you where it is, merely linking it with the Station. That's not too disastrous as there are signs directing you from platform to stop. Whilst enjoying this exciting graphic, please note that ATOC has created two exits on the east of the station, (coded  E ). WRONG, there's only one.  T   is taxi, not tram (sadly).

Note also that the cartographer has permitted his two year old daughter to scribble meaningless and unexplained red lines all over the maps; he should keep the child under control.

Then there's another map ...
Presumably Sheffield Cyclists are used to riding up dead ends and being banned from most city centre roads? What on earth does "cycle routes" mean and who is it for? Then, after a particularly stressful train journey, you can make you way (a long way) to near stop "E" (read again) and pop into the Duke Medical Centre. And while you are waiting for your delayed train, why not take a slightly longer journey to the Park Library? Incidentally, the city's main central library lies unmarked on the Surrey Street "cycle route", middle left.
Probably has a few more books than the Park Branch; the reference library has some very comfy seats.

So far, so good bad.

Now for the bus information. Positive first, ATOC does admit to the tram on this poster but not on-line. But here are a few snippets from the list of "useful" and "frequent" bus services:-
Here we go again. There is no 72, services 69 and X78 do not serve Burngreave and the 272 from Castleton terminates at the bus station interchange and has never been to Burngreave.
Service 265 has never served Grimesthorpe, ever.
There is no route 45, there is no route 73 and, when they did exist, they certainly didn't go to Southey Green twice. The 53 doesn't go to Southey Green at all; and never has done.
There is no 41; but the frequent (every 4 minutes) 120 is ignored.
There's no 284 and, as before, the 5 minute frequency to Ecclesall and Bents Green is ignored because it leaves from the city centre.

It is about a useless as the proverbial chocolate teapot. But, "hold fast," we hear you cry, "you can txt for bus times." Oh yes? Let's try, it might be fun ...
... by sending a txt for stop A ...
... to the quoted number.
And three times comes back the helpful message ...
... but we must persevere. (Why?) After a pause to make a nice cup of tea and read a few chapters of "War and Peace", fbb tries again and ...
... is told that the quoted codes are meaningless.

ATOC, U need 2 kp yr posters up 2 date.

One of the commentators to fbb's blog reports that ATOC only has "a budget" to update these posters once a year. fbb has not verified this observation, but, if true it's particularly potty. If this information cannot be delivered accurately and helpfully it should not be delivered at all. In its present form it is doing real harm to the concept of an "onward journey" by bus.

These blogs have been forwarded to ATOC, but as yet no response has filtered through to the fat bus bloke.

It is a real and useless mess. It needs sorting out OR removing from the ATOC site. And, please, pretty please, do not attempt to import data from Traveline without a massive effort at revising and editing its terrible stop definition system. NEVER use NaPTAN!

See Naptan Necessitous National Naming [1] (read again)
See Naptan Necessitous National Naming [2] (read again)
See Naptan Necessitous National Naming [3] (read again)

Tomorrow. Is more less and is the 19 Rediculous?

 Next Blog : Tuesday 14th August  


  1. I was at Weymouth a couple of days ago and looked at the onward travel posters there. They were at least 15 months out of date on stop labelling and as far as the service information was concerned it varied from the slightly inaccurate to the downright misleading. As someone who has been involved for the last three years in getting real time in to Weymouth including changes to town centre bus stops and Olympic preparations, it must surely have been on ATOC's radar that posters at Olympic venues should have been updated.
    I'd be happy to look over any poster for a station in Dorset and whilst posters can become out of date the day they're put up (or 56 days later) there must be a solution to the on line ones. However I bet it's done as an annual project and there's no commitment, procedures, or budget to update them as services change.
    Oh and by the way, your invalid stop code error example might be because you're a number short in your enquiry!!
    Ken Traveline Dorset

  2. No, sorry Ken. It may be a number short in the graphics (I couldn't scan the phone!) but the call was as described.

  3. Hi FBB. ATOC Cockup number 2 of course is that whilst the station poster suggests you send a text to 84268, which is the national text number, the ITA's have always been different.
    You got the standard response for an unrecognised query on 84268, but SYT have a text number of 64422, whilst WYMetro have 63876 (or METRO.
    I've just sent 37022822 to 64422 and got a 43 to Sheffield at 1551, a 120 to Fulwood in 3 minutes LF, a 48 to Herdings in 4 min LF, and a 79 to Ecclesfield in 7 min LF. Timed at Pond Street at 1449.
    So the information is there it's that damned poster again!!

  4. Now THAT explains it. And the answers do look as if they might be right. I did not know that ITA's (they used to be PTEs when I was a lad) has a non-standard system. How sensible!!!???@@@***

  5. Yes - sorry, forgot to sign the above.