Tuesday 23 October 2012

Considering Cynwald's Marsh [4]

As confidently predicted (read again), First's launch of the Hyperlink brand (using the Wright Streetcars from Leeds and York route 4s) has begun with information and offers on-line. fbb will take a look tomorrow.
It should be Killmarsh to Stainforth but it's
Supertram Link Sothall to Stainforth
Your mission Mr Phelps ...
... should you choose to accept it, is to understand Stagecoach's new Supertram Link 3 [SL3] timetable and use it to plan a journey from Sothall estate to Stainforth; Hatfield and Stainforth station to be precise.
This tape will self-destruct in five seconds!

There are a couple of problems which make this task more difficult than it should be. Let's start with Traveline. Because a journey from Killamarsh (which is, as the Americans would say, "where we're at") via SL3 is significantly longer that by "normal" bus, journey planners tend not to find them. So you would have to know about the longer, but more frequent option and use separate timetables or printed leaflets.
So our investigations will start on Sothall Estate's Hartland Avenue from where Traveline's algorthms will, at least, find route SL3.
Traveline correctly pops us on to the SL3 and deposits us at the interchange point which, unexpectedly, is not at the obvious Crystal Peaks bus station but a couple of stops further on at Moss Way ...
... and right next to the tram stop. At Crystal Peaks there would be a significant walk between the bus station and tram stop ...
... making for a less than obvious interchange. [click on the aerial view to enlarge it.]  So full marks to Stagecoach for focusing on Moss Way. But look again at the times shown; arrival at Moss Way at 0930 and departure at 0943 with a wait of 13 minutes for a 10 minute frequency tram service. Before we submit unwillingly to the restrictions of a journey planner, we could check the tram timetable to see if there is a car every 10 minutes and that we haven't arrived at some hidden gap in a services advertised as "and about every ten minutes".
Full marks to Travel South Yorkshire for publishing a full on-line tram timetable with times shown at all stops. Who said that fbb was anti TSY? Sometimes they do get it right; not often; actually very rarely indeed; but just occasionally! And the tram is indeed every ten minutes although the actual "minutes past" do vary slightly. 

Which may be why the SL3 timetable is so complicated. TSY and Derbyshire ...
... resort to "at least every 10 minutes". All this means that the prospective passenger cannot really be certain about the reliabilty of that Moss Way connection; only practical experience will answer that one! Notice, however, that the timetable does not make it clear that its terminus is "Moss Way Tram Stop"; neither does it make any reference to connections with the tram.

Perhaps Stagecoch (operators of bus and tram) are more helpful? Yes and no!

It's timetables site ...
... knew nothing of the SL3 on Monday 22nd but did know of other Sheffield area timetable changes (and the two other Supertram Link services). The Stagecoach Supertram site, however, did promote the new route ...
... but, despite the heading, did not explain anything useful about "through" fares. Although the SL3 promo panel was timetable-less, clicking on the Supertram Link graphic ...
... did lead, at last, to a timetable.
The Derbyshire version! Surely this doesn't mean that Stagecoach haven't got a copy of their own timetable? Bizarre!

Can you obtain a correct hard copy of the full and accurate SL3 timetable? Answer, not from any "official" source. But full marks to Traveline (shock horror!) because their data contains every journey and every time variant. Poor marks to Traveline (that's more like it) because their Yorkshire team doesn't actually allow you to see the full timetable.

So, yet again, showing no outward signs of fear, the fat bus bloke delivers an exclusive blog scoop; click below for the only full and accurate (?) Supertram Link 3 printable timetable in the whole wide world. And it's free of charge (here).

And, finallly, the opening captions of the episode in which ...
... Barbara Bain (Cinnamon), in heavy disguise as fbb, helps the Impossible Missions Force to crack another uncrackable problem. Phew, what a gang!

Fat Bus Bloke's Bible Blog presents a delightful little poem (read here)

 Next Bus Blog : Wednesday 24th October 


  1. I think you'll find that the PDF of the Traveline East Midlands SL3 timetable also provides a full, printable version.

  2. Traveline East Midlands Version is yet another "interpretation" which, I agree, appears to be complete. Thank you NMcB. It may be complete but it is less than helpful. Stop names are different, yet again, and there is no mention of a tram stop anywhere. You have to wonder how one timetable can manifest itself in about six different forms when, supposedly, each uses the same data. And we still don't have a Stagecoach definitive version - and they run the service!

  3. All this talk of Killamarsh and Sothall is all very well, but what about Mastin Moor ? Surely the big story in all these service changes is the elimination of the Mastin Moor 'shorts' on the 70 and their effective replacement by through journeys to Sheffield on 71. So - no more confusion for Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy the dog on future jaunts to see Aunt Esmirelda! In addition the loop via Blunt Avenue and Edale Road within the estate seems to have ceased, removing a further complication for MM's bus users.

  4. Examination of the Mastin Moor implications is on an fbb list. I have not yet heard from Aunt Esmirelda but it look as if it is now a little LESS confusing.