Friday 4 January 2013

Half a Cheer for "Here to There" [3]

Bewilderment at Borehamwood
Weirdness at Watford
Three Oh No? Six

In view of the outburst of anti-fbb comments on yesterday's blog (read again), please note that this IS NOT a venomous criticism of  Suzy and "Here to There"; it is a proper and correct criticism of the source data which Suzy has chosen to use. fbb thinks she shouldn't have used it, but if nothing else was available she probably had no choice. It does indicate how poor some bus information can be, particularly that created by the mysteries of Traveline's "Deep Throat" confuser.
The lovely editrix (?) of the "Here to There" series of timetables has, sadly, created a horror worthy of an "X" certificate in compiling the North West London book. She has used the Traveline timetable for service 306. Here is a small JPEG file of one of Traveline's pages. This is just a picture of the monster but ...
... (here) is the real thing. It is a big file, but interested blog readers would be well advised to download it so as to be very aware of all its menacing badness. Go on, be brave. You are a fearless blog reader, after all. Click on the "here" and be very, very afraid.

The first thing to notice is these column head notes:-
"1" means does not operate on 27th December; whereas "2" means that the journey operates on 27th  December only. So what was special about 27th December.

Answer: on that post festive Thursday, Sullivan Bus was running a Saturday rather than a Monday to Friday service. So the sainted Traveline "system" mixes up all the times and adds column notes. It would be far easier just to say "On 27th December a Saturday service will operate". But that would be too easy. And so "Here to There" creates confusion in profusion by unthinkingly re-publishing useless twaddle.

But please note that these extracts were obtained from the "Here to There" book, prepared way back when. The post festive Traveline 306 timetable no longer includes the anomalous extra journeys.

But it's not just those 27th December journeys; even the unadulterated Saturday timetable is a mess.
click on the image to enlarge

Let fbb try to sort it out. We begin with a map.
The 306 trundles happily from Watford via Bushey to Borehamwood where it pays a visit to one or two estates (depending on which day it is!) , each with a circular bit. After this, the 306 zooms back to Watford. Now we all now that Traveline, Transport Defunct and bus timetable computer systems can't (or, better, won't) cope with loops. In trying to avoid those pesky loops, Traveline tries to intermingle outward and return journeys on  one interwoven table with the inevitable consequence we see here.

The operator, Sullivan Buses, resorts to notes "W" (continues to Watford) and "B" (from Borehamwood Estates); but by cutting and pasting in a rather amateur fashion, we can see the proper timetable structure for the core Monday to Friday service.
Hertfordshire no longer bothers with printed material, being happy to see bus ridership decline, but its on-line timetable for the 306 is the best, it shows the dreaded loop at the end of the outward table ...
... and repeated at the beginning of the return table:-
In order to prevent his readers descending into complete and jibbering insanity, fbb has studiously ignored the plethora of peak hour variations which make any timetable more complicated that it might otherwise be. He has also quietly forgotten that, on Saturdays, half the journeys are 306B and do something different from their Monday to Friday equivalent. And to add to the jollity the evening and Sunday route is different again. What fun it is for anyone wanting to use the service!

"Aha!" we hear our readers cry, "Can the obese and opinionated oldie do any better; it's not Suzy's fault that Sullivan Buses' timetable is a shocker." Blog readers can form their own opinion of fbb's efforts which can be seen and downloaded (here)

Nevertheless, the "Here to There" compilers should never, never, use Traveline material. Traveline's systems simply deliver unnecessary complexity and confusion.

A chum tells fbb that the content of the much maligned Essex book, as in part 1 of this blog series (read again), is derived from Traveline. If that is the case it is no surprise at all that it has gone down like the proverbial lead balloon in some quarters.

Suzy Scott
Subject : Bus Timetables
Report  : Effort is a bit "here and there" and needs more focus. She needs to try harder to be get top marks. But well done for an innovative and positive contribution to Public Transport Information.
Result     : 7/10
Effort     : 9/10

Suzy has added several comments to this three-parter. This was after she had finished hysterically sticking pins in a wax model of fbb ...
... which might explain a nasty outbreak of "tennis elbow" in the old man's blog-typing arm! But she made several important and interesting points which do not deserve to be lost in a mere comment. So, sometime next week, fbb will publish suzy's stunning submission as a "guest blog".

Back to the "Here to There" 306. Do we really need Traveline's page and a half list of stops?

 Next Bus Blog : Saturday 5th January 


  1. Good morning

    I notice that you have recently reproduced one of my photographs and used it on your site

    You have also incorrectly stated the location of where the photograph was shot.

    You have used this photograph with neither permission nor acknowledgement. Having browsed your site, I believe that mine is not the only violation of the basic protection accorded under copyright law. All my web pages are clearly marked as such.

    I cannot find an email address on your site so I should be grateful if you would tell me how I may contact you formally about this.

  2. If you have the status of ownership of owner of said photo, why have you not identified yourself and supplied a link to the site on which the photo is held?

  3. On the Traveline 306 Mondays to Fridays timetable, I'm puzzled by the "Service Restrictions" footnotes. They suggest that the Monday-Friday service operates "not 27.12.12", and the Saturday service operates "only 27.12.12". So it appears that there was a Monday-Friday service on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, which seems unlikely. Have I missed something?

  4. The internet is designed for the free and unrestricted distribution of information. As any wed page can be linked to any other, all material can be shared. If you do not wish your pictures to be quoted on other sites, then you should not be posting them on-line. Alternatvely you could "watermark" your pictures so that they can only be "quoted" with a big copyright sign across them. Presumable you are also pursuing Google who copy and store all your pictures without your permission?

  5. To anonymous at the top! To quote from John McEnroe. "You cannot be serious". You do not identify yourself or your precious picture. I hope fbb treats your comment with the contempt it deserves.

  6. Thanks, Steve. I had not spotted that anomaly! 306s on Christmas day? Now that would be entertaining.

  7. Not prepared to discuss this in an open forum hence again I should be grateful for the contact details of the owner of this website so that this can become a private not public affair regarding remedies, restitution and the redress I now require.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Surely if this a problem it would better that it is the public domain but you obviously haven't looked too far for contact detail.

      I suggest you look at FBB's profile above -it has a contact e-mail address

  8. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this,would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

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