Saturday 23 February 2013

St Pancras to St Margaret [3]

My bus, my bus; my kingdom for a bus!
fbb has arrived at Leicester station and is seeking a bus to get his tired and aching limbs (and, hopefully, the rest of him) across Leicester centre to St Margarets bus station for his onward journey to Groby. See "St Pancras to St Margaret [2]" (read again). The PlusBus poster tells him to go to stop RS4 and catch any one of these.
But there is no stop RS4!

Oh dear!

A while back, in "Buses" magazine, a man called Rose (surname rather than given!) from FWT** wrote an impassioned article extolling the virtues of his cunning plan to re-label all the bus stops in Leicester centre. fbb is not sure whether this project extended to the Station; but if it did, no-one has told Plus Bus.
The stop in question is lettered "EG" (and not RS4) but did appear to be appopriate for the five services on the PlusBus poster. And almost immediately an articulated green service 80 arrived ...
... fbb boarded and was unceremoniously turfed off with a "we only go the Charles Street" from the driver.

Oh dear!

What now? Trembling with fear, fbb tried to examine the huge frame of detailed information at the stop.
But the print was so small, the frame set so high and fbb had foolishly forgotten his stilts; meaning that reading any detail was impossible. Reflections from outside the shelter made it even worse. But there was one of those dreaded spider maps:-
Unlike Plus Bus's offering, his showed the previously identified routes (47, 80, 81, X3 and X7) as running to Charles Street and not to St Margarets.

Oh dear!

Only the X27 was shown as serving St Margarets on its way to Loughborough. So fbb decided to wait for an X27. With no timetables displayed at all, and not even a departure list, what else could be done?

It would have been a very long wait from fbb's arrival at the stop at 1425 ...
... until the only X27s (actually X27Es) departed from there at 1720 and 1730. It was a schoolday, though.

Oh dear!

An innocent fbb might well have now given up and set off to walk. Everything seemed to contrive to obfuscate and  befuddle. Certainly the people who installed these misleading (and just plain wrong) notices have not the faintest idea how utterly useless their efforts have been. What is the use of putting up lots of detailed lists with no readable guide as to how frequent the services are?

Rather than walking, fbb decided to stop being innocent and go back to relying on his knowledge. Services 47 and 48 run every 15 minutes between St Margarets bus station and South Wigston, a suburb to the south of the City.
The 47 enters the city via the station and continues to St Margarets, whilst the 48 runs in the opposite direction. This information was simply not provided at the station or the stop. Having completely failed to obtain what he needed to know in "innocent" mode, fbb can be forgiven for despairing of all parties concerned. fbb's 47 sped him to St Margarets in plenty of time for his bus Groby-wards, passing the 80 at its Charles Street terminus on the way.
Arriva, you are missing out on revenue. Tell Plusbus to get it right, then put a huge notice on the stop: "Bus 47 to St Margarets" with departure times and see the £1 fares roll in.
Note the height of the information frame with the bottom at average head height; maybe fbb should have stood on the seats? Almost certainly, no-one at Arriva will read this but, if they do, here is another question. As fbb sped his merry way to Groby, he saw this advert on the No. 28 bus.
Every 10 minutes from Groby (or is it Leicester?) to Nottingham seems a fantastic service. And only £2.50. Please send full details, so fbb can blog with boundless enthusiasm.

Oh dear! Indeed!

 **from the FWT company web site:-
But obviously not in Leicester

 Next Bus Blog : Sunday 24th Febuary 


  1. Be interested to know if you attempted to obtain any printed matter on the various operators services, particularly smaller operators/local authority material. I found it sparse on my last visit to the city, just a few hidden in one rack at the bus station. An outer library had Arriva timetables and several County maps (the Premier Inn at Oadby also had the local bus map!).

  2. Well, as I suppose I am the accused, I ought to reply to some of this.

    Firstly, no, our remit did not include the railways station, though I tried hard to make it so, but to no avail. I agree, most Plus Bus material is poorly designed and usually not well positioned for anyone to benefit from its existence.

    Secondly - poster cases (and typesizes). These are both the bane of my professional life. I have yet to find a poster case that is suited to the job. They are all too small and all let in moisture and have poor internal fixings to hold the contents in place. It should not be under-estimated how bad they all are and the effect they have on every reader.

    They are commonly fitted too high, and sometimes too low. Outside London they are the domain of the shelter manufacturers. They are not designed for purpose but to tick a box as having been provided.

    If the commentator above had read some of my other articles in Buses magazine then a more reasoned piece of writing may have emanated from him. I have stated myself that poster cases are the principal cause of type that is ridiculously too small for the job and it is long overdue (decades in fact) that we move forward and actually provide information, in the right places, and at sizes that can be read.

    My job is all but impossible. I am presented with these cases to work within and the volume of content ends up too small. If I leave enough out I could make the remainder much bigger, but then I will be criticized adversely for misleading people by omitting most of the facts.

    The industry needs to wake up to all this. I am banging the drum as loudly as I can from within, so please don't bash at mine. It is worth checking the facts before shooting the messenger.

    Doug Rose