Wednesday 13 March 2013

Consternation at Carlton Colville [4]

Panic over? It's an out-of-date article!
fbb has been ferreting around as a result of an article in "Buses" magazine in which author Ted Relton congratulates Suffolk County Council on their excellent stop-specific timetable information. Unfortunately he wrote his article back in November 2012 and things changed quite a bit in January 2013. 

In very simple terms, after service on Saturday 9th January Anglian bus withdrew their 603 which was in direct competition with First's 103.
Incidentally, fbb discovered this by emailing Anglian on a Saturday morning and receiving a near-instant reply complete with PDF of the withdrawn service. Have a gold star, Anglian!  So the stop-specific timetable is OK then?

Absolutely not! Even if the raw data were correct and up-to-date, the whole concept of this panel is seriously flawed.

From Carlton Colville, the 103 (now relegated to evenings and Sundays only) follows exactly the same route as the fully withdrawn 603. So here is the route diagram of the 103 ...
... and the route diagram of the identical 603.
Even allowing for poor quality reproduction via the illustration in "Buses", it doesn't take much perspicacity to spot that they are totally different. That's because Anglian and First have a different set of names on their timetables. So Suffolk's top-rate stop specific information simply reproduces the confusion. How helpful ISN'T that?

Suffolk's coal fired computer system can't cope with loops (there's a surpise!) which is why there is that unexplained "by-pass" line via Harrop Dale and Nidderdale. These stops are in the same place as "Deepdale". 
the junction of Nidderdale and Deepdale
How confusing is that?

Then, of course, we could question the X22 jouneys in different directions but on the same departure list at the same stop specific location.
How does the potential passenger work out which one is which? How misleading is that?

fbb has also emailed Suffolk County Council for a copy of the current panel for this particular stop. The email was sent on Saturday 2nd March.

But there is a piece of technology that overcomes all these problems; it uses simple hardware (scissors) and easily adapted soft-ish ware (a printed timetable) and a dayglo yellow felt tip pen. Using this revolutionary "timetable" idea, the passenger at Secrets Corner can see where his buses go and when and from which stop. As a bonus they can find out what time their bus will arrive at their chosen destination without resorting to challenging mental arithmetic. They can also check on return journeys. There might even be room to add a "map" as well; possibly one which didn't mislead or confuse.

paragraph from the "Buses" article

fbb's offering (for the current batch of timetables) is available to download and print out as an A4 page (here). It would need to be A3 size for display at the bus stop.

fbb has also emailed Suffolk County Council for a copy of the current panel for this particular stop. The email was sent on Saturday 2nd March and a copy of the correct and up-to-date was helpfully received on Monday 4th. Thank you Suffolk.
It is much better, being up-to-date, but still given an inadequate route for the 103 which runs via Pakefield and is thus very different from its daytime X22 equivalent. There is still a mystery with the 558 which shows a route very different from Suffolk's own on-line timetable. And fbb cannot find an 881 anywhere else but on this panel. [but see P.S. below] As it only runs on for one stop past Secrets Corner, including it, if it exits, is somewhat pointless. Sadly, however, the full panel is dated 11th February a whole month after the services were re-oganised. Tough luck if you were waiting at Secrets Corner for the daytime 103 or 603 in the intervening days!
881, a P.S.
Back in February, First employee Des Speed received an award from Giles Fearnley for 37 years of service. Des is also a bit of a bus enthusiast, hence the timetable for the prestigious X1 and a calendar produced by the progenitors of the X1 blog. Yes, a blog all about just one bus route, wow like esoterics-ville, man!
Anyway, Des has kindly sent fbb couple of pics of a real live 881 at its Carlton Colville terminus ...
... where it changes, like Cinderella's pumpkin, in preparation for a trip on Des's beloved X1.
And, now we know that it exists and that it is operated by First, fbb can find the timetable.
So thanks, Des!

And do have a look at the X1 blog (here).
But, thankfully for their sanity (and possibly that of their readers!), the X1 bloggers don't blog every day.

 Next Bus Blog : Thursday 14th March 


  1. Is there somewhere online where your excellent timetables and maps are available in one place?

  2. Did anyone notice the relevance of the bus picture below Des & Mr Fearnley?

    W435CWX, new of course to Yorkshire Coastliner, part of Blazefield, previously part-owned by Mr Fearnley!

  3. I think it's rather unlikely that the 'by-pass' line on the 103 map missing Harrop Dale and Nidderdale has anything to do with loops.

    The remaining evening 103 omits the detour along the length of Deepdale, and so does not pass either Harrop Dale or Nidderdale along the way. Hence they are not shown on the current map. It seems likely that the erstwhile daytime 103 DID make the diversion along Deepdale and that the 'bypass' simply represents the fact that the evening 103 bypassed these stops (and still does). Incidentally, they are now served by the daytime only 104 which doesn't venture any further into Carlton Colville.

  4. Thank you NMcB. I was not aware of the detail of the 103. Even so the existence of an unexplained "by pass" line on the map is still unhelpful. Such a variation could, of course, be clearly shown on a proper timetable.

  5. Just wondering. Do you feel better for dragging Ted Relton's name through the mud for the last four articles?