Wednesday 29 January 2014

Buzzing off to Bradford [5]

See also "Buzzing off to Bradford [4]" (read again)

It was No Fuss by Bus (almost!)

The fbbs were the only funeral guests to have arrived by public transport. Their plan to return by public transport was  partially thwarted (in a nice way) by their long-time Sheffield friends who invited them to stay at their home for Monday night. Other family guests had driven (day return) from Welwyn Garden City, Luton, Reading and Preston. One cousin even drove from Plymouth but stayed overnight on the Sunday; leaving the "baked meats" early to drive all the way back on Monday evening. Quelle horreur!

fbb had calculated that a 1250 or 1300 departure (from Bradford Interchange) on Transdev Keighley & District's Shuttle 662 would allow plenty of time to totter down the driveway to the Crematorium. This was all confirmed with reference to an on-line version of the leaflet ...
... and a check with West Yorkshire Metro's route map. Google Streetview even provided a picture of stop and approaching bus!
The car on the left is just coming out of the drive to the chapel.

So first, a spot of lunch. At the foot of the steps from the station barriers (unmanned and open, of course) was ...
... and ideal refreshment facility with a tempting advert:-
What could be better; bacon roll and mug of tea for a modest £2. Except you couldn't have it! You could have had it up to 11am but not thereafter as clearly explained on the poster, NOT! All was (not very) clarified by a much smaller poster for "our breakfast menu" with a minuscule note saying "until 11am." Poor; and especially so as Mrs fbb had to go back and rejoin the queue to obtain the chicken sarnies.

Disappointing but delicious.

On this bottom and cavernous level were free toilets (Sheffield; a bladder straining 20p!) ...
... an excellent enquiry office ...
...and a small but beautifully formed WHSmith.
There was also a departure screen, a duplicate of the one in the bus station up above.
Now here's a theoretical question. Assuming that the enquiry office was closed ...
... how would fbb find out which bus to catch to get him to Nab Wood Crematorium? There was no large scale version of the W Y Metro map displayed (at least fbb couldn't find one) nor were there any timetables or route descriptions at stands or in a central display. Not everyone can cope with on-line public transport enquiries and many will object to paying significant sums of money to call Traveline.

Fortunately he knew that the 662 passed by and there, on the departure screen was a 662 leaving from stand Y.

If the potential traveller had done his (extensive) homework; i.e. he knew what to look for, then getting from Axminster to Nab Wood Crematorium was reasonably achievable; but for a non-expert, not so cosy. There were good reasons for some of the family to come by car but fbb would bet his pension that not one of them even considered catching a train.

Public transport simply ain't easy. Infomation simply ain't good enough.

IF an unwary potential passenger had asked on-line Traveline this is the first answer on the list for a journey from Sheffield to Nab Wood arriving by 1330; fbb's requirement.
How would an average passenger respond to this advice? Of course it's loony; of course it's useless; of course ...

... it's Traveline.

So the fbb's are in the right place and ready for the right bus but there is still time to take escalator, stairs or lift up to the the bus departure area and have a look round.
And before commentators rush to advise, fbb is well aware that there is a 760 bus every 30 minutes from Leeds to Nab Wood; BUT Leodensian interchange (or should that be Loiner Interchange?) is more difficult and a half hour frequency is less forgiving if anything goes wrong.

One final question:-
Alternative to what? Or, even worse, how do you become an alternative male? Please send answers (with a fiver) to the usual address.
so now we know! ...
 ... what those green First Bus buses are. There was a non-launch on Monday.
Well, the web site happened and it looks very "GoAhead", but with apples.
Your intrepid blogger understands that there will be an "official" launch when enough of the fleet is re-liveried. The web site is (here).

It wouldn't have been designed by "Best Impressions" by any chance? It is ever so very difficult to tell!

Hang on. Is it "Buses of Somerset" or "Taunton" ...
... also with apples?
Nice paint job, isn't it?
 Next bus blog : Thursday 30th January 


  1. Nice looking livery and website, but...
    - too much reliance on PDFs instead of pages and images
    - the usual lack of detailed fares information
    - day tickets look overpriced when compared to multi-day tickets

  2. The fare structure used to force people into buying a day ticket when they wanted a return. In the new fare structure, as explained on the website, there is now a maximum £7.50 return fare, which is between any two point even where a change of buses is required. The next stage of the fare review will see a network wide fare chart and a simplification of single and return fares, which will then be simple enough to communicate on the website. There was indeed no launch. The introduction of the new brand was an element of the introduction of better communication - a new comprehensive timetable booklet, maps and timetable displays in Taunton, the new website, and other actions. The whole Buses if Somerset project is an ongoing process of improvement. It isn't a lick of paint on the buses to paper over the weaknesses of the current operation. A launch would have suggested that we had done what we had to do. We haven't - far from it, we have only just started. So no buns and cakes yet, but maybe as we reach a few of our milestones in the future, and mark successes rather than launches!

  3. I don't understand this objection to PDFs - I love them! You can take them with you and they're usually graphically designed by a real person! I use an iPad - maybe it depends on the device.

  4. Thanks Anonymous. I shall miss the tea and buns! I will trek to Taunton to have a look ar he new look next week; doubtless bloggification will follow. I do agree, however, with Anonybus (top) that £10 for a day travel is too high to attract most casual passengers. £7.50 (i.e.maximum return fare) would be better and is unlikely to lose revenue.

    1. Probably to do with concessionary fares and how day tickets affect the average fare calculation. Better for operators to sell returns than day tickets. Another madness created by ridiculous concessionary fares reimbursement rules.

  5. That should read "look at the new look"

    1. And very welcome you are. If you come and say hello we may manage to find some buns! and tell you what we've still got planned but haven't got around to yet.

  6. Last time I was at Bradford, beside the door to the travel centre a laminated copy of the local area map thing was stuck up.

  7. I would have said from your experience that the information supplied by methods within the operators control was pretty good (not perfect and still room for improvement but in an on-line offering the bus industry is pretty good as long as you can keep them away from Traveline, rail is slightly different as it is difficult to find timetables rather than journey planners that are really just trying to sell you tickets for a journey you aren't sure about taking) and that anyone who just set off for somewhere without at least checking there was a service and what it was needs their head examined. West Yorkshire is in fact particularly good for off-line customer enquiries as each bus station has a staffed enquiry office, all the large operators have telephone enquiry lines whose numbers are advertised in the relevant printed publicity and WY PTE, Metro, have their own line - the Metroline number is not Traveline and is on a local Leeds number (so less expensive than the 0844 Traveline number) before you have to resort to Traveline. Yes, the bus stop information supplied by Metro in West Yorkshire is particularly unhelpful in confirming the route to passengers but then I wouldn't expect something like a crematorium to appear on most bus maps, timetable timing points or list of points served anyway.

    Traveline is pretty much useless, unfortunately it is largely out of the industries control to influence improvements. In most parts of the country the operators don't even have access to check whether the base data it is working from is correct, the south-west region used to do so and the number of errors I found when checking for an operator in that area doesn't give me any confidence in the accuracy of the base data in Traveline in the rest of the country where such checking is not possible.

  8. Interesting to see how the First name has been dropped from public view here in Taunton. From what I can see it's even more invisible than the miniscule mention of the operating company on Southampton's red buses operating as The Three.

    Is this the start of a trend, where we will now be discouraged from mentioning the F word, after all the effort over years past to promote a company that was Transforming Travel ?

  9. This is some price hike. A FirstDay South West is £7 and valid on First throughout the region. The new max return fare is more than that without the wide validity and the £10 day ticket is only valid on the Somerset network, not the whole of First in the South West. I like the imagery but it is a huge price hike for farepayers. Are these buses only for pensioners now?

  10. There is ticket inter availability with the two neighbouring parts of First. What we don't know is what proportion of customer journeys are made by customers who want a day ticket (as opposed to those who simply buy one because it is cheaper than a return), or who make cross operator journeys. To suggest that buses are only for pensioners because of a rise in the price of a ticket which you don't know the usage numbers of is somewhat presumptive. Like all parts of First, and indeed other bus operators, Buses of Somerset is a business. It's no secret that it hasn't been among the most viable of such UK bus businesses. The changes are the first of a series of measures that will have been carefully thought out and which are therefore designed to make the business profitable and give it a long term future. The fares are presumably those that the management believes will make the business a financial success, not a set of fares that will please everyone!