Thursday 16 October 2014

An Open Letter to the Minister [2]

fbb Investigates
Mrs Guddle, see yesterday's blog (read again), wants to travel from Chesterfield (bottom left) to Norwood (top right) on a weekday evening after 1900. This should be a pitifully simple journey to discover as it involves a straightforward single leg bus route from New Beetwell Street ...
... or Cavendish Street (Chesterfield) to the roundabout at Mansfield Road Norwood.
Indeed, the xephos journey planner, although out of date and officially closed, shows exactly the journey that Mrs Guddle should take.
But our fictional Derbyshire dame did not get this answer from her supposed son's search via Google Transit, one of the services that has brought about the end of Transport Direct.

There are three on-line sites that provide journey plans for Mrs Guddle's trip. What is particularly worrying is that they all offer different selection of times and answers. Here is the enquiry from Google Transit ...
... which caused yesterdays grief. The entry at "B" reads Norwood Roundabout etc. We saw some of the unsatisfactory replies yesterday, but suffice it to say NONE of the options is correct.
Journeys via Sheffield by train and National Express would never be used in practice. Walking for nearly half an hour to Killamarsh from the X5 at Wales is equally ridiculous ...
... and the correct through 70A bus never gets to the desired destination!

 Traveline Yorkshire responds to a similar enquiry ...
... with a different set of answers.
The rail journeys within these answers are all East Midlands Trains, whereas Transit finds more Crosscountry services. Crazy! We are offered the unusable National Express service 310 pre-book coach again. None of the 70A journey is correct, just like Transit above.

Try Traveline East Midlands ...
... and we get a slightly different mix again.
click to enlarge above graphic

But East Midlanbs journey planner only finds Cross Country trains and ignores its namesake. But we do seem to get two zero changes journeys at a time, 1938 and 2038.
Two buses to Norwood at the same time. Of course not.

One is our old friend "get off at Killamarsh and walk" schedule. WRONG!
Transit made us walk for 16 minutes; Traveline expects us to walk one minute faster.

But the other 1938 departure takes us all the way to Norwood.

Oddly the bus has suddenly become low floor!

But didn't fbb promise that he would investigate WHY answers were (a) daft and now, additionally, (b) different? Any why is the East Midlands Traveline site the only one that gets it RIGHT?

We will tackle these tough questions, plus a consideration of the ontological argument for God, in tomorrow's blog.

Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences.

On second thoughts, as the God debate is really very straightforward, we will concentrate on the ontology of buses between Chesterfield and Norwood.

Surely, there is a very simple explanation.

Isn't there?

 Next bus blog : Friday 17th October 


  1. Another interesting blog – and I look forward to all being revealed tomorrow ! However, I am puzzled as to why you think that the National Express options provided by Google Maps and Traveline Yorkshire are unusable. I have checked out times and fares for a return journey between Chesterfield and Sheffield this evening and for an adult fare-payer National Express provides the cheapest option, with a handy departure from Chesterfield at 1905 returning from Sheffield at 2245. Including the £1 booking fee and £0.50 charge for sending the ticket to a mobile phone the fares are £3.00 single and £4.50 return – and they would be even cheaper booking in advance. These compare with rail fares of £4.90 off-peak single and £5.00 off-peak return and Stagecoach East Midlands fares on 43 etc. of £3.30 single and £5.80 for an Explorer - which seems to offer the best deal for a day return. So in terms of price, National Express wins hands down, although I suspect timekeeping (especially towards the end of northbound journeys) may not be so good.
    Whether in reality anyone would actually use National Express for such a journey is another matter (I certainly wouldn’t) but the times and fares are advertised and it would seem perverse not to include NatEx times if they provide the most appropriate journey option. All the Traveline systems make it very clear that booking in advance is required and provide the website and phone number.

  2. Do you REALLY think Mrs Guddle (or any "normal" passenger) could cope with that. How would she find a national express fare anyway? What are the office hours for Chesterfield?

  3. If Mrs Guddle is a "silver surfer", she would presumably use the National Express website to find the fare; otherwise she could call 08717 81 81 78 and ask. But even if she didn't want to do either of these, why should either Traveline or Google Maps exclude National Express options just because some, or even most, people find booking too complex ?

  4. Mrs Guddle is going from Chesterfield to Norwood, a direct bus ride. It is just pain daft to offer her travel via Sheffield. Tomorrows blog continues the investigation.

  5. This is only true if you know you are talking to Mrs Guddle and understand her priorities. If I was in Chesterfield just before 7pm and needed to get back to Norwood as soon as possible I would certainly travel via Sheffield on the1903 train and then bus 71A - as it would get me home 19 minutes earlier than waiting for the 70A from Chesterfield at 1941. Why is this daft ?