Sunday 25 January 2015

Exciting Expedition to Exmouth

A Robust Riposte to Recent Remonstrations
fbb came in for a bit of stick last week. Following his (usual?) rant about poor information from Traveline, one comment writer suggested ...
... gainful employment. Open to all offers Mr. Anonymous, but within a few precious days of a 70th birthday, not much hope! More thoughtful from RC169, a regular writer of considered opinion, who proffered ...
... a challenge to fbb's arrogance about bus stop timetables. Point taken in part, kind sir; but ...

By pure co-incidence, your chubby blogger (maybe less so after a few weeks on the 5/2 diet craze) set off with Mrs in motor to visit Exmouth. Activity is a good antidote to hunger pangs and Friday was a 600 calorie day!
Breakfast : nothing more till a light evening meal!

Exmouth is mostly Stagecoach-land but bus stop publicity seems to be in the purview of Devon County Council. Good information is important in central Exmouth because, although most routes stop on The Parade, some cunning little buses, e.g. service 357 to Budleigh Salterton,  start from the "bus station" turn right and call at Rolle Street round the corner. Potentially baffling?
Bus Station? Is this the least used bus station in the country?
It is used only by Stagecoach routes that terminate in the town. East Devon District Council is aiming to replace it with a supertore.

But, to help the potential passenger, Devon County Council has provided a bus stop map at every central stop ...
... and letter stop poles to match the map.
Additionally there are proper timetables showing the whole route from the stop in question.
This example, of course, only shows evening and summer Sunday 357 journeys which do leave from stop A; it is the Monday to Saturday daytime service that starts from the bus station. It would be better if that confusion were unravelled by a note, but at least the information for that stop is complete and correct.

The only thing missing from stops at the Parade is a network map in each shelter. 

fbb observed happenings omnibological for 30 minutes from 1230 to 1300 and can report that all buses including Stagecoach inter-urban routes ...
... and assorted local links (Dartline 7, Country Bus 97 and Stagecoach 98) were all pleasantly loaded, in and out.
As fbb observed, he spotted a bicycle with decidedly flat tyres.
fbb could not refuse such an invitation.
This delighful little shop has been trading for five years.
It did not carry the vast range of stock that you might expect in a larger town but the owner/salesman was friendly and helpful. "We've just has a big delivery of second-hand stuff," he enthused. "Just ask and I'll check the price for you."
fbb was sorely tempted by a J94 saddle tank in LNER all-black livery for £40 (top row, left of the green tender) but resisted temptation this time! fbb will be back.
A full sized J94

Back to the buses. So there are places which make a better attempt to inform the public; but sadly the Devon County bus stop service is not consistent and not always available. In Seaton, for example, there is good, full information at the sea front terminus stops but on Underfleet (still a "busy" town centre stop) only Stagecoach route 52A is advertised (by Stagecoach!).

No First X53, no Axe Valley, no Seaton locals and even no Stagecoach 20.
But there are two flags, telling you nothing.

But it can be done. And it should be done!

 Next bus blog : Monday 26th January 


  1. I would not dispute that, where there are several bus stops serving one (interchange) point, then information about which bus goes from which stop is relevant for the user at the bus stop. One could reasonably expect to find a similar notice in a bus station, detailing the stands, and which services use each one.

    Reverting to the timetable information displayed at bus stops, it is also important to bear in mind that this will be in a fixed position at a height that will inevitably not be convenient for every passenger. Bear in mind also that the user may be trying to read the information in darkness, or semi-darkness - and it is by no means guaranteed that the adjacent street lights will be in an optimum position! Thus there are good arguments for having as little text as possible, at the largest size possible.

    As I mentioned previously, most German operators use lists of departures, together with a diagram showing the running times to the remaining stops on the route (or, at least, the principal stops). There are, naturally, dishonourable exceptions - for example, the B├╝rgerbus (Community bus) in Bad Krozingen, a small town about 15km south of Freiburg. Here, the full timetable (for the specific route) is displayed at stops. Taking route 1 as an example (see, there are 11 journeys on Mondays-Fridays, all of which serve the same stops (21 timing points) - so that the timetable display at the stops shows a total of 231 times, but only 11 are actually the departures from that stop. Pity the passenger with poor eyesight trying to find the departure time of the next bus in the semi-darkness on an early evening in winter!

    There is further scope for confusion in that the bus would appear to be in three different places at once at 8 minutes past each hour, but that's another story - and a not unusual feature of German timetables!

  2. Would you like me to lapdance for you?