Tuesday, 19 May 2015

And the BAFTA Goes to ...

First Kernow.
This prestigious award, designed by Mitzi Cunliffe to emphasise the one-eyed confusion of a typcally befuddled bus user, is awarded by the Council of BAFTA  (The Bus Advisors Farcical Timetable Awards) to the worst presentation of a piece of Public Transport information.

This year's award is for the presentation of ex Western Greyhound service 556/557 ...
... now numbered 56 from 24th May. It is for a route that links Newquay and Padstow.
In fact it is two quite distinct routes with common sections. One runs via St Mawgan, St Eval and Treburrick numbered 56 whilst the other serves Trevarrion, Trenanoe and Carnewas and, to help the visitor, is numbered 56. The two legs used to have different numbers, even after First took over, but, to make matters more confusing, First decided to use only one.

Let's now look at the timetable in detail. Here's half of it ...
... and here's the rest. The 1200 departure from Newquay is repeated as a point of reference.
Note that route 56 serves Treburrick Village ...
... not that there is much of a village! But route 56 doesn't. Nearby "Old Macdonalds Farm" is served by both route 56 and route 56.
Its all very straighforward.

Anyway, back to the timetable. It has 14 journeys of which 10 are non standard. The oddities are shaded according to days of operation.
And don't forget the orange dot! Note also the distinctive shades of green used for three different dated services and the ease with which pale red and pale purple can be differentiated. This really is unsatisfactory for a partially sighted person; even fbb finds the colours difficult in certain lighting conditions.

Even if the colours worked (which they don't) the complications of the timetable are beyond the intellectual abilities of even the most experienced omnibologist. First Bus have been challenged about this and their response is feeble. "We need to save space to get everything into our new network timetable book."

Tosh. Or at least partial tosh. The ludicrously complex timetable needs two pages (⅓ A4) for each direction; one for timetable and one for notes. So how about two timetable pages with the notes alongside? Still two pages each way but less mess! (click on timetable to enlarge it)
And we have even got rid of the orange dot!

Or, even better, print the timetable book on A5 pages, then the service will fit neatly on one page for each direction.

Or, even more betterer, redesign the timetable to remove some of the mess at source. Be a lot less mean and run the whole enhanced timetable from May 24th to the end of August. Financially things would, perhaps, be a bit grim for five weeks in June but a simple presentation might actually attract a few extra customers. Now that would be a bit revolutionary for First.

And while you are at it, First, let's have two route numbers and two colours on the route map. Then the extra potential passengers might, as an added bonus, be able to work out where they are going.

Now, dear reader, of you are still awake (possibly) and if you have followed all this (unlikely) turn to Traveline and you will find ...
... the 1505 from Newquay school holiday version with different times; the schoolday version with different times and route (via Constantine Bay!) and the bit of the journey from the same place at 1659 shown twice.

Time for those tranquilisers again.
There is more Cornwall to consider; but we take a break tomorrow to say goodbye to yet another failed bus company, not too far from fbb mansions.

 Next bus blog : Wednesday 20th May 


  1. It's clear from the First timetable that the 0700 and 0845 Ex Newquay journeys operate on Saturdays - but not on your version. Back to the drawing board?!

    1. Also the 1030 runs on Mondays to Fridays

    2. There are journeys at 1000 and 1100 from Newquay on Monday to Friday, NOT at 1030.

  2. Another error by FBB. Western Greyhound service 557 operated between Padstow and St Columb Major (for connections to and from Truro) and was suspended following the Summercourt depot fire in May 2013 - the service was never reinstated. All Western Greyhound buses between Newquay and Padstow were numbered 556, irrespective of the routing!

  3. Thank you for those corrections. Maybe it just shows how confusing First's presentation is. And which version is right? First's printed/on-line or Traveline which feeds various journey planners. It's not just me that is confused!

  4. 1. The First Kernow local bus guide for Newquay, which most people will use, has separate Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday/Public Holiday timetables for service 56, which are easy to understand.
    2. Your timetable omits the mid-season journeys from Newquay at 1000 and 1100 on Monday to Friday and also omits the 1505 on both mid-season and peak-season Sundays.
    3. I suspect that Traveline is wrong as I would not expect First to produce a timetable with the bus arriving at and departing from Padstow at 1635.

  5. 1. So where is the easy-to-understand on-line version?
    2. More confusion?
    3. But Traveline's version was created by First?

  6. FBB does not provide any objective and sustainable criticisms of the outputs of either Traveline (as it does not use his Xephos software) or First Kernow (who rejected his proposals for revised timetable formats). The main purpose of this blog now appears to be to make repeated unjustified criticisms of organisations which are not prepared to conform to the eccentric views of FBB.

  7. On a positive note....for the first time ever since the merger of the 1 and the 4 into the 1/1A nearly 30 years ago the timetable shows that both Porthcurno and Sennen are served on most journeys by staying on the bus at Lands End, and that eg, you can catch a bus from Porthcurno to Penzance both direct and via Lands End. Hooray!

  8. I thought FBB had been appointed special timetable advisor to First in Kernow land and had access to the great and good(?) now running this slice of the empire?
    Is the honeymoon period for the chubby one now well and truly over?
    Was he paid for his advice which appears to have been promptly ignored?
    What was the point of the special advisor appointment if they are not prepared to listen to FBB?

  9. I agree with FBB that the First version is not easy to understand. His version is close to what some other companies would do. Having a 56 and 56A or 57 would be even better.
    Just because FBB is / has been asked to advise doesn't mean that the person ultimately responsible for timetable production will take any notice. Just ask any transport consultant about being paid to give advise which is ignored.