Wednesday, 29 July 2015

And That Other Journey Planner [1]

Better Answers than Stagecoach
And It Isn't Traveline - Or Is It?

Journey planner
Please enter your starting point and destination below
to get started.
Entering "Seaton" pulls up an extensive list ...
Which is encouraging. (And apologies for the pink bits; the web page highlights where the mouse pointer is - even when you don't want to point.)

The icons are unexplained but, the majority seem to have a symbol with means "bus service" with a small number with something which MIGHT mean bus and train** and just one with a little walking man. So there you ave to walk! A neat idea which would be better if it were explained and of the icons were clearer.

Stagecoach insisted on a 27 minute walk to Beer ...
... but from today's investigated Journey Planner [JP] we get something quite different. 
The 899 is Auntie Frances' Axe Valley service 899, and the X53 is, of course, First Bus.

So who provide this all-operators JP?
Steps back in amazement! The national all-operators (including rail) JP is on the new-look First Bus web sites, currently in operation in Aberdeen, Manchester and Bristol.

For Sheffield, for example, First shows its own journeys on service 120 (Crimicar Lane - Hallamshire Hospital City - Crystal Peaks) but also the overlapping Stagecoach 120 (Hallamshire Hospital - City - Crystal Paks - Halfway)
The above snippet is for an enquiry for a journey from the Hospital to Barsley which uses the train service.

The "front end" is credited on the enquiry page:-

Nominatim Search Courtesy of MapQuest

MapQuest is an American free online web mapping service owned by AOL. The company was founded in 1967 as Cartographic Services, a division of R.R. Donnelley & Sons in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1969. When it became an independent company in 1994, it was renamed GeoSystems Global Corporation. MapQuest was acquired in 2000 by America Online, Inc. Company headquarters are in Denver, Colorado with a second office in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

But it looks as if the data is pure Traveline; and unthinkingly not edited at that. Here is part of the above Sheffield enquiry.

Number 120 Bus Departs from Glossop Road
Adj Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Western Bank
at 10:21

Well, is it Glossop Road or Western Bank? The Hallamshire Hospital is nowhere near Western Bank but the traavline data mis-managers have to have a "locality", so have invented one which is actually nothing more than a road name.
Hospital, bottom left
Western Bank (labelled A57), top right 

Number 120 Bus Arrives at Charles Street Cs3 (Cs3),
Arundel Gate, O/S Sainsburys, Sheffield Centre

By the same lack of logic Charles Street Cs3 (Cs3), Arundel Gate, O/S Sainsburys in NOT, in a month of Sundays "Sheffield Centre". Here is the distinctive facade of Sainsburys with a 120 departing. 
If you must have a "locality", this is Moorhead but "Arundel Gate Charles Street" makes sense without the clutter. Clicking on a journey leg does bring up a map (click thereupon for a better size) ...
... which helps with "Sheffield Centre to Sheffield" with the word "Station" confusingly absent from the latter; but you have to click experimentally - it doesn't tell you.

** If it does mean "bus and train", fbb would love to find out about the train service from Seaton which last ran in 1966!!
Ditto Seaton Kent and Seaton Cumbria? Perhaps fbb has misunderstood the distinctive icon?

More excitement from First tomorrow.
Transport of the Future?
An interetsing development In Cambridge
A group of "experts" has designed a rocket engine for a typical punt on the River Cam. It is powered by nitrous oxide (appropriately known as "laughing gas" and Chelsea Buns.
And it isn't even April 1st.
 Next JP blog : Thursday 30th July 


  1. I suspect the icons are train station, town/village, bus stop & locality with no public transport.

  2. I'm intrigued to know where Seaton in Kent is!

  3. A short walk from Wickhambreaux, on Stagecoach East Kent route 11 (well, one of them).