Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Sheffield First Hand : At The Interchanges (C)

Yesterday we saw failings in

Passenger information diplays
Service and stand finder
Information kiosks

So now we look at Information at the stand.

Back in the days of fbb's youth, there was a fighting chance that you local bus company would post a timetable in a frame at the stop. You could confirm your journey, find out whn you would arrive at your destination and sometimes even pre-plan your return journey.
Now we have lists of departure times and (perhaps) a journey time guide to enable us to "do the math"! We often make mistakes.

Some time ago, fbb railed against the Travel South Yorkshire version of such a list, whereby services were all mixed together and listed in tome order. Not only is that less than satisfactory, but the lads at TSY towers also mixed up all the day' timetable as well.

fbb is pleased to say that things have improved at some Interchange stands. Not a lot; but at least days are separated out as here on the 7/8 stand on Platform A as here with the Monday to Friday times.
The modest improvement is spoiled a tad by the fact that none of these buses runs to Waterthorpe.
They terminate at Crystal Peaks shopping centre. This noble and enticing edifice (yawn!) ...
... may be administratively part of Waterthorpe "township" but by no stretch of anyone's imagination except South Yorkshire PTE's do these buses go to "Waterthorpe"


But over at Hillsborough Interchange, things are, as usual, pretty useless. 
At some stops it is back to the bad old days but legible, whereas at others, things are not only daft but visually challenging. Because every journey is shown, things are near illegible for (effectively) all services passing by on the main drag into town.
And again we have day sets all mixed up.
To add to the fun, service 52, the route of which is identical to 52a cross-city as far as Handsworth, leaves from a different stop.

Another slight positive here. When fbb called in on Thursday last, the closed enquiry office was open.
Apparently this "volte-face" is only temporary until we all get used to the new routes, then the doors will be, once again, bolted and barred.

"Self service" will be all that is available; and the best of luck to all who sail in her!

Just a concluding word about maps. There aren't any on display at any interchange or bus stop!

Paper maps have been available since about a week before the momentous change on November 1st and, for a while, these were available on some buses on a pot-luck self service basis. "Ay-oop, luv, we've run out."

But at certain city centre stops you can "enjoy" the PTE's "spider" maps. This craze, started by Transport for London, works on the dubious basis of treating a bus network like and Underground train service.

It doesn't work - especially if the maps are drawn by an idiot. Harry Beck's iconic London Underground map did, at least, pay some respect to geographical truth, even if geographical size were abandoned. But in Sheffield the terrifyingly useless spiders do neither.

Here is the arachnid from the Snig Hill city terminus.
And in case you were thinking of going, the 86 (above left) doesn't go to Nether Edge or Beauchief and the 88 (bottom right) runs to Bents Green, the same place as the 83. Self service is bad service!

And here is the fbb version which might just tell you something useful.
Further comment is unnecessary but, when the "it's too expensive to do it manually" brigade start spouting, the map by an unskilled stubby fingered fbb took just 45 minutes to create.

So, not only has the partnership palpably failed to publicise their changes adequately in print, but what is "out there on the streets" brings the systemic inaccuracy of the PTE's publicity machine (?) ...
... into the mix to compound the befuddlement.
Action This Day?
Possibly Not - It's Politicians!

Bosses at Sheffield Bus Partnership – which includes Sheffield Council officials, bus operators and the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive – will meet to look at ‘passenger feedback’ and ‘performance data’ in order to agree possible improvements to the new network.

Coun Terry Fox, the council’s cabinet member for environment and transport and vice-chairman of the Sheffield City Region Transport Committee, called for the meeting.

He said: “While teething problems and an increased number of comments are expected when changes of this scale are made, I have called this meeting to ensure the partnership is doing all it can to improve journeys for passengers, by reviewing the feedback we have received and putting improvements in place where possible, as soon as practical.”

The bus partnership claimed the changes would make it easier and cheaper for people to get around, with new discounted tickets also introduced.

More than 5,000 people have signed a petition urgently calling for them to be reversed.

 Next bus blog (& quiz answers) : Thursday 19th Nov 


  1. A huge disadvantage of just displaying a standard timetable at the roadside is that it doesn't tell you where you are on the service. In the first illustration, there are only six places where an accurate departure is on display. The rest have to be guessed. But where departure lists are used, they are usually tailored to that very stop. It is possible to compromise between the two (Perth & Kinross Council used timetables that started at that stop) but it is - as with any stop-specific display - time consuming.

  2. When I worked in the traffic office of Leicester City Transport 30+ years ago we made up individual stop displays in the office referenced to a card index and underlined the timing point for that stop. Very few mistakes. Two men with a van took on average a week or less to do the lot. Also of course no computers!!.

  3. Thank you Clive. My general impression is the new "sustainable" technology takes longer that your Leicester style. My abortive attempt to "assist" First in Cornwall foundered in part on the perceived time it would have taken to "process the data". Sheffield PTE use contractors for bus stop posting, hence an extra potential for bludners!