Friday 18 March 2016

The Big Fight : Round Two

Publish And Be Damned Cheered

One morning in December 1824, the Duke of Wellington received an unpleasant letter. 'My Lord Duke,' it began, 'in Harriette Wilson's Memoirs, which I am about to publish, are various anecdotes of Your Grace which it would be most desirable to withhold, at least such is my opinion. I have stopped the Press for the moment, but as the publication will take place next week, little delay can necessarily take place.'

The letter, signed by one Joseph Stockdale, a pornographer and scandal-monger, was a naked attempt at blackmail. The Duke's response is famous: 'Publish and be damned.'
Round Two of the big fight between national bus business big boy Stagecoach and minor minnow T M Travel concerns printed material. The two contenders, together with First Bus are members of the Sheffield Bus Partnership, a cunning ruse to circumvent the competition legislation by getting the PTE to sponsor "new working arrangement" for the benfit of the people of Sheffield".

This has been achieved by cutting services and reorganising routes so that no-one really understood what was happening. Siunce the big change shambles last November, printed material has generally been late and inadequate.

For last months changes to the changes to put right the mistakes in the changes, printed leaflets were hard tyo come by before the due date of 2nd February. That's because, with a few exceptions, there wasn't any!

When stuff did appear the golden rule was, "Make everything inconsistent" with several different styles of presentation. First Bus produced mini-guides for their services leavinh Stagecoach to propote the joint "partnership" routes with attractive leaflets in a seductive cyan shade.
As an aside, the leaflet illustrated above actually admitts that route 88 goes to Bents Green.
There must have been some mistake (see yesterday's blog")! Pale blue on white is hardly a good colour combination for those with sighted disabilities; and it doesn't photograph well.

Like First Bus (also see yesterday's blog), Stagecoach service 1 runs to Batemoor. It says so on the buses.
But there is no mention on the printed timetable.
Getting to Batemoor is a Stagecoach secret. And there's more. On some days buses run to Meadohead, not Jordanthorpe.
fbb challenges Stagecoach management to explain in simple terms what this panel means.
Just savour the gross illiteracy of the text and the sheer incompetence if the company's attempts to explain what happens.

For the record, buses run every 6 minutes from High Green via City to Hemsworth then every 12 minute to Herdings (First Bus 1A) and every 12 minutes to Batemoor (Stagecoach 1). 

Or try a similar panel for route 120.
And this is meant to endear "The Partnership" to the Sheffield public; and even more scarily, to encourage them to travel by bus.

Stagecoach "nul points"!

So what have tiny T M Travel done to publicise their part of the partnership?
For our younger readers who may not recognise it, this is a timetable book. It is a piece of often abandoned technology that doesn't need batteries, it doesn't need a good signal or on-board wifi. You don't have to charge it and there is no contract.

On Monday fbb will report on a live test of this radical new tech device, but for the time being let us take a look inside.
After a cheery chatty welcome we can flick through everything that T M Travel runs in Sheffield.
Branding, as used on the service 30 buses, is replicated where appropriate and colour is used sensitively to help the user find his way around.

A superb production in every way. And it is FREE!

There is just one niggle.
When fbb collected his copy from Sheffield, TM Travel has announced changed to their Sunday timetable on
Service 218; a return to last summer's half hourly frequency.
It would be expensive to reprint the whole book; will there be a self adhesive amendment? Better stuck in than losing a loose one!

But what a contrast with the poor quality stuff put out by the big boys.

A knock-out win for T M Travel.

 Next train battle blog : Saturday 19th March 

1 comment:

  1. Oh look at the last picture!
    There's been a quick Stenning makeover on the Stagecoach contestant....