Thursday 6 October 2016

APPalling ; The Only Word (2)

The New Stagecoach Bus App Explored ...
... after a fashion; and with apologies for poor quality illustrations. If you were "with us" yesterday, you will know that Stagecoach makes it very difficult to use the App and "blocks" screen shots, possibly to prevent forgery of M-tickets which the App doesn't sell!

To avoid this nonsense, First Bus has a separate M-ticket App. How very sensible. Ditto Arriva.
And you don't need to log in, have a password or sign a declaration of undying and self-sacrificial loyalty to Mr Fearnley to use their "normal" bus App.  How very sensible. Ditto Arriva.
Despite Stagecoach's desire to keep its bus services a closely guarded secret, fbb had persevered and went off so see what the App had to offer. But first, of course, he had to enter his incorrect e-mail address and very silly password.
The "home" screen looks a bit like this.


This is the standard Stagecoach journey planner which only allows journeys by Stagecoach services; a particularly daft and unhelpful idea. So for fbb, innocently looking for a journey between Seaton and Axminster, he is offered circuitous routes; a typical daftie being shown here.
Bus 9A to Sidford, bus 9 to Honiton and bus 4 to Axminster. The direct, and sensible, bus would be Axe Valley's 885 ...
... taking just over 30 minutes; a slight improvement over two hours 40 minutes with Stagecoach, (Times shown above on the GoTimetable Seaton App).

Even the detailed instructions from Stagecoach are laughable.
Thanks to the helpful advice that the bus number changes from 4 to 4 at Axminster station and that you can remain on a through bus for the two stops hop into the town. And please don't tell fbb about split registrations and Department for Roads "advice".

It is daft. It is confusing for the passenger. It is utterly unnecessary.

As is the Stagecoach Journey Planner.


Here you are invited to type in a bus route number and up comes a list. But a list with a twist.

It will only come up with a list of services in your "registered" home area.
A few problems here:-

 Problem 1  The route 9 does not go the Seaton; so the first two in the list are misleading.

 Problem 2  There is only ONE route 9 in Barnstaple, not three.

 Problem 3  The Barnstaple 9s don't go anywhere near Seaton, fbb's "enforced" location

 Problem 4  The 9A runs from Exeter to Lyme Regis

 Problem 5  Pedantically (perhaps) where is the X9?

Apart from these Stagecoach defined trivialities (!) the list is really helpful.

But, we may have found some buses from Seaton, so let's tap on "Exeter - Seaton or Honiton."
In case our reader cannot read the note at the top, or, having read it, does not really believe it is there, fbb will print it out in large red letters.

You need to be close
to the bus route
to see the times

The 9A (Exeter to Seaton and Lyme Regis) is fbb's local route; indeed it passes the chubby one's front door. It is hard to be closer than that.

But Stagecoach will not tell fbb the times.

Utterly unbelievable.

As is the whole of this Stagecoach App.

But, there is a slight hope. When fbb seeks the 9A, which, as we all know, is absolutely NOTHING to do with the 9A (or, inaccurately, the 9) between Exeter and Seaton; he is, oh joy of all joys, allowed to know the times.
A few problems here.

 Problem 1  Boshill Cross is not, by any stretch of anybody's imagination, a sensible stop for folk wanting to get to Colyford. Colyford is seen pictured below, according to Stagecoach.
Here are the bus stops according to Google Maps.
And here are those stops on the ground, as it were.
Or aren't!

 Problem 2  Westhayes Caravan Site is not, by any stretch of anybody's imagination, at Combpyne.
Westhayes is at the top of the hill; Combpyne is well hidden down in a deep valley. Omit "Combpyne" for common sense.

Combpyne used to have a railway station on the branch line between Axminster and Lyme Regis.
IT wasn't at Combpyne either!

 Problem 3  There is no garage at Rousdon.
There was one, once. It closed about three years ago (?). No rush to keep up, Stagecoach. How about "Rousdon Bakery" ...
... which occupies part of the former garage premises.

It would be better if the App relied less on some remote database and gave information which was (a) useful and (b) accurate.

More on the App tomorrow.

 Next Brian and Bob blog : Friday 7th October 


  1. If you are using the Stagecoach app to plan a journey, why would you expecting to see other operators services?

  2. I would never use a single operator journey planner because you cannot plan a journey reliably unless (as usual) you already knew the answer.

  3. If I use the First Bus App I get ALL operators' services with First's highlighted with a miniature version of their logo.
    Very sensible.

  4. Hmm... I must try and find FBB's Supermarket Experience blog, where he complains that Tesco doesn't give details for Waitrose's products...

    Sorry to use the same analogy, but that is, when boiled down, what we are talking about here. If you want a national journey planner, use traveline. Or, do what most people who don't know of the existence of journey planners do:
    (apologies for the slightly sarcastic website, but it makes the point) - we have to bear in mind that public transport illiterati will know what journey planner to use, or even what company operates their bus (surely the local council...?).

    If Stagecoach puts it in its app, Stagecoach has to update it. Stagecoach has to put in disclaimers about other people's data. Stagecoach gets all the complaints from people without the wherewithal to notice it isn't a Stagecoach service they are complaining about.

    And out of interest... if screenshots could be taken, would there be praise for having everything together, as supposed to two separate apps?

    1. that should of course say "public transport illiterati will *not* know what journey planner to use"

  5. What Naptan area would you class the caravan site in then?

  6. Although fbb does have certain bees in his bonnet (don't we all?) he makes valid points. Why is it that we often have to know the answer in order to ask the question?
    Why do we need a list of apparently identical routes?
    Why is information so hard to get, in whatever format?

  7. If mobile tickets are available in your area, you'll get a green banner displayed on the screen. The app does sell them - presumably they're just not available in Devon yet.

    Has fbb looked at the help pages (and numerous FAQs) on the website?