Thursday 16 February 2017

Too Much Clutter : Going to Lutter ... (1)

... Worth. But It's All On-Line
There always used to be a convention that timetables showed destinations in geographical order; a journey from Leicester to Lutterworth, for example, would start at Leicester and finish at Lutterworth. So, why are there two "St Margarets Bus Station" lines on the above; ditto two "Cosby Victoria Park" entries.

And is Dunton Bassett  suburb of Lutterworth served on some sort of loop? The Arriva on-line timetable might be confusing at first glance, but, with great care and patience, it is possible to sort it out.

Also available from Arriva's site is a PDF timetable.
From this we can immediately see that service 84 leaves from St Margarets Bus Station whereas service 85 leaves fro the Bus Station at St Margarets. Some 84s call at Cosby Victory Park whereas one 84 every hour terminates at the other Victoria Park at Cosby.

Somewhere in Lutterworth we might find Dunton Bassett, perhaps a suburb and there, again is the Broughton Astley that you can get to after Lutterworth.

Can the confused passenger ever get to Morrisons?
Yes, but only at 0744 on Schooldays!
Note that the delights of Townsend Close in Broughton Astley ...
... can only be reached at 0720 but with the special bonus of being able to go there in the evenings.
Maybe the buses turn in this driveway, or perhaps pull on to the lawn on the left?
Traveline has another go at these apparently illogical and complex services.
Again we have one Broughton Astley before Lutterworth and one after Lutterworth; but Countesthorpe and South Wigston might appear to be further away than Lutterworth.

Is this really the best that Arriva and Traveline can do?

We need to get our heads round the geography of the real world rather than the distorted version enjoyed by Arriva and Traveline. Think A426 (red road) between Leicester and Lutterworth.
Fork left at Blaby, turn left for Countesthorpe and return northbound to South Wigston; and that's the 85.

If you are an 84, go via Blaby, cross the A426 and run via Whetstone, then across to Cosby and Broughton Astley; returning to the A426 via Dunton Bassett.
From then onwards to Luterworth, the road is very rural indeed and you will see only the occasional farm. In practice the 84s run non stop to the outskirts of Luttlerworth.

Now, perhaps, we can make sense of the PDF timetable from the Arriva site. Here it is again.
And it is really simple.
Buses run every ten minutes between Leicester and Blaby; with 85s looping back to South Wigston every 20 minutes. Three buses continue via various bits of Whetstone to Cosby Victory Park.
And there is only one Victory Park in Cosby! These are 84s.
From there, the remaining two of the original ten minute frequency trundle on to Lutterworth spaced inconveniently at 20 and 40 minutes apart. Here is the George Street stop ...
... which appears to be the terminus. Oddly it is on the northern edge of the town centre and there appears to be more of the amenities further ahead. There is Barclays Bank and that essential of all urban life, Dominos Pizza shop.
You would have though that Arriva's 84 would at least serve these stops. To press home the point there is also a rather splendid Town Hall dating from 1836.
Curiouser and curiouser.

fbb will attempt to resolve these problems tomorrow. Last year in summer Arriva bought some shiny new branded buses for the service.
It's a pity that it is such hard work to discover where they go!

More work needed on Lutterworth and Broughton Astley.

 Next Arriva blog : Friday 17th February 


  1. Presumably the two St Margarets Bus Stations that are listed are because the 84 runs from a different (neighbouring) stand to the 85, though it would be clearer if they showed the stand numbers.

    George Street isn't an illogical timing point (don't want to spoil your next blog with more details of how Arriva have managed to make this unclear) as it has a lay-by to wait time at which the High Street stop by the Barclays doesn't have and the Barclays basically marks the southern edge of the town centre (& whenever I have waited there for a bus the passing foot traffic is negligible) as the George Street stop marks the northern edge. The main supermarket (Morrisons) & Library are to the right in the view of George Street behind the petrol station whilst most of the shops are between the two bus stops you mention, about equidistant from either but George Street means a slight downhill stroll whilst the High Street is a slightly steeper uphill trek. Plus, if you were terminating, George Street is next to the town centre gyratory that would allow the bus to turn and reach the Morrisons stop (which is the return northbound stop) whereas the High Street/Barclays stop would require the bus to run out to the roundabout on the by-pass to turn round.

  2. The Traveline extract is just sloppy editing of the merged services. I believe they use the same Mentz software we use in South West so to create a timetable containing more than one service there is a process known as compositing (automatic). First you create the timetable for the 84 in the normal way and additionally point it to an alias number 84-Z then create 85 and point that also to the alias number 84-Z. The you open up the route code 84-Z and import the stops and trips from 84, then you repeat by importing the stops and trips from 85. The importing of the 85 will recognise stops common with the 84 and use them, then will add any new stops at the end of the list. This then creates the timetable as shown. Whilst the composite timetable 84-Z cannot be edited to change journeys, these have to be done in the original 84 and 85 timetables, it is possible to edit the stop sequence to be more sensible. In this case it needs all the stops south of Blaby towards Counteshorpe and South Wigston to be dragged up and placed below the last common stop in Blaby then the timetable will look the same as the Arriva one.
    Ken Traveline Dorset

  3. Thanks, Ken. I prefer to "cut and paste" in a simple CSV file. And I would bet a shiny penny that it would take less time than you describe for the "automatic" system. Assuming that the operators can prod their expensive software into outputting something as simple, universal and easy to manage as a CSV file!!