Tuesday 19 September 2017

Late Leaflets : Problematic Presentation (2)

Surprisingly Shrunken Stagecoach
Nationally, Stagecoach do not have a standard leaflet design but sizes are usually A6 or ⅓ A4. Unless the design is pictorial, the normal colour is blue.
It therefore came as a surprise to see that Perth had emulated Aberdeen in South Yorkshire and even Chesterfield. For the September 3rd changes the pervading colour is orange, and the size is ½ A6 (is that A7?).

But, compared with First's adequate but less than ideal productions, the Stagecoach offering is poor.

We can, perhaps, overlook a few howlers, like service 86 going from Chapeltown to Sheffield via Penistone.
If you geography is week, here is a map.
But the maps, only on some leaflets, are really useless. Here is that for the 86.
The "map" shows Woodseats, Ecclesfield and Grenoside, not served by the 86; and the road names are so small as to be completely illegible. First's maps have many errors, but they are readable and, at a pinch, give some guidance as to where and what is happening. Stagecoach maps are unusable.

First Bus has fare tables on most leaflets. Stagecoach simply has details of Day, Week and Month tickets with a feeble "single fares from £1.20".
fbb wonders how far along the 86 you might get for £1.20.

What does "up to every 30 minutes" mean? On the 86 it means "buses run every 30 minutes for very brief periods of time, so catch them if you can." 
Spot the 30 minute pattern ONLY between 1345 and 1415.

The leaflet for the new Sheffield2Barnsley service ...
... is equally basic with a useless map. Is this what Stagecoach mean by a service that is "promoted"? - demoted, more like.

Then why do bus companies specialise in confusing their passengers? The notwork (spelling mistake intentional) of services between Chesterfield, Killamarsh and Sheffield is hugely complex as the company tries to maintain some sort of evening service with the minimum of buses possible.
This mans that FIVE route numbers are needed to define TWO bus services.

Chesterfield - Spinkhill - Killamarsh - Sheffield
Chesterfield - Eckington - Killamarsh

But thanks to serving bits of other routes from Chesterfield in the evening, and trying to wiggle economically round the hinterland of Killamarsh, this is what appears, all on one table, in the leaflet.
Remember the timetable compilers mantra, "you can either be comprehensive OR comprehensible, never both."

Here, above all, you need a map. But there isn't one. Even fbb is not sure whether his GoTimetable maps really solve the problem. 71 and 72 ...
... are separated from 70; not ideal, but it gives the passenger a chance.
Maybe it is just impossible to explain such a convoluted collection of route numbers and routes. Regular passengers will get to know their way round the "network" and occasional travellers will ask someone - or simply go by car.

But if Stagecoach wants to attract more passengers, this is definitely NOT the way to do it.

Still missing from the oeuvre of the two key "partnership" providers is anything in print for the various joint services. Absolutely nothing.

Amazingly, a leaflet for Stagecoach's very own 88 has yet to materialise and this route has a radical timetable change on a Saturday.

Much of this very weak publicity has appeared up to a fortnight after the timetables have changed. Leaflets for some of the services from Chesterfield have only just made it all the way to Sheffield (wow, what an achievement!) and, as we have seen, the quality of presentation throughout is poor.

Beyond belief.

Marks out of 10?

First Bus, 7

Stagecoach, 3

Could do better - MUST do better if they want passengers to stick with them.
A Superb Deal from
Great Western Railway
Think about it! Book between 10th and 29th September, then go back in time to travel before 9th September.
Tardis Travel from First Group.
 Next Derby blog : Wednesday 20th September 


  1. Stagecoach Yorkshire was already using the A7 format. Certainly timetables issued in April for Barnsley routes were to the same style as illustrated above.

  2. Just going to say this: this isn't a trait of Stagecoach everywhere. In Oxfordshire we just had a mass of service changes, leaflets were out weeks before the changes and the maps are super! The actual timetables are simple to remember too, which is very helpful.

  3. The Stagecoach 86 is a bizarre timetable with a roughly 30 minute frequency having different minutes past each hour for every hour. Surely a simpler timetable could have been devised?