Wednesday, 17 October 2018

A New-ish Glasgow Map (1)

In 2010 Strathclyde PTE produced a good network map.
It showed all operators, colour coded by operating company but, as a comprehensive production, it took considerable effort to read and understand it.

It is no longer produced, meaning that there is now no map of all Glasgow's bus routes available anywhere, not even on line.

Poor effort SPT - surely you could manage to keep one updated on the internet?

First Bus is to be commended for this offering ...
... designed to be a "broad brush guide" mainly for those seeking sporting and tourist venues. It was part of a goody bag from the launch of the new buses for roite 75.

Sensibly, it does not try to show every route, but merely those that are frequent and of most use to tourists who may want to go somewhere specific. Apparently only a minority of Glasgow's tourists are like fbb and enjoy a bus ride for its own sake!

It is a crude simplification with sharp angles and little attempt at true geography.
The red text upper left does, sort of, hint that these are the frequent services ...
... and here are venues for the European Championships which happened back in August with the bus routes that serve(d) them. In case you wondered, First Bus were not running to events that took place in Berlin!

Surely ALL First Bus routes run "from" every ten minutes?

At bottom right we have a selection of "tourist venues" ...
... but this time without their bus routes.

Significant locations are illustrated by stylised pictograms dotted about the map.
Fortunately they were all identified by a text label which begs the question "why clutter that map with pictures?"

The orange sausages show additional sporting sites and are quite hard to read.
fbb found that he needed to use his phone camera as a magnifier. 

The only bit of plain countryside that gets a mention in the "Top Attractions" list is Pollok Country Park ...
... but it is just plain "Pollok Park" on the map. Sorry about the grease stains.

To avoid a bash with a Glasgow Screwdriver, fbb should also mention that Kelvingrove Park and Glasgow Green are mentioned in association with the buildings that stand thereupon.

Breahead and Silverburn shopping centres are shown on the map, presumably because buses terminate there, but fbb is amused that Toryglen ASDA gets its own big black blob.
It doesn't look particularly noteworthy.
It is, however, right next door to the Regional Football Centre ...
... which doesn't appear on the map.

The final "useful thing" on this map is a standard First Bus diagram of the centre of Glasgow.
There is a list of bus routes in route number order, each accompanied by the lettered stops which it serves.

fbb find these maps frustrating to use, often getting lost and having to turn back to the route number list. But there is really no simple way of doing anything better. Showing all the routes, each colour coded, would be impossible. Likewise, putting actual route numbers next to each stop would lead to an incomprehensible mess.

The problem could be mitigated by providing a detailed city centre route map for every bus service.
First Bristol does an excellent job of adding City Centre enlargements to its leaflet route maps. 

But, minor details aside, this has been a good idea from the folk at Glasgow. If you would like visitors and newcomers to use your buses, you need to try and make it as easy as possible.

Tomorrow we will examine the map in more detail to see how well it does its job.

 Next Glasgow Map blog : Thursday 18th October 


  1. Andrew Kleissner17 October 2018 at 11:16

    We went to Glasgow a year ago and found bus travel very perplexing to work out. Indeed we stood at one stop for about 20 minutes before a Community Bus came along, stopped, and the driver informed us, "No buses come up here" before giving us a lift! And this was in the city centre.

    Now I have a good idea of how things work ... so what about Joe (or, perhaps, Hamish) Public?

  2. It looks like the computer has finally shown its dislike of being called a "confuser" and declined to show us today's blog.

    Technology One : FBB Nil