Friday 22 February 2019

A First Class First Creation (2)

Roger French (former boss of Brighton and Hove buses) wrote recently about how important it is to have a good network map if you want to encourage new passengers. As an example, he cited that displayed at Yarmouth, Isle of  Wight.
There is another one under the canopy at Ryde Bus Station ...
... and a more details version with tourist sites added is available on line and in the excellent timetable book.
First's superb timetable book for Portmouth, Gosport and Fareham is well provided with cartographic information. Here is an extract from the Portsmouth area map ...
... sadly lacking any reference (however slight!) to Stagecoach. First's longer distance network via Waterlooville gets its own clear and concise guide to the various routes available.
Gosport and Fareham are provided with a map showing both.
Then in this feast of printed delight, we have plans of town centre stops and bus station stands.
But,as Chris Tarrant was wont to say on "Millionaire", "we don't (just) was to give you that".

Each timetable is accompanied by a geographical map for the route.
Clutching the timetable book to your bosom it would we easy to flick over the pages and work out that the E1 would take you to Priddy's Hard ...
... for the grim but fascinating "Explosion" museum. Less terrifying is the ice rink and indoor pool, an E2 destination but not far from the E1!
With a six minute frequency on the combined routes, you can always be tempted to take the bus - it is so  easy!
If fbb lived a little nearer he would happily hop on a train to Fareham and pick up his super-duper Eclipse bus for the ride.
The stop is a subway away from the station exit.
There is even a map for the inter-urban X4 (from Portsmouth) and X5 (from Gosport) to Southampton - less detailed, understandably, but relatively easy to follow.
Services to Whiteley Shopping "Village" have never been a great success for bus operators.
But the web site does provide a link to First's meagre offering ...
... with the book offering printed meagre ...
... and a well designed map.
Sadly, it is upside down on First's web site but does show that, if you are brave, you could interchange with the train at Swanwick station ...
... IF you can spot the stop!

Things are by no means perfect in First Bus land (no fares info in the booklet, for example) but, moans aside ...
... the timetable is an excellent advert for the company's sadly slightly reduced network and, unlike on line "facilities" it encourages the potential passenger to browse.

From there it is but a short step to consider a small safari and, bingo, more passengers for Uncle Giles.

A web site is far less easy to use, and is far less likely to encourage exploration rather that simply looking up times for a journey you already know is possible.

All we need now is for the two Portsmouth Operators to realise they are competing, not with each other, but with the motor car,  and then come together to offer a really comprehensive guide.

Why not?

No 3 son has sent another of his puzzle pictures which will form at least part of tomorrow's blog.

 Next Basel (plus) blog : Saturday 23rd February 


  1. Great looking booklet. Can someone confirm where copies can be picked up on our next visit to the area (I think the First Travel Offices have all been closed?).

    Have seen reference elsewhere to a recent Portsmouth public transport map produced by the City Council.

  2. Cardiff Bus are making changes (=cuts) to many of their services soon. Details including full timetables have just been posted on their website:

    "We are making some changes to our services from Sunday 31 March 2019, as listed in the table below. To view the new timetables, please click the links shown in the table."

    But please note: "Printed timetable books will be available from our customer service desk in Central Library or from Sloper Road nearer the time."

  3. The Hard Interchange still has a travel shop