Monday 9 September 2019

All On-Line (Episode 286½)

Mayhem in Manchester (1)
fbb has been known, on rare occasions, to be critical of Travel South Yorkshire (TSY) - the withered publicity arm of the Passenger Transport Executive. It used to produce timetable leaflets for every bus service in the county and, usually, they were available between one and two weeks prior to any changes.

It now produces nothing in print, leaving it to the bus companies who, as the blog has reported on numerous occasions, are, on a good day, useless.

But at least you can find on-line timetables in a similar (and printable) format to former leaflets.

The TSY home page, this time, has a huge banner directing you to the "official", but often incorrect" list of timetable changes from September 1st ...
... offering the same content as the printed booklet which was generally available for about a week before the dire date of doom and destruction.
The on-line list links direct to the changed timetables. fbb THINKS this is the first time a block of changes has been well announced on the home page.

If you want to examine or download any particular timetable. you can do a bit of click-looking and ...
... "timetable finder" takes you to a search box into which you can type a route number or a location. 
The definition of "location" is mysterious; but it appears to be using the route description from the timetable leaflets.
TSY says that it is the collection of "Stopping points" which it most definitely isn't. One former TSY employee suggested (hopefully) that it might be a list of roads which have bus stops on them, plus a smattering of District names - mostly in the wrong order. But it is sustainably created by the TSY deep throat confuser, so it must be correct.

But "Timetable search results" will get you to a timetable, or selection thereof, IF you know the route number or IF you happen to hit on a prescribed location.

So, with many uncertainties, you can find a timetable on the TSY site.

And so to Manchester.

fbb was doing a bit of research to augment his snippet about Diamond Bus North West and knows that the "sitz im leben" for transport in the city is known as Transport for Greater Manchester - of TfGM for short.
The home page of the their web site cheerily tells you it is ...
... and offers encouragement in a limited way.
Part of the "adventure" of tram travel is headlined ...
... but what fbb wanted was a timetable for a sample route now operated by Diamond, but previously by First Bus. His aim was to contrast and compare PTE presentation with that of the bus operator. But no sign of a simple "timetables" search.
There always USED to be a clearly labelled "Timetable Library" where copies of TfGM's printed timetables were indexed in route number order and were all available to download and print.

The main "headings" did not mention anything as useful as a timetable ...
... with "Plan a Journey" and "Ways to Travel" being the only likely clicks on offer. "Plan a Journey" seemed interesting ...
... as it showed a purple blob at fbb mansions alonside journey planning boxes.
Could fbb plan a journey from home to somewhere in Greater Manchester?
Surprisingly, no!

From Sheffield?

Surprisingly, yes!

So it looks like it was accessing Great Manchester bus data plus the National Rail stuff. The 1624 departure looked odd ...
... and was EXCEEDINGLY odd, proving, as always, that you simply cannot trust journey planners! Likewise cycle all the way takes 4 hours 24 min whereas cycle and tram takes one hour longer - you simply can't trust them slow and uncomfortable horse driven tramcars!

You do really need timetables; and fbb was struggling to find Diamond North West's service 2 in amongst the TfGM clutter.

That struggle may reach a conclusion in tomorrow's blog.

Where Do Our Buses Go?
Whist you are waiting, a couple of Sheffield Changes snaps from Roy's album ...
... and another 10A with a bigger "A".
First, and minor, problem is that TSY and the "Partnership" a k a Buses for Sheffield have adopted a policy of lower case "a" for "A" routes.
No matter, Powells are not part of the club! (Yet!).

But even Powell's (based at Hellaby in Rotherham and run by Hackney Community Transport) really ought to know that their buses run via


and not


While looking at Powells, their web site (Its All On-line - of course) is still showing the X7 timetable from March 2018.
The times changed earlier on in 2019 but have never appeared for public viewing. More importantly, the times changed again from 2nd September.

Rather significantly!
The service now runs peak only, "peak flow" Monday to Friday only.

But Powell's want you to stand all day by the roadside in futile and unfulfilled hope.

Yep, It's All On-Line.

 Next hunt-the-timetable blog : Tuesday 10th September 



    Found within 30 seconds and it took 3 clicks from the TfGM homepage. More mountains out of molehills.

  2. "3 clicks away" is unacceptable for such important information.

    Even Google can't find a TGFM timetables page if you search for something like "Manchester bus timetables", which says a lot.

    It does, though, find a link to a "bus routes" page which lists all individual routes with their own pages, each of which has a downloadable PDF timetable.

    There is a "timetables" search page as per the link above, found either via "Plan my journey or "Ways to travel > Travel by bus: Journey planning", but the tables it displays are vast and unwieldy scrollable ones where you can easily lose track of the rows and columns you're trying to stay in.

    The PDF timetables, being copies of the printed leaflets, are much easier to use, so it's no wonder that Google prefers to direct you to those instead.

  3. I've looked for a printed hard copy of this blog but can't seem to find one anywhere.

    I hope it's not just "all on line".......

  4. Sometimes FBB starts from the wrong place. How would the average passenger look for a bus timetable? I very much doubt they'd go to TfGM.

    So, trying to think like the average bus passenger, I went to Google and asked for "Bolton bus 2" and the first response was TfGM's timetable page. Likewise asking for "Bolton to Eccles bus" Google offers its journey planner response, and then TfGM's page.

    But lets assume I've seen the bus and want to know when it runs, so I Googled "Diamond bus", which lets be honest is pretty vague. Four clicks gets me the 2 timetable, but not bad when the request was so vague.

    But that simplicity isn't really line with FBB's constant moaning.

  5. Re Anonybus

    ""3 clicks away" is unacceptable for such important information"

    I actually don't think three clicks is too bad considering the scope of everything covered by the TfGM, but perhaps we'll have to disagree on that.

    I agree with your comments on the formatting of the timetables, but that wasn't FBB's complaint.

    You're comments re Google are apt - as anonymous points out this is probably the way most normal people look for such information. I think this has been pointed out ad infinitum to FBB over the years. Sometimes it seems he tries to find ways to not find information, just to prove a point...

  6. [should be] *your comments on Google - oh for an edit button!