Monday, 23 September 2019

At The Bus Stop (1)

On their Royal Progress via Sheffield, Leicester, Solhull and Sutton Coldfield, the fbb's used quite a lot of Public Transport. The old man clocked up 10 trains, 22 buses and 2 trams; Mrs fbb significantly less buses and 1 tram but all the trains! In recent weeks our Northampton correspondent has sent a selection of pictures taken of information frames at bus stops and an article in the current edition of Buses magazine covers the same subject.
The headline summarises the gist of the article. Those of our readers who are "vintage" will remember standard rural bus stops (if any were provided at all!) which were very basic.
Or you might have been given the name of the operator ...
... which was of very little help. Many stop poles and shelters had timetable "frames" which gave additional information, sometimes even a timetable as here in days gone by in London.
On Tuesday last fbb and Mrs fbb took a round trip from the city centre to Bakewell, courtesy of T M Travel. The company had added its route brand to the standard offerings from Travel South Yorkshire ...
... as here at the entrance to departure area "D". Similar signs were applied to the windows at the stand. Of course your author had researched the trip, but without much concern for detail at the buses were every 30 minutes, a frequency that applies seven days a week in the "summer" season.

The fbb intended to travel out via Chatsworth House, not to visit, but just to look, have a cuppa in Bakewell and return direct.

Although planned roughly, there was no rush and no great desire to stick to any particular schedule.

So to stand D3.
Aha! Hulleys were running a service 218 to Baslow; fbb wondered when that started.
A large A3 panel told him that there were "minor" changed for Hulley's 218, but fbb was not interested as it did not go the Chatsworth or Bakewell.

T M Travel's service 218 ran via Chatsworth to Bakewell.

Hang on a bit, mused fbb, wasn't it once every hour via Chatsworth and every hour direct?

What does the timetable say?

Of course there isn't one, but there is a clear and tidy departure list.
Yep, a half hourly service from T M Travel and all via Chatsworth.

What about Hulley's? There is a 1244 to Bakewll but that is service 275 and fbb is interested in the 218. But there, at the bottom of the list is Hulleys 218, just one journey going to Bakewell.
Bakewell? The line diagram says Baslow.
A map, a map, my kingdom for a map.

Of course there isn't one ...
... but Baslow and Bakewell are most definitely different places.

Can we double check the actual; timetable?

Of course there isn't one but (altogether now) IT'S ALL ON LINE.

So fbb poked and prodded his phone to take a gander at the full timetable. The next 218 had shown no signs of appearing, so it would pass the time!
Definitely only runs to Baslow, leaving at 1915; and,apparently it follows a different route in Totley and goes to a different place in Baslow.


And while we are looking, it would appear that NOT all 218s go via Chatsworth, despite what the line diagram shows and the departure list implies.
Srill no sign of the expected 218, so worth a double check with Derbyshire, usually more reliable than Travel South Yorkshire (TSY).
It is British Summer Time so TSY's departure at 1915 IS correct until then end of November, but what is INcorrect is the suggestion that the route of Hulley's 218 is different. It is going back to its shed for the night but otherwiise is exactly the same as T M Travel's route

At the beginning of the day there is another oddity at Stand D3. The 0730 is different on schooldays?
In fact the only difference in timing is that, on schooldays, this particular 218 runs through Bakewell to Lady Manners School ...

... but both journeys follow a different route between Baslow and Bakewell, namely via Calver and Hassop as as shown in this Derbyshire network map.
This revised route is shown in the Derbyshire timetable but ignored by TSY.
Realistically it will make very little difference to passengers through from Sheffield, but a map and a correct timetable might avoid a bit of passenger panic as the bus shoots "off piste".

Incidentally fbb and the Mrs returned to Sheffield on the afternoon bus from Lady Manners and it was packed with gibbering schoolkids, gibbering loudly but happily.

And what do we make of this times for the single journey on service 275?
fbb can reveal that the has no commonality with the 218. It is part of a group of routes running via Ladybower reservoirs with most journeys continuing to Castleton. Sheffield is off stage top right.
Of course, the 275 SHOULD leave from the same stand as the 273 and 274. An even better reason for NOT showing it with the 218 is that there is a second journey via this route to Bakewell.
The 1027 service 273 morphs into a 275 at Yorkshire Bridge, but, because it leaves Sheffield as a 273, it leaves from a different stand and figures on a different TSY display.

How very helpful!

As and aside, the journey planners make you wait TWO HOURS at Yorkshire Bridge Inn ...
... two joyous hours after you have watched your 273 continue without a break to Bakewell as a 275. Isn't technology wonderful. And journey planners are so-o-o-o reliable?

There will be some of our readers (who usually sign themselves as "Anonymous") who will accuse fbb of being "picky" - BUT ...

How much better would be the display if, instead of an inaccurate and misleading (remember no guide as to buses via Chatsworth) list of departures, there were enlarged copies of the full timetable.

There is plenty of room in the frame.

And a map would be the icing on the cake.

Does anywhere do any better?


P.S. Clever bus watchers and avid timetable students may like to explain WHY Hulleys are running a 1915 (1900 in the winter season) from Sheffield to Baslow.

 Next At The Bus Stop blog : Tuesday 24th September 


  1. At a guess, and because Hulley's are based in Baslow, this is a "garage" journey which might as well see if there's any passengers to pick up and so earn a few bob?

  2. PS Hulleys have a service 273 terminating at Sheffield at 1911 (in BST) and a 274 at 1858 (GMT) so this is clearly the return trip to base. Hulley's timetables are displayed very clearly ... on their webpage!

  3. I think that TSY may, by accident, be more accurate than FBB thinks but in a misleading manner. From memory all 218s serve Chatsworth but it alternates before or after Bakewell (it is effectively a loop) and the TM drivers seem to treat it as such. It would appear from the timings that if you caught a direct one and got off at Chatsworth on the return you would still arrive before the following journey, just. It would still be useful if the departure list was clearer as customers may prefer to wait half an hour and save 20-mins sat on the bus during which they could take advantage of the facilities in Sheffield.

    The only excuse for the 275 being on the 218 stand would be a departure clash on the 273 stand but you wouldn't have thought Sheffield Interchange was that busy they could solve that better than how it has so cynicism probably wins.

  4. TSY's information on the 218 is even more ludicrous on all stops after the interchange: it has this footnote - "Important notes regarding Mon-Fri departures. Operates a revised timetable during school holidays. For more information call Traveline on 01709 515151". I wonder how many people waste time and money calling that number to discover departures times (whichis all you are given anyway) are exactly the same during holidays, just that the 0730 doesn't continue to Lady Manners School. Might be more useful to point out that the 0730 (on all days) takes a different route from all other departures!