Thursday 2 April 2020

Life And The Limits Of Lockdown (3)

Farewell Megabus
In case you cannot read the small print, helpfully rendered in white on yellow ...
... it tells of the cessation of ALL Megabus routes in England and Wales. Some will remain in Scotland where they provide more of an epress bus service between the larger communities.

Working Together?
Thanks to a correspondent for this about the Competition and Marketing Authority.
King of you, young sir, to attribute this change to fbb's blog. But not really - the big cheeses of the industry have been in heated debate for a good while to bring this about.

Well done all purveyors of common sense.

And So Back To The Heathrow Project
A while back, Heathrow Airport produced an excellent map of all bus routes serving all terminals. It WAS very good and it IS buried deep in the Airport's web site. But it is now so out-of-date as to be almost useless.

There are Transport for London bus spider maps of Heathrow Central (Terminals 2 and 3) and for Heathrow North; i.e. buses passing along the Bath Road and not venturing in to the Central bus station.

An extract shows what you get for your money.
The main wodge of services travelling north from the central bus station are those that use the famous tunnel under the north runway as a means of escape.
It was built to gain access to the new Queeens Building area opened by (guess who?) in 1955. The spider map shows the A10 and the X26 as avoiding the tunnel  which they don't - there is no other means of egress** unless you are a plane taking off.

The X140 is also non stop through and somewhat beyond the tunnel but, presumably to avoid redrawing the map, this follows its predecessor the all-stops 140 but with a series of tiny notes.
The other big problem with Heathrow Spider maps is that only services which Transport for London "owns" are included; so, for the Central map, no mention of 555 and 724. For these you need to recourse to Surrey ...
... and Arriva.
Sometimes, however NOBODY provides a map.

And there is no Terminal 5 spider. Are there any TfL buses that venture all the way out there? Of course there are.

But, if you want geographical information, you may struggle. fbb has just purchased a recent version of the Collins London Street Atlas, a superb publication. (£12 because it is one edition "old".)
Once upon a time you could use the Transport for London South West "Quadrant" map, one of four covering the whole of the area inside the M25 plus a few bits outside. Alas these have been abandoned despite their usefulness and popularity.

On being asked in 2017 about their withdrawal, the London Mayor replied:-

Transport for London (TfL) has not stopped publishing these bus maps ...

Oh yes they have!

... but they have been redesigned to include more information and be more user-friendly.  They are now called the Travel Options leaflets and include a local Legible London map, bus routes and other transport options. 

A completely different concept!

Seven different Travel Options leaflets are now available for Hammersmith, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Stratford, North Greenwich, Victoria and Euston. They can be picked up at Bus Stations and Visitor Information Centres (VICs).

TfL still provides the Central London Bus map, which is very popular with visitors and is available online or at VICs in paper format. TfL is also trialling an improved local area bus map in Barkingside.

Oh no they don't!

There are various versions of the Quadrant maps on-line but they are significantly our-of-date.
But all is not lost. The TfL web site does offer "bus maps" ...
... where you can access Spider maps and the not-very helpful "Key Bus Routes in Central London".
There's one of these on the page ...
... but it just sits there without doing anything useful. fbb guesses that each dot is a bus stop.

However, if you type a route number into the box ...
you get this:-
It is a full list of stopd on each route plus a button labelled "Map view".

Here is part of the "map view" for the X26. It is based on the Google "overlay" system ...
... and can be enlarged. Blow it up hugeley and those dots appear - not much use on the X26 as it doesn't stop a most of them as it is "limited stop"!

Sometimes really weird things happen. Here is the 111 near Kingston upon Thames ...
... with some journeys avoiding Hampton Court and bursting straight across Bushy Park. Other strike out for an independent trip to the backwoods of Teddington - neither option featuring in any timetable.

The 285, also in the environs of Kingston, is equally potty - some buses have to ford the Thames.
So, if fbb's GoTimetable Heathrow project is to come to anything like fulfillment, he is going to have to do something about maps.

Something simple will be needed to help people understand where the buses go.

** means of egress. There is a tunnel under the southern runway, but it is "airside" and thus unavailable to the public. It is sometimes called the "cargo tunnel". The bus in the photo below is conveying Heathrow staff only.

 Next Heathrow information blog : Friday 3rd April 

Short Thought

The Bible book called Deuteronomy sounds like is should be the Second "Onomy" - but it is the fifth book of the Old Testament. It is, indeed, The Second, but in the sense of a second episode all about God's Covenant and its consequences.

The word "Deuteronomy" is "eleh ha-devarim" in Hebrew, which means "these are the words." In Ancient Greek, it is "Deuteronómion" which means "second law" or a "copy of this law," signifying a re-telling of God's Covenant.

So now you know. And so did Habakkuk (remember him?), we can assume. He would be only too well aware of consequences of sticking with God's deal.

The speaker in this extract is Moses, top dog of the Exodus, but without the hefty gravestones! Just the tablets.
Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, between life and death. If you obey the commands of the Lord your God, which I give you today, if you love him, obey him, and keep all his laws, then you will prosper and become a nation of many people. The Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are about to occupy.

Remember (how could you forget?) that God's People had received "The Covenant" on Mount Sinai as they struggled to complete their escape from slavery in Egypt and settle in "The Promised Land".

Sticking to "the God deal" seems a good deal.



  1. I suspect that they have shown the X26 in the way they have because it operates non-stop from Hatton Cross and is not part of the Heathrow free travel scheme. There used to be a bus service through the southern tunnel, known as the Cargo Tunnel. From memory it was an extension of the 82, Hounslow Bus Station to Heathrow Central Bus Station. The extension was introduced with the opening of Terminal 4 as the only other way to get between the two would have been to go to Hatton Cross and change. There was no rail connection then. Changes in the security regime meant that it was no longer permitted to go "airside".

  2. I think some national express diagrams used to use the cargo tunnel as well at some point.

    1. When I was a kid (we are talking 30 years ago though) most local bus services heading south into Surrey went through the Cargo Tunnel to leave the airport. No idea when this stopped happening but it was a long time ago.

    2. The last day that LT routes ran through the cargo tunnel was on 29/09/1989, so yes a few years ago.

  3. If you are so minded, the complete working schedules for any TfL route can be found and analysed here:

  4. Andrew Kleissner2 April 2020 at 11:07

    Just to clarify about Megabus: they are still running up to and including next Sunday, but not afterwards. As it happened I had to nip out yesterday (yes, it was an essential journey as we had a leak under our kitchen sink and I needed to get a plumbing "bit" from Screwfix) and I actually saw a real live Megabus on the road!