Saturday, 16 January 2021

Saturday Variety

If In Doubt - Change The Brand? 

In recent times, we have become used to First Kernow's distinctive and well promoted Atlantic Coast brand, It appears on various vehicles ...
... including the open toppers.
But, via an initial "tease" tweet, First announced some changes for the 2021 season (IF Boris allows us to have a 2021 season!).
You would assume that the new brand will apply to the previous A1 and A3, whilst the "Atlantic" brand will be used on the other "A" routes? (click on the map for an enlargement.)
There is a bus in the revised branding, but, when it appeared on Twitter it was lacking the vinyls - so fbb will wait to review the finished job.

Some Self Trumpet Blowing
Transdev have been doing a bit of self-adulation - but justifiably. Here are some example pf bus station stand "dressing".
It is good to see the complete "package" of route, information and vehicle branding "creating desire" for quality bus travel.
The tweet makes reference to the "temporary timetables" on display on the frames. But, as usual, there are no timetables on display, merely departure lists.
Maybe it is asking too much to expect printed material under the present unprecedented circumstances, but it is not unreasonable to expect a proper timetable to be displayed somewhere so that the occasional traveller who does not have their eyes permanently attached to their "device" can find out when they might get to their destination.

Timetables are available on-line, but, as usual, the simple PDF version is not at the top of the display.
There is room to glue a copy of the real timetable in the frame and use the electronic displays as the departure list. Why not?

Doncaster Delights
The first bus in the new Doncaster livery for First appeared on the road in mid December. The next to appear, single deck, is pictured in the depot.
Cleverly, the livery includes a very old Donny colour, the deep red ...
... the more recent red red ...
... and the unusual pre-PTE purple toothpaste stripe.
The cream also appeared on older liveries but is more redolent of its prominence in the PTE coffee and cream creation.

A Good Idea, Son!
It snowed quite a bit in Sheffield.
The good folk at Stagecoach Yorkshire had a jackpot idea.
Well done whoever at Stagecoach Yorkshire done it!

Project Pre-war Power Petrol Tanker (2)
fbb's cheapo Hornby Dublo model was not in the best possible condition; which left the old man with a dilemma.
The dilemma is oft debated at the Repair Shop. Are the experts called upon to present the tattered battered heirloom in an "as new" form or in a conserved but realistic repair which respects it's age.

fbb decided to aim for the latter, but wanted to clean the tank  body up a bit. He tried a whole range of domestic stuff ...
... but none made much difference. In fact little "veins" of shiny metal began to appear as some of the gunge was removed.
The only answer was paint - but matching a tired Power green would be difficult for a Repair Shop expert and near impossible for bodger-in-chief fbb. But ...
You can see the join! But take the model outside and the colours look different again. The mid-March is less noticeable.
By adding a coat of gloss varnish, the colours are enriched and the match seems more effective.
Even though it is all a bit splodgy, the effect is OK in that the result looks like an old wagon but with some wear and blotchy bits.

It was the next stage that led to big grief for fbb.

More tomorrow.

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 17th January 


  1. "But, as usual, there are no timetables on display, merely departure lists."

    A departure list is a timetable. It is a simplified timetable, containing the information that is relevant at the point of use.

  2. Sorry, RC169, I’m with FBB on this one...

    a list of departures is not a timeTABLE, it’s a list!

    I would consider arrival at destination times to be absolutely “relevant” on the departure stand, “yeah darling, I’ll see you when I get there at.... errr... ummm... dunno, it doesn’t say”... but they are not provided.

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    2. I guess the key phrase in RC169's post is "at the time of use" - once you've arrived at the bus stand you've effectively already decided you want to catch the bus and which bus you're getting, the key information you need then and there is 'hiw long until my bus arrives?' I don't think RC169 is saying there's no need for timetables, just that in that location a departure list provides the information relevant to most people who would be looking at the board in the simplest manner available. Timetables could and would be more usefully provided at a central point in the bus station (or heaven forbid an enquiry office), so for example you could compare routes and journey times without having to visit each and every stand.

    3. Exactly right, Ben. Naturally, proper timetables are important as well, but the information needs to be provided in a format that is appropriate for the current circumstances.

      The provision of lists of departure times at bus stops has been widespread practice for many years - I remember those provided by Southampton City Transport from my teenage years, and they were perfectly adequate. If I had decided to use the bus to Shirley, I had a good idea how long it took from the City Centre - I just needed to know when it ran. Other information is superfluous at that point - and it wastes my time having to wade through it to find what I really need.

      Another point to bear in mind - the departure lists are generally quite small print, so that probably no more than two people can stand at a stop reading the list. If they have to spend a long time reading other information, to get to that which they require, other people will not have a chance to see any of the information provided there. Of course, these days there might be an electronic indicator that can be set higher, so that everybody in the vicinity can see it. However that will probably only show the next three departures, so I guess FBB won't like that either!

  3. As Ben hints, the lists at the stands are often (usually these days) the ONLY infromation at bus stations or stops. Totally inadequat and just a cop-out because there is a computer program to do it for you.

    1. Unfortunately, unlike enthusiasts who like to study these things, many passengers struggle to understand timetables and any issues will be made worse by the sub-optimal viewing conditions at roadsides (whether lighting or obstructions to viewing of other people and the like). Whilst a timetable is the only way to display all the information of a full route this is not the case for the specific information of when is the bus due at this stop. I would prefer to see more detail on travel time to as many points on the route as possible to help passengers, particularly where you have a choice of routes following different routes, and I personally have always favoured timetables it is difficult to argue that departure lists don't provide all the information that most people want in a form that they can understand quickly. In an ideal world you may want to provide both but we aren't in ideal circumstances and operators are rarely given the space for both by the owners of the sites (who are almost always not a bus operator), operators have to work with what is available to them.

      It is telling that all the most successful operators at generating passengers, a far as I can tell, use departure lists at stops which would indicate there is a reason for using them.

    2. In Intalink-land the bus stop information comprises a list of routes from that stop with approximate journey times to (what would have been) the timing points along the route; followed by a list of departures with the route number shown (and usually coloured to denote the operator).
      So . . . if you find the departure time you can make a good stab at the length of journey.

      As dwarfer1979 notes . . . most passengers simply don't know how to read a timetable . . . it hasn't been taught in schools for at least 20 years.

      The ideal would be:
      At bus stops: a departure list, including approximate journey times.
      On-Line: a journey planner PLUS pdf timetables, and PLEASE make them readable, and preferably attractive to look at.
      And . . . printed timetables where appropriate, again attractive to read and preferably reviewed by someone who understands their importance.

      Intalink ticks two boxes; but very few operators or LTA's tick all three boxes any more.