Thursday 17 February 2022

Future Bus - The Challenge!

Making It Better
fbb is often criticised for his dinosaur approach to Public Transport Information; and it is, often, all on line. Above is a chunk of the Transport for London "map" of route 63 in the Kings Cross area. If you take care, you can understand that the above is the outward route, departing from "Kings Cross & St Pancras International" and setting off southbound. 

When you change direction, you get this ...
... the return route to Kings Cross & St Pancras International.

But they are completely different stations, very separate and accessed by a complex set of interlinking underground tunnels or above ground walkways. Having arrived, it is, of course, dead easy to get from York Way to Euston Road to catch a 63 back to the south. You walk back down York Way ...
... veer round to the right ...
... and it's the second stop along.
But it is not very easy until you know the answer!
The "It's All On-Line" brigade have made a computer and a database draw the map, and draw it in a way which is not very helpful - unless, of course, you already know what you are looking for.

So fbb has spent some therapeutic time drawing a map fot himself. 
It is still too cluttered and would benefit from a bit of enlargement, but, for the time being, it is part of a route maps of the full length of the 63 and 363.
It can be enlarged, but, please understand, it is a work in progress and needs more tweaking. Of course every stop could be shown, plus a selection of helpful side streets. It also reveals that route 63 intersects with every Underground line except the Waterloo and City, although you could cheat and get there via Southwark!

It shows the overlapping 363 and fits neatly and readably on A5 size, ideal for a printed leaflet.

Is there a way of presenting the 63 and 363 timetables as timetables in a reasonably sized leaflet? Can fbb do better than TfL?
That is all you get on-line! You could hardly do worse.

Below is Robert Munster's noble attempt to reproduce what TfL used to call a "Panel Timetable". It is helpful (and will enlarge if you click on it) ...
... but still challenging. Here are the top bank of printed journeys squidged up together to allow the user to compare running times - which are shown at the bottom of the columns.
Of course, very few folk would ever travel from Honor Oak to Kings Cross - most journeys are much shorter, e.g. Peckham Rye to Peckham, Old Kent Road to Elephant and Castle or Ludgate Circus to Kings Cross.

So, is there a way of helping the harassed passenger, or is, as supposed by TfL, the only way to turn up at a stop and hope a bus will soon come; and hope you have allowed enough time to, say, catch you train at Kings Cross?

Mr Munster provides full timetables with no short cuts. Repeat patterns always repeat correctly but at the price of "too much information". fbb doubts whether the most pedantic of Peckham passengers would prolong their projected pathway by perusing Munster's proliferation of pages!


Don't bother to try to read them.

Monday to Thursday SCHOOLDAYS
Monday to Thursday SCHOOL HOLIDAYS
Saturday and Good Friday
BUT - early mornings are different on Good Friday
Sundays and Bank Holidays
BUT early mornings are different on Bank Holidays
That is EIGHT different timetables!

But there may be something that will help. fbb is working on it!

With the ongoing reductions in frequency throughout the London network, the concept of "there will be another along in a few minutes" is becoming "there might be another along in twelve minutes, or a bit longer" which most definitely is NOT "turn up and go".

If London Transport is to Build Back Better AND pay its bills, the publicity needs to be more user friendly and less "take it or leave it!" The printed option (including, and especially, some network maps) needs to be reintroduced to really encourage bus travel.

Technology Potters at Potters Bar
In 1977 a new service was started in Potters Bar. Say "Hello" to the PB1 ...
... operated by the London Transport version of a bread-van minibus.
It even had a Monday to Friday evening service.

After sone vehicle changes, it ceased to be an LT route in 1986 and passed to North Mymms Coaches on a Hertfordshire tender.

In recent years it has reverted to an a London buses company and now runs courtesy of Metroline (based at their garage in Potters Bar) but still a Hertfordshire tender. The evening service is long gone.
It runs every 30 minutes, one bus in steam and links two otherwise unserved blocks of housing ...
... Dugdale Hill and, on the opposite side of town ...
... various other chunks of residential area.

But the big news for the PB1 is ...

... Tada!
It looks as if Hertfordshire have paid the bill!

  Sheffield bus bosses reply  : Friday 18th February 


  1. Didn't FRM1 operate route PB1 many years ago?

  2. With thanks to "" . . .
    Route PB1 was preceded by Route 284, which operated a loop: Station - High Street - Garage - Church Road - Station; commenced in 1968 and was closed and replaced by Route PB1 in 1977. Route 284 was operated by FRM 1 between 1973 and 1976, when it was withdrawn after an accident.

    Route PB1 was introduced as a minibus route; using Ford Transits and Dodges until 1986. From then onwards, North Mymms Coaches, Metroline and Uno have all had a go at the contract.

    The HCC contract was last renewed in April 2020, at which time Herts were given two prices . . . diesel and electric . . . the electric option was accepted, but unfortunately, as the bus is a one-off, and C-19 got in the way, it has taken nearly 2 years to enter service. As an aside . . . PB Garage uses Optare electric buses, so the cost difference wasn't great . . . the PB1 bus uses the same technology.

    Just to follow up on the 84 timetable . . . it appears that the existing frequency will be maintained between Potters Bar and St Albans from April 2022 onwards. There is still no sign of any replacement for the New Barnet section.

    And finally, FBB . . . still waiting for that apology . . .

  3. Thanks Greenline727 for clarifying the FRM connection with Potters Bar. I remember FRM1 working the one bus 233 between West Croydon and Roundshaw estate in 1970. The new estate was built partly on the site of Croydon Aerodrome.

    As to your apology from FBB, I fear that you might be in for a rather long wait, as FBB doesn't usually respond to Comments.