Saturday 17 September 2022

Controversy In Cornwall (2)

Hunting Hesitatly for Heamoor

In May 2019, Heamoor residents voted at a public meeting to submit a bid under Cornwall Council's Community Governance Review to split from Penzance Town Council and form a separate parish council to be known as Heamoor Village Council. Volunteers from the community have set up a Steering Group to prepare a bid (submitted in July 2019), build community awareness, and manage the transitional arrangements. Heamoor is one of only two communities in Cornwall to have applied to create a new local council in the Community Governance Review.

The village is, as might be expected, expanded significantly post WW2 and includes the large Mounts Bay Academy.
Apart from the stone cross (above) the village is not over-blessed with architectural opulence - it is just a village which has "growed".
But it doesn't get a mention in the index of Transport for Cornwall's mega A4 timetable book.
It ought to be between Hayle Hospital and Helford! It does appear, however, on the Cornwall Network map ...
... where we can see that its main route in No 19 (
MID BLUE) with 16/16a (PINK) only being operated via Heamoor (The Academy!) on schooldays.

Which neatly leads us into one of the big problems with bus timetables in Cornwall, particularly from those routes in the hands of the council and branded as Transport for Cornwall. 

The timetables are often VERY complicated, and thus hard to unravel for the "average" user..

The 19 is a case in point. But don't look for it on the GoCornwall web site. Go Ahead trades as GoCornwall, which is contracted to run the Transport for Cornwall network ...
... has no mention of a route 19! Fortunately the Transport for Cornwall site does provide a link to the BIG book ...
... where we will find the 19.
Why is it shown as a straight line on the map, but a "circular" in the timetable? 

That's because it is NOT a straight line route, silly. How could you not work that out?

On the outward journey to Madron (the terminus) it serves Heather Close. fbb presumes it runs along Boscathoe Way ...
... turns by reversing into Hill Close, then stops at Heather Close, conveniently unnamed on the above street map.
If you board at "Heather Close" to go to Penzance, you have a nice meander to Madron to mitigate the tedium of a boring direct journey.

But then at tea time, there are journeys with a column heading of TC ...
...  which might mean Transport for Cornwall, only it can't mean that because the whole route is run by Transport for Cornwall's red buses. These journeys run to Heather Close but never go back to Penzance.

Helpfully, the note is explained. TC means "operated by Tin Coaster". 
This used to be a numbered First Bus route, now branded and therefore at the remote back of the timetable rather than with the other "village" routes from Penzance.

The journeys via Heamoor are shown ...
... but with no mention of Heather Close. Note also that the First Bus Tin Coaster calls at Town Centre in Penzance whereas Transport for Cornwall's 19 calls at Market Jew Street. Of course they are the same place, but, as so often happens, the timetable book editors don't check their facts. Here is both stops!
To befuddle thugs a bit, the timetable for the Tin Coaster, before it was tinned, is still very evident and wrongly on line.
Back then the 19 ran to Madron and all the 18s ran via Heamoor and on to the tin coast!

Or you could find service 17/17a with the Mafron and Pendeen routes running through to St Ives.
It, too, is still on line.

But even without these distractions, we do still have a service 18 at Heamoor. It appears on the Tin Coaster timetable ...
... still with no mention of Heather Close. Note also that the 18 does not stop in Penzance town centre. It does, of course, but the omission above is because GCB (is that Transport for Cornwall?) call the stop a different name.


But the 18  journeys do appear on the 19 timetable.
This time they do stop in the town centre! But no mention of Heather Close. Perhaps the 18 doesn't go that way?

Google maps is ambivalent.
Google maps tells us that the 18 runs eastbound along Boscathoe Way and the 19 runs westbound. The Tin Coaster, apparently runs in both directions!

There may well be a simple explanation for this confusion; but what is very obvious is that users of the big book need better quality local maps.

Some clearer thinking on the presentation of the timetables would also be very helpful.

It is simply not good enough to churn out extracts from operator's working timetables - some operators offerings to the public are well below standard. How about First's unhelpful presentation of their version of the Tin Coaster?
And where, Go Cornwall and/or Transport for Cornwall, is the definitive service 18 timetable?
No mention between 17 and 19! But there is an 18 on the GoCornwall site!

And a final whimsey:-
Do the Sunday "TC" journeys really only run from the bus station to Market Jew Street, just one stop up the hill?


 Next Variety blog : Sunday 18th September 


  1. No attention to detail… the persons compiling this stuff are away with the fairies and not really studying and/or thinking about what they are doing… every decision should be based on “what would the USER of this information think would be best here”… etc but Nowadays there is no pride in doing a good job.. “bodge it” and “it’ll do” are the new mantras and incompetence and a poor quality result do not seem to be frowned upon!

    Maybe Notwork Rail’s planners have a side-line in bus guides, this bears all their trade marks… (all they haven’t done is tell First/Go CWL to run two hourly services about 4 mins apart with a 56 min gap to the next one, then we’d KNOW it was them!!)

    1. 12 years of Austerity have hollowed out local authority staffing; this means many LAs have given up publishing, and those that haven't, like Cornwall, increasingly rely on inadequate software, of which FBB and Roger French have produced numerous examples

    2. It's actually GoCornwall (Plymouth Citybus) who produce the timetable book, not the council.

  2. No reversals needed on Boscathnoe Way - the bus runs in a loop continuing on to Boscathnoe Lane.
    Agreed that there inconsistencies in stop naming that should have been ironed out - but despite the existence of a national stop database, operators' versions are not always the same, as they are not updated regularly.

  3. But how would FBB or an intending user KNOW from this timetable and other guide details that they run in a loop ? Do they all? Numbered routes AND the tinner? As for the stop names being different but the same, why hasn’t someone with LOCAL KNOWLEDGE seen it and changed it during the guide preparation process? Whoever does the final checks and signs it off as “the best we can do”, having passed it to 3 or 4 other persons to “have a look over to see if I’ve missed anything” should be embarrassed by this kind of stuff… shouldn’t they?

  4. Printed timetables are a SUMMARY. Long distance routes like the Tin Coaster can only show well spaced timing points. They will not and never have shown housing estate details. If you are local you know or otherwise, as per tradition, you can ask or today use an on-line journey planner.

    With on-line timetable facilities, like Traveline, it can show you an an estimated time for every bus stop on the route and so you can see which way it goes, if you want to armchair study.

    In any case, most passengers do not care about the route. What they want is the time at their boarding stop and how long it takes or arrival time. In urban areas all times are approximate or very approximate during the day.

    1. I wouldn't call Tin Coaster a long distance route at all. People may not care about every stop but do care whether the bus serves their stop. This effort from GCB is truly an awful attempt and one that the council, whilst not producing it, should take some responsibility for as the boosted services are Government funded and they have a duty to spend it wisely and they definitely haven't done that so far based on the mess TFC has been since day one and still is. This is why councils shouldn't run or have anything to do with buses if possible as they have no clue. Cornwall Council didnt even when they had staff.

  5. ..yes, so wouldn’t it be nice if buses stopping in the main shopping street were shown as stopping there…is that too much to ask?

  6. And there always used to be a LIST of streets traversed in small print at the bottom of printed tables… AND a broad map along with town maps in the book… now we have NEITHER. You and I may argue the toss on here.. but the punters will not take a chance and will take their cars. It’s as simple as that.. If nobody cares about providing the basic minimum of correct and meaningful info then nobody will use the bus and the service will not survive.

    1. A list of streets was given in some areas, but I never lived in one of those and so it was a novelty, when I found a timetable that did.

      My 2003 timetable for Penzance has no list of streets or any maps. There was a separate network map. The 2008 book has town plans, but no list of streets.

      The services to Heanor in either book only give a single timing point (eg Sportsman's Arms, .. ) and for some routes they use the estate names and not Heanor at all.

      Going back further you never had maps.

      The majority of passengers to housing estates are locals. They don't need maps or in many cases timetables - you just turn up for your regular journey and wait. If the timetable changes you wait a bit longer and get it more right next time.

  7. To make matters worse the Tin Coaster has been omitted from the printed version of the book.