Saturday 9 December 2023

The End Of "It's All On Line"?

 ... Not Quite But Getting There

Just occasionally something happens in he public transport sector that it so unexpected that a bus watcher has to pinch himself (or herself) in case it is a dream. The sale of First Scotland East (or what was left of it) to McGills was such an event. Less dramatic but still intellectually challenging was GoAhead's purchase of Dartline here in Devon.

The closure of enquiry offices and the cessation of printed information is so stupid that ot ought to be a bad dream but it isn't.

But today's blog summarises what might be a step change in the whole publicity saga, perhaps a return to common sense at last.

 I nnovative
 I mpressive
 I nformative
 I nformation

What is more dream-like is that it comes from a company that has been so utterly incompetent in its publicity and marketing that the change might, even yet, be just a dream.

And the purpetrator of this "shock horror" development?

The company with the worst web site in the western arm of our galaxy.

The company with abandoned brands of "Max" and "Sapphire".

The company with the weakest corporate logo in the UK.

The company that has (and some say still has) the most incomprehensible on-line timetables since caveman Brit sought to ride a donkey to the next cave.

Yes. fbb refers to ...
Yes you are shocked! Even the local press is almost excited.
But, as we know, the Fourth Estate can usually be relied upon to regurgitate a bus company's press release and get it wrong at the same time.

Arriva's announcement seems much the same as ever.

As part of our ambition to simplify Aylesbury's interurban bus network to make the town a hub for exploring Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the Chilterns, from 7th January 2024, we’ll be relaunching improved services across Buckinghamshire

"Improved" usually means cutbacks!

For more information on how these changes will affect you, please see below.

But paragraph two hints of something more radical.

All season tickets and their areas of validity will not change. Orbit, Oxford, and Aylesbury Plus tickets will be valid on the new X services in exactly the same way as they are on the current network of routes.

Most of these services are not New new, but revisions and renunberings of existing routes.
But one little phrase leads us on ...
... to find the actual timetables ONE MONTH before they happen!

There's lovely? But Arriva timetables are awful. Here is the existing X60 (well, a bit of it) ...
... implying the need to change buses in Buckingham with a one minute connection ...
... off-putting for the averagely scared-of-changing passenger!

But what appears is nothing like anything that Arriva has produced for what seems like decades. For a start it is IN COLOUR.
Sadly, the presentation is spoiled by the waffle about "guaranteed connection" which is, and always has been, an utter nonsense. But look at that lovely timetable presentation.

fbb will review the whole network change in the new year; but, for another treat, look at these two images.

Do fbb's eyes deceive him? Are these Timetable Books from Arriva? Furthermore, are they PRINTED timetable books from Arriva?

But, as Bobby Ewing steps out of the shower after being dead and buried a few episodes previously ...
... maybe it IS all a dream!
of course, the Hebrews did have their satnav for guidance, God was practical as well as moral and holy. As before, cynics (even some believers) have chosen to seek a natural explanation for the Pillar of Cloud/Fire

If there is no god, the story is rubbish anyway; BUT a divine entity unrestricted by earthy technology can easily produce a miraculous satnav!

 I ntriguing
 I nspiring
 I nstitution

But there was more; and it's part of Scripture that even the keenest preachers tend to park in the "leave till later" box.

Biblical folk have dubbed it "The Tabernacle" where historically the word meant a tent or a small hut. It later came to mean a small place of refreshment, i.e. a pub. Quite a chunk of the book of Exodus is given over to a record of its design and functionality.

It was where sacrifices were offered to say thank you to God, to say sorry to God and to seek help from God. But it went further. The core Tabernacle activity led to its being the hub of all life for the Hebrews.

The Tabernacle was the Exodus' medical centre; you would go there for "social care'. The whole set-up pit God in the heart of life as the Hebrews made their way to the land that He Promised them.

The imagery included ..
PRAYERS (incense)
OBEDIENCE (The Famous Ten!)
But, behind  a curtain was the Most Holy Place. It was ... 
THE ALTAR (of Forgiveness)
 ... which God visited once a year to offer forgiveness to the people whose repentant lives were pleasing to Him.

So why bother with this oddity of history? It is not like that today!

Astonishingly almost all churches follow this ancient Tabernacle pattern and, if not exactly the same, all Christian churches contain the same "stuff". In fact everything listed in this article is on offer at a Church.

The only thing we no longer do is to sacrifice animals.
You might wonder when Sacrifice was dropped out of the ancient rituals whilst all other examples of the rest of the Tabernacle activity remain in one form or another.

But animal sacrifice has certainly been CROSSed out!
 Next J ABC blog : Sunday 10th December 


  1. Arriva also has a new Medway booklet

  2. It might be a load of nonsense in reality, but not publicising such journeys as two separate ones will invite interest from the Traffic Commissioner.

    1. Have there been any cases of that actually happening?

    2. Not recently because it is a long established principle dating back to action taken against Northumbria & the operation of the 685 (which was around 25 years ago & a number of similar cases around that time established the principles, Arriva had one in Surrey in 2000 that they won on the principle of advertising as separate services with connections). They were done for drivers hours offences because whilst they registered the route in separate sections they in no other way showed it as separate services. The issue is that, whilst we know we must do something no one in authority will provide clear directions on what is required as a legal position so each operator has its own interpretations of what must be done the longstanding historic understanding was it must be advertised as separate but connecting services. Each operator will have a different view of the legal requirement and legal risk and so will end up with slightly different end products.

  3. The presentation of X60 as connecting journeys and the use of the phrase 'guaranteed connection' is a legal requirement, as you well know. No single journey in the registered timetable is longer than 50km. It doesn't matter if you're Arriva, Stagecoach, whoever - the law is the law. Idiot.