Monday, 13 January 2014

January Changes in Sheffield [1]

fbb has not, in the past, been backward in coming forward with his views on the publicity churned out by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive under the "brand" of "Travel South Yorkshire." Your chubby blogger has even been summoned to the office of David Brown, former Director, to be "put right".

See "Summoned to the Headmaster's Study" (read again).

The gist of that meeting (in December 2011!) was a hesitant admission that there were problems (of a minor nature?) with the publicity machine, but under the then proposed "Partnership", everything would blossom into beautiful efficiency and all hiccups would be stifled.

Sheffield Bus Partnership’s key achievements since launch include:

2.75 million more fare-paying passengers using Sheffield’s buses
Network improvements benefitting around 50,000 bus passengers
At least 60% of adult fare paying customers enjoying lower fares 
Bus punctuality has improved month on month.
Significantly improved customer satisfaction by up to 45% 
Investment of £13.5 million in new, environmentally friendly buses 
Winner of two prestigious UK Bus Awards
Shortlisted for six industry awards

Very impressive! But how has the publicity impoved? There have been numerous marketing "initiatives", but fbb is interested in the normal process of printing & distributing leaflets and the information available at bus stops. To put it simply ...

After over a year of partnership
Have bus timetable leaflets

Fortunately, fbb has been able to obtain the minutes of a key Partnership committee. These documents record the discussion, proposals and implementation of publicity for the timetable changes due at the end of this month. fbb has selected the relevant passages.
Committee for Output of Cartographic Knowledge
and Updates for Passengers
Present : DG, FB, SC, IT and IK.

DG welcomed representatives from the bus companies, head of IT and Mr I M Keen, a PTE management trainee as observer. DG stressed that IK (Mr Keen), although constitutionally only an observer, was welcome to comment at any point in the meeting.

1. List of January changes : ready for publication  1 
DG : Just for information; any comments? 

IK : I am new to the area; so can you tell me where Washington is?
DG : In the USA! (laughter)
SC : Isn't it somewhere near Newcastle? (laughter)
IT : No idea.
DG : Why do you ask?
IK : Apparently we run a bus to Washington from Doncaster, every 10 minutes!
DG : Does anyone know where our Washington is?
FB : No
SC : No
IK : Might it be a misprint for ...
... Rossington?
IT : Not possible. The details are downloaded from our sustainable database; it must be a new road name which has been misplaced by the sort routines. Don't worry, the passengers won't know either! (laughter)
DG : Glad to see you are maintaining the First Bus tradition, FB!
FB : You mean altering the X78 at every set of timetable changes?
DG : I guess he route is so frequent and delays so common that passengers will never notice.
FB : Absolutely!
DG : I have a query. What on earth is route S74?

DG : IT? Operators?
FB : It's not one of ours.
SC : I don't think its one of ours, is it?
IT : No idea. (laughter)
IK : I know.
DG : Excellent; well done Keen.
IK : It runs from Elsecar to Hoyland according to the current leaflet.
SC : That can't be right, Keen. I'm fairly certain that we run the 66 between Elsecar and Hoyland.
IK : Actually it doesn't really provide the main service. It runs at shift times to the Shortwood Business Park. But it doesn't say that on the leaflet cover.
DG : Well it won't be from the end of January, whatever it does! (laughter) As nobody really knows where it goes, let's move on to the next item.
IK : Just one thing, sir.
DG : Quickly, please Keen. We are all busy men. I have an important lunchtime meeting at Lindrick  2 . (laughter)
IK : This is the only PTE area that doesn't have a county-wide route numbering system  3  . Don't the passengers get confused with, say, two 81/82 timetables?
IT : We often get confused in IT! (laughter) The punters seem to cope and, as we all know, the bus to Armthorpe has always been an 82, and likewise the bus from Stannington to Dore has always been an 82  4 . There's something to be said for tradition.
DG : Well said Tim; tradition is so important.  But we must move on. Next item.

2. Review of major changes for January.
Here our blog must take a break. More minutes tomorrow!

A few additional notes:-
 1  The list referred to is as published on line ...
... and the current list can be viewed here. But, please note; if you are reading this blog later in 2014, the link will take you to the list current at the date of reading and NOT that referred to in this posting.

 2  Lindrick : posh golf course near Worksop.

 3  A county-wide route numbering scheme was introduced progressively from 1975 onwards.
    1-100 : Sheffield
101-149 : Rotherham
150-159 : Doncaster
200-299 : Inter-district routes
300-399 : Barnsley
400-499 : West Riding services
500-599 : Limited stop
600-699 : Schools
700-799 : Early morning and schools
800-899 : Colliery and other "oddities"
900-999 : night services
The reasons for the abandonment of this scheme were never published. Certainly the scheme did not cope well with the mayhem that followed deregulation in the late 80s.

 4  The traditional route number for Stannington was 7. The 82 has never "traditionally" run to Dore.
service 50, then 30, now 70 at Dore village

Two morning journeys start from the village on the current 81 timetable, which is 15 months old, traditionally. Similar journeys numbered 81 and 82 remain after the end of the month.
More on the 81/82 changes tomorrow.

 Next bus blog : Tuesday 13th January 


  1. The countywide numbering scheme also matched the West Yorkshire scheme where the 200-299 and 400-499 blocks of numbers were used similarly so that cross bounday services could use the same numbers. I worked at West Riding at the time and it created rather random numbers mixed in with the local sequences of 1-99 in Leeds, 1xx 2xx 4xx West Ridnig Yorkshire Woollen South Yorkshire and Bingleys incorporating those used cross boundary 3xx Huddersfield 5xx Halifax and 6xx 7xx for West Yorkshire Road Car. 8xx for schools, works and collieries and 9xx for others like night and tourist buses. This is pretty much unchanged to this day.
    South Yorkshire fell apart when Stagecoach acquired Yorkshire Traction and decided to renumber all their routes in their own sequence. Despite pressure from the two PTE's they went ahead and thus created the start of the duplicate numberings we have today,

    Ken - now Traveline Dorset

  2. South Yorkshire is not the only area without a county-wide system. Tyne & Wear (aka Nexus) have many duplicate numbers sometimes, unlike the TSY example, running in the same city.
    Stand on Pilgrim Street, Newcastle, and you can catch a Stagecoach no 1 to Benwell & Slatyford in west Newcastle or a Go North East no 1 to Gateshead & Kibblesworth, across the Tyne.
    It's quite important to know which is which!

  3. PTEs can hardly be blamed if service numbers are duplicated within their area; they can exercise no control over the choice of numbers for a commercial service and run the risk of being accused of overzealous bureaucracy if and when they attempt to do so (I've been there!). I doubt whether there is ever any serious confusion among the travelling public between the Sheffield 81/82 and those in Doncaster, almost 20 miles away (or for that matter the 82 in Chesterfield, much nearer to Sheffield but in Derbyshire). South Yorkshire copes perfectly well with more than 40 High Streets and I'm glad to say I'm not aware of any attempt having been made to rename any of them to avoid confusion. Imagine the uproar if any authority chose to try! RLT