12 December 2007

Real Time Review Part One

Bus passengers in Plymouth can now receive up-to-the-minute bus times and information on their mobile phones and computers.

At least that is the claim in This is Plymouth today...

Well I had to try the online version first. www.checkthatbus.plymouth.gov.uk

check that bus 01

So lets try to find buses from my place of work.

Search by location button brings up this screen

check that bus 02


I try the post code search first PL6 8BX

check that bus 03

Oh dear! First impressions are not good - I look through all 5 pages returned in this search and none of them are anywhere near where I work.

check that bus 04

Thats better, at least I can select the correct location although the screen design is not that clear. To check its correct I select the View on Map option.

check that bus 05

Oh dear (again!) Plymouth City Council sadly dont use Google Maps or any other decent service and instead we get this rather poor map. Not that good to look at, and not that easy to use. The zoom controls didnt work and unlike Google (or most others) you cant just drag the map around to get to the correct location. The biggest issue with this map though is quite simple. You cant see Tamar Science Park on this map - as its not actually pointing to the correct location. Because you cant drag the map its not easy to move it to the correct location either. When there are so many really good free mapping services out there its a real shame to see the council stuck with this. They are probably stuck with it and paying a fortune on it as well!

So back to the search by location and try again and this time I use the 'Use this location' button to select the bus stop right outside the Tamar Science Park.

check that bus 06

Now this should give me the correct bus stop right outside Tamar Science park, but I have looked through three pages of results - and its not listed there. The stops are all at the Asda end of Estover - pretty much where the map was pointing to! Not good for me.

I go back to the main search page (screenshot 4 above) and this time try the second entry 'Tamar Science Park' - the one with no address details. Maybe thats the one.

check that bus 07

Err no! I did try to see if another of the search options work but now I just get this...

check that bus 08

I did try the text service - but the bus stop outside Tamar Science Park doesn't have a number on it. (or a time table, shelter, or light either)

I have now tried again and got back into the service. A postcode search on my home postcode was also complete rubbish so I try typing 'Keswick' into the search.

Well after hanging around for five minutes it gives up and I get the same error message.

This posting may sound critical - and to be fair it is. It is early days though and I hope it will improve quickly. It will be of use to me in the morning as relying on the 50 to get me to work it would be nice to know I don’t need to stand out in the rain with no shelter as the bus is running ten minutes late - a regular occurrence (to be fair the bus does have to come through Marsh Mills before it gets to me - that's where it seems to be held up which isn't Citybus fault.)


1 comment:

  1. I tried this and it worked eventually - yet was very hard to get to

    dan :D


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