23 November 2015

Top Secret–dont tell anyone but your bus timetable has changed…

Back a couple of weeks ago there was a little notice on VOSA

  • PH1020218/3 
  • Variation Accepted by SN: 
  • Operating between Derriford Hospital 
  • and Derriford Hospital 
  • given service number 52 
  • effective from 23-Nov-2015. 
  • To amend Timetable.

I have been checking for details on the changes ever since but Target Travel don't make it easy for anyone.

First of all Traveline – They still have the old timetable as at 30th August with no sign of any new timetable about to come into place.


Of course Target Travel themselves have a web site which does have timetables although as at 22nd November that still also display the old timetable.


Thanks to Bradley Darlington then for a timetable as from 23rd November
Target Travel 52

So its only a small change with one journey held back just under 20 minutes. There probably wont be a lot of passengers waiting and I am hopefully some of the regulars would have paper copies of the new timetable, but for any others its going to be a cold 17 minutes.


Now its only a small detail and it may not affect that many people but it really annoys me that in this day and age where companies and local authorities expect passengers passengers to make full use of the internet to find service details rather than publish proper timetables and make them readily available, that all to often these companies make such a poor attempt at it. A small web site like Target Travels could be updated with a new timetable and proper announcements in a few minutes.

I am not sure of the procedures behind timetables appearing on Traveline but I suspect they rely on the operators to give them the details of new timetables, in which case they have not heard from Target Travel either?

It may be that as the service is operated under tender from Plymouth city Council that its up to them to provide timetables, however they also still have the 1st September ties on their web site.

There is the real time display system at Derriford Hospital. Introduced quite a few years ago this was seen as the future once. However it was never properly rolled out with far too few bus stops having displays and more often than not displays are not working anyway. I have not checked the printed bus stop timetables at Derriford Hospital yet. Maybe they will be correct and up to date, but I am not holding my breath.


Why is it so hard for bus companies to display decent clear easy to find timetables on their web sites?

The Stagecoach site is a joke with far to many steps to go through to get the times you want. Why do you need to select a place name and then a route number ? And even when you do that why cant it just display a proper timetable rather than more links to have to follow? I guess they might say you need to select a place name so you get the correct timetable, but a simple list of route numbers and places served and most passengers would be able to work it out for themselves. But no, Stagecoach insist on a place name first so they can give you the correct timetables . To be fair with services in different areas using the same route numbers you can see how people might get confused. For example if you are looking for service 1 from Tavistock you wouldn't want to confuse it with the other 1 that goes through Bradninch and Uffculme would you? Oh look Stagecoach have done just that with their service updates…

Stagecoach Bus

Well if they are confused then its no wonder that passengers are not finding it easy  


Even the once mighty Citybus seem to have stepped back with their current site. Its pretty good for mobiles but less useful on PCs. You can download a very comprehensive PDF for most services which are smart but it can take a while to download them and they are nor very print friendly for use on a home printer.

I am pretty computer literate. I spend a lot of time looking up timetables and maps and checking for service news. I have a pretty good idea where to look most of the time. If I have a job tracking down timetables then its a good sign that operators are not doing enough to help their passengers. Do you actually want passengers to use your services?  Most are pretty good at telling you all about their latest route branding exercise with lots of pretty buses in nice pretty liveries but the day to day basic routes which most people use are often left wanting

Am I being unfair?


  1. Target Travel posted the updated timetable on Facebook on Wednesday 18 November, hardly reaching a wide audience though, especially as they don't post very often. As for the Stagecoach site, grrrrrr!

  2. what i find funny is that they put the changed 52 timetable on the park and ride bus by the driver cab, but that bus is not 'ment to" do the 52 route so its odd that they were adversing it on there.

    1. That is in fact true. the park and ride bus does have the new 52 timetable inside which is odd but it was running the 52 last week in the evening around the same time that they have changed, so that could most likely be why they was displaying it on that bus

  3. I find the Stagecoach timetables displayed at the bus stops in Plymouth to be awful. They have simply put a laminated copy of their timetable, for the direction the service is travelling on display. These timetables do not necessarily show the bus stop you are waiting at, so you need to know between which displayed stops on the timetable you are standing and work out the time yourself, between them for where you are. Also the print is not large and therefore difficult to read with no highlighting for where you are being given. Why can't Stagecoach do what Plymouth Citybus do and First did and simply display the departure times for their service from the actual bus stop where you are? Apologies for the rant, however, it is annoying to me.

    1. hangabout stagecoach don't just go to the city centre printing the timetable is useful

  4. Another good article Graham and your points, especially the last one about difficulties accessing timetables, is a good example of image over substance. Talking of image SCSW service 57 going Gold yesterday, very disappointing when half the intended fleet still hasn't arrived. Talk about devaluing the brand!!

    As for Traveline, it should be somebody in Plymouth City Council that should have forwarded the Target registration to Traveline. As Plymouth Citybus has its own dataset, registrations go on Traveline very quickly as Traveline South West rent office space from Citybus and the registrations just have to go up two flights of stairs!!

    Stagecoach changes also go on quickly due to the Stagecoach Electronic Registration being imported directly on to Traveline. However, I wouldn't accept the maps as gospel as the tracks do tend to take some bizarre routes. Have a look at the 3 at the Dartmouth end and the H at the Cowley Bridge end as two examples where the tracking is way out and you'll see what I mean!

    1. To be honest you want to see what the 56 08:25 departure from the Bus Station is like, nearly always crammed like a HST leaving Reading for London, absolutely crazy when 10.6 metre enviro 200 can't cope.

  5. I do agree, things like this are most definitely unacceptable. Passengers pay the company to use the service; surely they should have every right to know about what's going on.

    As for the Citybus site, well, I think that's a reflection on how thing's are these days to be honest! Everything being optimised for mobile phones and stuff. The PDFs you can download are just electronic versions of their printed timetables. It would be nice to see links to the old-style full HTML pages we used to see, which were ideal for a pc viewer , nice and clear, not tons of colour etc.


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