06 September 2017

Information at your fingertips? Part 2

It used to be difficult to get timetable information. You had to reply on being able to get printed booklets and leaflets and more often than not they were never available. There were reasonable full timetables stuck on some more important bus stops which were quite handy but otherwise you had to try and phone the bus company who seemed to take ages to answer but sometimes would then post you timetables. (Western National was always pretty good at this if you asked them)

laughingOf course its all a lot better now. Now we have the Internet. A massive resource which all bus companies and local authorities, big and small have taken advantage of to supply bang up to date information on all their bus services along with plenty of notice of any coming timetable changes

The amount of time I have spent trying to put my regular Devon & Cornwall Transit post together and all the additional information which goes into PT Bus Services which aims to be the full service history for bus services in Devon & Cornwall has shown me that statement is far from the truth, and if anything, its actually getting worse…

The big three - Go Ahead (Plymouth Citybus), Stagecoach (Stagecoach Devon) and First (First Kernow) have all had updates to their web sites making them more corporate along the way which has left us all with a worse local experience than we ever had before. The aim seems to be set everything up to look good on mobile phones but in the process loose all the good stuff that was available on proper PCs. New all singing mobile apps which offer so much but deliver so little seem to be the way things are now. National web sites which local companies seem to struggle to keep up to date.


So lets see how First Kernow are doing? They were having all sorts of problems with their service changes this weekend earlier with nothing appearing until very late in the day.



So lets have a look at News and service updates as this wasn't working recently


so 4 options - I would guess either Planned changes is the best one to start with - and yes - there is now a note about the changes due. Unlike Stagecoach the links to the timetables go to PDF pages that you can open and view rather than just download. Interestingly if you select the News and Service updates you also get the planned changes page along with a twitter feed which is a nice touch too - but then wouldn't it be easier just to have them all one page anyway so its clearer where to look? Not a big issue but it always helps to make things as easy as possible.

twitter feed

The twitter feeds at the moment includes links to the new timetables which is a nice touch…


if it worked! (to be fair they normally do work)

The timetables which do have links working are nice and tidy and print out as nice colourful PDF pages to a fairly consistent design.

You can just search for timetables and unlike stagecoach there is just one easy search box


so not as fussy as the Stagecoach search. The box did initial default to 251 when I tried to get the 25 as I that one is not yet in the Cornwall Transit as its taken First so long to sort things. However the results are clear and also give easy to read date ranges so you should be able to see which timetable to use. I am still not convinced you need a separate timetable for both Saturday and Sunday but I can kind of of see why some would like that.


The timetables they link through to are different to the PDF linked files. These are quite plain but they are pretty clear.

So - what about the routes themselves - are there any maps.


That looks promising

Routes and Maps link gets you this

Network maps - Cornwall - First UK Bus

so just a few town centres (still could be useful) and a network diagram (still for the summer times but most services don't change till later in September) so you clearly need the Route Maps link


Oh well!  I guess some First Group ops do have something on this page otherwise its not needed

All in all its a much better web site and easier to use than the Stagecoach site. There are gaps in map provision and the company do seem to have had issues keeping this site up to date at times but at the moment its not too bad. The next lot of timetable changes come up in mid September - so lets wait and see how long that takes.

While I am talking about First Group I have also had a look at First Wessex as some of their services creep into Devon. As you would expect the web site works in the same way and there is a good list of the services and changes from this weekend

which includes brief details and links to the new timetables


although, at the moment these links don't work!

One area that Wessex are doing better is with maps - click through to the Network Maps and you get a nice collection of bang up to date area maps and more…

Network maps - Wessex, Dorset & South Somerset - First UK Bus

The screenshot above does not do it justice as it has not captured the full page that well

Most impressive is the full local timetable book for September with all the times and maps. Excellent!

So come on Kernow - if you can produce something similar for your network for the winter timetable later in September then it will make life easier for everybody who needs to use your services. If they can just get the updates uploaded on time for the next changes…


  1. First Wessex's booklet is really good. Sadly the other First bus areas don't seem to think it's worth copying. The frustrating thing is that First Kernow do actually produce a booklet, but refuse to put it online - I asked them a few weeks ago to email it to me and they wouldn't! Crazy. They put extracts from it on their service updates - they're much easier to read than the standard ones you find in the timetables section of the website (e.g. you don't have to use separate pages for Mon-Fri, Saturdays and Sundays), which I guess are designed by the IT department instead of people who deal with customers.

    I look forward to your forensic analysis of Travel Cornwall and St Ives buses, who make First look like angels! Keep up the good work.

  2. Agree that Wessex's booklet is very good; so are the Southampton and Solent versions. Presumably done by the same people.

  3. And First Kernow won't post it to you either, as their travel shops have reduced hours these days where do you get one from?



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