Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Case of the Confusing Combinations [1] ...

... or How NOT to Publicise Revised Services

The all-in-one undergarment called combinations, and shown above, consisted of a camisole bodice attached to drawers. Its design eliminated the need for a chemise and the later versions of combinations were frillier and prettier garments that merged into lingerie, making them more exotic in their appearance.

Sorry; wrong combinations!
One of the joys of the Columbo detective series on the telly was that the viewer knew who "dunnit" from the first few minutes of the episode. The tension came from watching the shambling LAPD 'tec (the late Peter Falk) unravelling the answer. This weekend's blog has a flavour of Columbo about it, as fbb will provide the answer now; our readers can then share the fat bus bloke's skills (?) and frustration as he tries to discern the Confusing Combinations.

Here is the yesterday's (Saturday 25th October) pattern of inter-urban bus routes based on Peterlee in County Durham.
Thick lines represent a bus every half an hour. There are changes from today (Sunday) and the new combinations can be summarised in this second diagram.
The 21/21A now runs through from Peterlee to Sunderland fast via the A19 creating a new service**. The 24, which previously ran to Sunderland now travels south to Hartlepool whilst the 22 to Hartlepool now runs north to Sunderland. It is not at all clear why these two have "swapped" but we must presume that there is a good reason.

So we know (broadly) what is happening; and now, Columbo-style, we can go on-line and reveal how it is all publicised. It is worth emphasising that the research for this blog started last Thursday (23rd October) on receipt of info from a blog reader. So to Arriva's web site.
Where might we look for this weekend's changes.
These two would guide us to current times. Hopefully these headers might reveal all.
"Discover" invites us to do the tourist thing and visit towns in the North East. For each listed town we get a bigger list of all the buses that go there; additionally there is a small selection of special offers including the intriguing "Pots and Pancakes" of North Shields.
Service updates might well be better ...
... only it's useless!
It's all going jolly well! Hopefully "Latest" will do it!
But our changes are from 26th October, not 14th.

But it does look as if Arriva companies are in the running for some impressive awards.
Some headlines catch the eye.
So we can expect a really spiffing web site, can't we.

Well ... not yet! Because if we click unhopefully on the "Service Changes" dated October 10th we get a choice. The top button gives us this header ...
... whereas the bottom button, helpfully, takes us to ...
Weekend blog readers can amuse themselves by spotting the difference. But there is hope for our Columbo-style investigation because it turns out that "10 Oct 14" is an arbitrary date, possibly when the notice was posted on-line. The contents (both sets!) refer to events on Sunday 26th October. Well thought-out, eh?

Here, from "Service Changes" is a sample of Arriva's helpful and potentially award winning policy of "Putting Passengers First".

Service 21, 21A, X21 Darlington/Middlesbrough – Sedgefield – The Trimdons – Deaf Hill – Wingate – Peterlee – Sunderland The 21 and 21A will continue to run up to every 30 minutes on Monday to Saturday daytimes, hourly on Sundays, between Peterlee and Sedgefield. The 21 extends hourly to Darlington via Newton Aycliffe and the 21A extends hourly to Middlesbrough via Stockton. New fast X21 between Peterlee and Sunderland running up to half-hourly** on Mondays to Saturdays via the A19. Guaranteed connection with the 21 in Peterlee (no change of bus needed), offering new links from Newton Aycliffe, Sedgefield, The Trimdons, Deaf Hill and Wingate to Sunderland. Faster route for the 21 and 21A between Wingate and Peterlee, which will see buses serve Pennine Drive in Peterlee to offer new links to customers in this area The 21 and 21A will no longer serve Shotton. Alternative buses to Peterlee are available on the 22 and 24. Customers travelling from Shotton to Wingate, The Trimdons, Sedgefield, Newton Aycliffe, Darlington, Stockton and Middlesbrough will need to change buses in Peterlee.

fbb hopes all his readers can follow that; and, out of respect for their sanity, fbb has quietly ignored the detailed changes in the Peterlee "local" area. More to the point, can Arriva's passengers understand it? Will a present day Cushy Butterfield@ be able to work out how to get from Deaf Hill to Sunderland?

She's a broken hearted sad lass and she's owerheed in fuss
She's a yung lass in Deaf Hill an’ she can't find a bus;
Her nyem's Cushy Butterfield, an’ she can't make it oot,
Can't make nae sense of the 21X route.

She's a big lass an' a bonny one,
An' she props up the bar;
An, they call her Cushy Butterfield,
An' she's buyin' a car!

** or does it? Wait for tomorrow's exciting episode!

@ "Cushy Butterfield" - is a famous Geordie folk song written in the 19th century by Geordie Ridley, in the style of the music hall popular in the day. It is regarded by many as the second unofficial anthem of Tyneside after Blaydon Races.
One of the fbb's "mature" chums on the Isle of Wight is so impressed with Seaton hat she wants to move there! So if anyone would like an immaculate two bedroomed bungalow in Seaview ...

... details are (here)
 Next bus blog : Monday 27th October 

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