Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Hello - Mellow Yellow (2)

Collapse of Stout Party!
The mysterious route 132 to Winton and Charmister on the sample are map in the new Yellow Buses timetable is, of course, the page number for the neighbouring map. fbb knew that all the time (Oh Yeah?) but was duly reminded by correspondent Andrew who emailed direct rather then subject your author to public ridicule via a blog comment.

Continuing with a Superb Publication
Andrew also enthuses that having one timetable book in a pocket rather than a small rain forest of leaflets is so much more convenient. And a lot easier to use than a mobile phone, adds fbb. hopes the recently measured drop in sales of E-readers and the growth in sales of printed books may help bus companies to realise that "It's all on-line" is a burden not a joy.
This oft ridiculed Luddite view is reinforced by fbb's attempt to the use the Yellow Buses web site yesterday, on the second day of the new timetable. Although the new timetables had been posted, the index was out of date ...
... as was the map.
Services 18, 20 and 36 no longer exist having been incorporated into the "letter plus number" style and, inexplicable, B route are now MAGENTA and U routes are now RED. Why swap the colours round?

This leads us to the significant changes from last weekend.. In January this year route names and letters were introduced, but a few less frequent services retained their numbers.
There are now no services with just numbers.

The list of timetable changes reveals some pruning of services in the early morning and evening which suggests that Yellow Buses might be struggling to get their network and their sums right.

fbb did hope to find the return of the "traditional" open top service 12 ...
... but no such joy. First in Weymouth, First Kernow and Stagecoach in Torquay are all expanding their open top offerings this season, but a breezy Bournemouth bus ride is banished into the mists of history.

It seems churlish to criticise this excellent book but there are a few ways in which it could be made even better.

Confusing Service Presentation

R1 and R2 (BLUE) run from Poole to Bournemouth, then on via Boscombe to Iford and the Hospital.
Here, they change, like Cinderella's Pumpkin, into R3s ...
... but on a separate table, and return to Bournemouth via Castlepoint shopping and Charminster. If you want to go, say, from Boscombe to Castlepoint, you have to consult a third table ...
... which shows PART of the through service.

A bit cumbersome! But what if fbb wanted to board an R1 or R2 at Iford and go beyond Castlepoit, to, say, Richmond Arms at Charminster.

It would be a struggle to work it all out. Yet when you look at the on-line timetables ...
... they include the though working and go further round the loop, offering complete information in one place. A quick count of the number of lines of text in the web version shows that these tables would fit easily onto the book's page size. So why not?

Cartography, Sometimes Poor
The area maps are superb, albeit slightly let down by loss of bits in the fold of the book, but the network map is, frankly, poor.

The designers have tried to be too "clever".
Each locations has a splodge (under the name) showing all the route "colours" which serve it. But the coloured lines are all there and clearly labelled, so why the overkill. London Underground's diagram works because you don't need geography when you are in a tunnel.

But you really do need a bit more geography when you are peering out of a bus window and wondering whether you have reached Winton. The near geographical route by route maps available on-line but not in the timetable ...
... are excellent.

Obviously with a book of this size, space is at a premium; perhaps the only answer is to produce a good geographically accurate map as a separate product?

But you cannot have everything in one book; it would be too large and cumbersome. So let us be thankful for what we have - an excellent, useful and well designed timetable book; the ultimate user friendly database that doesn't need a good wifi signal!

And it is FREE.

Three glorious and rousing cheers.

Tomorrow, another much improved booklet.

 Next timetable blog : Thursday 4th May 


  1. Very surprised at the lack of comment from FBB relating to the merged R1/R2/R3 timetable displayed on the Yellow Buses web site (extract shown above)which states that some buses on through journeys wait at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital for eight hundred and fifty-two minutes maximum

  2. How long will this letter thing last? Yellows seem to love them, for a while, like they did with fleet number prefixes.

  3. There used to be a geographical map of all operators routes in Bournemouth / Poole / Christchurch published I think by the county council. Does that still exist? If so would negate need for YB to do their own . . .

    1. I'm currently proofing this for the latest YB and May 28th morebus changes then it will be printed. An interim on line version as at January's YB changes is available on the Poole Council website.
      Ken Traveline

  4. Why has UNILINE changed colour from Magenta? You're right it's not explained by yellows, although as rival more (Go Ahead) already operated the official Bournemouth University buses branded UNIBUS, numbered U1 - U4 etc. and mainly associated with the colour pink, I suspect it's some attempt to avoid any "passing off" criticism (or legal action).

    Yellows have excelled themselves with this brilliant printed timetable, and bringing it out a week before launch is in sharp contrast from the mess that surrounded their complete network change earlier this year when the timetable leaflets didn't get out in time.

    Yellows seem to have no interest in ever bringing back the 12 sadly, perhaps because they offer depot space to City Sightseeing Bournemouth. However this summer Southbourne buses will launch a S12 linking Hengistbury Head to Bournemouth, while more's breezer 50 and 70 routes will cover much of the old 12 between Bournemouth and Sandbanks.