Sunday 31st July 2022
Here are some more examples of good and bad practice I’ve spotted on recent travels.
Arriving at Bridgwater rail station I had a vague idea of which direction to take to walk to the bus station but was reassured to see a prominent notice attached to a lamppost right outside the station pointing the way to the bus station.
Not only that but this helpful wayfinding continued on lampposts all the way along the ten minute walk to reach the bus station and was very helpful to a first time visitor like myself.
The route to the station in the reverse direction is also similarly waymarked.
A very good initiative and something other towns and cities could usefully follow where rail and bus stations are some distance apart.
The availability of printed promotional and information leaflets and brochures is always welcome to see not least for routes where the tourist and leisure travel is being encouraged. There’s no better way to bring the availability of such services to potential passengers attention as has been frequently discussed on this blog.
It was encouraging to see copious supplies of brochures available on the Exmoor Coaster on my recent journey and even more encouraging to see holiday makers studying the literature and discussing their upcoming trip the literature had persuaded them to make.
And talking of printed timetables and literature a shout out to two bus operators in Sussex which have produced booklets and brochures to promote their services (currently two of only three operators in Sussex to do so, the third being Southdown PSV). The Compass Bus timetable book “Travel times” includes all its bus routes across both East and West Sussex as well as Surrey with supplies readily available on board buses …..
…. while community bus operator Cuckmere Buses has commissioned the production of eye catching attractive publicity which just makes you want to travel on their routes in the Cuckmere Valley and beyond.
The Cuckmere Valley Ramblerbus route 47 is a particular delightful circular tour to take on a weekend.
As already mentioned in my blog about Somerset’s Secret Rural Bus Route a lovely colourful bus map on the wall of Bridgwater’s bus station was great to see as are similar maps in Cornwall. They need keeping up to date of course, but do wonders for raising the profile of bus networks and selling them to a wider public.
I spotted a similar map for Stagecoach’s south west network in Barnstaple bus station …
…. which was posted on an old notice board with what looked like original Rail Alphabet lettering. A shame in a way that a poster showing train departures wasn’t included on the right hand side with details of great value bus tickets posted elsewhere.
Praise for Stagecoach in the south east too which had maps of its network posted at bus shelters as well as information about tickets – as seen on my recent visit to Dover.
It was good to see many smart newly designed Buses of Somerset branded bus stops throughout Somerset but not so professional was this bus stop flag which has seen better days in the centre of Bridgwater and isn’t a good look for the image of bus travel.
Also, not so impressive were the displays overseen by Thurrock Council in Grays bus station.
The real time display was good to see but the notices on the static display are not only posted one covering up another but are out of date and faded and the offensive graffiti really does need cleaning off.
Meanwhile in Stevenage, someone (GTR?) needs to amend the signage at the station which points passengers to buses in the wrong direction now the new bus station has opened to the left of the station, rather than to the right.
Maybe when it’s updated a pictogram of a right hand drive bus might be good to include too.
Own goals scored aplenty on Merseyside when I visited last month and found both Arriva …
…. and Stagecoach promoting second hand car sales.
They were all over Liverpool.
While in Liverpool I tried to get my head around why the Combined Authority promote partnership routes jointly operated by Arriva and Stagecoach with coordinated frequencies etc, such as the 10A to St Helens, by posting timetable departures separately for both operators at bus stops.
It hardly makes it easy for passengers nor is in the spirit of ‘partnership’.
The lack of Oyster card readers at Farringdon station for passengers transferring between Thameslink and the new Elizabeth Line still hasn’t been sorted. It was inexcusable this obvious requirement was missed but for it to continue some weeks after launch is getting tiresome for passengers who have to make their way upstairs, through the barriers and back down again.
National Express West Midlands promote its advanced cleaning regime on its buses in a high profile way ….
…. which is all good, but sadly my journey on an X2 from Solihull last week was on a filthy bus with a floor where a sugary drink had been spilled earlier and dried leaving a nasty sticky mess all over the floor from the front to the stairs.
Why oh why do operators continue the malpractice of blocking the forward view from the front seat?
It’s so annoying.
Operators displaying the legally required ownership details on the nearside of the bus in this slapdash and questionable way….
…. make me wonder what else on the bus is being treated similarly without care and attention.
I’m going to miss the different train company names we’ve all grown to love (or not) when the Great British Railways brand finally arrives but one thing I won’t miss are the brand specific adverts the marketing people at GTR put up at stations on the Brighton Main Line.
I know it’s advertising both Gatwick and Luton airports but the quickest train from Hassocks (where this poster can be found) to Gatwick Airport is on Southern (or in the peaks Gatwick Express) rather than the slower Thameslink, which is better avoided – all the more so as departures tend to be just a few minutes after Southern. If you follow GTR’s advice you’ll let that first and quickest train go to catch the second and slower one.
Also, platform 5 (along with 6) At Gatwick Airport are the ones out of action at the moment while the station is expanded and the track is looking particularly overgrown with weeds.
And while on the subject of useless displays …. welcome to the world of TfL bus stop timetables. This one is in Barnes….
… while on the south side of Hammersmith Bridge the bus shelter at Castelnau continues to display the wrong spider map (which I pointed out a couple of years ago).
All in the name of confusing passengers.
And on that theme, over at the Southend Travel Centre there’s a rather nice display showing where to catch your bus as well as a listing by route of what goes where which is all very helpful…
… except there are two posters (positions 3 and 5 above) which are almost identical…
…. giving information in alphabetical order by destination of what routes to catch and where from.
All very good, but why two posters, you might well be wondering?
That’s because the person who put them up forgot to take the old one down when they posted the April 2022 version…
…. so if you’re in Southend make sure you don’t follow the out-of-date information from nearly five years ago from the one in position 5.
I was with my friend Ray, when we spotted this and thought it might be helpful to let the person who sits in what used to be part of the Arriva travel shop and a coach tour booking window know about it, but he told us in no uncertain terms he was only there for security (that’s SECURITY) and had nothing to do with bus information.
What a shame.
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