04 May 2011

Buses From This Stop

In my eyes, Derbyshire County Council's public transport department can do little wrong. Sure, they had a wobble a couple of years ago when they considered discontinuing their UK-leading transport timetable books, but that was resultant from 'pressure upstairs' forcing financial savings. This never happened and I'm very pleased that they still continue to produce the most comprehensive timetable information in all the country - thorough, accurate and very reasonably priced. That's not to say they don't have a couple of worthy advisories!

Timetable information is something that differs widely from operator to operator or local authority to local authority. Some choose to install expensive 'next bus'-style departure screens, while some opt for displaying the route's full timetable at each stop. Some choose to provide a timetable library in huge display cases at major stops/interchanges. Derbyshire choose to provide a list of departures, naturally in chronological order, using the basic Gill Sans Bold font, on yellow A4 paper that has been cut to size, depending on how many departures there are.

Cheap, simplistic yet incredibly effective, as I hope you can see from the photo below:

Click to enlarge

The stop is in Buxton and lists all Sunday/Bank Holiday departures. No fancy logos, no multitude of colour, no laminate reflecting the sun, just plain, simple text that those who can't fathom a timetable must surely concede is pretty straightforward.

There are a couple of restrictions: journey times, for example, are not shown, nor is the operator providing each service named. In my opinion, though, the simplicity of the timetable display, with clear, precise departure times (with ultimate destination and significant via points detailed as appropriate) far outweigh the trade-offs.

And for any operator or local authority to reproduce - they'd only need Microsoft Excel, some yellow A4 paper and a laser-jet printer. This is certainly all I need from a timetable display at a bus stop. If I need to get to Disley, for example, the duration will matter not one jot, nor will the operator providing the service. I've got to get there!

Striking the balance, Derbyshire do offer full timetables for all services calling at its major stops/bus stations/interchanges, in addition to the Buses From This Stop list. All bases covered. Long may they continue to provide such an excellent service in all areas of public transport.

1 comment:

John said...

Absolutely agree. On the fringe of the West Midlands conurbation, many stops have no timetable whatsoever. You may go walking around the Inkford area on a saturday, arrive at the bus stop, and then know nothing about whether there will be a bus.
There have been times in Redditch bus station when no timetable for Evesham is on display. You can blame vandalism, but surely not just give up.
Derbyshire's approach is great.