Wednesday, 31 August 2011

When an "improved early evening timetable" isn't totally improved

Stagecoach in Hull say that 1/2 to Boothferry Estate will have an "improved early evening timetable Monday to Saturday" from 5th September. Is that true - Yes in part, but mostly No.

Taking service 1, departures currently leave Hull Interchange at 1800, then every 15 minutes until 1900, then every half hour Mon-Thu, and every 15 minutes Fri/Sat. Yet from September that becomes every 20 minutes between 1800 and 2100 then every half hour. So thats a worse services between 1800 and 1900 (1 less bus per hour), and from 1900 onwards on Friday and Saturday (1 less bus per hour). The only benefit is between 1900 and 2100 Monday to Thursday (1 extra bus per hour). The same cutbacks also affect service 2, and journeys from Boothferry Estate back into Hull are similarly affected.

If cuts need to be made, fine, but surely better to be totally honest about them. Whats wrong with saying "a early evening revised timetable including extra journeys Monday to Thursday after 1900". Don't have to admit directly to cuts, but equally not misleading anyone.


Anonymous said...

A bit harsh to suggest its not improved. The reason it is claimed there is an improvement is that the previous every 15 minutes timetable saw all departures at 00 15 30 45 mins past from the Interchange to there were two buses every 15 mintues to Boothferry Estate. The new timetable will see a standard evening timetable operated all week, but with the 20 minute headway now combined to provide a 10 minute service between Hull and Boothferry Estate. Thus the timetable is improved and certainly so when comparing year on year. So a little less negativity required me thinks!

Humber Transport said...

Fair enough, but I'd still say:

1. Stagecoach have done a bad job in communicating this. Why not say a more even interval service to Boothferry Estate. More specific and easier to understand what the improvement actually is
2. There are still cuts in the number of buses per hour to Boothferry Estate between 6 and 7pm Mon-Sat, and 7 to 9pm Fri/Sat
3. Better spaced services to Boothferry Estate are meaningless for passengers on other parts on the 1/2 routes, such as Hessle Road and Anlaby Road

Anonymous said...

Marketing is a key factor in this. Marketing is about highlighting positives, the detail is in the timetable, but being positive encourages usage, highlighting a negative that is minor when comparing the service year on year could have the wrong impact.
I would say a company responsible for over 40% increase in patronage on it's Network in Hull over the last ten years knows what it's doing!!

Humber Transport said...

"More even interval" is just as positive as "improved" while giving more detail about what the enhancement is, plus it can't be misinterpreted in the way I have.

Others could easily look at the timetable is the same way I did and draw the same conclusions I initially did. On this one I think Stagecoach have made a bad choice of words and not explained the change as well as they could have done.

And not the only example of poorly explained changes I have found. Stagecoach totally omit to highlight the Saturday frequency improvement to the 13 for example, a very positive enhancement.

Stagecoach obviously know what they are doing with their network in Hull, but that doesn't mean every single little action, decision or choice of words is correct 100% of the time.