Sunday, 28 September 2014

Council check: North Yorkshire County Council

Each week, we look at how well one of our local transport authorities promotes the bus services on its patch. This week, it's the turn of North Yorkshire County Council.

Where do the buses go?

There are no maps of any description, but this page lets you search by location for a list of all routes serving it. The results are rather cumbersome however, as only 5 results are shown per page, meaning you have to scroll through several pages to see all bus services in some locations. You can also search by route number, but that's assuming you already know which route you need. The lack of a map will ensure that many people will never find out. 1 out of 5.


Timetables can be searched by location or route number, but be prepared to click through pages of results if you search by location. 3 out of 5.


No information is provided whatsoever, not even for Plusbus, which is available in Scarborough and Harrogate. 0 out of 5.


This really is quite poor all round. Definitely one of the worst regions of the country in which to find out about bus services. North Yorkshire County Council only manages a pitiful 4 out of 15.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Council check: Leicestershire County Council

This week, let's see how Leicestershire County Council promote the bus services in their region.

Their remit excludes the city of Leicester, which is administered separately and will be covered in a future post.

Where do the buses go?

We have a series of town maps and county-wide network diagram, plus a link to Leicester City Council's Greater Leicester Bus Map. Excellent. 5 out of 5.


Timetables are provided, but only for those routes that are subsidised by the county council. Passengers are unlikely to know whether their route is subsidised or not, so this is far from ideal. For commercial routes, we are referred over to Traveline, which actually has timetables for all bus routes in Leicestershire and beyond. Would it have hurt the county council to include timetables for all routes? I think not. 2 out of 5.


The only fares information is a link to the Leicester Flexi multi-operator ticket, which covers the city of Leicester plus neighbouring parts of the county. There is no information on single fares, single-operator day tickets or any other type of ticket. Plusbus, available in Hinckley and Loughborough, is ignored. 1 out of 5.


Great maps, patchy timetable provision and no information on fares. Leicestershire County Council scores a total of 8 out of 15.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Council check: Oxfordshire County Council

Each Sunday, we look at how well one of our local transport authorities promoted the bus services on its patch. This week: Oxfordshire County Council.

Where do the buses go?

No maps are provided, just a link to Traveline, on which you can search for all bus services serving a particular location. 1 out of 5.


Nothing more than a link to Traveline. 2 out of 5.


Oxford's Smart Zone range of multi-operator tickets are mentioned, but that's it. No indication of travel costs if you're travelling outside of Oxford. Nothing at all on single and return fares or operators' own day tickets. Plusbus is available in Oxford, Banbury and Didcot but gets no mention from the council. 1 out of 5.


For an area of the country that is generally well regarded for the quality of its bus services, the performance of the county council is very poor. They've left as much to Traveline as possible, which is cost-effective, but also makes it more difficult for passengers to get an overview of the public transport network locally. Oxfordshire County Council really have done just the bare minimum and this is recognised in their overall score of 4 out of 15.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Council check: Northamptonshire County Council

Each week, we see how a local transport authority informs potential passengers about the bus services on its patch. This week, Northamptonshire County Council.

Where do the buses go?

Maps are provided of the whole county, including enlarged versions of the major towns. 5 out of 5.


Timetable for all bus routes in the county can be found here. 5 out of 5.


Information is given about the Buzz Card, the multi-operator ticket for Northampton. But that's it. Nothing about single and return fares or operators' own day tickets. Plusbus, available in Northampton, Wellingborough, Corby and Kettering, is also ignored. 1 out of 5.


Top notch maps and timetables, but totally inadequate fares information. Northamptonshire County Council scores a total of 11 out of 15.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Counterfeit cash but no jail for bus boss

A man found guilty of handling counterfeit banknotes has escaped a jail sentence because he owns a bus company.

Full details over on our sister blog, Southampton Bus Update.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

BANES botches bus help

Bath And North East Somerset Council, also known as BANES, have managed to get a good news story carried by Now Bath regarding the acceptance of First Day tickets on a tendered evening service between Bath and Midsomer Norton. Sadly, the much trumpeted help isn't actually much help at all, as the first commenter on Now Bath quite rightly points out. So what's going on?

Commuters between Bath and Midsomer Norton have a choice of five routes from First:

But if you need to get back to Bath in the evening, there's a problem. Here are extracts from First's timetables:

The evening service is operated by Wessex, while First run the daytime service. There used to be an agreement in place whereby Wessex would accept First's return tickets, but with the introduction of First's 'Fairer Fares' return fares were scrapped. This left passengers needing to use both with a choice of two singles or a multi-operator Avon Rider at £7.20.

BANES's new arrangement with Wessex means that passengers can use a FirstDay to return on a Wessex bus. The cheapest FirstDay that is valid for Bath to Midsomer Norton?

A whole 20p cheaper than Avon Rider.

Passengers will be left thinking that BANES doesn't have a clue how much it costs to use the bus on its patch and that it doesn't really care as long as it can spin some positive publicity out of it.

Shame on Now Bath for not researching the impact on passengers and allowing themselves to just regurgitate local authority propaganda.

Monday, 1 September 2014


Edinburgh has launched its Citysmart card in a blaze of publicity, trumpeting it as the Scottish capital's version of Oyster.

But, as the Edinburgh Evening News points out, some bus passengers will find it cheaper to keep buying paper tickets.

Lothian Buses operate a flat fare of £1.50 per journey. They also offer a day ticket at £3.50, which it makes sense to buy if you're going to be making more than 2 journeys in a day. But the Citysmart will only register single journeys, charging you £1.50 a time. So if you will be using more than 2 buses in a day, you should shun Citysmart in favour of a paper day ticket.

The same applies to Edinburgh Trams, providing you're not travelling to or from the airport.

Citysmart is not valid on the buses of operators other than Lothian and also cannot be used on trains. So while it is a step forward, it's a bit misleading to call it an Oyster equivalent.