It’s an interesting sign of how advanced the green agenda is, that we can barely imagine a modern mainstream British Political Party Leader uttering the sentence above. It’s attributed to Maggie some 30 years ago.
A couple of confessions:
a. I’m beyond the age of 26.
b. I find myself on a bus almost every week day
c. I don’t consider myself a failure.
Like a large minority of people in Bristol I try to make do without a car. For a lot of people the hassle, fuss and cost of finding somewhere to park in the centre of town where I go to work puts me off getting one. I’ve made an informed choice and I live in an area well served by public transport with both the Severn beach line and a bus route within 2 minutes walk and my place of work in about 30 minutes walk away.
We as a city should be doing all we can to help citizens make informed choices about transport, all with a view to encouraging them to use public transport where its appropriate. Unfortunately First Buses Website plainly fails to do this.
My partner Kat and I are hoping to buy a house together next year and having found a couple of areas that were affordable and pleasant I took a look at the First Buses website to see how easy it would be to get to work.
When you arrive on the website you notice a handy search function. Try it. Unless the street you type in is specifically mentioned in the timetable you get no results.
If you click on the section marked Timetables “Plan your Journey with ease” You find that you need a detailed knowledge of what service number you actually need to use before using this section. So it’s not easy at all.
When you click on “View our map network” and then on Bristol and South Gloucestershire you finally feel like you are getting somewhere.
A colour coded map of all Bristol shows service numbers which all flows into the city centre.
Finally you think you will get to see where you get on and off. So you navigate to the city centre map and you get this.
I can’t work this out easily. Can you?
This website is abysmal and whoever designed it should be exiled to Steepholm.
Compare this to the Transport for London website. In a City with a fantastically complicated public transport system it seems that local government provide a clever joined up website where you can even search for your post code or a vague street name and find a bus, underground, overground or even a wombling free walking route!
Does it matter? Is this just a grumpy Monday morning rant. Yes. On both counts (I haven’t had my coffee yet).
If we actually want people to get out of their cars we need to make public transport cheaper, more regular but first and foremost we need to let people know that they can use it to get to where they want to go! At the moment we have a system which is as far from user friendly as we can get.
If you agree with me, why not use the clunky First Buses feed back system and let me know by commenting on this blog if you get a response.
But more importantly Gary Hopkins is the person responsible for our Public Transport System in Bristol. Why not email him about how poor our information system is and demand that he actually does something about it. You can email him on firstname.lastname@example.org
Good morning and have a good week.