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Author Topic: Frequency - a key priority  (Read 1404 times)
grahame
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« on: October 21, 2020, 10:09:05 am »

Members may have notice my prioritising of a reasonably frequent service, reliable services, good connections, intermodal links and understandable fare systems and good information systems over the trimming of a few minutes off journey times.

By way of example ... I need to be at Swindon (Station) from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. this evening ... using Google (which has turned into a good information system to tell me about travel options, but lacks associated fare data).

With a service every 30 minutes and a 25 minute travel time, I should (on average) be able to leave Melksham 40 minutes before I start (15:20) and get back 40 minutes after I finish (19:40).  I am offered a 14:32 departure and a 21:09 return - 80 minutes (waiting+travel) time increased to 217 minutes due to a poor frequency. Remember that the 2013 service increase was from an impractical service to the minimum above that - a poor service but usable by those who have no alternative, or who are lucky enough to want to travel both ways at the times the trains run or who are flexible in their planning they can fit the trains.





24 minutes is a wonderful train time - I would be perfectly happy with 35 minutes.  But look at how long I have to wait for the train!  An arrival 59 minutes early, and a wait of hour and 45 minutes when I finish lead me to consider alternatives when the train should be the natural choice.   I will be travelling up by train - although the timing is poor, the alternative timings are so awful that it's "Hobson's choice".  For return ... I'll almost certainly take the 19:00 train/bus combo. For sure it's an hour (and 2 minutes) longer than the train, but still gets me home nearly an hour earlier (the bus stop being nearer home that the train station).   And I dream of the 18:52 which GWR (Great Western Railway) withdrew in March which used to get to Melksham at 19:18.

For completeness, driving, cycling and walking alternatives ...





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TonyN
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2020, 11:13:05 am »

Just a note about Travel planning with Google. It has a few snags.

For example if I look up a journey from Pershore town centre to Oxford. Sometimes trains stop at Worcestershire parkway but not Pershore. Google will tell me to take a bus to Worcester bus station and another bus to Shrub hill then catch the train to Oxford.

However the bus from Pershore calls at Worcestershire Parkway and so does the train to Oxford. Google is aware of the bus and train calling at parkway as it shows in the detail of the journey. Also I could have caught a bus on the same route in the other direction to Evesham as Google sometimes directs.

Google will only tell me go to Pershore station if it is the time for one of the infrequent buses to the station. It does not advise walking (22 Minutes). This is without selecting the less walking option.
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bobm
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2020, 02:47:16 pm »

I assume for that hour earlier home arrival there is a price as you are using different forms of transport for your outward and return journey and there is no common ticketing.
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2020, 02:53:01 pm »

I assume for that hour earlier home arrival there is a price as you are using different forms of transport for your outward and return journey and there is no common ticketing.

There is indeed a price ... though I could use a Trowbridge to Swindon (any permitted route).  But partly paid for through my taxes - old codger's card on Faresaver.  Extra ticket is CPM» (Chippenham - next trains) - BTH» (Bath Spa - next trains) single on top of MKM» (Melksham (Station code) - next trains) SWI» (Swindon - next trains) return. Simples.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2020, 10:24:01 pm »

Just a note about Travel planning with Google. It has a few snags.

Yes - and a good example; there are other snags I could describe too. 

Information systems that put more than just a limited quantity of options together tend - my view - to be embryonic and come up with suggestions which will probably work (for the most part) for people who don't know the area but can be tuned and further decisions made that can make them even better.

The ... most excellent ... holiday I have taken in the century was but a few days in Iceland.  And what made it so much fit together was that the itinerary was tuned for us by an Icelander who listened / suggested / advised. On the phone.  Not a hugely long call.   But it put it together like no automated system that I've come across yet could do.

I have moved a long way from frequency.  Yes, I doglegged via Bath Spa tonight to save a wait for almost 2 hours (at times, I find it better to be travelling than to be sitting in some bus or train station with everything shuttered as it is for so much of the time it is at present.   But I would really prefer the train in the middle of that 3.25 hours that GWR (Great Western Railway) aren't running at the moment to be back.  Frequency is key, obscure alternatives that take 3 times the time and have separate ticketing arrangements are a poor second best.

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