NON - RUNNER AND USELESS RTI !!

Bus and Coach operations, new or changed services and timetables for First Midland Red Buses Limited or its predecessor, Midland Red West Limited.
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DD12
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NON - RUNNER AND USELESS RTI !!

Post by DD12 » 23:00 Thursday 3rd May 2018

Sorry, but do any of you have any info about what happened to the 17.58 44 from Link Top (shelter) to County Hall, today ??

I travelled TO Malvern on the 14.00 44 from Worcester, -- on StreetDeck No. 35158, and which is part of running-board / card 14 (October bus graph).

If 35158 had stayed on "card" 14, it would have done that early evening duty, taking me back to the Oak Apple pub at the top of the London Road, but unfortunately NO bus ran it ! (from Malvern) --

Because I'm a "DD enthusiast" I knew that FMR was short of two StreetDecks, and guessed that 35158 might get taken-off this "card" at Crowngate at 15.22 for a late arrival at BEO school (S1-S4). -- No Problem !!

In recent months I have successfully "stepped into modern times" by learning how to use the real-time information service provided by the county council and Traveline -- when I'm at home - via my laptop. --

Howevever, today, when I was in Malvern, I couldn't get it to work, even though everything else on my laptop was AOK, ( - but that may have been due to my own incompetence ?), - so I chose to be at the Link Top stop/shelter in plenty of time for the 17.58, and pleasingly the county council real-time display at the shelter confirmed that it was on it's way, and when the time was 17.59, and the "imminent arrival" disappeared from the display, I was still totally confident that my bus was "just around the corner" - - - but it wasn't !!

The main villain in this piece (for me) is the county council -- they have used public money (our money) for a real-time info system that isn't working adequately.
(IF the roadworks at New Road were causing delays and deletions, the system should have shown it -- that's the whole point of it !!)

I only had to wait another 20 mins for a 44 to Crowngate (and I did ask the driver if he had overtaken the missing one - - but he hadn't), but the problem was there were no more buses up the London Road after I arrived at Crowngate at 19.08.

Surely, as First had dropped the 17.58 44 Link Top to County Hall, they should have made a provision for the NEXT bus (from Malvern) to go up the London Road
(after-all the depot is only "a stone's throw away").

ANYHOW, can anyone tell me, please, what the best way is to get my taxi fare back from First ?? (Crowngate to the Oak Apple).

"Cry-baby-emoji" :cry:

DD12
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Re: NON - RUNNER AND USELESS RTI !!

Post by DD12 » 00:16 Friday 4th May 2018

ALSO, how on earth can a real-time info display at a bus stop show a bus that isn't coming -- even up to the time it's supposed to arrive/depart ????
-- That's madness !

(my brain hurts !)

Fuzzynutter
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Re: NON - RUNNER AND USELESS RTI !!

Post by Fuzzynutter » 07:58 Friday 4th May 2018

I've experienced similar problems with one of the real time displays in Warndon Villages where some services just drop off or suddenly they appear well behind time. And the information doesn't tie up with First's real time app info either which too doesn't reflect where a bus is or how long it'll be until a service arrives!

asb
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Re: NON - RUNNER AND USELESS RTI !!

Post by asb » 08:50 Friday 4th May 2018

Was the stop display counting down in minutes, or showing an actual time? Most systems work by using minutes for a bus that is "on the system", and an actual time (the scheduled one) for a trip with no vehicle visible to the system (for whatever reason) that has not been cancelled off by a Controller.

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AdamH
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Re: NON - RUNNER AND USELESS RTI !!

Post by AdamH » 09:30 Friday 4th May 2018

I don't know much about the working of this system. We use an upgraded version in the office which gives additional information such as vehicle fleet number, driver name, running board etc., but as I'm merely a driver I have not been given a password and I can't even go in the office where the computer lives without permission. Hence I have no idea how it "works"

On the buses the ticket machines display real time information for the bus you are driving. It is not very accurate as it rounds everything off to the nearest minute. If you are running up to a minute early an amber warning is shown or a red warning for early running over a minute. The problem is this system can often get itself very confused and several times I have seen it say I'm 4 or 5 minutes late on the main part of the display yet still give me a red warning and say I'm 10 minutes early on that part of the display... at the same time!!

I have noticed it can also get confused between outbound and inbound times. It is quite common to tell the machine you are starting a Service 30 (for example) while on the stand in Crowngate, then the machine decides your are at the terminus on the way back and has a hissy fit to say you are running 30-minutes early. You then must override it by repeated pressing the back button on the machine, backwards around the whole route, until it says you are in Crowngate at the start of the route. This only lets you issue tickets from the correct location and has no effect on the time display which still shows you running early. When you get to the Bull Ring sometimes you are lucky and it has sorted itself out, otherwise you must do the whole process again as it will only let you issue tickets towards Crowngate.

Most of the routes I work don't have this problem as they tend to be one-way only, ie I work to Ledbury then once there I either have a break or work a different service, so the machine isn't confused by going over the same bit of road twice on the same journey. I'd be interested to know if the drivers who work a lot of City routes have found a cure for this problem?

DD12
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Re: NON - RUNNER AND USELESS RTI !!

Post by DD12 » 12:14 Friday 4th May 2018

asb wrote:
08:50 Friday 4th May 2018
Was the stop display counting down in minutes, or showing an actual time? Most systems work by using minutes for a bus that is "on the system", and an actual time (the scheduled one) for a trip with no vehicle visible to the system (for whatever reason) that has not been cancelled off by a Controller.
Thanks asb -- it was showing a mix of both -- the missing 17.58 was shown in "time-format" and subsequent buses were shown either in time-format or in count-down format, IE a mix.

I feel really stupid now, for not realising that their system works (or doesn't work) - as you have described !
It looks very likely that this is causing frustration with other "customers" too -- indeed yesterday, when I was onboard the "18.18", another (irate) couple boarded in Great Malvern, and were having a go at the driver - poor chap !

I had assumed that the count-down (minutes) "entries" were to show late running, and the time-format entries were to show the bus is "on-time".

However, when I've been sat somewhere warm and comfortable, with access to my laptop ( - I don't yet have a smart-phone), I think I've seen a POSSIBLE problem with the count-down entries, in that when I have checked (at SAY 13.00) for the bus I want to catch - scheduled at say 13.30 -
the system has shown it as arriving/departing from my selected bus-stop (nearby) "in 50 minutes", say -- IE: running 20 minutes late -- = "Great ! - I can stay in my current warm, dry, location for an extra 15 mins, say, - BUT -

- when I have viewed the system when I've been in my house (with no intention of catching the bus) I have seen "the number of minutes late" reduce dramatically (IE: a traffic jam has cleared / the bus is "catching-up with the timetable") -- to the extent that the bus actually arrives and departs
from my chosen stop "on-time", even though when I had checked the system at SAY, 30 minutes in advance of the scheduled time, it had shown my chosen bus as arr/dep "in 50 mins", IE: running 20 minutes late.

I have yet to record a factual example of this, but will try to so.

So IF I'm right about that, then the system is no good for people wanting to know how soon to leave their comfortable location to catch their bus, because if it shows that their bus is running late (20 mins say) and they believe that -- by the time they get to their bus stop, the bus may have already gone !

There are other considerations (that I need to study) for different people who use the system in different ways, to suit their own needs (and locations)
!!

DD12
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Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: NON - RUNNER AND USELESS RTI !!

Post by DD12 » 20:57 Friday 4th May 2018

AdamH wrote:
09:30 Friday 4th May 2018
I don't know much about the working of this system. We use an upgraded version in the office which gives additional information such as vehicle fleet number, driver name, running board etc., but as I'm merely a driver I have not been given a password and I can't even go in the office where the computer lives without permission. Hence I have no idea how it "works"

On the buses the ticket machines display real time information for the bus you are driving. It is not very accurate as it rounds everything off to the nearest minute. If you are running up to a minute early an amber warning is shown or a red warning for early running over a minute. The problem is this system can often get itself very confused and several times I have seen it say I'm 4 or 5 minutes late on the main part of the display yet still give me a red warning and say I'm 10 minutes early on that part of the display... at the same time!!

I have noticed it can also get confused between outbound and inbound times. It is quite common to tell the machine you are starting a Service 30 (for example) while on the stand in Crowngate, then the machine decides your are at the terminus on the way back and has a hissy fit to say you are running 30-minutes early. You then must override it by repeated pressing the back button on the machine, backwards around the whole route, until it says you are in Crowngate at the start of the route. This only lets you issue tickets from the correct location and has no effect on the time display which still shows you running early. When you get to the Bull Ring sometimes you are lucky and it has sorted itself out, otherwise you must do the whole process again as it will only let you issue tickets towards Crowngate.

Most of the routes I work don't have this problem as they tend to be one-way only, ie I work to Ledbury then once there I either have a break or work a different service, so the machine isn't confused by going over the same bit of road twice on the same journey. I'd be interested to know if the drivers who work a lot of City routes have found a cure for this problem?
Thanks very much Adam for this info - - I am very interested in, (and enthusiastic about), recent hi-tech devices and systems, and how they can help both the bus operator and the passenger. (Some could even help the driver - eventually :D )
And although I have got faulty logic and associated problems, I am interested to discover (from various sources) that people "higher up the chain" also have faulty intellectual attributes etc, which become apparent when they try to introduce new systems and devices, etc. !!

I will study your post above, when my two remaining brain cells have started working again !

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AdamH
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Re: NON - RUNNER AND USELESS RTI !!

Post by AdamH » 21:07 Friday 4th May 2018

I think these systems are under-developed and have been rushed to the market before they are ready. Once they have made their sale they are more interested in moving on the the next sale, rather than working with the operators to fix the bugs and actually providing the product/service they are claiming to sell.

DD12
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Re: NON - RUNNER AND USELESS RTI !!

Post by DD12 » 21:26 Friday 4th May 2018

AdamH wrote:
21:07 Friday 4th May 2018
I think these systems are under-developed and have been rushed to the market before they are ready. Once they have made their sale they are more interested in moving on the the next sale, rather than working with the operators to fix the bugs and actually providing the product/service they are claiming to sell.
YES ! - - a further viewpoint and insight that I agree with totally -- Thanks !

DD12
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Re: NON - RUNNER AND USELESS RTI !!

Post by DD12 » 14:40 Monday 7th May 2018

Further to the above:-
www.nextbuses.mobi seems to be the best way for me to get onto the
traveline NextBuses site, and it uses the same format as at the bus stops.

I have rechecked, and I've still seen nothing to warn us that the scheduled bus
shown in time format might not turn-up.

I think this is stupid and useless, -- but as I have a "duff-brain", I wonder if I might be "missing something that is obvious to some forum members" ??

IE - in addition to what "asb" has told us above.

Before I complain to the county council about it, can anyone on the forum clarify, or add something relevant ( - that might be obvious to you, perhaps ?)

- so that I, (the "THICKO"), don't end up with a red face again (please) ! :oops:

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