A I, Eh? Aye; Pray Why? (Part 2)

The book on Ai duly arrived from the South American rain forest early yesterday afternoon. The print is small so reading will be a magnifier assisted challenge and certainly haf hardly started by later yesterday evening. Bedtime reading is quite hard using one hand for the book, one for the magnifier and the third had to hold the pages open. Mrs fbb’s clothes pegs will help quite a bit.
But one thing is immediately certain.
First’s expensive new timetable mangling software is most definitely NOT Ai.
It Costa Lot!

£4.5 million, if spread over a generous ten year life for a chunk of software, will be £450,000 a year. fbb assumes (perhaps optimistically) that the price will include a program and hardware maintenance contract.

£450,000 would cover the wages cost of a team of 10 skilled schedules officers who, with simple software, could create proper sensible timetables for the whole of First Bus – provided that Head Office were able to spread the work.
The results would be much better!

Of course. 

That is just what the passenger wants. Nothing cheers a traveller by bus more than to have the timetable changed frequently and at short notice because First now have computer software to make it easy.
Well done First.

You have to wonder whether the Ai will take into account the loss of passengers consequent upon its application of a timetable muddle intelligence.

Well done First.

Maybe First will publish the results of their survey which shows the huge percentage of passengers that prefer punctuality to a timetable they can easily understand.

Reading more deeply into these (and other expurgated paragraphs) it would seem that the aim of so-called Ai is to improve punctuality at the expense of passenger numbers and customer satisfaction.
But, at the end of the day, First does NOT want those pesky passengers spoiling its arbitrary punctuality targets by foolishly wanting to travel on a bus.
Statistics and data management are far more important than providing a bus service that people can use.
Well done First.
You have spent a huge amount of money to make life difficult for your customers.
Well done First.
Will Non-Ai Sort Out Bradford?
Some of us remember the huge bus station that was built at Bradford Interchange.

Then half of it was closed and latterly the whole lot was demolished and replaced with a new much smaller Interchange bus station.

But it, too has suddenly closed, albeit for a “temporary” period.

The PTE (which seems to be calling itself “The Combined Authority” is a little coy about the reason.

The statement does not specify how long the bus station will be closed for, but WYCA said more information will be provided “in due course”. 
Statement in full on Bradford Interchange bus station closure

West Yorkshire Combined Authority said: “We have taken the precautionary measure to close Bradford Interchange bus station today following some damage believed to be linked to recent extreme weather.
“Some damage”? What damage? “Believed to be linked ..?” Don’t you know?
Ah, that would be telling.
The WYCA is keeping very quiet because the “damage” was actually an attack by Aliens from the Planet Zog, attempting to steal First’s new Ai software to assist wth their plans for interplanetary domination.
WYCA have successfully decoded a subsequent message from Zog …

… which roughly translated means “Call that Ai? You couldn’t organise pea soup in a brewery with that!” (Or some similar phraseology.)

The disruption to travel in Bradford is immense with buses scattered into nearby streets. But, as a good house point, the authority has issued a map …

… and a full list of affected services.

Oddly, no one seems to have noticed the invasion.

Apparently the above picture was obtained by the Bradford Telegraph and Argus but a “D” notice was issued to prevent publication.

New Train Set : The Master Cutler?

In fbb’s youth, The Master Cutler ran from Kings Cross to Sheffield via Retford and was a top grade train offering luxury service. fbb could never have afforded to travel on it!
FirstGroup’s new proposals comprise two return journeys a day from London King’s Cross, calling at Retford, Worksop, Woodhouse and Sheffield, and the company aims to provide a faster link between London and Sheffield than alternative services.

The new proposed route will give Sheffield the first regular service from London King’s Cross since 1968 and will also give Worksop in Nottinghamshire the first regular direct London trains in decades. FirstGroup estimates there are 350,000 people in the Worksop and Woodhouse catchment areas who will have direct rail access to London because of these proposals. A sizeable number of rail users in these areas currently drive to Doncaster station to pick up faster services to London rather than travelling via Sheffield.

Does First know where Woodhouse is? It is nowhere near Worksop but is a suburban stop with no facilities and all buildings boarded up …

… and very little parking.

It is 13 miles from Woodhouse BUT parking as above is FREE!

Timetables have not yet been published but trains will have to be quite speedy to beat the Midland Main Line’s fastest time of just over two hours.
Currently trains from The Cross to Retford take just under two hours but with stops at Stevenage, Peterborough, Grantham and Newark. Subtract, say, 7 minutes for a slow, a stop and a sped up four times (28 minutes) which looks like a non-stop run to Retford in one hour 35. That leaves 25 minutes for stops at Retford, Worksop and Woodhouse and the much slower run into Sheffield.

First Rail will need some clever timetabling to achieve their advertised aims.

Maybe they will use Ai?
But before folk get too excited; please note that this is an application for track access. There is no guarantee that Notwork Rail will make the requisite paths available. We keep on being told that the East Coast Main Line is full!
fbb will keep a close eye on this one.
 Next Weekend Variety blog : Sunday 7th January 
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