Sheffield Catch-Up (2)

 Running A Few Days Late

In the UK it is April Fool’s Day but in France you can be “caught” (clothes peg) like a Poisson d’Avril. 

The South Yorkshire changes announced by First Bus would appear to be more serious than a version of a “Poison d’Avril”, but equally well chosen to “catch” the passengers unawares.
Thanks to a “Whistle Blower”, fbb has able to summnarise a transcript of a meeting at East Bank Garage (now called Olive Grove??). An honoured guest chairperson was none other than the boss of First Bus, Janette Bell.
Other staff members have been given numbers to avoid any future attacks by hoardes of confused passengers – as we shall see.

JB : Thank you for inviting me to you planning meeting. I am thrilled with our progress on my plan to reduce the number of passengers we carry quite significantly. It is far better to run one bus every hour packed to the roof than to have all the hassle of tunning evey ten minutes with only a few posteriors on seats. Full buses is where the profit lies. So I am really looking forward to hearing your progress as part of my plan.

M1 : As instructed, we have been playing the “AI” game with many of our timetables and these start at the beginning of next month. Obviously, we are not telling the public that our “AI” software is actually a simple random number generator. 

You can see the results on our route 24 …

… with our buses being at lovely irregular intervals, whilst our “partner” Stagecoach runs at easily remembered even intervals.  More fools them, say I. We’ve done lots of this work throughout the network.

JB : Impressive. Well done.

M2 : We are very proud of our massive renumbering scheme in Doncaster. Nobody outside of this team really knows why we have done it. We have told the public that it will nake things easier to understand because we have just added 300 to most route numbers. That keeps us clear of Stagecoach, who are sticking with easy to remember numbers. Our new ones are much more confusing.

JB : Excellent. Another good move.

.M2 : But we have added a few sneaky personal touches. Look at this sequence.

Because the former 50b has been numbered 352, we have been able to renumber he 52 as 353. Nice and confusing all round. And we have manged another “poisson d’avril” (as we have called them internally). Yvonne, who brings the tea trolley round, is French, so she appreciates the project’s internal name!

JB : (excitedly) Tell me more!

M2 : This one is even better.

For our confusing re-jig of services along the Thorne corridor, we wanted an extra number. So we used 384a to go with 384, the former 84. Then we were able to renumber the former 84a as 385 instead of 384a as it might have been. Confusion reigns!

JB : (more excitedly) Glorious, glorious!

M3 : So we have changed times using “AI” and changed the route numbers at the same time. As usual, neither we nor the PTE will be printing any leaflets and, presumably, the PTE won’t get the bus stop departure lists changed before the start of the new numbers and times, so confusion will be enormous and casual passengers will give up completely.

But, Ms Bell, the best is yet to come.

JB :  I can’t wait!

M3 : As part of the renumbering project we have taken the long-standing X78 …

… and renumbered it as X3; whilst the more recent X10 has become the X2.
Unfortunately this does mean that we have to abandon the narrow illegible route numbers in favour of something folk can actually read. But it doesn’t matter much as regular passengers will have no idea what an X2 or an X3 is.

JB :  You said  this was the best of the passenger reduction policies, Am I missing something?

M3 : No ma’am because I have left the best bit till last. Here is an extract from the PTE route map which, as you would expect, will not be updated in time for the changes.

Notice that the X1 and X10 (to become X2) run via Attercliffe Common and on to Rotherham and Maltby whereas the X78 (to become X3) runs via Brightside Lane and on to Rotherham and Doncaster.

Well, to really ratchet up the confusion, we are going to swap the two routes over!

(JB applauds loudly)

From 7th April, the X1 and X2 (was X10) will run via Brightside Lane and the X3 (was X78) will run via Attercliffe Common, exactly the opposite of current routes. A stroke of genius, Ma’am, we reckon.

JB :  change of numbers, change to an erratic timetable, change of route wth no timetable leaflets and no maps; fantastic. You should go far in this company, young man! My plan to confuse and discourage passengers is safe in your hands!

Now let’s discuss that bonus!

Obviously, fbb cannot provide any independent verification of this transcript, but his sources are peccable and, looking at the end result, the transcript seems eminently reasonable. It is entirely compatible with what First have been doing all over the country.

There will be a bit more from Sheffield and South Yorkshire tomorrow.


Jesus and the gang are on the way to his arrest and crucifixion. He has told them he is going to die – horribly and illegally – but he will rise to life on the third day. They have seem a vision of Jesus in Divine (Risen?) form and heard the voice of God confirming his “super human” status.

His teaching continues at CAPERNAUM, a village en route to the Cross

Some may wish to challenge these events as fanciful but, please remember, they were not challenged at the time; as we shall see when we observe the so-called trial of the Master.

Some religious codes have taken Jesus’ sayings literally and used them as a basis for cruel punishments but, taken within their context, Jesus is reminding folk that Sin is Serious; so serious in fact that the punishment will ultimately be death.

This makes Jesus Destiny of Criscifixion very significant.

So important is this significance, that he tells them three times!

They did not pass through a Manchester suburb!


 More Sheffield Catch-up blog : Friday 22nd March