Saturday, 5 December 2015

Stagecoach Quick to Iron Out a Few Website Glitches

Lancaster Bus Users' Group has always been impressed at the responsiveness of  local bus operators - and the county council - to respond to criticism and to put right errors once they are pointed out.

Following the launch of Stagecoach's new website an early road-test by the BUG found a number of problems with presentation of fares and journey planning (read again here). However, once these were brought to the attention of Stagecoach's planners in Carlisle they appear to have been swiftly dealt with.  The fares problem on Greaves Road, where every service appeared to show a different fare that ranged from £1.30 to £2.40 for the same journey has now been sorted out, with the correct fare of £1.70 shown on all services.  There is still a differential in fares from the city centre to the university, with the fare via Bowerham on the 2/2A being 70p more than on services 3 and 41 via Greaves Road, but perhaps this is actually the case. Most students have pre-paid "Unirider" tickets anyway, in which case they wouldn't notice and perhaps the others aren't as price-sensitive as one might expect because there is certainly no evidence that students allow a 2 or 2A to go past and wait for a cheaper 3/3A.

The Journey Planner will now correctly identify the route from Lancaster to Fleetwood, via Knott End (although not via Poulton, which is quicker at certain times) and it rather misleadingly offers fares "from £2.10" before revealing that the cheapest single is actually £4.20.

There appears to be a problem with journeys that involve using the buses of more than one Stagecoach subsidiary as far as the fares are concerned. Lancaster to Fleetwood works because both the 89 and the 86 services are run by Merseyside and S Lancs. Similarly an enquiry from "Bolton-le-Sands" to "Preston" correctly identifies the Lancashire Day Rider as the best option on Cumbria and North Lancs 555 and 40/41 . However asking about "Lancaster to Bolton" immediately throws up a problem that the search box only recognises "Bolton-le-Sands"!  It will give you times of buses to Horwich, just outside Bolton but perhaps because this involves changing from Cumbria and North Lancs service 40/41 to Merseyside and South Lancs 125 at Preston you have to "ask the driver" for fares even though the "Lancashire Day Rider" is again the cheapest option.

So, some improvement as far as data discrepancies for fares are concerned and some improvement in the journey planner but the interface between the two different parts of Stagecoach that operate in Lancashire still appears to cause a few problems.

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