Thursday, June 09, 2005

The ins and outs of frequency guides

It isn't very often that even a local newspaper devotes half a page to bus timetables, or, rather the lack of them.

However the June 7 issue of the Caulfield Glen-Eira Leader did so after a local bus company replaced timetables along Route 246 with service frequency guides as a trial.

With a frequency guide you'd be able to see that buses came every 10 minutes in the middle of the day and every 40 minutes on Sunday evenings, but wouldn't know whether it's 1 or 39 minutes until the next one.

Following an outcry from travellers and MPs, the operator has discontinued the trial and said that full timetables would return.

For individual stops, this is a good outcome. However, there are still cases where frequency guides are the most concise and efficient way to convey travel information. These include:

* Individual stops where he service runs every 5 minutes or less at all times

* City-wide travel guides or websites that include a brief summary of services

* Local area transport guides or summaries

* Tourist and other brochures that include a section on 'getting there by public transport'

Unless services are very frequent, frequency guides should always refer users to full timetables and provide a contact number for additional information.

No comments: