Put not your trust in Traveline

It is delightful to have a Scottish travel card and to be able to use buses for free. when I had a meeting of the Scottish Episcopal Historians group in Dundee on Saturday starting at 11 am I decided that economy and ecology dictated using the bus.

Accordingly I spent some time researching times and buses on the Traveline website, which is very clunky indeed to use, as every place has to be verified. When I type ‘Buchanan Street Bus Station, Glasgow’ do I indeed mean Glasgow City? Er, yes. I was very careful to put the right date, as Saturday buses can be different. With a sinking heart I realised that in order to go by bus I would need to leave the house at ten to seven in the morning, which meant starting on the animal work at ten to six, and therefore, allowing for some organising and stretching, waking up at half past five. Driving meant leaving at 8.30 and therefore rising at a civilised seven. Still …

I booked the 8.30 bus form Glasgow and resigned myself to catching the 7.30 from Kilmarnock.

I drove to Kilmarnock. I parked. I waited for the bus, which did not come. I checked the bus stop paper-behind-glass timetable, and it appeared that on Saturdays there was no 7.30 bus. The next one would make me miss the connection I had booked. I therefore got in my car and drive to the nearest park and ride, and tried to catch the underground – the train left just as I arrived, and the next one was ten minutes later, and it got me to the bus station just in time to see my bus departing. Had I only driven straight to the park and ride I would have been in plenty of time. Still …

I enquired when the next bus would get me to Dundee – and the next bus was fully booked – bus travel would now get me there horribly late. ‘This happens all the time with Traveline…’ sighed the girl behind the counter.

Having now wasted a fiver, I went back to my car and began the drive to Dundee. It was expensive and wasteful and I had now been travelling for nearly two hours.  Still …

I got to Dundee just before 11. I had sat nav. I got to a roundabout just in front of my destination. It was utterly shut. I could not turn left. There was no indication of how one might later turn left, where there were endless obstructions.  In vain I sought a way – my poor sat nav did not understand and endlessly tried to re-route me to the roundabout. I sought to climb above it so as to drop down. The sat nav offered bus routes, and pedestrianised streets. On and on I drove.  My desperation increased. Finally, I managed to climb and fall slowly down to my destination, where I finally arrived at ten to twelve.  I had been travelling for five hours. The bus should have taken an hour less and driving should have taken a little over two. Gentle reader, put not your trust in Traveline…

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One response to “Put not your trust in Traveline

  1. Hello,

    An alerting service has brought your post to my attention. I’m concerned to read about your negative experience of the Traveline Scotland website, in particular that you feel you were supplied incorrect timetable information by our journey planner.

    I have tried to replicate the journey you mention for travel on Saturdays but have been unable to do so – instead being offered Express buses at 0700 and 0755 from Kilmarnock bus station to Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station, with a slower service also available – departing at 0704.

    There is an 0729 departure on Mondays to Fridays, but this is not offered by the journey planner for travel when a Saturday date is entered.

    However, I would like to investigate further and was wondering if you could email us at improvements@travelinescotland.com with details of the operator, service number and departure time for the journey you were offered on the Saturday in question.

    I would obviously be very keen to correct any data fault that might be present in the journey planning system.

    Many thanks,
    Stuart McNeill,
    Manager, Traveline Scotland.

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