CUF timetables not updated

The timetable data at http://timetables.data.tfl.gov.uk/ doesn’t seem to have been updated since 24th February 2020.

Is this still the right place to get timetable data, or should I be looking elsewhere?

@Poggs

Yes, the place you should be getting them from is

    https://tfl.gov.uk/tfl/syndication/feeds/journey-planner-timetables.zip

they are updated weekly and contains current and “upcoming” data.

1 Like

Except it hasn’t been updated overnight this week! Still got 28th September files in it.

Michael

Still better than 24th February 2020. Perhaps there are no changes this week? :roll_eyes:

Thanks, @briantist - my question is specifically about the CUF files, as they contain train and trip numbers. The TransXChange files appear not to contain either, so aren’t of much use to me in this context.

@Poggs

I presume you know of the WTT in PDF format?. Working Timetables (WTT) - Transport for London no that much use electronically, of course.

@briantist Yes, but I have no time to scrape the PDF in to an electronic format like it’s still 2009!

No updates to the CUF files in http://timetables.data.tfl.gov.uk/ for absolutely ages - @jamesevans, any chance you can find out where we can get a feed of this data if it’s not available as Open Data any more?

@Poggs

I guess that as https://tfl.gov.uk/tfl/syndication/feeds/journey-planner-timetables.zip is updated weekly (or more) then perhaps http://timetables.data.tfl.gov.uk/ could just show the data in there?

I also note that http://timetables.data.tfl.gov.uk/ is without SSL and you get SSL for free with https://certbot.eff.org/ !

I have noted before that the spider maps in the Buses data bucket have not been updated for a long time. Not sure there’s much point in showing them in a bucket if they are out of date.

@mjcarchive I thought TfL had discontinued the Spider Maps because less than 1% of bus users were using them? Bus Spider Maps (1): 8 Jan 2021: London Assembly - TheyWorkForYou

Some spider maps have been discontinued as recent research with customers shows that they are used by less than 1 per cent of bus users.”

I guess that TfL don’t want to delete them if they are still usable to the small number of people who use them?

Brian

The key word there is “some”.

What I found last time I looked at this was that a lot of the spider maps in the Data Bucket had been replaced elsewhere on the TfL site by more up-to-date versions. I’m pretty sure I had a thread on that but nothing changed as a result. There are still different map versions for the same area depending where you look.

I’d also be wary of “less than 1 per cent”. I don’t use the spider maps in my area because I know where the buses go and where they stop. I would use them in an unfamiliar area, mainly to find out where the bus stops rather than where it goes but that is probably less than 1 per cent of my bus use. I would also think that usage of the maps is higher in tourist areas or town centres with multiple stops than it is at (say) Cockfosters.

TfL used to post geographical maps at bus stops with shelters. For a time these were alongside spider maps where they existed. No doubt focus group research would have shown that most people did not (or even could not) use the geographical map and that more would use spider maps. What was missing, it seems, is post-implementation research to see whether people actually make greater use of the spider maps in practice rather than when answering in between munching biscuits in a nice meeting room somewhere. If spider maps are as little used as the 1% figure (whatever it means) implies, that might just suggest that the (first) focus group led TfL down the wrong path.

Same goes for replacing old-fashioned timetables with stop specific versions. I know research has shown that many could not understand matrix timetables but how many of those actually use the stop specific version? Has anything been gained in exchange for the loss of utility for those who can understand matrix timetables?

Of course the internet has changed how people access information and the open data revolution has enabled third parties to present it in both old and new ways but it should not be necessary to fire up your smartphone app to find out something very simple.

Rant over … for now!

@mjcarchive

Your points are all totally valid.

I guess that as an interested observer here I would be much more interested in the actual research that TfL did rather than the Mayor’s “less and 1%” statement. But I guess that TfL is far too busy being bossy at what remains of it’s customers for them to stand back and turn into their old, helpful selves.

Anyway, I guess that the main problem that people have with the Spider Maps is that they require a certain amount of geographical knowledge, all of which they have been stripped (to make them Beckesque) but people don’t carry and AtoZ around as they travel: they have Google (or Apple) Maps or an app with an API based on these.

I suspect that the the form (of bus route map) I saw on the stop outside Liverpool Street Station, which was a very simple summary of the routes from the stop showing the all-important destinations (to answer the question “is this the right stop for the direction I want?”) and which of the next major stops were served by which service (to answer the question “does the 26 go to Shoreditch Station?”) would suffice for people who are making an interchange.

My concern is that bus ridership is going down, even before the pandemic. I rather suspect that keeping the price down has taken the shine off the idea of using public transport as a good thing, along with the horrible-to-ride-on New Routemasters (can’t see out, dangerous staircases).

I suspect that London Buses as a concept needs a reboot as happened under Mayor Livingstone. They need to be clean, the drivers and other staff need to be nice to Londoners and guests too, they need to make sure they stop at stops people have requested, that the stop-signal equipment works.

I was utterly shocked yesterday to get on a bus where the driver was actually stopping to let pedestrians cross the road where they should. But that was after finding TWO BROKEN DOWN BUSES BLOCKING THE National Maritime Museum (Stop F) stop. TWO!

So, I think the problem of the Spider Maps just points to a larger problem that the quality of Customer Service is not at the levels we have been used to since the organization was formed. .

Keeping the price down is usually associated with increased demand (though Harry Enfield’s Loadsamoney famously complained that seats at White Hart Lane were too cheap). Negative price elasticity is … interesting.

If keeping the price down is accompanied by making the service worse, dirtier and so on then it could have the opposite effect to that intended. For someone like me who can remember waiting best part of an hour on a 10 minute headway service (and of course no info on when the bus was coming) the actual service seems pretty good. For the most part information is OK too but there are aspects where it falls down. Just trying to select the right stop on Journey Planner is a nightmare in my experience. It’s fine if you want to make a journey right now from where you are but not so good for planning a journey some distance away in advance. Concept is great and it may meet the majority of needs - just not mine!

@mjcarchive You will have to excuse me as I’ve just been reading Transport For Humans so I’ve been thinking about Behavioural Economics, not the rather old-fashioned version you are quoting.

Why We Go Beyond Homo Transporticus

Homo Transporticus is an idealized traveller - what economists would call a representative agent. Average in every way. Phycologists would say that stereotyping is inevitable: Homo Transporticus is born out of assumptions, and is a mirror image of transport designers themselves (reflecting the demographics and the abilities that the design of transport has historically entailed). There simplifications can simply remand forecasting, price modelling and cost-benefit analysis of new infrastructure, but leave put much that is important…

  • Physiology
  • Perception
  • Cognition
  • Decision making
  • Habits
  • Disability
  • Sometimes we are destined to struggle
  • The world today

@briantist
Of course everyone is different but I think there was evidence behind the old-fashioned version. Is there any actual evidence behind this that would invalidate (rather than supplement) old-fashioned thinking or is it the emperor’s new clothes?

Price elasticity famously doesn’t work for potatoes. If it didn’t work for public transport, bus operators all over the country would be thriving from the increased patronage brought about by increasing fares!

@mjcarchive I think you will find that there is little actual evidence for Classical Economics, it’s all done by deductive reasoning, whereas Behavioural Economics is based on evidence!

Have you not heard of https://freakonomics.com/ ? I’m very happy to listen to No Stupid Questions Archives - Freakonomics each week!

@briantist
There is evidence that people change their behaviour when (relative) prices go up. The established elasticities for fares and service frequency didn’t spring from theory but from actual data on what happened when they changed. Does that make it Behavioural or Classical economics?

I sort of agree with you otherwise. I recall being told (more or less) that you couldn’t argue with the Treasury model of the economy because it showed that if you did X then Y would happen. Of course it did; the model was constructed on that (and many other) assumptions. Let us assume a can opener…

I think we have probably drifted rather too far off topic!

@mjcarchive Yes, this is the correct place for this discussion…