Friday, 31 August 2007

7+1 Commercial Sites

See also 7+1 Top UK Bus Sites 7+1 Top UK Bus Blogs

In four lines or fewer, here is Omnibuses2.0's quick review of seven-plus-one* important UK commercial bus websites, all worth a look, each offering something different. So far as we know, this is the first ever web based review of such UK bus sites. Feel free to add your own comments on these or other commercial bus-related sites we might've missed.

1. Island Buses

From Southern Vectis, possibly the simplest and easiest bus operator site, most of what you need to get around the Isle of Wight by bus, in only a few clicks. Understandably, no rail but imagine what a portal it would be with train details, too. No planner either, though that would be an expensive add-on.

2. Leave the Car

Infant site from Harrogate & District included here for its innovation. Aimed at younger, environmentally conscious drivers who once a week might find encouragement to switch to the bus. There’s a blog and Myspace add-on to follow. A challenge to others?

3. Love the Bus

Arriva one stop shop micro-site for Tyne & Wear breaks away from corporate style, yet is still recognisable. Gives helpful and full information and advice in one place on the May 2007 changes, coupled with downloadable iPod interviews. Nice and local.

4. Merseytravel

Leading the PTE field, the site gives you all you need in a crisp, uncluttered front page, including ferries, bus, rail and link to MPTE- contracted regional journey planner, plus vacancies and bus tenders. Good use of languages for forthcoming capital of culture but strangely no local Somali.

5. Morebus

An example of a rare, forward-thinking site concentrating on a specific corridor. Good use of technology to provide an interactive route guide. Needs local attractions and Wilts & Dorset should ensure regular news updates beyond the August 2006 single item. Why are there so few sites like this? If rail can do it, why not bus?

6. Plaxton Centenary

You may get the book for well under the £20 cover price, but if you want a free alternative, try this site. Fair play to Plaxton's for this celebration of its centenary. The site features more than enough pictures and information, in an accessible and well-written manner.

7. Xephos

Alternative bus journey planner. Still here, despite the odds, and reportedly a better bet than both Traveline and Transport Direct, in spite of the latter’s resources. Once you’ve gotten your free ‘trial’, needs a subscription of up to £24 p.a., but the reviews suggest it works well.


UPDATED 7 September. If you’re travelling in or around London and wish to view ‘proper’ bus timetables rather than summaries or a journey planner, try this privately produced yet useful site. It’s more than an adjunct to TfL’s information. Also indicates service changes. London buses all at one location.


fourcryingoutloud said...

Merseytravel leading the PTE field? We'll have to beg to differ - I find the GMPTE website much more useful. For a start, you can download PDF versions of timetables and maps on the GMPTE website, whilst the Merseytravel website doesn't even seem to show the bits of routes which cross the county boundary.

Anonymous said...

I can;t believe that the pathetic more bus site gets on the list, but the much better yellow buses site gets no mention - much 'more' in the way of maps, information and info. A rather bizarre decision I think..

Anonymous said...

Carl Berry's site is wildly out of date. He has yet to add the YB changes of 22 July 07..

Anonymous said...

Southern Vectis website is apparently not done yet, with history and fleet info and many other things to be added. But at the monent the conmpany is concentrating on making the network as good as possible.

The more site is rubbish! I agree that Yellow buses site is MUCH better. For a start, the more website only has services m1 and m2 info, out of m1,2,5,and6 (and 7 when it ran)

busing said...

A rather controversial post, and there was me thinking it would be fairly straightforward! Thank you to the four who’ve thus far expressed an opinion. Most welcome.

But I must rush to my own defence, as I fear no one else will.

The choice of seven sites illustrated various different facets of the bus industry.

The inclusion of Morebus was rather because of its route specific nature than the site itself. Sorry if this wan't plain. I could’ve picked The Wytch Way as another example of the genre. May be I should’ve. There are few others and this was really my point (that Morebus only holds info for one corridor, m1 and m2) – why are there so few route or corridor specific micro-sites? One excellent example might be Coastlinx53. The rail industry is far better at this sort of micro-approach. do you agree, it's a good one?

It’s unfair comparing Morebus with Transdev Yellowbuses. Better to compare the latter with Wilts & Dorset’s main site. Of these two, I know which I would choose!

Merseytravel’s site is clearer and crisper to read than GMPTE’s. No matter what information is or isn’t available on either site, Merseytravel’s is the least cluttered, easiest to work around and offers unusual information such as tendering. It's still the best PTE site, IMHO.

Southern Vectis' doesn’t really need any history and especially fleet info. It’s excellent at giving what the passengers wants. Fleet information merely cheapens the site, does any one agree?

I accept that Carl Berry’s is wildly out of date, and I have removed it from the list. I am looking for a new “plus one” as I type.

Anonymous said...

How can putting a history section on the SV website cheapen it? Surley if you're a passenger you wouldn't click the link which would fit into the side menu nicley.

Thames/Down said...

Yes! I agree that fleet lists cheapen a commercial site. It makes it look like the site was coded by anoraks. Not the image any self respecting bus operator needs?

As for history, if tasteful and not for anoraks then this is OK?

To Anonymous of 1 September at 1147: Busing's comment isn't saying History' cheapens a site. Read it again.

Anonymous said...

Yellow Buses' website has a fleet list and history, and I don't think that cheapens the site at all

thames/down said...

If it has a fleet list and history, it's pretty hard to find off of the front page? I can't see a link to either.

Anonymous said...

The yellow buses stuff is in the "about us" section

Anonymous said...

You may be interested to know that the Southern Vectis website is online.