Bus Service Numbers

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by EbbwJunction1, 3 Jan 2017.

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  1. AndyW33

    AndyW33 Member

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    Mind you, a lot of bus companies that became part of NBC had three-digit area based numbers for many years previously. This applied to both BET and Tilling group companies - Midland Red was so large they had both three digit area based numbers, and routes with prefix letters, otherwise they'd have run out of numbers altogether.
    In many cases there was a back-office reason for developing a company wide number system. As long as income and costs were allocated to routes entirely manually it didn't matter if numbers were duplicated as long as they weren't duplicated within a single depot's operations. As comptometers and then early computers came into use with centralised data inputting, there had to be a simple way of avoiding mixing up the data. This became even more important as smaller NBC subsidiaries were taken under the wing of larger ones with shared administration.
    Now there was always a way round this. Although Ribble had an area numbering scheme they only used the numbers up to the end of the 6nn series. There were also routes with letter prefixes, both town services and schools/works services, as well as the extensive express network. There was a conversion chart for letter prefixed routes and internally these used the 7nn, 8nn and 9nn series, without affecting what was displayed on the bus, in timetable, or on crew duties. In effect this is what still happens nationwide today except that the conversion to distinguish duplicated route numbers is built into the data processing system, and the computer systems don't object to alpha numeric data. Either the ticket machine does the conversion, or it happens when the data is downloaded at the depot into the central systems, usually by adding a depot code field alongside the route number.
     
  2. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    The NBC initiated MAPs in, I think, all their companies, though some were less complete than others. MAP stood for Market Analysis Project iirc, and all routes that were born this way sported three figure route numbers. Wasn't there some nonsense about computers not being able to cope with one or two digit numbers at that time, so route 7 would have to be 007, for instance? The same type of thinking that led to all the Millenium Bug scare.
     
  3. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    The three digit numbers predated the MAP schemes. The simple thing was it was a way in the big monoliths of avoiding duplication of numbers. It did have a basis in the early computing days, in the same way that some businesses renumbered their fleets to make things easier.

    My local firm of my youth was United Automobile and it had theirs grouped in the following:

    1-80 - SW and Central County Durham (plus North Yorkshire in Richmond 20's and 30's and Northallerton and Teesdale 70s)
    91-160 - North Yorkshire
    200 -220 - West Durham
    221-299 - Cleveland
    300 - South Northumberland/T&W
    400 - Mid and North Northumberland
    500 - Long distance Northumberland
    600 - Tyne Valley and Carlisle
    700 - North Durham (confined really to joint services with Northern)
    800 - Schools services
    900 - Works services

    Note: the Carlisle services were renumbered whilst they were still United so before the transfer to Ribble in 1969

    There were also exceptions as always in "border" areas so whilst Ripon services were numbered in mostly in the 130+ series, the main route was the 36 (and still is) because of West Yorkshire Road Car. There were other exceptions in T&W because of the local Corporation/PTE numbering plus they'll be a few others still

    Note: Darlington had two Number 1s with a United route Darlington to Bishop Auckland (later to Crook and Tow Law) and a Corporation route from Red Hall Estate to Harrowgate Hill - how did people cope..... ;)
     
  4. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    Ribble was an interesting one
    1-99 most of the Lancashire/Merseyside area, Merseyside area without prefix letter was joint service with MPTE
    1xx Preston/Fyled/Lancaster
    2xx East Lancashire, also Merseyside from 1978
    3xx West Lancashire
    4xx not sure
    5xx Cumbria also some Morecambe/Lancaster
    Cx Chorley local services
    Fxx Fleetwood/Cleveleys local services
    Lxx Liverpool area non joint services
    Pxx Preston local services
    Sxx Liverpool-Southport
    Uxx Morecambe-Lancaster University
    From early 80s X series express routes were renumbered into the 7XX branded Timesaver

    May have been others i only have the Ribble South area timetable book from 1976
     
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2017
  5. madannie77

    madannie77 Member

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    At some point the Carlisle local services operated by Ribble were prefixed with C (certainly in the late 1960s) and rural routes in the area were 6xx. Eventually they all became 6xx, although I don't know exactly when and I can't lay my hands on my timetable collection at the moment.
     
  6. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    All P-prefixed services were joint services with Preston Corporation, in the sense that revenues were divided. In practice, certainly by the late 1960s and through the 1970s, the Corporation operated certain routes, like the P1 and the P3, and Ribble others, on an almost exclusive basis with the proviso that the 'other' operator could be asked to fill a duty at short notice. Thus my father-in-law, a Ribble employee, who lived on the P1 route sometimes reported a stray Ribble working on it. He didn't care, his Ribble staff pass allowed him free travel on all the P services regardless of the actual operator.
     
  7. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    It was common, in such joint operations, whether of one route or across a whole area, to have some initial agreement that say operator A did 57% of the mileage, B does 29%, and C does 14%. This is most commonly based on how things were split before the agreement was started. It's also then convenient for each operator to do the whole of certain routes, but this means over time you may start to get away from the agreed percentages, so there can be some oddball workings arranged from time to time to bring the mileage agreement back into balance. All the overall fare money would be pooled and split on this percentage basis as well, so it didn't matter who got to operate the more lucrative runs.

    In Bristol in the 1960s the city bus and the country bus operations looked part of the same organisation but were legally separate. Summer Sunday afternoons used to see many city double deckers, and crews, borrowed for trips to Weston-Super-Mare etc, so to maintain the balance you would find country buses assigned to various city journeys to keep the mileage numbers straight - even to the extent that city crews would be standing idle while country crews were on overtime to handle it.
     
  8. Dai Corner

    Dai Corner Member

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    Talking of Bristol, the former Avon County Council numbered their subsidised services in the 5xx (city) and 6xx (country) series. Subsidised journeys on, say, city route 1 would be numbered 501 and those on country route 353 would be 653.

    Did other areas use a similar system?
     
  9. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Yes, too many to enumerate. Some still do!
     
  10. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    Merseytravel area used 100-250 for subsidised services, although there were exceptions, although that's blurred nowadays as Merseytravel use commercial numbers, but still use 100-250.
     
  11. johnnychips

    johnnychips Established Member

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    I thought Cleveland used to start their subsidised services with a '9'.
     
  12. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    Merseyside PTE era never developed the number system like other PTEs, 1-99 were operated by MPTE buses regardless of the area they operated, some were joint services with Ribble/Crosville/LUT/GMPTE.
    1xx to 3xx were Ribble although MPTE did operate jointly the 320 with LUT & GMPTE, & the Warrington-St Helens-Skelmersdale-Southport route along with Crosville.
    4xx Rapidride
    5xx Limited Stop
    5xx & 6xx were LUT/GMPTE routes in the St Helens area mainly around Earlstown & Newton Le Willows
    Prefix letters were either Ribble or Crosville, although Crosville F routes solely in Wirral became 72-89, plus a 418/419 Heswall-Liverpool.

    Quite weird some Ribble/Crosville drivers often displayed the suffix letter the wrong way around, quite often you'd see A57 instead of 57A on Ribble buses, you'd also see A80 instead of 80A on Crosville buses, & in that era A80 would normally be a Flintshire route.
     
  13. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Dyslexic drivers?:)
     
  14. AndyW33

    AndyW33 Member

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    Simple. Both Ribble and Crosville blinds were meant to have letters and numbers on the first track and numbers only on the second and third tracks.
    Municipal operators loved letter suffixes, company operators loved letter prefixes. If the municipal operator controlled the numbers of a joint service, you often ended up with A suffixes being displayed as A prefixes.
    If you had 0-9 and a full alphabet on any track, it was a long slow wind to get from a 2 to an X, just one example. Ever wondered why West Midlands PTE specified 4 track blinds on their new vehicles? They had a limited range of letter prefixes, inherited from Midland Red (mainly B for Birmingham, S for Stourbridge and D for Dudley but there were others) plus numbers on the first track, numbers only on the second and third, and letters on the fourth.

    So much easier with digital route number displays, when they're working of course.
     
  15. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    When there's slight variations on the route between different services why do some routes get a letter suffix and others don't.

    For example, the 27 Knutsford to Macclesfield route has 27A services (those operating via AstraZeneca) and 27B services (those operating via Beggarman's Lane) but on the more frequent 88 Knutsford to Wilmslow to Altrincham route they all run as 88 whether they divert off the main road to serve Morley Green village or remain on Altrincham Road to serve Waters Corp.
     
  16. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    You're mistaken (in part) - Cleveland had a system that was basically a prefix based on area:

    5** - Hartlepool and Stockton
    6** - Middlesbrough
    7** - East Cleveland

    Fine for a dedicated service like 519 Hartlepool to Dalton Piercy but confusing when you had services like the 269 that would change into a 769 mid route to reflect it was tendered from Saltburn to Lingdale!

    Avon CC also did the same. The stupidity of different numbers for the same service is long since dead but the use of number bands is still applied from Avon days:

    5** - Bristol
    6** - South Glos
    7** - Bath

    8** for North Somerset seems to have been dropped though
     
  17. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    Purely down to the whim of the company.

    Past my house we have the 66 between Keighley and Skipton. Until a recent service change some services were 66A and did a circuit of Airedale Hospital - this was all evening and Sunday services and occasional other ones. The first trip or two of the day make quite a large double run to Silsden and back off the main route. These were numbered 66C After the change there are no longer any suffixes. The runs into the hospital no longer happen, but the longer diversion does, but there's no longer any indication in the number that the bus will take an extra 16 minute diversion.
     
  18. SCH117X

    SCH117X Member

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    Seems to be a current Transdev Blazefield thing of one number covering a number of variations. Their 1A run by Harrogate has four routes east of Knaresborough bus station
    i) a clockwise circuit coming back through the Aspin Estate
    ii) a variation on (i) with an out and back run to St James retail park before entering the Aspin Estate
    iii) through the Aspin Estate to St James retail park and then via Flaxby, Coneythorpe, Arkendale, Staveley, Minskip, and Morrisons at Boroughbridge to Boroughbridge Market Place.
    iv) through the Aspin Estate to St James retail park and then via Goldsborough, the A1(M), Morrisons at Borougbridge and Aldborough to Boroughbridge Market Place and thence all but one journey continues to Roecliffe

    The 36 nominally between Leeds and Ripon also covers workings to and from the depot adding to the Route 1 services along the Knareborough Road, be they Starbeck-Harrogate-Leeds or Starbeck-Harrogate-Ripon. In addition there are Harrogate-Leeds workings (and returns) which start on / return to the 2A Bilton and 3 Jennyfield routes in Harrogate and which, to Leeds, first operate out of the bus station as those local routes but still display 36.
     
    Last edited: 19 Jan 2017
  19. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    That was probably to distinguish that it's a tendered service from commercial one, which can have different fares from the commercial service, certainly the case on Merseyside which the Merseytravel fare is cheaper than the commercial fares.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Looking at my 1976 Ribble Southern area timetable, they have timetables from the Skipton area operated by other companies mostly WYRC, the current X84 Skipton-Ilkley-Otley-Leeds was numbered 34/34M, the Keighley-Skipton route now 66 was 10/11/67
     
  20. Gareth

    Gareth Member

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    I don't think that's true anymore. Last time I used the 202, I was charged something like £2.20 (may have been £2.10). I remember it being £1 back in 2010. Clearly the subsidy has been decreased quite substantially.

    As for bus numbering, we don't do too bad around these parts because Arriva are by far the dominant operator and they mostly use the legacy MPTE numbering scheme.

    Stagecoach have a largely symbiotic relationship with Arriva here. They tend to only compete on only the most major routes and where this is the case, Stagecoach uses the same numbers as Arriva. Stagecoach has its own numbering system on other routes but they tend to not duplicate numbers Arriva uses. Halton Transport don't give a damn and use numbers that are different to the other buses on the corridors it uses, which are also used by those operators in other parts of the city. They only have a relatively small operation here though so it's not too bad.
     
    Last edited: 17 Jan 2017
  21. philthetube

    philthetube Member

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    On Burnley and Pendle Colne depot used to run what was known as the 5 hour cycle, the numbers were as follows.
    from pickup

    X28 Burnley limited stop
    Sycamore ave service
    Worsthorne service Cant remember numbers for these 2 but were nowhere near X28
    X28 Earby limited stop
    Barnoldswick, again cant remember numbers.
    294 Colne
    15 Colne town service
    294 Barnoldswick
    Earby
    X28 Burnley limited stop

    9 Changes in 5 hours, what fun, especially if you got a coach in the rain where the destination and numbers had to be changed from outside.
     
  22. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    Just had a look at the current 202 timetable, that's now a commercial service, think has been for a couple of years, not sure what the current Merseytravel fare is can't find it on there site.

    Arriva renumbered the services 2000-2001, after they brought MTL, Arriva Wirral routes were renumbered in the 4xx series, although the 401 became the 2 when that became a QBP with Stagecoach, Arriva withdrew the 2 last September, Stagecoach still operate the 2. Stagecoach don't really compete with Arriva on Merseyside as most routes that were operated by Stagecoach & Arriva have become QBPs.
     
  23. SCH117X

    SCH117X Member

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    Think we cannot be far from having displays that automatically update themselves based on GPS positioning; would usefully overcome destinations that still display via points when they have been passed as well as changing the destination when appropriate, something that often seems to get overlooked by drivers when busy taking fares and running late.
     
  24. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    TfL buses already do after the first run (though it can be overuled by the driver or control) - though of course most of these are just running with 2 destinations on 1 route.
     
  25. edwin_m

    edwin_m Established Member

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    Metrolink trams update their displays en route so they only show one "via" point. For example I think "Rochdale via Market Street" becomes "Rochdale via Oldham" somewhere in the centre of Manchester. Not sure but I think this is automatic.
     
  26. Gareth

    Gareth Member

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    Much of the classic numbering system is largely the same though. 10, 12, 13 etc. We used to have a 75 in West Derby but Arriva changed this to 15 to fit with the rest of the Green Lane depot East Liverpool operations. The Fareway & Liverbus numbering disappeared more or less entirely though.

    Don't get the Wirral number change. Seem unnecessarily high numbers.
     
    Last edited: 20 Jan 2017
  27. Andyh82

    Andyh82 Member

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    I'm sure we've already been there and presumably it somehow didn't work?

    I think I recall Transdev doing that when they launched the "Spot On" B7RLEs at Lancashire United, or maybe when the similar Mainline buses were new?
     
  28. Cambus731

    Cambus731 Member

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    Colne has or had a town service? I didn't think Colne was big enough.
     
  29. bradford758

    bradford758 Member

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    The old WYRCC did use the letter suffices, and on many routes, but these were usually limited to A, B or M (= main road route ?) as those were the only letters available on most "desti's" ? For example, the local Keighley- Morton- Bingley service had four variations in the route into and out of (East) Morton.
    Some routes didn't have a unique number, but used a variation of a main road route, eg Leeds- Kirkstall- Farsley used 31A.

    Sent from my 4009X using Tapatalk
     
  30. extendedpaul

    extendedpaul Member

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    There are "town services" in places a lot smaller than Colne, eg Kington in Herefordshire with a population of 3240 has town service 460 operated by Sargeants Brothers, though it only operates on certain days.

    Any suggestions of towns with even fewer inhabitants offering an every weekday town service ?
     
    Last edited: 9 Feb 2017
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