The Garden

A blog by Marijn van Hoorn

Wait, when's the next bus?

Marijn van Hoorn
The display board at a bus station, reading ‘Respect social distancing. Face coverings are mandatory on public transport.’

Nexus have, in their infinite wisdom, decided to stop displaying any time information on the dot-matrix displays at Haymarket bus station, replacing what was once there with the standard spiel about covid-19 precautions.

This isn't a new phenomenon by any stretch. Most bus time-tables in my neck of the woods suffered one of two fates long ago: Either they were removed entirely, or they had all the times removed and replaced by a notice telling any prospective passengers to look the information up on their smartphone. If you're some sort of vulgarian plebe who doesn't have a smartphone (or just happened to not bring one), you're meant to, erm, call the local information service… on your mobile phone.

At least the static time-tables have the decency to tell you where you can find out when the next bus is coming. The new dot-matrix display guff has absolutely nothing of the sort, and, if you're like me and have the naïveté to assume that a bus will becoming shortly, you end up parking your posterior on an uncomfortable metal bench for 50 minutes, instead of going out for a walk or doing something more productive in the meantime.

I don't know if this is just at the Haymarket, or if it's spread to other bus stations with dynamic displays run by Nexus; they don't have authority over my local area, and i have my doubts about whether trying to hunt down a dot-matrix-having bus stop is covered under the definition of “essential travel”.

A dot-matrix display showing estimated times of arrival for trains terminating at the station and going to the Airport.
The dot matrix display at Regent Centre…
An LCD display showing estimated times of arrival for trains to Airport, Regent Centre, and St James.
…and the fancy LCD display at Central Station.

I can, however, confirm that signage on the Tyne and Wear Metro (also operated by Nexus, which just raises more questions) remains unaffected, displaying the estimated times of arrival as faithfully as ever. These times are occasionally interspersed with covid safety guidelines (why didn't they do that on the buses‽), or news about how the escalator on Platform 1 at West Longpissing is broken.

One can only hope that whoëver is in charge of the displays at Haymarket comes to their senses soon enough.