So is it flexible, or not?

I’m sorry, I know I’m being terribly dim here, but these adverts:

Advert on bus

Can someone explain what it means?

I appreciate that a physical printed bus timetable is generally made out of paper, and is therefore flexible.

But what with online timetables and journey planners, a lot of people never use a paper timetable anymore. Especially, I suspect, the target audience of this advert for mobile broadband.

What I think of when I see the phrase “bus timetable” is the schedule that the bus runs to. You can’t ring up the bus company and demand that they run more buses, or that they wait for you at the stop. Well, you can, but it won’t work. The timetable is decidedly inflexible.

So just what is Virgin getting at? Is it meant to be flexible, or isn’t it?

On the subject of journey planners, Google Transit has announced support for more cities, so by the end of June it will include Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, and Sydney’s light rail and monorail lines. Melbourne? Uhh… not so much. I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets here when I say that Metlink does have the data. Other factors are obviously involved.

PS. One form of Melbourne bus is a teensy bit flexible: Telebus services in the outer suburbs. And the Gowanbrae bus.

Oh, and while they haven’t got together with Google yet, kudos to Metlink for getting bus timetables out at most stops now. It’s been a long time coming.

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18 Replies to “So is it flexible, or not?”

  1. Perhaps they mean their contracts aren’t flexible at all! It certainly seems impossible to get the DoT and bus companies to make alterations to get peak travellers home from Lilydale station to Yarra Glen! I’d call that inflexible.

    Or maybe they mean the cost of your contract is going to be as predictable as the time at which your bus will arrive at your stop. Which is, not very predictable at all.

  2. I’ve seen these on busses in Sydney too.

    I think they’re trying to make a dig at how busses never seem to stick to their timetables and so are ‘flexible’ about how they keep to the schedule.

    Unfortunately in making that connection they’re also linking to unreliable, slow, and never there when you need/expect it. Which, given the horror stories I’m hearing about the Optus network (which Virgin resell) is quite accurate.

  3. I’d agree with Will on this one. I think it’s referring to how ‘flexible’ the bus companies are with running their buses on time, but even then it doesn’t make a whole heap of sense.

  4. Yeah, it sounds like they’re having a crack at poor bus performance, which is an odd thing to place on a bus IMO.

  5. From what I hear Virgin Broadband offers a fairly mediocre service, perhaps that’s what they’re getting at? :)

  6. annoying that they decided to stick to the sydney bus stop design – they don’t look anything like that here, afaik …

  7. While both paper and internet times for buses I use seem inflexible, it seems that the times buses actually run to are very flexible.

  8. I didn’t notice it either, and I have noticed Sydney-type bus stops in other adverts before. I assumed it was part of a phone or something.

    I don’t recall seeing that type of rounded bus stop sign outside Sydney. Does anywhere else use them?

  9. I saw one of those adds on a tram!

    Why would think that it is a good thing to associate with hourly service that does mostly not go into the evening and is non-existent on Sundays in many places?

  10. I also found it all a bit too subtle!

    That said, I don’t find it nearly as strange as advertising **cars** on the sides of buses, which we have here. Some of those ads have actually poked fun at the use of public transport, effectively exhorting people to get a car.

    Would you expect – in a hopefulkly Australian contect – Safeway to allow advertisments in their shops for K Mart?

  11. your posts have gotten really bad, when i first started reading this blog about 2 months ago, you had some alright material but now you just whinge at anything, not too average australian at all

    catch ya

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