Thomas writes about his bus frustrations in Cornwall

Many of you will know who Thomas Ableman is, ex-commercial director of Chiltern Railways, CEO of Snap and soon to be Innovation Director at Transport for London - the guy knows his transport onions.

On a personal level, his family is car-free and he takes a holiday in Cornwall each year, and this year he has written about his experience of the county's bus network on his blog, which you can read here.

If you can't be bothered to read it (I suggest you do), a quick synopsis is Thomas finds it frustrating that 'bus Cornwall' services are divided pretty equally between First and Transport for Cornwall, yet from a communication angle neither operator acknowledges the existence of the other. Not on websites, not on maps, not on timetables and certainly not when selling tickets.

So rather than one joined-up network, served by two operators, it's a case of two totally separate networks served by two totally separate operators!

Great for the operators (in a selfish sort of way) but rubbish for the customers (in a 'no idea what's going on' sort of way).

It's yet another example from the world of public transport where the customer comes bottom of the pile. The industry has a frustrating ability to make life difficult (or if not difficult, nowhere near as easy as it could be) for potential customers.

People don't care about politics, tendered services or private v public. They just want easy to understand information and an easy purchase cycle. Give them everything they need to know to make an informed travel choice and then make it damn simple for them to buy what you're selling.

Rocket science it isn't, yet some operators understand, others don't.


  1. Thomas is spot on. It should be better, and absolutely deserves to be too, as Cornwall is one of the counties that has "seen the light".


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