A Wivenhoe Bus Timetable

Some time ago there was a discussion on the forum aimed at producing a single bus timetable for Wivenhoe as opposed to the timetable per service that we have now. I thought it was a good idea then, and from time to time since then I've been nibbling away at the problem.

The result (so far) is the pair of spreadsheet files attached to this message. I think it's helpful to be able to see what might be called the big picture in this way; I'd be interested to know whether others agree.

Each spreadsheet file lists all buses that pass through Wivenhoe. The difference is that the Full version lists all stops, whereas the Brief version lists all Wivenhoe stops but then only what I define as major stops (those that define the route and/or have fixed timings).

Within each file there are six worksheets, giving weekday, Saturday and Sunday services for each direction of travel. The direction of travel is given as northbound or southbound. In almost all cases that's equivalent to saying to or from Colchester; in all cases it's the direction of travel as the bus passes the Flag.

The sheets are laid out in what I think is the conventional form. You should find that the first column and the top three rows will remain in place as you scroll, though I'm finding that not all spreadsheet apps respect that so you may need to set it up by hand. The top three rows are for the service number, any special notes, and whether the service runs on schooldays or not. In the second row where there is a letter indicating a note, hover the mouse over the letter and the note should appear as a popup.

Timings are displayed in bold or italic. Bold means a fixed time: a bus shouldn't leave before it. Italic means an estimated time: if a bus is running early it could depart before the stated time.

I've generated the spreadsheets from the data supplied by Traveline Southeast, and they should be accurate reflections of it. I've tested them on desktop, laptop, tablet and phone and they work for me. Of course, I guarantee nothing!



  • Superb, John. Thank you for your efforts.

    I am going to pin this for a short while so that it doesn't slip down the forum. If you are signed into the forum then you can download the spreadsheets.
  • Good for planning, but I use FirstApp on the mobile which gives you the times for all the buses (including No 87) at the stop nearest to you, Also gives you real time where it can.

     Thanks for the spreadsheet though, still very useful to have.
  • Thank you John. It is really useful to anyone planning a journey in advance. I have an idea that the program you have written has taken a substantial amount of effort, as well as the time taken to research the way the data is held centrally. Thank you for everybody who will make use of these spreadsheets and I know you will re-publish them when the ECC / bus companies revise their timetables.

  • edited December 2016
    Thanks for the comments folks. I'll certainly try to keep it going if there's enough interest.

    I agree with kst that it doesn't replace the various apps that tell you what's coming, and it isn't meant to. It's more of a planning aid I guess.

    An update: the Microsoft Excel app for android refuses to open the spreadsheet, saying that it can't cope with "some older graphical objects". This seems to be a reference to the use of pop-up annotations and suggests that Excel has been trimmed down for mobile use. So much for the portability of spreadsheets...

    Edit: The free WPS Office app works much better, though you do have to tell it to freeze the header rows and columns.
  • I sat down this afternoon to generate an updated version of the bus timetable, since the one I previously posted is due to be valid only until Christmas Eve. However, it now looks as though the existing timetable will be valid until early in the new year with just a few caveats.

    To extend the timetable you need to know that there are no bus services on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year's Day. Then on Tuesday 27th December there will be a Sunday service and from Wednesday 28th December to Friday 30 December a Saturday service will run. Saturday 31 December is a normal Saturday service, and Monday 2nd January will be a Sunday service.

    When I checked today, these details were not available on the First in Essex web site. In fact the whole picture seems fairly confused: read on if you want to know the gory details.

    For the 61 and 62 services, the First web site was showing two timetables: "current" and "forthcoming". The current timetables are marked as being valid until 24 Dec 2016, and the forthcoming ones are marked as valid from 1 Jan 2017 until 7 Jan 2017 - just one week. This leaves the gap between Christmas and New Year when it's unclear which timetable should apply.

    Moving to the Traveline web site, the 61 and 62 timetables are marked as valid from now until "at least" 11 Jan 2017. The Traveline web site is the source of the information about the week between Christmas and the New Year that I've mentioned above.

    I haven't yet had the chance to check what the changes are between First's current and forthcoming timetables, but the continuity of the Traveline timetables implies that there are no changes. From Hedingham's web site the picture for the 87 seems to be as I've described, although they don't label their timetables with "valid to" dates so that aspect remains unchecked.

    The certainties at the moment are that different sources are giving different pictures, and that First's web site is not giving the whole picture. However, the gentleman I spoke to at First this afternoon said he'd get the issue looked into and I assume there will soon be a clarification.

    So I hope you'll understand when I say that I wouldn't feel happy about issuing an updated version of the Wivenhoe timetable just yet...

  • The bus companies  should employ you. Thank you for trying to sort it out for us. Happy Christmas
  • Time, I think, to issue the new version of the timetable. Bus times are as before as far as I can tell, but notes are updated to show the current school term times where appropriate.

    There is one change, which follows from the discovery of an error on my part in the previous issue. I had not correctly allowed for wait times, where for example a northbound 61 service is timetabled to wait at the Osborne Street stop for a few minutes. Because of the error, buses with wait times were being shown a few minutes too early for the rest of the journey. My apologies!

    Of course, the question now arises as to how many other errors might be lurking undetected? The answer is none as far as I know, but to encourage others to check here is an offer of a bounty for the first report of each one. The bounty applies to the first six error reports, and for each one I'll donate £5 to the Wivenhoe Mayor's Charity.

    Rules: Each error on my part earns £5 for the charity. The wait time error above affected a lot of time entries, but I still count it as only one error because it required only one change to my program.
    Names of bus stops vary somewhat between different publications. This is not an error as long as we're still talking about the same stop.
    Where there is a wait time at a stop, I now show the departure time but not the arrival time. I may change that in the future; meanwhile I don't count it as an error.
    No bounty for errors made by other people, though where those affect the timetable they're still worth reporting and I'll try to pass them on.

    Any takers?
  • Update: I'm told by Peter Kay that the current timetable will remain valid until the 2nd of April, when the 61 and 62 services will be revised.

    PS. No error reports yet...

  • I have a copy of the new (paper) timetable for 61 and 62. Key features are:

    61 runs Wiv Station - High Woods, 4/hour, route as now

    62 is split into 62 and 62A, 2/hour of each
    62 runs N Station - Wiv Coop - Belle Vue Road - Brightlingsea - short stop - back on the same route
    62A runs N Station - Rectory Road - Wiv Cemetery - long stop - Wiv Coop - N Station

    So fewer buses to/from Wiv Station, and fewer buses back along the Avenue to the Coop
  • Still every 15 mins from Wiv Station until 1943
  • I have tried to find on the web the times that the 61 will depart from Wivenhoe Station but have not been able to to so far.  I want to catch a bus on Monday from the station for a doctor's appointment at 10.10.  I do not want to have to hang about waiting for a bus nor do I want to just miss one.  Given the buses will stop for a break at the Station the departure times should be known, unlike intermediate stops.
  • kstkst
    edited March 31
    Spoopdecker said:
    I have tried to find on the web the times that the 61 will depart from Wivenhoe Station but have not been able to to so far.  I want to catch a bus on Monday from the station for a doctor's appointment at 10.10.  I do not want to have to hang about waiting for a bus nor do I want to just miss one.  Given the buses will stop for a break at the Station the departure times should be known, unlike intermediate stops.
    0955 from the Station gets to Wiv Surgery 10.01

    Her's a link

  • Here are the new combined timetable spreadsheets, for anyone who wants to see the whole timetable picture. Well, as much of the whole picture as I can manage, anyway.

    I'll be very grateful if any kind souls can make spot checks against other published sources. As encouragement, my earlier offer of a bounty to the Mayor's Charity for any errors on my part still stands.

    As before, the timetables are split by direction of travel as "North" or "South"-bound. These directions of travel are defined as the direction of movement of a bus as it passes the Flag. This means that buses travelling in both "direction"s may make their ways southwards into/along Belle Vue Road, and it surprises me how often two such buses are scheduled to arrive at the Cemetery stop at exactly the same time.

    Also as before, the Full and Brief versions contain the same journey details but the Brief one omits many intermediate stops. Each version contains six sheets: Mon-Fri, Sat, Sun for each direction of travel.

  • Just seen an 87 at Wivenhoe Station?
  • Had a report this morning from the eagle-eyed @PeterKay, who has been checking the Wivenhoe timetable. He reports that the timetable claims two 62A buses leave the Co-op each weekday evening at 2319 and follow identical journeys into Colchester. One of them terminates at Osborn Street while the other continues to North Station.

    This is clearly wrong, and it turns out that it's the North Station one that doesn't really exist. And it's a bit non-trivial in its impact because it implies that the last bus from Wivenhoe to North Station is later than it really is.

    The error is in the national database so people using any of the journey planner web sites or mobile apps (other than the real-time apps) will also encounter it. I'll be chasing it up to get it fixed there.

    Hopefully the national database can be fixed reasonably quickly, in which case I'll re-issue the timetable at that point.

    Although I could make a case for this not being an error on my part, I've decided that it's something I could have spotted and flagged up so I've stretched the rules a bit and awarded the first Mayor's Charity bounty payment in Peter's honour. The receipt is attached and I hope it'll encourage people to keep checking!
  • Time for another update, for the timetable changes that will kick in on May 30th. The changes are all to the 87 service, which has been re-timed to mesh better with the 62. The 87 routes have also changed: a different stop sequence in Brightlingsea, and the 87 no longer serves the Colchester Asda store. A footnote on the Hedingham timetable says that after Head Street the 87s will continue to the High Street, but it doesn't say where and the stop doesn't appear in any timetable grid, so I guess we have to wait and see.

    Oh, and the 62A error noted in the previous post has now been corrected, presumably in response to our report.

    I have to say that the quality of timetable production from ECC seems to have improved considerably. In particular, the data is now appearing in the national database before the service changes come into effect, which used not to be the case.

    Format and layout of the speadsheets are the same as before, so I'll refer you back to the earlier posts for the description.

  • I saw a week or so ago that First had published new timetables for the 61 and 62 services, coming into effect from Sunday 23rd July (tomorrow as I write this). They've been available under the "forthcoming" tab on their web site.

    I did note that the national database hadn't been updated and this afternoon I sat down to look into it further.

    Well, guess what - the "new" timetables are exactly the same as the old ones. All they've done is to extend the "valid until" date to August, but instead of telling people that the old timetables are still valid they've re-issued them as though they'd been changed.

    If I'm right in this, it follows that the current version of my timetable remains valid. And as always, if I'm wrong the Mayor's charity stands to gain by it...
  • With the new timetables & buses what is the best way to get to Colchester General Hospital Mon-Friday by bus?
  • @Gill: for my money it's still the 61. It's a roundabout journey but it's a single trip.

    The downside is that the northbound service doesn't go into the hospital grounds, but the trick there if you want to avoid the walk is to stay on the bus until the first stop past the hospital entrance, known as Kingswood Road (opp) Colchester. Then cross the road to the corresponding stop Kingswood Road (adj) and buses every few minutes will go from there to the stops inside the grounds. Avoid the 80, 81 and 81A; they are claimed to visit the stop but they don't turn into the hospital grounds.

  • Thanks, hope this is useful for other people.
  • Here are the spreadsheets for the new bus timetables that will run from 27th August. There are a few discrepancies between these sheets and the individual sheets published by First, as I think @PeterKay has already pointed out. I've been prevented from doing a full check on that because of what seems to be file corruption on the First site (try downloading the pdf for the forthcoming 61 service, Mon-Fri. As of a few minutes ago, what you get is strangely formatted and with only half the entries.)

    File formats are the same as before so for the details please see earlier posts.

  • greenback said:
    The bus companies  should employ you. Thank you for trying to sort it out for us. Happy Christmas
    No chance - they're not going to employ anyone even remotely helpful to the travelling public ;-)
  • edited September 5
    CBC Scrutiny [PDF] for 12 September has the agenda item:

    Scoping Report – Bus Services in Colchester

    The Panel will discuss starting a formal review of all bus services in the borough. Some members of the Panel have been pushing for some time for a switch to the Nottingham model - local services owned and managed by the local Council.
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