Sunday, 19 August 2012

We don't want to keep apologising, but...

Good evening,

As most of you are aware, Torbay Bus Routes was offline from Friday afternoon up until this afternoon (Sunday, 19th August).

The site was transferred to a new server, and a backup of the site was put online. We were assured this backup was from the day before the server went down. If this were the case, there would be no problem.

However, upon review of the new site, it became evidently clear that the site did not have the same content as the day before the server went down. In fact, it was showing content from some time back in March of this year.

It is unclear to us how this has happened, but it's completely out of hands. Having said that, we recognise that it is in no way acceptable for our web services to be offline for this period of time.

This evening, an attempt was made to upload a local backup copy to the server. However, the server is continuing to reject FTP (file transfer protocol) requests, and as such, it is with regret that the entire site has been password protected, as the information contained therein is several months of out date.

We cannot express enough how frustrating this is for both us and our users.

We must promise every user that if there were something we could do, we would be doing it. We realise we cannot keep simply apologising, but the website will be up and running as soon as humanly possible.

We understand and share all our users' disappointments, but look forward to welcoming you back to TBR once it is live again.

Check our Twitter for the latest updates - we'll still be doing our live bus updates, of course, too.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Torbay Bus Routes: Our Current Server Outage

Dear Torbay Bus Routes User,

Yesterday (Friday, 17th August, 2012) afternoon, our website and e-mails went down. Our server is usually reliable, so it was unfortunate when the website went down in the afternoon. I, Allan Wagner, am responsible for the websites reliability and I must start by apologising.

Since I was made aware of the issue, I have been kept informed about what our data centre is doing to resolve the issue, and even though our main server won’t be up for the next few days, I have organised for a replacement server to be brought in within 24 hours (as of 22:00, Saturday 18th August).

Once again, I am deeply sorry about this outage, and as soon as normal service is restored, I will be looking at ways to avoid this from occurring again.

I also wanted to provide more detail for the more technically minded users, who might be interested in the suspected cause (not completely confirmed yet). Between 18:00 to 19:00 yesterday evening, I found out that the Torbay Bus Routes website was coming up with a 404 (Server Not Found) error. Straight away, I got in touch with our providers asking them to look into this issue. It turned out that our service had in fact been down since around 16:00, or possibly earlier.

Later that evening, I was updated that the motherboard in our server was being replaced due to a suspected faulty Ethernet port. However, upon the data centre testing the repair, they had the wrong motherboard, and the kernel would not boot up the server. The data centre are now trying to source the correct part. Unfortunately, with it being the weekend, this could delay the replacement hunt further!

Thankfully, backups are kept. So we are now setting up a replacement server and we are changing over the DNS (domain name server) settings to point to our new temporary server. The moral of the story is: always keep a back up!

Technology is fantastic, when it works. But all we can do is learn what went wrong here, and make sure this problem will not happen again. 

We can’t wait to return to the World Wide Web tomorrow, and we thank you for your understanding and patience!

From the Director, Elliot Massey:

I'd also like to apologise for this outage. We understand just how frustrating it is for our users, and it's even more frustrating for us knowing we can't do anything about it. 

This has also delayed our development of MyRoute, our latest innovation, but we are just thankful that the server did not go down before uploading our new bus map (although no one can see it now!). I personally initiated the DNS change, and I can assure our users that it is working its way through the system.

We're all hoping for it to be back up soon, and everything's crossed for a quick and painless DNS change.

With very best wishes from Allan and I.

If anyone requires bus times or information, please tweet us (@torbaybuses), or write on our Facebook wall.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Help Keep TBR Going & Make It Better

Did you know that Torbay Bus Routes recieves no commercial funding, nor do any of our Team take a wage? We're all volunteers, and do what we do because we are so passionate about making public transport information accessible and high quality in Torbay.

Torbay Bus Routes has grown to become Torbay's source of bus information when at home and when out and about. But in order to keep the service that thousands know and love going, we need your help. 

We're not asking for a lot. But anything you give will mean a lot to us. It means we can keep this service going without interruption, helping it to become Torbay's name for public transport information. 

If you'd like to get behind TBR and support the service, consider giving any amount you can.

Any donations will be used in a variety of places, actually. It will help cover the costs of the web server and hosting. It'll help us do more marketing to make TBR a further success. And it will go towards things such as mobile internet to enable our live bus updates to flow and other future initiatives that we haven't even thought of yet!

The more we receive, the more we can do, and the better Torbay Bus Routes will be.

You can donate on our Donate page.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

A Wet and Windy Day, But a Ride on a Merc!

Today was the Exmouth Vintage Bus Running Day, by the Devon General Society, at Exmouth Bus Station.

Stagecoach kindly let the society have the bus station between 10:00 and 17:00 for running a variety of services on vintage vehicles.

There was a great turn out of people - probably, at a guess, in their hundreds, all enjoying the great, free bus trips on offer.

Despite it thrashing it down with rain for the whole day, it was all worth it for a ride on M245 UTM, a Marshall-bodied Mercedes 709, which replaced Ford Transits, and is in the grey-green-purple "Exeter Minibus" livery. But why was that bus so special?

Well, for many, many people who catch (or used to catch) services 5, 5E, 17, 17A, 22, or 24, they'd know all about the buses that used to be on there before Optare Solos: Mercedes 709D's. They were loud and bumpy, and those gears really crunched, but they got around. And that nostalgic, classic noise as it goes into reverse, along with that ever-so distinctive gear change, really did provide a trip back to just a few years ago when many enjoyed the old Mercs on Brixham and Paignton town services.

Here she is below:

Also whilst there, some bus maps from 1993 up to 2011 by Devon County Council provided a good look back into how services have changed: when the 12B used to go from Bovey Tracey to Brixham; the 22 was every minutes; the 7 was every 20 minutes; there were night buses into Torquay and Newton Abbot; and it was the 100 that came into Brixham, not the 12.

The good old days?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Happy 15th Birthday, 701! :-)

It's been 15 years since the first Volvo B6LE was introduced as a low floor bus onto service 12 in Torbay. 701 (P701 BTA) was one of those, and has been withdrawn from public service since 2011.

But with the help of Stagecoach South West, the Devon & Dorset Group, who put on the Torbay Vintage Bus Running Day in September, managed to buy and restore 701 to its original livery, complete with interior signs and down to the very last detail. It really is a great restoration, and it can be seen at the rallies put on by the Devon & Dorset Group.

This week marks its 15th year since entering service in 1997, and to celebrate, she was taken out on the 12 route from Newton Abbot to Brixham and back. In addition, the original 12A route was done from Torquay Strand up to St.Marychurch and back down again.

The TBR Team as well as local blogger David Banks (Bus Driving blog) and other local bus enthusiasts were all aboard the bus, and the day was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Here are some pictures below:

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Breakdowns aren't always bad!

On Saturday, 31st March, 2012, I took the 16:12 Stagecoach X46 from Paignton up to Exeter. A lovely ride on 18303, a 2005 Trident, below:

She'd been driving smoothly right up to the Matford Roundabout, just outside of Countess Wear, where I noticed a strange, spitting-like sound coming from the engine. On we did plod, until the next roundabout at Bridge Road.

There, we gradually came to a gentle stop, and despite the best attempts of the driver, that engine was not going to start again without assistance.

Luckily, not too far from Exeter Depot, a bus was with us within 15 minutes. Here's the replacement below:

How nice of Stagecoach to send us 19106, Cockwood, to rescue us! I didn't expect to be on an Enviro for all or part of that journey! And finally, we wave good bye to 18303, who is hopefully making a full recovery...

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Please bid farewell to...

Torbay Bus Routes' timetable library currently covers all timetables for buses in the Torbay, Totnes, Dartmouth, and Newton Abbot areas.

However, in order to keep our timetable library to the highest standard and hold a manageable amount of files, we must unfortunately hereby give notice that timetables for services that do not enter Torbay will be removed from Torbay Bus Routes with effect from Monday, 12th March, 2012.

As such, the following timetables will not be available for download from the above date from Torbay Bus Routes:
2, 39, 70, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79A, 79C, 90A/B/C, 91, 93, 164, 165, 167, 175, 176, 177, 178, 182, 184, 193, 361, 671, 672, 886, 888
The only exception is service Stagecoach X64, for which a timetable will still be available. This is because Torbay Megarider tickets are valid on this service between Totnes & Newton Abbot, whereas they're not on service Stagecoach 88.

The timetables will always be available from the operators of the services, as well as in Devon County Council produced bus timetable guides.

We are sorry to have to inform users of this, and we hope you will continue to enjoy Torbay Bus Routes.

If you do like the work we do, please consider donating to make sure the service continues.