please empty your brain below

TTF come in three sizes.
12", 24" and 36", but 36" is the most common.
Scrumpy knows all about TTF's and bus stops in East London in general. If that is his only comment, DG has done well.
A blurry summary sheet from the FoI can be downloaded here.
DG, are you by any chance entering the Boring Conference this year? I think you may have to try harder because that was QI. 😉

When we used to be out and about, we would look at bus stops to see if we could spot errors on the name boards. Oprington and Chiselhust were fairly obvious, but when they renewed one by Crease Park to Grease Park, it was even changed on the sign and annoucement on the bus. After some questions and protests it was quickly changed, four months later. 😏
All fairly intuitive, until Boat. An acronym maybe.
Shape of a boat, viewed from below, perhaps.
Shouldn’t it be: “Point letter(s)”?

Just for pedantry’s sake if nothing else...
Interesting albeit very niche post today! In the example given the bus stop identification number does not seem to match that on the SMS plate which I can't quite make out in the picture. At least doing a live arrivals search for 17569 yields no result. Maybe as part of my exercise today I should go and see if this is the general case locally? On second thoughts.......

Your picture of the above stop shows a request stop which got me wondering when they got rid of them and, surprise surprise, DG has already covered this back in 2007 when the idea was first mooted!
The Hounslow stop has some sort of awning over the flag, as does the Wandle Road one - you give no info on the name or purpose of that item. Has it been left out of the FoI response?

dg writes: See link in third comment.
What a lot of esoteric terminology - typical LT/TfL, some may say. We spoke only of plates and stickers in Manchester. I did use the word 'flag' once, which caused much amusement in the Property Services Dept. as they imagined all their bus stop plates flapping in the wind.

What is the function of the horizontal plates seen on the Hounslow and Wandle Road stops?
Are there people who delight in thinking up and submitting obscure FoI requests?

I only ask because I would have thought that people who'd want/need to know this kind of info would already know it, so not need to FoI it...
Not that your post wasn't interesting, of course.
They've got rid of those other numbers which were black on a yellow background and were usually zip tied to the post, I think that they were used as IDs for loading surveys.

There was often confusion as incorrect information on bus stops or non working Countdown displays were reported using these IDs rather than the less obvious bus stop identification number.
Re. the 'awning' - the illumination gained from the led lamps on the underside is often dimmer than the general illumination from the street lighting, leaving the flag in the shade.
NickW: That is why there is a button that you press to back-illuminate the timetable.

The button is clearly visible in the blurry summary sheet mentioned above. Look at the bottom of the timetable frame in the inset photo.
The flag number does not correspond to the sms text number.
Readers, do click on the last link 'FoI request': the email correspondence is a hoot. It does make one wonder whether Tony Blair anticipated this sort of thing when his government introduced the legislation. Cheered me up no end this morning, thanks DG.
You forgot to mention Tailstops.

Basically, every bus must halt with the front of the bus level with the stop flag. At a Tailstop the opposite is true and the bus must halt with the end of the bus level with the stop flag. The reason for this is because there are restrictions at certain stops - normally physical - which prevent the bus from stopping in the correct manner.

A Tailstop is marked by having a red Q-tile underneath the e-tiles. They're quite rare but they can be found across London.
I did not ‘forget to mention’ Tailstops.

They’re a type of bus stop, not part of a bus stop. They’re not in the FOI.
This meaning of "boat" is new to me, too. Had no idea they were called E plates, although I remember when E tiles were a thing, so clearly their letter has been inherited by the new order.

When did the posts become aluminium? They'd been precast concrete for a time before, I think. Seems odd to think that at one time in the not very distant past, seats were an extremely rare thing to find at bus stops in London, too. And in a way no less odd (although it's still the case in much of the rest of the UK, especially outside cities) that stops long had no location names identifying them to passengers.

TfL have come a long way.....
Of course, in the old days, nearly all stops by default were tail stops and the exceptions were marked up as head stops.
Whatever happened to the O&D plate? How did those work?

dg writes: See comment at 08:13
Fascinating stuff. It does seem a bit like overkill but one of the really good things about TfL is an attempt to be consistent so documenting everything helps with this (and I do know the history of Bus Stop M and how these things don't always work!)

As far as I know, the bus stop ID number is mostly (always?) different to the SMS number. I'd guess they serve different purposes but I don't know why they can't be the same.
I wonder what the process was that came to the conclusion that the thing you attach the flag to was a post and not a (flag)pole.
The Wandle Road stop is confusing me. Many moons ago I would board the 118 to Morden Station at the Wandle Road/Bishopsford Road junction, then at the end of my working day I'd disembark at the stop opposite before the bus headed off towards Mitcham. Now it seems that one stop serves buses in both directions, please clear this one up for me DG, madness beckons.

dg writes: The 118 is on long term diversion because of bridge works. The 280 goes to Mitcham. The 718 goes to Morden.
Why is the Q in 'Q-tile' upper case but the 'e' in 'e-tile' lower case?
Love that the first photo's point letter is DG and the second photo is of the legendary bus stop M.
Today we have the naming of parts...

Is there some sort of 'Ladybird Book' filter on the first couple of photos?
Yeah, there definitely is. I want one.
Your FOI request appears to have blown your cover.
I'm glad you're taking care to ensure our distance learning continues uninterrupted!
I shall never look at bus stops in the same way again!
From my limited observation, TfL coach stops don't usually have timetable frames/clusters, just Qtile boats.
There’s a surviving hail and ride section notice fixed to a lamp post in Green Lane, New Malden on the K5 route. This must date from when the route was introduced in 1989 as you’re advised to contact 01 222 1234 number for further information.
FOI requests. It's what 'lockdown' is for.....
TfL's initial response to the FOI enquiry is a teeth grindingly polite method of saying 'Oh FFS, don't you think we might just have more important things to deal with right now?' Kudos to TfL for their patience.
What is the history behind the SMS number being different both from the identification number and the SMS codes in the rest of the country?
I think when they introduced the sms numbers, they made sure that numbers for stops nearby were not similar to each other to avoid mistakes when entering them.

If I recall correctly the sms service had a small fee, so would be a bit rubbish to get the results back and realise you typed one number wrong and got the buses for the stop across the road!

dg writes: (a fairly high fee)
In Hong Kong, timetable frames are called "suckling pig trays" because the early examples, when laid on the ground, look like shallow rectangular trays that hold roast suckling pigs. Subsequently, the timetable sheets themselves gain the nickname "suckling pig sheets".
The number on the bottom of the flag is not always just numerals, it can be letters as well eg BP123 this is why the SMS numbers do not match.

You can find the bus stop number on every timetable in the frame as well (bottom right hand corner).

Buses no longer have to draw up to the flag (the rule was that the post had to be between the front of the bus and the rear/middle door)- it is now sufficient for the bus to stop within the box markings painted on the road at almost every stop.
Yay, here's a legible scan of the annotated bus stop diagram (rather than the fuzzy jpeg in the FoI request).

Thanks Mike!
And there's me thinking a "timetable cluster" is the gaggle of people peering at the information on the post, rather than the map in the shelter.
The bus stop N on Waterloo Bridge and its buddy on the other side, P, were, I believe, the only ones in London to contain both the first and last bus-routes of the whole network, 1 and X68. Sadly, the introduction of the X140 spoils that story.
That was fascinating, DG. Thanks very much!
> Why is the Q in 'Q-tile' upper case but the 'e' in 'e-tile' lower case?

Indeed, regardless of case, why Q? Queue for a bus? Why e??
Rather late to the party; here's an economical bus stop I saw today in Tonbridge. It's plastic, cable-tied to lampost.

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