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In the UK, for many places, there's a rather nifty thing you can add onto your train ticket - PlusBus. For normally a few quid more than the normal train ticket, you also get unlimited bus travel around that town for the day.

There are at least three official-looking sources of information on PlusBus. One of them is the National Rail Enquiries special offers section (pick a region then scroll down to P to find all the PLUSBUS entries), the PlusBus website, and often local authority sites as well.

My problem is that recently, I have discovered that the maps for a PlusBus region I use moderately often don't agree between all of these sites! This can cause problems when trying to use a PlusBus ticket in the area covered on one map but not the other, as neither myself nor the bus drivers are actually quite sure if the ticket is valid there or not...

As an example, we'll take the Hitchin zone:

Two of those maps show the south-west corner of the zone extending down to the Butterfield Business Park near Luton, two of those do not! I'm therefore unsure of if a PlusBus ticket is valid to there, or not, and so are the bus drivers... And I don't know which (if any of those) is the "correct" one to trust!

Where is the canonical validity of a UK PlusBus ticket defined? (And bonus marks - what does it say for the Hitchin zone and the Butterfield Business Park?)

  • I think the official source would be NaPTAN. Though not sure if the data downloads include Plusbus zones or not. Then you have to get it into a useful format, to view on a map. data.gov.uk/dataset/naptan – vclaw Aug 22 '15 at 18:29
  • @vclaw I'd be surprised if the bus and train companies sat down and said "let's use naptan id 12345678 as the SW boundary"! – Gagravarr Aug 22 '15 at 19:06
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The best option for clarification of which plus bus zone a location is is to input the postal code of the location.

Using the third link you had

http://plusbus.bushub.co.uk/maps/hitchin

It shows all bus stops, plus if you zoom out it will give you a defined outline

enter image description here

I then input the postcode of the business park

And had this message

enter image description here

And following the link it takes us to

enter image description here

So the definitive answer is that butterfield business park is in the Luton Zone.

The plus bus PDFs maps are very poor for definitive answers. So the best link to use is this one

http://plusbus.info

And input a postcode

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    What makes you think that the map on the plusbus hub site is correct though? Both the main PlusBus website and Intalink pages show it as in the zone, and the PlusBus website has a whole news entry about how the Butterfield zone is in the newly expanded area! – Gagravarr Aug 29 '15 at 8:15
  • Specifically, if you go to the plusbus.info page and scroll about half way down, you'll see in the Additional Information section A Hitchin PLUSBUS ticket is valid for bus travel to Butterfield Business Park. Are the sites that fail to mention/include Butterfield Business Park failing because they're old, or was it once included but now removed? Without knowing where the canonical definition of the zone is, we can't tell which sites are correct and which ones are out of date! – Gagravarr Aug 29 '15 at 17:15

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