Pick me up at the Coachway

Tuesday 27th September 2022

I was back in High Wycombe again last Friday. Checking out Carousel’s route 34 before it’s demise yesterday being replaced by Buckinghamshire Council’s new DRT scheme for the town which begins today. I’ll tell you more about that on Thursday.

Route 34 looks to have been one of those bus routes funded by Berkeley Group, the housing developer, under Section 106 payments and I suspect their financial contributions will be going towards the new DRT too.

The hourly bus linked the bus and railway stations via London Road and an area called Wycombe Marsh to a new housing development being built by the Berkeley Group called Abbey Barn Park. It’s a “new community nestled in a tranquil countryside setting, surrounded by woodlands and a 34-acre country park, a short distance to High Wycombe town centre and station with London Marylebone accessible in just 26 minutes as well as outstanding education with a range of excellent schools nearby”.

And, until yesterday the luxury of an hourly bus service but from today an exciting new DRT service with a bus whenever you want to travel (ahem!).

After Abbey Barn Park, route 34 continued on to High Wycombe’s Coachway conveniently sited alongside a giant Waitrose and Park & Ride car park next to junction 4 of the M40, but not quite so convenient for bus passengers, it having few homes nearby.

I’d taken a ride out to the Coachway/Park & Ride on another Carousel operated bus route – the Cressex Connect 8 – which runs every 30 minutes from Hugh Wycombe’s bus and rail stations on a more direct route than the 34 via the Cressex Business Park south of the town centre to the Coachway.

I suspect Cressex are also paying towards the service explaining why the Business Park has it’s branding on the buses.

I caught the 11:09 from the station with just one other passenger already on board and we headed off to the bus station where he got off and seven boarded. They’d all alighted along the route, with none actually getting off as we passed through the business park, leaving just myself on board to the Coachway. It takes just 13 minutes from the bus station to the Coachway.

Facilities at the Coachway are very impressive but looked hopelessly under utilised.

There are four bus/coach stops used by the aforementioned routes 8 and 34 as well as sister company Oxford Bus’s Aircoach routes to Oxford, Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.

It also seems to be a popular picking up point for coach tours.

During my half hour mooch around, there were more passengers boarding holiday tours ….

….. than scheduled bus and coach services. All of which left having picked up and set down no-one.

The Park & Ride car park looked distinctly under used and I wondered if I”d just caught it on a quiet day or whether it’s always so devoid of activity.

It can’t be the parking charges putting people off, as it was on “free vend” and looked like it had been for some time with all three pay machines carrying notices saying no payment is necessary.

The Coachway has everything you’d want including real time departure screens ….

….. printed timetable departure lists…

…. two enclosed waiting area, one with hard looking (and they are) perch type seats and a bench to put your lap top on ….

…. and one with hard looking (and they are) low down seats.

There are more hard looking (and they are) low down seats outside on the ‘concourse’ too.

There are toilets ….

…. and a long closed office and travel shop style window.

In fact there were almost as many closed shuttered windows as there were bus and coach stops.

Having enjoyed an explore around I caught the 12:05 route 34 back into town before it succumbed to its DRT makeover from today.

Carousel are raising the DRT awareness in advance by using the redundant Oxford Bus PickMeUp branded minibuses on the route, which from today will of course be the order of the new regime.

Although it was odd to see a supply of timetables for route 34 on board rather than any information about PickMeUp.

However, when we arrived back at the bus station a supervisor jumped on board with a poster to affix inside advising of the new arrangements, so that was good to see.

On the journey back into town we picked up a mum and her child from one of the bus stops also served by what used to be Carousel’s route 37 and now Arriva’s route 36 as I experienced on my last visit.

They seemed quite happy to have discovered an alternative bus route even though it did have only one more weekday day to run.

We did the dog leg into the developing Abbey Barn Park nestling alongside the M40 and saw lots of houses and flats, with cars in drives and no people about. No passengers either from the temporary bus stop where the bus does a turnaround.

Still, I’m sure they’ll all flock on to the bus once they realise the delights that DRT offers from today.

After that it was back into town via Wycombe Marsh and the railway station but no one came on board.

One thing they’ll need to be careful of is alighting and boarding from the bus station. It wasn’t designed for Mercedes Sprinter minibuses.

More on Thursday when I’ve had a pick me up from PickMeUp as well as another new DRT that’s started recently in Nottinghamshire.

Roger French

Blogging timetable: 06:00 TThS with occasional Su Specials.

20 thoughts on “Pick me up at the Coachway

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  1. Well going to the Carousel Web site there is a link to the pick me up service. Click on that and it comes up. As usual you need an app. There is another link presumably to the app but that comes up with a 404 error

    There is another link from another part of the site to an App but I dont think that’s for the Pick Me Up service

    There is a network map for the Carousel services that has not been updated but strangely the High Wycombe map has

    On the service 8 if you look on one part of the site it states you can travel for free on it if you have a weekly rail ticket. If you go to the router 8 t link and pull up the fares PDF it states the fare from the rail station is £2.60 with no mention that if you have a weekly rail ticket you can travel free

    No mention as to whether concessionary passes are valid on the 8 or the Pick Me Up Service

    There is a map of the operating area of the Pik Me up service but it is not very detailed so if you live near the edge of the area you cannot tell whether you are in or out of it

    The leaflet for the Pick Me Up services states it is operating with support from BCC & the Government

    Given it is operating in an urban or semi urban area and there are other buses service around I dont think it will last longer than the funding does particularly if it turns out concessionary passes are not valid but we will have to wait and see

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    1. As a Carousel Enthusiast, I can confirm that concessionary passes are valid on the 8 and PMU services. Its worth noting that the Micklefield, Totteridge and Terriers (the North East of WYC) areas of Wycombe are not served by PMU. Personally I see these three areas as main points in Wycombe.

      The PMU app can be found on Google Play and Apple App Store by searching “PickMeUp High Wycombe”

      Links for the apps:
      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ridewithvia.highwycombe
      https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/pickmeup-high-wycombe/id1634368816

      Link to a screenshot of the service area in the app:

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  2. Catch The Bus Month

    I bet most people have never heard that September was Catch The Bus Month as it was pretty much unadvertised

    What was it about? well nothing really. Just a Statement Saying Catch The Bus Month

    A missed opportunity. It should have been widely advertised and linked to the £2 fare offer but no they have it the month before that. Who an earth thought that was sensible?

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    1. Well, our local bus company announced it … on its website, which of course is basically used by people who already catch buses!!!

      Like

  3. Bob, with the passing of The Queen hardly appropriate massive advertising campaigns. You keep mentioning the £2 fare starting in October. It’s starting in January as the scheme was revised to three months – you must have missed that in the beacon of light and optimism you bring to the comment boxes on these blogs

    Like

    1. Well they were advertising it on Web Sites

      If they have changed it to January and only 3 months its the first I have heard and I doubt anyone else has heard of it

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    2. If they have now reduced it to 3 months it would be better to move it to May rather than start the scheme just after the new year and in the middle of winter

      The £2 fare should coupled with proper publicity and marketing not just a little item on a web site

      Notices on buses and bus shelters, P&R sites, Shopping centres, Retail parks, Rail stations, car parks stations etc coupled with local paper advertising. Bus maps and timetables should also be available but being careful to ensure the areas are actually served by buses

      look at doing deals with local attractions so a combined bus fare and entry to the attraction.

      Like

    1. Because it’s only used by three routes (8, 34 and the Oxford coaches), one of which has just been withdrawn? Minus the 34, as far as I can tell that’s a grand total of six departures an hour.

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  4. A new community in tranquil countryside?In other words a load of car centric Barret Boxes.And the country park will be a country car park like the rest of our country parks so called.Hardly anyone in this development will use buses.

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  5. Judging by the OS map provided, I’m guessing that the Abbey Barn Park estate is the usual giant cul-de-sac with just a single road in. These developments are incredibly difficult to serve effectively by bus, so I’m not expecting much success.

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  6. A free park-and-ride, by a motorway, and the (high frequency express) Oxford-London buses stop there. Sounds too good to be true yet is rarely used? I guess no one knows about it. [Aside, was in Calgary, Canada, which has a light rail metro. Almost every station has a massive free car park for the last mile. Brilliant. Unlike here where station parking is expensive and/or prevented by CPZ’s]

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    1. Correction: its just Oxford – Coachway – LHR/LGW buses that stop there.
      Have a website of train friendly walks, was thinking of including this as a starting point, so it won’t work, and sadly, even if it did, the routes would change again next year 🙂 That’s the best thing about trains, they cant easily move the lines and stations.

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  7. Exeter’s new bus station is built in such a way that it cannot handle wheel forward buses. As Solos, Streetlites and Sprinters are the mainstay of the tendered rural routes, they all have to use temporary (since June last year) stops that are even further from the city centre than the bus station is.

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  8. Hi I really enjoyed your article regarding the 4 furthest bus stops and would like to visit them for myself unfortunately I have lost the said email article!! Please could you resend the email regarding this story….
    Regards David

    Like

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