Thursday 29th December 2022
I wrote about my journey on Britain’s shortest bus route back in August.
That was Vectare’s route 30 introduced in January 2022 between St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping and Coopersale with a four minute end-to-end journey time.
At that time a number of blog readers kindly suggested more contenders for a top 10 of Britain’s shortest bus routes including Laurie who highlighted Thames Travel’s route 90 running every 20 minutes between Didcot’s Orchard Centre and the nearby Tesco.
That also has a four minute journey time for the outward trip but is timetabled for a slightly longer seven minutes for the return journey, making it not quite as short as Epping’s route 13.
News of the route’s upcoming demise after 7th January gave me the excuse I needed to head over to Didcot a couple of Saturdays ago to have a ride while I could.
The route is interworked with the much longer route X2 between Oxford, Abingdon and Didcot.
When the bus arrives from Oxford at the Orchard Centre in Didcot it turns into a 90 and heads off to Tesco, with the same transition applying in the reverse direction.
Pre Christmas Saturday traffic was not being kind to Didcot on my visit and the incoming X2 I was travelling on was already more than ten minutes late when I boarded it in Abingdon.
By the time we arrived into Didcot having battled through slow moving traffic queues we’d already gone past the time for departure back to Oxford even without a round trip on the 90 and the driver sensibly abandoned that journey.
I waited for a while at the Orchard Centre bus stop but it was a forlorn hope any departures were going to happen any time soon.
A tweet from Thames Travel at 14:44 confirmed a shuttle bus was running on the 90 …
… but there was no evidence of this when I arrived around 13:20 and waited until 1357 when a bus appeared and I hopped aboard.
It took us six minutes to reach Tesco, which wasn’t bad considering the traffic…
…. where we spent a couple of minutes changing drivers, leaving at 14:05 …..
….. and arriving back at the Orchard Centre at 14:10 from where the bus continued on to Didcot Station arriving there at 14:13. I’m not sure why the bus went on to Didcot rail station as technically it’s not on the route of the 90, but I guess it’s because passengers can travel through on to the X2 which does serve the station and it’s somewhere to park the bus between shuttles.
No other passengers boarded on the outward or return journey and it’s no surprise the route is being culled in a couple of weeks and will no longer be Britain’s Second Shortest Bus Route.
Which means the top ten shortest bus routes now looks like….
- Vectare 30 Epping St Margaret’s Hospital to Coopersale. Journey time 4 minutes each way.
- Stagecoach 200 Chester bus interchange to Hunter Street. Journey time 4 minutes out and 5 minutes back.
- morebus 898 Poole bus station to Poole Asda. Journey time 5 minutes each way.
- Rosso 13 Rawtenstall – New Hall Hey – Rawtenstall. Circular journey time 6 minutes.
- Compass Bus 900 Crawley bus station – Asda – Crawley bus station. Circular journey time 7 minutes.
- Cardiff Bus H59 Heath Hospital to Park & Ride site. Journey time 7 minutes each way.
- TK Travel 153 Henley-on-Thames – Abrahams Road – Henley-on-Thames. Circular journey time 9 minutes.
- TLC Travel T2 Todmorden – Longfield – Todmorden. Circular journey time 10 minutes.
- Tanat Valley Coaches 404 Oswestry town route. Circular journey time 10 minutes.
- TfL 388 Barnet The Spires to Western Way. Journey time 12 minutes out and 10 minutes back … and then there’s…
- Eifion’s Coaches 48 Llangefni – Ty Hen – Llangefni – Ty’n Coed Terminus – Llangefni. Journey time 10 minutes and 5 minutes for what is effectively a cross village route taking a round trip time of 10 minutes for one half and 5 minutes for the other, but both are numbered 48.
… unless anyone can suggest any other contenders?
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