Arriva quits route 685

Saturday 21st January 2023 Tomorrow sees one of England’s seven jointly operated inter-urban bus routes change to be operated by just one company. After today Arriva are quitting the long established route 685 between Newcastle and Carlisle with fellow operator Stagecoach taking over Arriva’s three bus workings increasing their commitment from two buses up to... Continue Reading →

The quirky train that’s now a quirky bus

Thursday 12th January 2023 The Chiltern Railways ‘ghost bus’ ran for the first time yesterday demonstrating our railway at its most bizarre. It was a whacky Wednesday welcome to a superfluous one-journey-a-week outing between West Ealing and West Ruislip stations which no passengers in their right minds will ever use other than for the enjoyment... Continue Reading →

Bus riding along the Atlantic coast

Thursday 5th January 2023 There are some great bus routes along the northern coastlines of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall especially since Cornwall Council won the bus support funding lottery and First Bus found they could prosper by attracting the leisure travel market. I’ve ridden the complete coastline a few times over the last few years... Continue Reading →

Devon developments

Tuesday 3rd January 2023 I visited Devon at the end of last week and after all the negative media coverage of Stagecoach’s driver shortage last summer it was heartening to see some positive developments, particularly in Exeter. I hadn’t been back to the city’s new bus station since it opened in July 2021 so it... Continue Reading →

A route march to March

Tuesday 13th December 2022 Among the bus service cuts made by Stagecoach East at the end of October were changes to the company’s bus routes between Peterborough and the market towns of March, Spalding and Ramsey. Route 33 provides a long established link to March and used to run hourly but cut back to two-hourly... Continue Reading →

London bus riding: routes 213 and 312

Saturday 3rd December 2022 And so to the third and final of my palindromic anagram London bus route riding trilogy. Having enjoyed the 123/321 and 132/231 it can only be the turn of routes 213 and 312 thus completing the only six route palindromic anagram possible on TfL's bus network. So far I’ve not had... Continue Reading →

The battle for route 38

Thursday 1st December 2022 There aren’t many instances of head to head competition between bus companies these days, particularly not on inter urban corridors. So I was a bit surprised to see Arriva and D&G Bus are battling it out between Crewe and Macclesfield with each company running an hourly service numbered 38. The route... Continue Reading →

More life after Stagecoach East

Sunday 6th November 2022 When I wrote about Stagecoach East’s cuts to services back in September I mentioned two routes in Peterborough (routes 23/24) the company was withdrawing from for which I couldn’t find any timetables online. I’m grateful to Mel Holly and Brendan Fox for explaining the services were limited to just three or... Continue Reading →

Life after Stagecoach East

Saturday 5th November 2022 I wrote about Stagecoach East’s service cuts back in September and suggested at that time there’ll be other bus companies based in the area that’ll likely come forward to take over the bus routes being withdrawn. Sure enough Grant Palmer, Stephensons and Vectare stepped forward and contracts have also gone to... Continue Reading →

A bus ride along Norfolk’s coast

Thursday 27th October 2022 A couple of weeks ago I took a ride on three bus routes operated by Norfolk based Sanders Coaches, in particular the company's route 34 which takes a delightful route hugging the coastline as it links North Walsham and Stalham. Thanks to Ray Wilkes who kindly got in touch to suggest... Continue Reading →

More Moors bus journeys

Thursday 20th October 2022 I can’t let Rannoch Moor, Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor and Exmoor get all the bus blog action so thought it was high time I paid another visit to the lovely North York Moors and take a bus ride across this scenic delight of a National Park. You just can’t beat a double... Continue Reading →

Londoner Buses brings back RM buses

Tuesday 18th October 2022 Three Routemaster buses are back in service on a bus route in central London. New route A started running between Waterloo and Piccadilly Circus on Saturday. From social media posts over the last couple of weeks it looks unashamedly targeted at bus enthusiasts and tourists, but will it succeed where TfL’s... Continue Reading →

Three mini blogs

Saturday 8th October 2022 Hidden London: Shepherd's Bush Photo courtesy London Transport Museum London Transport Museum's popular programme of Hidden London tours gained a new location this week, offering a look behind the scenes at the Central Line station at Shepherd's Bush. If you enjoy having a nose behind usually locked doors at a full... Continue Reading →

A brief visit to Cornwall

Tuesday 4th October 2022 Truro bus station Despite Saturday's rail strike I managed a quick visit to Cornwall over the weekend which entailed an unwelcome long drive as I had a commitment in Truro on Sunday morning I had to fulfill. As I seldom drive long distances these days the trip reminded me of the... Continue Reading →

Stagecoach Cambridgeshire cuts

Thursday 22nd September 2022 First comes surprise news last night TfL’s Transport Commissioner Andy Byford is quitting after just two years in the job. It’s somewhat ironic his mantra since arriving at TfL’s top job in June 2020 has been the need for long term funding and stability for the organisation yet he’s turned out... Continue Reading →

Trolleybus travels

Tuesday 13th September 2022 Many thanks to Cartographer-in-Chief Ray Stenning for this superb map. Last Friday saw the "LCBS 50th Anniversary Tour Group (and assorted other adventures)" reunite for some nostalgic bus riding around south west London with the whacky idea (thanks Andrew) of retracing London Transport’s small trolleybus network centred on Kingston which was... Continue Reading →

Two Rambles in the South Downs

Sunday 4th September 2022 The South Downs National Park is blessed with some excellent frequent bus routes criss crossing its extensive area as well as Southern and SWR run railway lines. They make for helpful connections at the start and finish of walks, including the popular South Downs Way. Routes that come immediately to mind... Continue Reading →

Britain’s narrowest bus route is ending

Thursday 1st September 2022 I left you at the end of Tuesday's blog enjoying a wander around Launceston preparing to take a ride on Cornwall’s other about-to-be-withdrawn-from-this-weekend bus route - the three journeys a day (Monday to Friday) route 235 from Launceston south to Callington. Spoiler alert: I don’t really know if it’s “Britain’s narrowest... Continue Reading →

Buses no more over Bodmin Moor

Tuesday 30th August 2022 Cornwall is the country’s luckiest county; being first in the queue to receive oodles of Government cash to splash on additional bus routes, improved frequencies, new buses and cheaper fares - the way things are promised for 31 other areas fortunate to draw a winning ticket in the Government's Bus Service... Continue Reading →

Changes in the Chilterns

Thursday 25th August 2022 Firstly an update to Tuesday's blog regarding Kent's bus cull for blog subscribers and early morning online readers before the post was updated at 07:30. Thanks to reader Darryl I added an update after it had been published to confirm at a Kent County Council Scrutiny Committee meeting last Thursday the... Continue Reading →

End of the road for Kent’s shopper buses

Tuesday 23rd August 2022 Earlier in the year I reported on Kent County Council’s review of its supported bus services with a mission to save £2.2 million from the Council's annual £6.1 million tendered bus budget. And that was before the impact of Covid Bus Services Support Grant/Bus Recovery Grant originally scheduled to end this... Continue Reading →

Time is running out for route 250, but why?

Tuesday 16th August 2022 It looks as though Oxford’s failed Pick-Me-Up DRT operation is going to make a comeback; this time in deep rural Oxfordshire (cue emoji with raised eyebrows). It’s reported Oxfordshire County Council later this year is planning to replace hourly tendered route 250 which currently serves the expanding residential development known as... Continue Reading →

Games Makers

Thursday 28th July 2022 Today sees the start of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham continuing through to Monday 8th August. It's a great opportunity for public transport to show off its credentials, as happened during the 2012 Olympics. But, oh dear, ten years on and circumstances are rather different, not least the impact of driver... Continue Reading →

Exmoor Coaster meets Exmoor Sunseeker

Saturday 23rd July 2022 First Bus in the South West has expanded its Adventures by Bus portfolio of leisure services in north Devon this summer. After my Bridgwater to Minehead quirky rural ride last Tuesday, on Wednesday I sampled the reinstatement of the much missed Minehead to Ilfracombe link (albeit with a change in Lynmouth)... Continue Reading →

Long bus rides: Ride the Wave through Rye

Thursday 7th July 2022 I’d originally planned a ride all the way from Hastings to Dover on Stagecoach’s long coastal bus route branded "Wave" between East Sussex and Kent skimming along the edge of Romney Marsh. And then I remembered buses haven’t run right through for some time with the route split at Rye. Still,... Continue Reading →

Discover Dundee with Discover Dundee

Tuesday 21st June 2022 McGills owned Xplore Dundee began a new open top bus tour of the city at the end of April. I had a ride while visiting Dundee one Sunday last month and am pleased I did. It’s a great ride with friendly drivers, a great commentary containing fascinating information about the city... Continue Reading →

Route 84 lives on

Tuesday 7th June 2022 Back in February when Metroline announced it was throwing in the towel on route 84 between St Albans and New Barnet station there was much speculation what the future would hold for this much loved long standing iconic bus route. Famous for its heritage as a former London Transport red bus... Continue Reading →

ScotRail’s woes are ember’s gains

Thursday 2nd June 2022 Monday last week saw Scotland’s rail timetables slashed by a third with many last journeys brought forward to early/mid evening to better match reduced driver availability due to staff shortages (post Covid training backlog) and ASLEF’s continuing overtime ban in pursuit of a pay claim. Prior to the reduced timetables services... Continue Reading →

Reading’s Tiger returned

Thursday 12th May 2022 Back in January I blogged about the decision by Reading Buses to suspend its Tiger branded route 7 between Reading and Fleet from 17th January. Problems with long term roadworks necessitating a lengthy diversion and few passengers travelling were cited as reasons as well as every bus company being desperately short... Continue Reading →

A ride around the Forest of Dean

Tuesday 3rd May 2022 It's a lovely train ride over to Gloucester particularly the scenic section through the Cotswolds between Swindon, Kemble, Stroud and Stonehouse. Gloucester railway station is perhaps not quite so scenic but its renowned claim to fame is having Britain’s longest continuous unbroken platform measuring 659 yards - that’s over a third... Continue Reading →

Birmingham loses the Salt Road connection

Thursday 21st April 2022 The bus route between Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Droitwich Spa, Worcester and Great Malvern was first introduced by Midland Red in 1914 and although extended to Malvern Wells two years later and given route number 144 in 1928, it's pretty much continued unchanged for the past hundred years or so, save for the... Continue Reading →

Long bus rides: 700

Tuesday 19th April 2022 It's been six months since I've done a marathon bus journey (Stagecoach's route 35 in Aberdeenshire) so decided it was opportune to take another extended ride over the Easter weekend. Stagecoach’s long established route 700 takes a lengthy 4 hours and 40 minutes to travel all the way from Portsmouth to... Continue Reading →

The Haves and the Have Nots

Thursday 7th April 2022 Congratulations to this week's 31 lucky winners in the DfT’s Bus Service Improvement Plans lottery. Roughly half of England is destined to enjoy buses emulating what the Secretary of State describes as the "success of London" (which, by the way, confirms for any doubters the DfT really does suffer from some... Continue Reading →

I tried out the secret free buses in Newport

Thursday 24th March 2022 March is free bus travel month in Newport but shhh, don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret. This latest month’s worth of free bus fares follows a similar arrangement in December last year up to Christmas Eve and arises following what’s known as the Burns Commission report (named after its chairman Lord... Continue Reading →

A compendium of jointly operated bus routes

Sunday 20th March 2022 There was a time when jointly operated inter-urban bus routes were quite common not least between adjacent subsidiaries of the National Bus Company. It made for an efficient way to operate a route which linked towns many miles apart which were located in different bus companies’ territories’. One of the most... Continue Reading →

Long bus rides: 35

Saturday 5th March 2022 Last autumn I took a ride across Aberdeenshire on most of Stagecoach's route 35 between Elgin and Aberdeen, and thought it was high time I told you about it. Elgin (which lies 38 miles east of Inverness) and Aberdeen ... .... are connected by ScotRail trains running eight times a day... Continue Reading →

Life after Arriva in Guildford

Tuesday 1st March 2022 It's just over ten weeks since Arriva pulled out of Surrey so I took a ride over to Guildford last Wednesday to see how things were going. Bus networks in Crawley and Burton-on-Trent as well as Cannock have prospered since Arriva gave up on those towns so I wondered if the... Continue Reading →

Sullivan saves route 84

Saturday 12th February 2022 There's been much consternation among bus passengers living in Potters Bar and the surrounding area over the last week. Long standing route 84 between St Albans and New Barnet has been deregistered by Metroline. The 84 is one of those iconic routes with a long history stretching back over a century... Continue Reading →

London’s newest bus route

Tuesday 18th January 2022 The last time I used "London's newest bus route" as a title for a blogpost was on 29th March 2021 heralding the arrival of new route 456 in north London. Almost ten months on I’ve taken another ride on the route to see how it’s getting on but before that another... Continue Reading →

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