railair & you’re there

Thursday 24th January 2019The recent launch of First Bus's nine brand new Scania Irizar i6 bodied K-series coaches for its prestigous RailAir nonstop service linking Reading Station with Heathrow Airport attracted a shoal of positive comments on Twitter and in the trade press so I thought I'd give it a road test today. All the... Continue Reading →

The m1 arrives in Bristol

Sunday 6th January 2019 Today saw the launch of the third route in Bristol's metrobus trilogy: the m1. And this is the biggy. Route m3 was first out of the blocks last May between Emersons Green and the city centre using a new bus only exit off the M32 for easy access to the University... Continue Reading →

2018 Quiz Answers

1 What are passengers in Basingstoke soon to miss, that those in Leicester suffered a loss of in the summer? Printed timetables …. as Stagecoach South announced they wouldn’t be printing timetables for upcoming changes next month. It follows Arriva Midlands doing the same in Leicester in 2018. 2 What did passengers do to force... Continue Reading →

2018 Review, Awards and Quiz of the Year

Tuesday 18th December 2018 After my fortnightly French Connection column got ditched last summer, readers of Bus & Coach Buyer have reportedly been worried sick they’ll miss my ritual round up of the year with its concoction of fascinating facts, august awards and quirky quiz questions.  Fear no more. I’m delighted to report BusAndTrainUser has... Continue Reading →

A Lifebelt for ailing Hayling Ferry

Saturday 3rd November 2018 There's a handy passenger ferry which connects the south western tip of Hayling Island with the south eastern tip of Portsea Island across Langstone Harbour. It only takes a couple of minutes to cross and saves Hayling's residents a 12 mile detour via Havant and Cosham to reach the commercial centre... Continue Reading →

Cambridge Busway confusion

Monday 29th October There’s something not quite right on the Cambridge Busway. That’s apart from a driver shortage impacting the reliability of Stagecoach services. I arrived at the Cambridge Station stop this morning for the 11.47 Route D which uses the Busway towards St Ives as part of a combined 15 minute frequency with Route... Continue Reading →

I just snapped!

Wednesday 17th October 2018 'Snap is premium inter-city travel, on demand, using the UK's best independent coach companies. All for pocket money prices. Snap was founded in 2016 by Thomas Ableman, former Commercial Director of Chiltern Railways and Product Director of National Express and has carried over 100,000 people since launch, with outstanding customer feedback... Continue Reading →

I went to Thorpe Park by bus

Tuesday 16th October 2018 No, not the infamous leisure park in Surrey, that's so last decade; I'm talking Thorpe Park as in 'a flagship scheme for the Northern Powerhouse Agenda' no less (well that's what their brochure reckons). And in case you didn't know, Thorpe Park 'sits in the city regions most significant growth area... Continue Reading →

Wandering around West Yorkshire

Monday 15th October 2018 I've been spending a few days travelling by bus around West Yorkshire. Always a pleasure for me as, aside from brief spells with London Transport in my student days, this was where my first 'real' job 'on the buses' began (in Wakefield) over forty years ago so I've always found an... Continue Reading →

Turnaround Cornwall

30th September 2018 The turnaround of fortunes for First Bus in Cornwall is quite remarkable. You can't fail to be impressed by the huge investment in new vehicles, eye catching colourful branded liveries, smartened up bus stops, shelters and bus station waiting rooms and an attractive book packed full of timetables of lovely bus routes... Continue Reading →

Spiralling decline in London

Friday 28th September 2018 TfL's much leaked cuts to central London's bus routes were officially published today as a six week public consultation is launched. As expected the plans involve removing parts of or whole bus routes along busy roads also served by other routes on the grounds the overall capacity supplied by the combined... Continue Reading →

Which Ipswich bus station?

Tuesday 25th September 2018 There aren't many towns of Ipswich's size (circa 150,000 population) with two bus stations. Many similar sized towns don't even stretch to having one bus station these days let alone two. For example down the road and over the Suffolk/Essex border, Colchester rather cheekily calls its somewhat unexciting on-street bus stops... Continue Reading →

Out in the Outer Hebrides

Saturday 22nd September 2018 I've been travelling by bus around the Outer Hebrides over the last few days. What an amazing bus adventure it's been. Scenery to die for. Never mind Coastliner 840 across the North York Moors being voted Britain's most scenic bus route - come up to the Isle of Lewis and Harris... Continue Reading →

Gliding on Glider

Ever wondered what around £100 million will buy in the way of Bus Rapid Transit? I popped over to Belfast today to find out. The idea of creating a metro style cross city transit route has been discussed in the City for some years and as always with projects of this kind, (like in Bristol),... Continue Reading →

Three Counties Circular

There's a great bus ride to be had in that part of England where Lancashire meets Cumbria meets North Yorkshire. I recently took a circular trip from Lancaster (Lancashire) taking in Kirkby Lonsdale (Cumbria) and Ingleton (North Yorkshire). I highly recommend it. Stagecoach run the 80/81 from Lancaster to Ingleton (80) and Kirkby Lonsdale (81). While... Continue Reading →

Bristol’s latest metrobus m2 begins

The second of the three new metrobus routes began operating in Bristol yesterday. The m2 links the Long Ashton Park & Ride site (south west of the city) via some impressive newly constructed exclusive busway road to the city centre where the bus does a large anti-clockwise circuit. It's been controversial and way behind schedule.... Continue Reading →

I Gave the Bus A Chance

I arrived in Liverpool yesterday lunchtime to try out Arriva’s new Click service and soon spotted the awful ‘Say Yes To Bus’ bus with its gaudy contravision vinyl, passing by on route 53. 'Say Yes To Bus’ is a campaign funded by partners in the ‘Liverpool Alliance’ with the laudable objective of encouraging bus travel... Continue Reading →

Roaming round Romsey

Community Rail Partnerships do some great work promoting branch lines around the country; a really good example can be found in the south west corner of Hampshire where the Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership promotes the lines between Southampton and Salisbury via Romsey and Eastleigh/Chandlers Ford. They organise a bus on Summer Sundays and Bank Holidays... Continue Reading →

Go Gower

I've fond memories of living in Swansea, working for South Wales Transport, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It's a great part of the country and the Gower Peninsular is a spectacular area to visit with its secluded bays and picturesque scenery. In those days SWT had an outstation in the peninsular's south west... Continue Reading →

Ticket for a tenner

I've just spent a brilliant few days enjoying the scenery in an area stretching from Gloucestershire through mid Wales to Swansea. The Black Mountains, the Forest of Dean, the Brecon Beacons, the Heart of Wales and the Gower are all delightful and so much more so from the vantage of a bus and train window.... Continue Reading →

The only way isn’t (this part of) Essex

Yesterday saw the demise of another bus company name from the Harlow area. EOS Buses packed up and withdrew four routes, one of which had only been introduced eight weeks ago. To mark the occasion the Company borrowed an open-top Routemaster from Ensignbus running it over the four routes for one final fling: the 66 Waltham... Continue Reading →

More Moorsbus please

Community Rail Partnerships have been the saviour of many rural branch lines. The closest the bus sector gets to something similar is in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks where small groups of committed hard working individuals devise and oversee the operation of significant networks of weekend bus routes branded as Dalesbus... Continue Reading →

Reflections on Shetland

It’s as far north as you can go and still be in Britain. Any further and, aside from dodging the Faroe Islands to the west, you’ll be in the Arctic wastelands of Svalbard. Main administration centre of the 16 inhabited islands, Lerwick, is a tad closer to Oslo to its east than London to the... Continue Reading →

10 reasons to like Devon

It’s always a pleasure to spend a few days in Devon. Superb coastlines, rolling rural scenery, two great cities, many attractive towns and lots of delightful villages. Best of all it has an excellent network of well run bus and train services making it very easy to get around. Here are ten reasons why it’s a... Continue Reading →

It helps to have a Plan B

The plan was to catch Stagecoach operated route 4 from Axminster station at 1215. It runs via Honiton to Ottery St Mary where I’d pick up the four-journey-a-day Hatch Green operated rural route 382 via Whimple and Feniton. A scheduled arrival at Axminster on the South Western Railway train at 1202 provided a nice 13... Continue Reading →

Reported issues from last week’s travels

OK, let’s get this writing journey underway. First up, a few miscellaneous reflections on last week’s travels...... Monday 18th June to Oxenholme and the new West Coast Railways operated fill-in part-time train service to Windermere while Northern continues its May Timetable Meltdown. It certainly got the media coverage. It was overrun with train buffs and the... Continue Reading →

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