Sunday, 28 October 2012

Total gridlock!

Blackpool's new Promenade is rather like the emperor's new clothes - officials in the town cannot see the obvious truth - it often creates traffic gridlock and creates problems for bus services across the Fylde coast. There are 60-70 bus movements in front of the Tower every hour during the day and the traffic queues either side of the short stretch of single carriageway, shared space, 20mph section can result in 15-20 minute delays to all services. The problem is that the busier Blackpool is, the worse the traffic congestion and the more visitors there are, the more people cross the un-disciplined zebra crossings, compounding the traffic congestion either side.
Take yesterday for example, the northbound traffic queue started at Alexandra Road in South Shore and the southbound queue at Imperial Hotel. Some buses on our service 12 were taking two hours for a Pleasure Beach to Cabin round trip, whilst BTS' No.1 bus service completely bunched up. At one point in the afternoon, five No.1's were all within sight of each other at North Pier - three of them are visible in the picture below taken from one of our buses.
Three No.1 buses at North Pier, two others were in the vicinity but out of shot - and there's only 7 buses operating the 12-mile route from Starr Gate to Fleetwood Freeport! The effect of Blackpool's "shared space" in front of the Tower.
Of course, it's not just the buses that are affected - car drivers sat in traffic, both locals and visitors, are just burning fuel, creating extra pollution and, of course, not spending any money in the town. Please Blackpool Council - the new Promenade does look good, but re-think the design to improve traffic flow.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

RML2391 retrimmed

As part of the loan agreement for the operation of preserved RML2391during summer 2012, the lower deck seating has been reupholstered in the 1990s "eyes-down" blue & grey moquette that was applied to the RML class upon refurbishment. It certainly improves the appearance of the lower saloon - this moquette is prone to looking quite tired. Hopefully, we will refresh the interiors of RML887 & RML2734 this winter.

Updated Operating Fleet List

Correct to 21 October 2012:

162 V162MAX Dennis Dart Plaxton Stagecoach East London 12/99
163 V163MAX Dennis Dart Plaxton Stagecoach East London 12/99
269 P269PSX Volvo Olympian Alexander Lothian Buses 269
324 N324NHG Volvo Olympian Alexander Dublin Bus RA264
325 N325NHG Volvo Olympian Alexander Dublin Bus RA272
502 P502UFR Optare Metrorider Optare Blackpool 502
512 X512UAT Dennis Dart Plaxton London United DP512 11/2000
528 DCA528X Bristol VR ECW Crosville 528
533 X533UAT Dennis Dart Plaxton London United DP513 11/2000
899 R899XVM Volvo B10M Alexander Stagecoach Manchester
RML887 202UXJ AEC Routemaster Park Royal London Transport (Cummins Engine)
RM1568 BNK324A AEC Routemaster Park Royal London Transport (Cummins Engine)
RML2290 CUV290C AEC Routemaster Park Royal London Transport (Iveco Engine)
RCL2243 CUV243C AEC Routemaster Park Royal London Transport (AEC Engine)
RML2391 JJD391D AEC Routemaster Park Royal London Transport (Cummins Engine)
RML2734 SMK734F AEC Routemaster Park Royal London Transport (Cummins Engine)
RML2391 and RCL2243 on loan for 2012 Summer season
Other buses not featured in listing:
** Bristol VRT 360 (WTG360T) on loan to Crosville Motor Services, Weston-Super-Mare
** 898 (R898XVM) awaits preparation for service

Volvo B10M's twin arrives

Volvo B10M 898 being collected direct from Stagecoach's Chorley depot (c. Don Penney)
The former Stagecoach B10M, no.899, has been in use five days a week recently on our service 22 due to problems with Darts 162/163, and so we have taken up the option to add to the fleet sister bus 898 which was collected direct from Stagecoach's Chorley depot last Wednesday. Like 899, the bus was overhauled, retrimmed and repainted as a spare vehicle to cover for Olympic contracts in London but in the event it was not required and Stagecoach are now replacing all step-entrance buses in the fleet. 898 will receive CBNW all-red livery before it enters service with us.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Olympian 325 returns

Olympian 325 has been off the road since July 2011 when we lost the contract to operate the Blackpool & Fylde College contracted services 72 & 73 to Blackpool Transport. Formerly Dublin Bus RA272, this 1994 built Volvo Olympian has recently passed its MoT test again and its front has received CBNW red livery. The sides and rear have been left for now, because the bus may soon to receiving a new wrapped advert livery.
Olympian 325 (N325NHG) will be appearing on College contracted services before it receives an all-over advert livery.
325 will be appearing back on the College services which we won back from Blackpool Transport from September 2012.