Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Taunton's Terrible Transport Traumas [1]

Big disruption to the Tram network in Sheffield starts this week due to track replacement. fbb has dispatched a team of crack reporters and ace photographers** and a full report will be posted on Monday 8th July.
Worth waiting for.

** Actually our europe correspondent, lorry driving David
But, first, we need to get to Taunton.

Remember a childhood fbb's very first bus picture ...
... taken nearly 60 years ago. The chubby one will follow the same route, sort of, starting with Ave Valley's 1025 departure on route 885 from Seaton to Axminster. As this is the first trip for free pass holders, there was noticeable "crowd" at the Sea Front starting point.
By Colyton, the bus was almost full with some standing passengers.
This exposes an anomaly of the oap pass regulations. The previous journey is at 0925, which from the terminus is twirly; but by the outskirts of Seaton is OK; it can't run any later becaue it is timed to connect with the train at Axminster. If the validity were all day, the load would be spread and the elderly would not have to stand.
Maybe market day in Axminster had encouraged the crowds on the 885?

The vehicle, by the way, is ex London Central ...
... and still retains dire warnings about misuse of Oyster cards.
It also has a centre exit clearly marked ...
... "Way out". One innocent passenger, who tried to obey, was peremptorily summoned to the front. How silly of her to want to leave by the exit! As a result of all these annoying passengers' wanting to travel, and the ticket machine being recalcitrant about reading the passes, (only 3 paid money!) we arrive 7 minute late at Axminster Station.
Where it all happens. The 885, First's 31 to Lyme Regis & Dorchester and First's 30 to Taunton all offer varying degrees of useful interchange.
Three passengers left fbb's 885 for the trains which which pass here at  the same times each hour.
There were plenty of takers for the Exeter train but no obvious interchangers for fbb's service 30 northbound.
Not the newest of vehicles!

fbb left before he could check whether the trains provided any business for the 31 to Lyme Regis, but there was a clutch of locals waiting.
And so off with First Bus to Taunton on a very lightly loaded single deck. The passenger count never leapt above six all way.

The service is hourly and you may well have to sympathise with First's managers as they wrestle with the economics of such a non-lucrative route. The route runs via Chard and Ilminster, and none of the substantial gaggle of waiting folk at Chard's main stop ...
... showed any interest in the 30. A cursory glance the the double decks (!) that passed in the opposite direction suggested a similar minimalist load. Likewise, Ilminster was passed with no perceptible onslaught of passengers. fbb wonders whether lack of custom there may be exacerbated by the unhelpful route taken by the 30 in the Taunton direction. Canal Way ...
... is far from ideal for town and shops as it by-passes the "traditional" centre.

Between Chard and Taunton, the 30 provides something of a rail replacement route of which we shall discover more tomorrow.

Neither the Axe Valley 885, nor the First 30, runs on a Sunday or a Bank Holiday Monday.

 Next Bus Rail Blog : Wednesday 3rd July 

1 comment:

  1. Looks like some of the local buses could do with a bit of a makeover, to say the least.
    Unfortunately, thanks to the usual lack of planning (and possibly supermarket "contributions") the centre of Ilminster cannot be reached by road from the south. Doing so requires a long deviation to the west, or there is the alternative of a free space in the car park of said supermarket!