Monday, 6 June 2016

In AVT's Bus Yard

A Park and Ride Service in Seaton?
It was Julia, a chum of fbb's who broke the news. She has a flat in Haven Court with a small first floor balcony ...
... yes, that one, which allows her to oversee happenings on The Underfleet (bus stops, coach park and tramway) as well as having a grandstand view of all the big Seaton happenings. "Where does the Park and Ride Bus go?" she asked a few days back.
As the purple moster zoomed past her window, she probably didn't notice that it says "Sprowston - City Centre - Postwick" on the side. And she may not have known that the bus used to operate one of the Norwich Park and Ride Services. Before that it ran in London.
The 88 used to be single deck (from 1993 to 1997) and branded "The Clapham Omnibus".
Before arriving in Seaton PN03 ULL was owned by Norse and, indeed was used on their Norwich "purple" Park and Ride route.

It is a company that does the sort of stuff local authorities used to do for themselves before everything became outsourced and tendered.
But about a year ago, Norwich Council repackaged their requirements, and in a "hotly contested tender battle", the contract for all Park and Ride Services, managemenr of the parking sites and management of the bus station in the city was awarded to Connectbus, a GoAhead company.
The new buses, along with improved frequency and free Wi-Fi are part of a multi-million deal which heralds radical changes to the city’s park and ride. Norfolk County Council has handed the contract to run park and ride services to Konectbus, which currently runs three routes, but will run all of them from Monday, September 7.

Konectbus has bought 18 new buses specifically to run on city centre services. The Dereham-based company also says that, by linking up cross city routes, passengers will get a better service and a new link to Norwich Railway Station.

But the changes are coming at a cost for some, with a 10pc increase in adult annual season tickets, up from £500 to £550, while child annual tickets go up by £18.

The "new link to Norwich Railway Station" is a bit of a mystery as none of the services goes there.
Having lost the contract, Norse then had a few buses to dispose of; one of which has made it to Searton and will be used on Axe Valley not-so-mini Travel's schools service for Axminster College, Woodroffe School Lyme Regis and Colyton Grammar School.

With the arrival of Stagecoach's 9A running via Axmouth between Seaton and Lyme Regis, Auntie Frances (Frances May Searle, proprietrix of the Axe Valley Company), cancelled her long standing service to Axmouth.

This leaves a delightful anomaly. The buses used to run up Chapel Street and reverse at Stepps Lane ...
... although this little extra bit never appeared in any timetable or on any journey planners. If you approach Axmouth from Stepps Lane, you are warned of the dire danger of this turn.
But, sadly, no buses now turn there, neither will any passenger be picked up from the shelter at the junction.
Another piece of transport infrastructure has gone, possibly for ever.

 Next bus blog : Tuesday 7th June 


  1. It sounds like the link to Norwich Station didn't come in when the contract started but was a plan for the future (not that this is clear in the text you quote). As I understand it there are some upcoming changes to Go-Ahead services in the area which involve merging one of the Park & Rides with the, currently, Anglian service to Lowestoft at which point alternate journeys will run via the Rail Station. Should be interesting to see the details of how all that works in a clear manner to be easily understood for car drivers.

  2. Slightly intrigued by your use of the word "infrastructure" in your last sentence. The "infrastructure" must be the shelter and the sign, which are, as I understand it still in situ - just not in use.


  3. The wooden bus shelter on the Stepps Lane junction in Axmouth is served twice a day by a Parnell Coaches minibus that goes along to Seaton Primary School. Used to see it every day.

  4. AVMT have recently acquired four Optare Solos (cn56fdp, cn06bxe, mx56aao , mx56abo) they are to run new contacts gained by AVMT

  5. Today ex Go-Ahead London fl52zpp Volvo BLT7 has arrived at AVMT