Saturday, 28 April 2018
A week ago today, Saturday, fbb took a quick trip to Bournemouth while Mrs fbb was enjoying a prayer and bible study day (for ladies only!) here at the little Congregational Church on Butt Lane at Bere Regis.
The only bus at Bere Regis is service 187, part of the last remnant of the once-extensive Damory empire.
It only runs on Mondays to Fridays, leaving this little village bereft of buses at the weekends. But ten minutes or so down the road is Wool Station with an hourly service to Bournemouth and London. Timings meant that your exploratory blogger's time in Bournemouth was limited; trains, sadly, not running at suitable times to match start and finish for the Mrs.
The plan was to go to Bearwood.
Why? Simply because fbb had never been to Bearwood, so why not? Yellow Buses, a branch of Paris City Transport (R A T P), had just introduced a new and much reduced network returning to route numbers after a commercially disastrous dalliance with route names and letters.
Publicity for the change was issued back in February where we were told of the cuts, but that colours would remain on printed publicity, on the buses and at the bus stops.
The first thing that fbb noticed was that bus stop "flags" were a uniform yellow and, outside of the centre, carried no route numbers at all.
More Bus (Wilts and Dorset as was) seem to add route numbers to their stops, although the display is a little strange. Perhaps the 13 is super special with free Wifi and the rest are not so equipped?
Many local buses leave from route stands immediately outside the station, with National Express serving the sawtooth bays behind.
There is only one electronic display beside stand 1 ...
... from which fbb confirmed that his service 6 (RED) to Bearwood would leave at 1138 from Stand 2. This left just enough time for buying some money at ASDA.
The bus arrive at 1140 bearing no route branding and no colour ...
... and added five passengers to its modest load. To say that service 6 was a boring route would be disingenuous; it did its job well.
Wallisdown Road begins with Victorian mansions, now in use as flats or offices, followed by 1930s villas ...
... and serves the ever expanding university.
Then comes the delights of Talbot Village, actually in Poole, where sheep peacefully graze on the sun-drenched village green.
Erm, not quite!
Light industry and retail warehousing prevails as the service 6 joins the Ringwood Road ...
... before turning into the Bearwood Estate. The simple route diagram belies a large and complex loop which fbb ...
Only one "red" branded bus was seen ...
Service 4a vehicles, returning via Kinson, all had blue flashes applied, being retained from the previous branding.
At Bearwood, fbb's target was Robinsons Chippy where a special offer cod'n'chips plus added mushy peas and a can of Fanta refreshed the chubby one.
Delicious and cooked to order, a delayed ...
... delight which meant that he had to watch his chosen service 4a depart.
The delay meant a pleasant 20 extra minutes to linger over some tasty nosh and watch the world go by. But it did mean that there was no time left to visit the centre of Bournemouth.
Instead, fbb enjoyed the ride via Kinson, spotting once again, the famous toilets ...
... as frequented frequently by the fbb family on their many car-borne holidays from the Isle of Wight to far flung points west.
The impression gained was that the change to routes and network had gone smoothly only a fortnight earlier but, as always when in Bournemouth, fbb does wonder about the reckless competition between Yellows and More on the Poole corridor.
His bus on route 6 showed "Yellow Buses" on what should have been a next stop display, whereas the 4a delivered screen and spoken word announcements flawlessly.
fbb alighted from his 4a at the busy inbound stop for passengers from Station to Town Centre ...
... with 20 minutes to spare until his train departed for Wool. Although the station has lost in centre tracks, leaving just two main platforms, recent renovations to the roof have brightened the magnificent train shed and added an extra touch of quality to the "travel experience".
But not perhaps a touch of quality to the magnificent station clock.
At 1347 (real time) the left hand face was 9 minutes fast with the right hand clock being 23 minutes ahead of itself. The clock was keeping perfect time on both faces, just perfectly wrong!
Back at Wool, the bus stop was still utterly out-of-date with none of the services shown now operating.
You do wonder at the wisdom of spending loadsamoney on a big bus departure display on the station platform ...
... which duplicates he smaller screen at the bus stop and remains blank for nearly half the year.
How does that expenditure compare with keeping the "flag" up-to date?
No doubt correspondent Ken will have something to say!
But back to the Church at Bere Regis to join (invited!) the ladies for their end of day tea and cake (two portions offered and two portions accepted) before the drive back to Seaton.
An enjoyable day all round but with just a sneaking suspicion that Yellow Buses are not out of the red yet!
Next as yet unplanned blog : Sunday 29th April