Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Blackpool, An Illuminating Thought - 3

The Blackpool Tram Timetable for 2018, discovered on-line, will show something of the various timetables operated throughout the year. This will culminate in the scheduled for the illuminations period as printed in the Blackpool Transport timetable book received recently by fbb.

The "Winter" service offers a tram every 15 minutes during "daytime" but seven days a week.
Evening service is every 15 between Starr Gate ...
... and little Bispham where be a turning loop.
Trams continue on a modest half hour headway to Fleetwood.

For the "normal" Summer service, Monday to Friday daytime there is a tram every ten minutes, every 12 on Saturdays and Sundays. But for the illuminations things have to be beefed up in the evenings - Monday to Thursday it's every ten to Little Bispham and every 15/30 on to Fleetwood.
Vast crowds are expected at thee weekends so it is every 7/8 under the lights on Fridays and Saturdays ...
... with every 15 to Cleveleys on the usual on to Fleetwood. At Cleveleys, it is a simple reverse via a crossover.
Without getting too wound up in the detail, it is an impressive service to provide for those who will ride to see the lights and, as like as not, hop off for pub, chips or candyfloss to add to the town's renowned "atmosphere".

Before fbb moves on, there is one feature of Blackpool Transport that, to an outsider, is a bit of a mystery. Apart from its slight extension to the delights of the Affinity Shopping Outlet ...
... and slight differences in Fleetwood itself ...
... bus route 1 is exactly the same as the tram. In the past it has run to the Airport just a bit beyond the Starr Gate tram terminus ...
... but no longer. Now it runs every 20 minutes Monday to Friday and every half hour Saturday and Sunday alongside the tram rails.
It is sort-of branded ...
... but doesn't seem to be any more "attractive" than the tram. Perhaps a comment writer can help fbb out?
But there is no doubt that the illuminations can cause significant traffic problems. In a sense the tram system is all right because is is on segregated track, but difficulties can occur for the bus network.

Here, for example is the may of bus route 7 in the town centre.
It is the non-Esplanade route from Fleetwoord to Starr Gate and on to Lytham and St Annes. It runs quite happily until switch-on ...
... and remains normal Sunday to Thursday thereafter - but, on Fridays and Saturdays until relative darkness once again engulfs the Esplanade, it becomes a "split service".
On those evenings it runs as two completely separate routes; from St Annes to New Bonny Street ...
... and then from Wilko (Talbot Road) ...
... to Fleetwood. It is a fair trot from one to the other ...
... New Bonny Street being the unnamed bit of road bottom centre on the above map. But the distance makes little difference as there is no attempt to provide for connections! The 7 is one of the routes equipped with swish new buses branded Palladium.
2015 saw the arrival of 10 Mercedes Citaros, kick-starting the fleet regeneration plan. These were the first buses in Palladium branding and introduced revolutionary E-leather seating, free WIFI, and mobile charging ports. A year later the first batch of ADL Enviro 400 double-decker buses were introduced, with these following the same sleek Palladium branding and other additional benefits as their predecessors. Another year passed and in 2017 Blackpool Transport unveiled another 25 ADL Enviro 400 buses, these buses saw the introduction of social seating, with three clusters of tables grouped on the upper deck of the vehicle to allow a more sociable journey for groups. This was Blackpool Transport's biggest investment in over 50 years and in under 12 months, another 20 Enviro 400 buses were added to the fleet.

And more are ordered!
fbb leaves the last words to the Ramsbottoms.

There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool
That's noted for fresh air and fun
And Mr. And Mrs. Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son.
A fine little lad were young Albert,
All dressed in his best, quite a swell.
He'd a stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle;
The finest that Woolworth's could sell.
The buses were grand and exciting,
The Trams were super and swish
And the super bus timetable printed
Were t'best that any could wish.
As a certain seaside character (now largely displaced in the interests of sexual equality, children's health and safety and a desire to avoid food waste, particularly sausages) might say ...
That's the way to do it!

Tomorrow some more from our favourite (?) bus stops.

 Next Befuddled for Batemoor blog : Thursday 10th October 


  1. Isn't the 1 aimed mainly at visiting ENCTS pass holders who would have to pay for the tram?

    1. Yes and no! (Briefly and from memory) Traditionally Blackpool buses didn't compete with the trams and did not run along the promenade except for the bit between the Manchester Hotel and North Pier. Post deregulation Fylde started running in competition along the whole length from Starr Gate to the town centre and Blackpool later retaliated with their Routemaster operated service between Pontins and Gynn Square. This eventually morphed in to the current route 1. ENCTS passes have been available on the trams as my son who holds a disabled pass used his when we first tried out the new trams. I believe that has changed and they are now excluded.

    2. Back again to add to my comment above in light of Shieldsman's comment below. My son holds a Borough of Poole ENCTS pass and we checked with BCT regarding validity which at the time was unrestricted.

  2. Anonymous is correct. As the operator's website explains, ENCTS on the tram is restricted to local residents: "Blackpool Concessionary Travel Pass holders and Wyre Concessionary Travel Pass holders can also travel for free on the Blackpool Tramway from 0930 until 2300 hours Monday to Friday and all day Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays."

  3. Andrew Kleissner9 October 2019 at 13:25

    And, to clarify further:

    Am I able to use my concessionary pass issued outside of Blackpool or Wyre on board the Blackpool Trams?

    Unfortunately not. Only passes issued by either Blackpool or Wyre Borough Councils are eligible for free travel on the tramway as decided by Lancashire County Council.