Friday, 16 April 2010

Good Value by Bus?

It will cost you between £32 and £44 for a return train ticket from Exeter to Poole, and the single journey will take nearly 4 hours with a minimum of two and sometimes four changes.   Not a particularly attractive day out; slow, stressful, expensive and not particularly picturesque - so, maybe take the car?

Or the bus!

The bus?   Are you mad?   It takes nearly four and a half hours!

But it costs just £6 return [price correct at 16th April 2010]; there's no changing and the views are magnificent for most of the route.   I refer, of course, to the splendid CoastLINX X53, operated by "First" inconjuction with Devon and Dorset County Councils and the Jurassic Coast.   From Exeter, the route follows the main road through Newton Poppleford then drops down some spectacularly narrow lanes to Beer and Seaton, then on through Lyme Regis ...... continuing mainly inland, but still with panoramic sea views, to Bridport.  

The route then rejoins the coast via Abbotsbury to Weymouth. There are less sea views from Weymouth onwards but the countryside is pleasant.   The bit between Wareham and Poole is the least interesting, so you might want to "turn round" in Wareham.   Here you could visit the pub frequented by T E Lawrence (of Arabia) and even sit in "his" chair!

The buses are double deck (for the views) and smooth and comfortable.   Assuming the trip runs on time there are occasional 5 minute "comfort breaks" but with a 2 hour frequency (and an 0845 start) it is possible to split the journey up into more manageable chunks and still get back in one day.

£6 for 9 hours travel (if your backside can survive it!) - a real Bus Bonanza Bargain.

The question is, "can it be beaten?"

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