Monday 17 June 2013

Growing the Business. An Example Part 1

The Island that isn't and never has been!

The Isle of Purbeck, not a true island but nearly a peninsula, is in the county of Dorset, England. It is bordered by the English Channel to the south and east, where steep cliffs fall to the sea; and by the marshy lands of the River Frome and Poole Harbour to the north. Its western boundary is less well defined, with some medieval sources placing it at Flower's Barrow above Worbarrow Bay.

The most southerly point is St Alban's Head (archaically St. Aldhelm's Head). It is suffering erosion problems along the coast.
Key towns are Wareham, Corfe Castle and Swanage.

The main bus operator for the non-Isle of Purbeck is (and has been long-time!) Wilts and Dorset ...
... or it was. For reasons best known to the company's spin doctors (and a complete mystery to fbb) the traditional name and reputation of the company has been summarily ditched in favour of ...
... "more" for the Dorset bit. "More" was originally used for "high-spec" high frequency urban routes in Poole.  Meanwhile, Salisbury local services had been ...
... well and professionally rebranded. But now ...
... "Reds" is used for the whole of the Wiltshire network.

fbb thinks this is a really daft decision but ... 

The company's printed publicity is absolutely super, smashing and wonderful.

So it was with unbridled joy that fbb opened a recent mailing and discovered a comprehensive leaflet extolling the delights of open top buses and more more buses in and to the non-island Isle of Purbeck. So first a look at the leaflet, then, in Part 2, a review of the routes and frequencies available.
The A2 folded brochure (it's an insult to call it a leaflet) is in glorious colour and even advises the users how to use it!
The first thing that strikes the eye is the excellent maps. there are two; one for Poole and Bournemouth to Swanage via the Sandbanks ferry ...
... and coast road.
As well as a dot per stop, a goodly selection of footpaths in shown and such delights as the Agglestone rock.
Agglestone Rock, also known as the Devil's Anvil, is a sandstone block of about 400 tonnes weight, perched on a conical hill, approximately 1 mile from the village of Studland, south Dorset. Legend has it that the devil threw the rock from The Needles on the Isle of Wight with the intention of hitting either Corfe Castle, Bindon Abbey or Salisbury Cathedral. "Aggle" was taken into the old Dorset dialect as meaning "to wobble".
Sadly the rock aggled once to often and has now lost its obvious anvil shape!

The other map, on the other side of the leaflet, covers services within the Isle of Purbeck proper. Too big to blog, fbb just appends an extract of routes in the Swanage area itself.
There are numerous panels giving information on particular points of interest, as here for the Swanage railway ...
... now, after years of Herculean effort by the company and its volunteers, is linked, once again, to the National Rail network at Wareham. Currently only special trains run "through" ...
Southwest Trains class 159 at Corfe Castle

... there are all sorts of hurdles to be jumped over before steam trains might return to a platform at Wareham.
Wilts & Dorset bus fares are a bit on the high side, but the leaflet suggests, sensibly, that a "Dayrider" is the best value ...
... and note the generous age range for "children", surely the very best in the UK. And £3.40 a day for each person in a group of five (which can be five adults!) is, as they day, "as cheap as chips!"

The effect of this lovely leaflet on fbb is to persuade him to saunter from Seaton to Swanage as soon a possible to enjoy this network. Mind you, fbb travels "free" thanks to nice Mr Cameron and his chums. Well, actually, thanks to all you kind taxpayers out there for your generous donation to the Government.

Part two (tomorrow) looks at what you get for your fares money (or your free pass!)

The Swanage Railway web site is (here)

 Next Bus Blog : Tuesday 18th June 


  1. Having, by happy coincidence, just been exploring the opportunities for travelling around (and to) the Isle that isn't on the interwebs, the brochure sounds commendable, and I shall look forward to reading part two.

  2. Very nice rides, but OTOH have a look at the Facebook pages of More and Salisbury Reds and see the justified dissatisfaction expressed.

    All mouth and no trousers?