Saturday, 12 September 2015

Poor Quality Pictures ....

... of High Quality Bus Services!
fbb last visited Salisbury in 2011 when it still had an ageing but splendid bus station. It also had an excellent enquiry office attached thereto; but NO TOILETS. At least, there were toilets but secret, unsigned and barred to the cross-legged travelling public. Now toilets, bus station and enquiry office** are gone ...
... soon to be ... wait for it ...
... "The City in the Countryside". Pass the yuk bucket! Aren't all cities, by definition, "in the countryside"?

No matter; fbb was back in Salisbury a few weeks ago for a significantly delayed "Christmas" Lunch (Christmas 2014) taken in the historic delights of the Refectory noshery at the Cathedral in the "City in the Countryside".
The fbb's and chums dined in the cloisters, but you have to admire the 13th century clerics as they slummed it in the ancient Refectory.

But there was a brief pre-prandial period to take a look at the buses.

When fbb last went, "Salisbury Reds" was the brand for the City's local routes. fbb enjoyed the frequent Red 1 from Bemerton Heath cross-city to Odstock Hospital and was impressed with the frequent buses but not the roadside infrastructure once the centre was left behind. See "fbb goes to school" (read again).

On this visit, there was insufficient time to venture outside the city centre; so a review of vehicles, centre stops and publicity was all that could be achieved. fbb parked his ample posterior on a bench on Blue Boar Row, just round the corner from the former bus station. First along was a bus in Heritage "Wilts and Dorset" red, part of the company's 100th birthday celebrations.
Then there was a steady stream of vehicles, now all branded "Red", the name now adopted for everything Sarum-centred.

fbb's former red 1 ride is now douible deck, but still every 10 minutes. Smart and impressive.
Somehow the deeper red colour brought a distinguished air to the city.
Wilts and Dorset (whoops, sorry, Salisbury Reds) didn't quite get 10 out of 10. There was a red 1 that masqueraded as an X5 ...
... and at least one single decker was in the old (but still very smart) livery.
One non "Red" brand was on the route to Andover, joint with Stagecoach. It's red "Red" vehicles carried a non-obtrusive but recognisable version of the "Activ8" logo.
Certainly much better that some versions carried by Stagecoach; recent ...
... and older.
fbb only saw one bus (on service 265) that looked tired and uninspiring by comparison ...
... wonder who the operator is?

Tomorrow we look at bus stop publicity in Salisbury's centre; and how the company has dealt with the closure of its bus station.

From the travelling public's point of view, of course.

** Correction : The enquiry office has not gone. The Salisbury Reds "shop" is at No 6 New Canal.
Where that is in relation to the old bus station will become apparent in tomorrow's blog. Hopefully someone will tell fbb what the "South Wilts Express" was?

 Next Salisbury blog : Sunday 13th September 


  1. There was a newspaper called the South Wilts Express which by 1889 was incorporated in The Wilts County Mirror and Express based at The Canal, Salisbury

  2. Gosh isn't the Stagecoach version of Actuve8 horrid! Just shows why Ray Stenning has a 'better impression '.....

    1. Look at it now with the new buses: nicer than the Salisbury Reds in my opinion! Not a lot mind you... a unique route livery would be very nice.

  3. FBB - I know it's your blog and therefore reflects your views and that, if I don't like it, then why don't I clear off. However, what was once a combination of idiosyncratic views and news (and was very good I might add) does seem to be unduly focussed on having a go at First.

    Fine when it's due but having a pop within an article on Salisbury Reds? It is a bit like the Not the Nine O'Clock News skit on That's Life - First aren't responsible for all the ills. In fact, in the pursuit of balance, we should remember that First run the 265 to Salisbury commercially after taking it on from Hatts and W&D who ran it under tender.

  4. Hmmm, where I live First chucked back a tendered section of a service - the withdrawn part of which is now run by some one else. What was a through route, with a fare of £6.00, has become a split route with no ticket interchangeability and a cost of £9.50 because of it. Meanwhile we have a "new route" (which uses the capacity released) running mainly fresh air because the information about it is on bus stops and not by leafleting houses on or near the route. Seems odd to me and does perhaps explain why FBB is not a first fan. They do not help themselves at all.