Saturday, 28 April 2018

Bournemouth Bits

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 ...
... found near impossible to follow from his nearside front sat on the 6. Each timetable on the Yellow Buses web site has a Google Maps type route map (as above) which certainly helps. There used to be geographically accurate sectional route maps available, but they seem to have disappeared.

Only one "red" branded bus was seen ...
... the rest were a very mixed bag but all in plain yellow.
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.
 In fact, at the moment, Wool only has First Bus X54 and X55 (Jurassic Coaster bits) ...
... operating (X54) for an extended "summer" season, augmented by the X55 at weekends and school holidays.

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 


  1. Firstly you saw the only bus that has red branding so far - the one off Enviro 400 double decker 186. I believe there are some fleet replacements due specifically for this route so for the time being they are generally allocating non branded buses. Whilst you were doing your trip last Saturday, I was in Bournemouth town centre monitoring the real time displays and observing the general operation. It's a pity you didn't have time to see more for yourself. If you only got a scheduled time for your 6 and it was the bus number 12 in your picture that you travelled on with the non working in bus display I will follow that up on Monday as it's likely to be a GPS unit fault.
    I can't really comment on the Dorset signs. All the infrastructure was installed for the Olympics in 2012 with a big chunk of government money, and I never got involved in the infrastructure procurement. I will follow up on the Wool Station stop next week.
    Ken Traveline Dorset

  2. Our blogger commented on the bus stop “flags”.
    For a number of years ‘Yellow Buses’ flags were better than Wilts & Dorset in that the route numbers on Yellows were larger than their rival and could be easily read from a passing car. Then a couple of years ago when Wilts & Dorset rebranded all their routes in the Poole and Bournemouth conurbation with the More logo following on from their successful M1 & M2 route branding and the current Morebus flags appeared, as in the example shown in Wimborne Road at the Meyrick Park stop.

    Yellows replaced all their route branded flags in late 2016, prior to the introduction of the unpopular ‘alpha’ route numbering.

    With regards to the ‘strange’ signs in that the 13 was the long standing route from Bournemouth to Ferndown and Wimborne and the single deckers being used then had free wifi. The replacement double deckers do not now seem to have wifi, or not last week.

    Our blogger may have spotted that when his bus turned at Winton Banks the Morebus flags showed the 17 as the ‘super’ route, with the 15 and U3 appearing on the bottom row.

    Both routes 13 and 17 are due to be improved in four weeks time with additional evening and Sunday journeys. The 17 has had good custom since its introduction, in giving Winton a direct Sunday service to Poole.
    The subsequent comments about Talbot Village is in Poole are not quite true, only the development built since the 1970’s when the Talbot Village Trust sold Vine Farm to the developers. The original Talbot Village is in a conservation area on the north side of Wallisdown Road that is now in Bournemouth (rather since 1932) with St. Marks Church, St Marks School and houses built by the Talbot Sisters. Much has been written about the sisters’ ethos and the original Talbot Village built about 160 years ago.

    The Morebus website already lists the forthcoming changes including how the 14 incorporates the former Yellow Buses routes R4 and R5 between Kinson and the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, giving Morebus four routes between Poole and Castlepoint – to add to the M1, 15 and recently, tendered route 20.

  3. Very informative with just the right to keep you wanting to read more, well done!!

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