Monday 6 February 2023

Esplnade Enhancement Efforts (1)

Plenty Of Space

There was a large open area outside the Royal Pier Hotel at Ryde.The pier was immediately to the hotel's right, then joined by the tram from Pier head to the "big" railway a what became St John's Road station. Then the railway reached Esplanade and Pier Head stations.

But, in the early days, you could have your "man" park your carriage more or less anywhere in the open space.

Looking to the east, the oldest view is sparse in the extreme. Just a pavement, no railway, no Ryde Pavilion ad very little traffic.
There is a little shelter in the middle of he road, maybe for folks waiting for a "cab", horse drawn  of course.

Later, motor vehicles appeared ...
... with buses soon congregating along the pavement edge near the railway cutting.
There seems to have been little regard for the concept pf keeping to the left of the highway.

Even in the early 1950s, you had to dice with death to each your taxi, ranked in the middle of the increasingly busy open space. (better picture to follow)

But buses have now taken up most of the pavement from the station along to the tunnel entrance ...
... where there was a line of rudimentary open sided shelters. Also there was a little lay by where "the Vectis" could "stack" a couple of buses (above, bottom right). Independent Seaview Services had their stand in the line.
There was an enquiry office as part of the station buildings.
All was to change in the early 1960s when much of the large open space was turned into a well-formed bus station. Everything terminated there with most routes running via the "town centre" at the top of Union Street.

The exception was the busy route 16 from Blackgang, Ventnor, Shanklin and Ssndown. Most 16s terminated and showed "Ryde Esplanade" but part of the service ran up George Street to a terminus outside the Royal Theatre.

There was a little nibble used as a turning circle. The Theatre burned down in 1961 and was replaced by a National Westminster Bank.
Buses showed Ryde Town Hall. (?) Now the modern equivalent of the 16, namely routes 2 and 3, simply terminate at the esplanade. You have to mountaineer up the hill to get to the town centre!

Then A Bus Station

A line of chevron bays operated nose in, reverse out with limited under cover shelter and seats available; not luxurious by any means, but adequate. There was a smart new enquiry office seen in the picture below in more recent times.
As well as the stands ...
... there were lay by facilities for four or more buses at the far end ....
.. (upper picture lower left) two back-in bays for coaches collecting parties from Ryde Pier. Also at the far and can be glimpsed the footbridge across the railway to the hovercraft terminal.
It was, indeed, a transport interchange!

But it isn't there anymore. On Sunday evening 11th September 2022 The Isle of Wight Bus Museum drove a selection of recent-vintage Southern Vectis buses down to the bus station.

This marked the closure of the 60 year old facility.

A new and improved (?) bus station is nearing completion. Regular readers of this blog may balk at the word "improved" as today's rules state that any new bus station must be smaller than its predecessor and thus too small for the services that want to use it.

Will Ryde be the same?

Stop Press - Arrived Yesterday ...

... a VERY surprising public transport publicity development. Many thanks to correspondent Richard for the "heads up" AND the delivery.

And it's VERY good news - SHOCK HORROR.

 Next Ryde Bus Station blog : Tuesday 7th February  


  1. Can't see what the surprising publication is?

  2. Andrew Kleissner6 February 2023 at 18:01

    Presumably a timetable book?

    1. Yes indeed but for what area that would make it so surprising as Devon already produces area books, perhaps for Exeter City which Devon has never bothered with?

  3. A new bus station is usually smaller and further away from where people want to be.

    1. Of course, plus more impractical generally!