Friday, 26 May 2017
Weymouth Wanderings (2)
It Will Be Better When It's Finished?
Why might a customer want to ride the SlowCoaster rather than the scheduled X53? A collegue opines that they would be guaranteed a double deck bus, whereas the X53 occasionally suffers from single deckers, this deleting the views for which the route is famous. The 510 lingers for a few minutes at Abbotsbury viewpoint ...
... which failed to deliver for fbb on Tuesday last. In amongst the sea mist you can just pick out the lagoon that lies behind Chesil Beach. It should look like this:-
Before the viewpoint view, you could also have an extended route in West Bay. Instead of turning at "The George" like the X53 ...
... you can be whisked a whole quarter of a mile further on.
You will pass a line of fast food outlets (Baboo Gelato? yummy?) and turn at the next roundabout ...
... with view of the boats in the harbour, more chip shops and some modern and expensive flats.
After the Abbotsbury viewpoint (see yesterdays blog) and before the picturesque Abbotsbury Village, the route diverts to the Tropical Gardens down a road too narrow for two buses to pass. They are timetable not to, but the outward run was late so fbb's cordial chauffeur waited at the end for his colleague to re-appear.
fbb has it from the horse's mouth, namely the genial Simon Newport, First's boss at Weymouth, that the 510 experience is, as yet, incomplete. To go with the cove adverts ...
... the two liveried buses are due to be equipped with PA and a commentary.
For day visitors and longer stay tourists, that may well prove an attraction to draw them off the X53. The other bargain is the group fare for up to five people (no age restrictions).
At less than £4 A DAY for five adults this represents ludicrously good value for money - even for five OAPs. Childrens fares are about ⅔ of adult, so parents and three kiddies still do very well indeed. The ticket is, of course, valid on the X53.
The current schooldays timetable (click on the graphic to enlarge), with only two return journeys Monday to Friday, is a bit limiting if you want to stop off anywhere; but again the good old X53 comes to the rescue for most destinations.
The 510 calls at three off-route Holiday Parks. Bagwell Farm is in the middle of nowhere and provides the spectacle of holding on tight, closing the eyes, waiting for the crunch etc. as the driver wrestles with a fifteen point turn outside the office.
The bus turns right at the grey crossroads, reverses back between the buildings lower left, jiggles backwards and forwards and makes its escape back up the lighter surfaces access road.
For reasons which cannot be revealed here, fbb was unable to experience the dubious delights of East Fleet and Littlesea but Google Street view aerial pictures give a reasonable impression of the sites.
The "tour" ends with a disappointing diversion via the National Sailing Centre with its glorious views.
Indeed, so pointless is this diversion that fbb reckons it would be better to trundle along the esplanade to Bowleaze Cove like the new 500.
Even better, get out the can opener and create "cabriolet" open toppers like First Weston-super-Mud.
In the end, fbb reckons that the company will have to accept OAP passes if it wants to get sufficient posteriors on the rather minimalist seats installed in the elderly Tridents. They (the buses, not the OAPs or their posteriors?) came from Norwich, by the way.
But it is, overall, a brave commercial venture - and the bus industry really needs a bit of speculative bravery to encourage Joe Public to have a ride.
If you are in Weymouth, swallow hard, cough up the cash and enjoy the experience!
Another new route tomorrow.
Next Weymouth blog : Saturday 27th May