Saturday, 20 March 2010

Park - Don't Ride

Diverted MetroRider 518 on Line 10 leads Olympian 372 on Line 11 across Bloomfield Road junction on Seasiders Way

March has seen closure to southbound traffic of Lytham Road near Bloomfield Road. Lines 10, 11 and 16 have been diverted via Rigby Road, Seasiders Way and Waterloo Road - providing a rare bus service through the spine of car parks. The road will re-open in early April and regular bus operation will end again - but this is not the first short-lived bus operation on the spine. 
325 outside the Football Ground

This series of car parks was opened in 1986 on former Railway land between South Station and Rigby Road - accessed from Yeadon Way - a new link road built on the old direct railway line from South Station to Kirkham. During the spring the general manager expressed desire to introduce a bus service linking the car parks to the Town Centre and the Sandcastle and Pleasure Beach areas. The transportation department seemed unimpressed and duly 'noted' his interest. Clearly the council had other ideas and referred the decision back and the committee approved the operation as an experiment in June until the end of the Illuminations.
National 146 takes a turn on short lived route 18 before some of the car parks had been finished!

On Saturday 18 July 1986 route 18 duly started running every 20 minutes from the Town Centre to the Pleasure Beach via Promenade, Rigby Road, The Car Parks, South Station, Waterloo Road, Lytham Road, Station Road and the Promenade. Two buses were required and single deckers were allocated. The service was - as the transport department perhaps realised it would be - a failure. The service was too infrequent and with cheap fares (30p single, 50p return) not likely to cover its costs. The experiment was soon ended - whether it reached the end of the Illuminations is sadly not recorded.
In the wheeltreads of Jubilees - 546 loops round the South Station Car Park - all expense had been spared on the car park surface

The ghost of the 18 appeared on 28 November 1998 when a Christmas Park and Ride service was introduced operating on Saturdays until 19 December from near to the Yeadon Way Hotel (alongside the filling station) to Corporation Street via Spine Road, Rigby Road and the Promenade. City Pacers were used. It may have reappeared in 1999.
Pleasure Beach Road Train in September - towards the end of their operation

The next attempt in 2008 was rather more innovative -  but equally unsuccessful - with the Pleasure Beach operating three German registered road train vehicles from the Car Parks to the Pleasure Beach. Operations ended in September - the general public showing a marked reluctance to Park and Ride in Blackpool.