Thursday 31 January 2019

Coastal Changes

Coastal Coaches Solo "Miss Lucy" leaves Lytham Square for St. Annes on service 78 - 2nd January 2019 (Brian Turner)

Coastal Coaches has recently been awarded contracts for services 76 (Lytham to Blackpool), 77 (Preston to Blackpool) and 77A (Preston to Myrescough). These are presently provided by Preston Bus on behalf of Lancashire County Council. Preston bus recently surrendered the contracts and Coastal have won the resulting tender. Four buses are required and the routes transfer on 18th February. On the same date their commercial 78 is reduced from half hourly to hourly.

At the same time Preston Bus will change the 75, again this has been retendered but this time they have retained the contract. Instead of linking to service 29 in Preston, it will now link to a new service 15 from Preston to Longsands. In Fleetwood the 75 will no longer service the Windward Avenue housing estate but will run via Denham Way and Copse Road instead.

Blackpool Transport made two minor service changes on 27th January. The 7 route in St. Annes has changed. Instead of turning via Beach Road, Promenade and St. Annes Road West it now serves the 17 stop on Clifton Drive South then turns via Links Road, South Promenade and St. Annes Road West. The 2C is revised to only serve the Over Wyre Health Centre during open hours, with buses running between 0750 and 1720 still using Pilling Avenue and Grasmere Road. At other times the service reverts to using Lancaster Road.

A significant diversion to the 3 and 9 commenced on 10th December. Neither can serve Bispham Village due to roadworks so run via Ashfield Road and Bristol Avenue (ironically the traditional pre 1992 route of the 9) to Moor Park Pool, with the 9 carrying on as normal and the 3 turning back to Bispham Library via Bispham Road.

Single Deckers in 2019?

The Enviro 200s seem likely to be joined by three more this year. They are now reaching Lytham, mainly on Sundays when they work the recently extended service 17. Here 227 approaches Lytham Square from Saltcotes on 30th December (Brian Turner)

Back in September 2017 I reported on the Blackpool Transport fleet plan which involved replacing the remaining double deckers and minibuses with 72 new buses, comprising 18 midibuses and 54 double deckers. So far the first 20 double deckers has arrived as 436 to 455 followed by the 18 midibuses as 221-228 last year.

By 2020 the BTS fleet would have comprised 126 buses - 89 double deckers, the 18 midibuses, 10 Citaros and 9 refurbished Volvo B7RLEs. This was to cover the peak vehicle requirement of 107 buses and was a reduction from the then total of 132.

Since the further service reductions have taken place, with the 2018 summer PVR calculated as 97, which reduced to 88 in the November service changes for the winter period. Clearly 126 vehicles would now be too many and a batch of four double deckers planned for last spring was dropped. Recently a document was published as part of evidence to parliament's review into the health of the bus industry. This included a graph of BTS's planned fleet in 2019 which would comprise:
  • 15 new single deckers delivered in 2019
  • 3 more midibuses to be delivered in 2019
  • the 18 Enviro 200s of 2018
  • the 55 Enviro 400s of 2016/7
  • the 10 Citaros of 2015
  • 13 older double deckers - probably 319 and 322-332 and one more.
This makes 114 vehicles and removes the 9 2010 B7RLEs from the plan, as well as the older Wright bodied Volvos and Tridents.