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Vintage Bus Running Day in Warminster. An example of good bus practise.

Today was Vintage Bus Running Day in Warminster ... with buses up to 70 years old running an intensive service around the town and surrounding villages, and crowds of people riding on them too. Really good to see all these old vehicles in action!

If Warminster can stage an event to pull people into the town on an October Sunday, then so can we in Melksham. No - I'm not suggesting a replica, nor am I suggesting that we could do better - for the Warminster bus day was excellently organised. But we COULD arrange vintage buses from the station occasionally - perhaps service Lacock, Holt, Great Chalfield, Devizes, Caen Hill, etc.

Let's see some of the excellent practise at work.

Vintage bus in MelkshamConnecting services ran from many local towns - including Melksham - direct to Warminster.


Bus connections at Westbury StationBuses connected regularly with trains at Westbury Railway station - and truely at the station, not at the top of the station approach!


Open top bus in WestburyOpen top tours of Wiltshire's Market towns show a new level to the town - the history that's up and above the shop fronts, and also the surrounding countryside.


Connecting buses in a country village - CodfordBuses on routes that intersect in the countryside were timed to allow connections both ways, at laybys and carparks where there was plenty of space.


Timetabling was excellent ... performance was faultless. Buses running to schedule, drivers knowing where they were going - happy, cheerful and chatty but professional too. High double deckers NOT routed under low bridges. Buses stopping to wait time where necessary. No fare dodgers (rides were free ;-) ). Superb printed timetables showing connections where availble. Good route maps.

There is a temptation to suggest the our own local authority should learn some lessons from how this was done. I'll resist that temptation, for I know that at least one of the Council's staff is heavily involved; the fact that the professional influence can do so much on one special day, but struggles at times to make buses and trains connect on a daily basis or to even out the timetables speaks volumes about the inappropriate structures we have to regulate the bus industry to serve the traveller. Today has shown what could be done.

More pictures here.
(written 2011-10-09)

 
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