Try as I might, it’s impossible to ignore transport-related issues surrounding the olympics, particularly after the much-reported false start where US hurdler Kerron Clement complained his journey took a four-hour unintentional detour. Well, at least he saw (some of ) London.
For one thing, I’d half expected all eight prototype LT-class Wrightbus New Buses for London (New Bus for Londons?) to feature during the Saturday opening ceremony but with all that smoke, Mary Poppinses, nurses, sheep and chimneys, clearly there was room only for a single horse-drawn London General omnibus, itself a NO4L (New Omnibus for London) in its pioneering day. But, the General was actually then a French affair. LGOC started life in 1855 as a company capitalised in Paris as the Camapgnie Générale des Omnibus de Londres (Hibbs, 11969). There was mounting opposition to the virtual monopoly the French undertaking had quickly created and in 1859 it was naturalised as English LGOC. Foreign involvement in the capital’s bus services? Whatever next.
But it’s to an area with which I am more at home to which we must now turn. Weymouth is currently awash with incoming buses for olympic duties, from First and others, including many and varied Go South Coast liveries. The colourful bus scene eclipses the olympic sailing by far and the whole town is buoyed up (excuse the pun) by an olympic optimism. If it’s your passion, you have till 12th August to feast on this rare variety of vehicles but beware! There are already reports of security staff taking the wrong kind of interest in those photographing of buses.
Park & ride abounds from as far as Dorchester (and there’s even a “park & stride” site at Preston Beach Road with no buses but a 20-minute walk along the Esplanade). Aside from increased park & ride provision, First has upped some of its frequencies. Core service 1 from Portland to Weymouth is increased from every 10 to every 7½ minutes. The 2 Littlemoor - Broadway - Radipole - Weymouth is uplifted from every 12 to every 10 minutes. The 10/X10 from Weymouth to Dorchester is increased from every 20 to every 15 minutes with the addition of vehicles advertised with leather seats.
Indeed, First has produced an attractive “Sail into Weymouth by Bus” leaflet aimed at local-ish travel. It features a panel that pronounces that travel from Poole is cheaper than the train (and by some margin). A First day explorer gives unlimited access on First buses at £17.00 for a family of 2+3; this would cost nearly £45 from Poole to Weymouth by rail. Rail is quicker & more frequent (two per hour and between 35 & 45 minutes compared to 75 minutes by broadly hourly bus, though the bus gets you closer).