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Kingsbridge Vintage Bus Running Day provides more than 6,000 journeys, including 129 dog trips

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Kingsbridge Vintage Bus Running Day provides more than 6,000 journeys, including 129 dog trips

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Kingsbridge Vintage Bus Running Day took place on Saturday, with a welcome return to pre-Covid numbers and routes.

Pre-event programme orders reached new records and the weather on the day meant that the day attracted hundreds of people to ride the beautiful old vehicles and enjoy the running scenery of the South Hams.

Plymouth Corporation 1956 Leyland Titan double deck No. 358 which carried the largest number of passengers at this year’s event – no less than 482!

Colin Billington, chairman of the Thames Valley and Great Western Omnibus Trust and event organiser, said: “We gained the impression that the ridership was more strongly local people but, with the lifting of the rail strike threat, we had very good numbers travelling on our feeder services from Totnes and Plymouth many of whom had been able to catch early morning trains to attend our Running Day.

“By early afternoon we sold out of programmes, which we had not done before, so next year we’ll print more!

“Everyone seemed very happy to be able to enjoy the full route network with seaside destinations being very popular, led by bus routes to Salcombe, Hope Cove, Slapton Sands and Bigbury-on-Sea and our coach tours to Blackpool Sands.

“Also very popular was the Coleridge Bus with their brand new 16-seater, which had full loads to enjoy the spectacular scenery at Beesands, Start Point, East Portlemouth and South Pool, both morning and afternoon."

credit Andy Walker

Colin continued: “We have conductors on all our vehicles who look after and entertain the passengers and also keep records of numbers of people carried. Whereas last year we recorded 3,935 passenger journeys, this year we counted 6,241 which was close to our record in 2019 of 6,746 (just 8% more).

“Interestingly, we did have an all-time record for the number of dog journeys recorded which was 129 compared to the previous record of 102 in 2019. This bears out the reports which indicate that dog ownership increased significantly during the pandemic.

“After re-allocating some journeys from two visiting vehicles, which were withdrawn before the event, we covered all but four journeys of the 235 scheduled. We always have two or three buses in reserve to cover for break-downs but, this year, only one was used when one of our single decks developed a problem with selection of reverse gear."

credit Andy Walker

Colin continued: “A temporary fix enabled the vehicle to be turned and driven back to our depot without requiring a tow and a standby vehicle was used to transport its passengers back to Kingsbridge.

“We would like to thank all the vehicle owners, drivers, conductors and bus station volunteers who kept the event rolling and our sponsors and programme advertisers who helped to cover the unavoidable costs of fuel, insurance, maintenance and safety inspections which ensure the high standards expected of bus travel.

“We hope that those who experienced travel on our vehicles will be more inclined to use public road transport on a regular basis with all of the environmental and cost benefits this brings to those who use this mode of transport and the wider community.

“In particular, we would like to thank Tally Ho Coaches for carrying out comprehensive roadworthiness testing prior to our events and the use of their bus depot facilities before and during the event.”

Did you attend? Did you enjoy yourself? 

Main image: Two of the oldest vehicles in service, both former Western National vehicles which operated in the South Devon Area for all of their service life. In the background is the South Devon Railway’s London Transport Routemaster which operated on and shows London destination blinds for route 93 – the number of the Western National route from Plymouth through Kingsbridge to Dartmouth for more than 60 years.


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