20/08/2011

Great Yarmouth Seaside Special... visiting coaches and the decline in summer bus services

Andy's Bus Blog correspondant David Bell visited the Norfolk seaside town of Great Yarmouth on Wednesday where he found an interesting selection of visiting coaches and the two minibus operated seafront services being operated this year by Swift Taxies and Our Bus

Visiting Coaches
Great Yarmouth is a popular coach holiday destination so sees its fair share of interesting vehicles from across the UK, especially in the summer months.

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Looking stunning at the beach coach station is Happy Al's Plaxton Elite AA11ALS © David Bell

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Dons Of Dunmow's rare Spanish built Ayat AE04FUV at the beach coach station © David Bell

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Trevor Bailey Travel of Kirby in Ashfield Berkhof bodied Dennis Javelin C9TBT © David Bell

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Another stunning vehicle at the beach coach station was Brighton & Hove Irizar PB HF08UHT - one of the vehicles I photographed on my last trip to Brighton earlier this year © David Bell

Summer seafront services
Now we move on to the subject of this years seafront bus services which are a bit of a sore point this year, in previous years First have provided a decent summer only service 3 in Great Yarmouth which served some of the main holiday parks running from Hemsby into the town centre then along the seafront - this service always seemed popular and was even for a couple of seasons back in the mid noughties operated using a trio of Routemasters... however the service has been in decline for the past couple of seasons and this year the service was slashed and the town centre to seafront service was axed - First citing low passenger numbers for this cut. The City Sightseeing open top service also didn't return this year leaving yet another gap in the resorts summer bus services.

Noticing the gap in the services this year two local bus operators - Swift Taxies and Our Bus stepped in to provide services, both one bus operations the two services link the town centre and main holiday parks with the seafront. Both operators use minibuses and unfortunatly by all accounts the services don't seem to have taken off with nowhere near busy buses noted - but good on them for trying...

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The "heyday" of Great Yarmouth summer services in recent years came in 2006 where a trio of Routemasters operated on service 3 and a special Coastmaster service between Great Yarmouth, Cromer and Sheringham on which Flying Banana liveried RML2623 is pictured above © Des Speed

You can find a daily blog and a whole host of information about the five week operation of the Coastmaster back in 2006 over on *The Coastmaster Website* created by Coastmaster driver Des Speed.

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Back to this years seafront service Our Bus SF54OUY is seen heading for Seashore Holiday Park © David Bell

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Swift Taxies seafront service is worked using Mercedes minicoach AE07NZC © David Bell

So all in all quite a drastic change to the Great Yarmouth summer only bus service scene in the last five years - I wonder what next year will bring?

For more on buses around Great Yarmouth check out East Norfolk Bus Blog