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Bath Bus Station

Bath, situated in the south west of England, was enlarged by the Romans from a previous settlement, and became a spa centre based on the mineral springs located here.

Today, it is a thriving mercantile, tourist, cultural and university city, offering radial links to the surrounding area.

The largest transport provider is First Bus, that incorporates previously well known marks such as "Badgerline" and new ventures like the orange university transport. The bus station is located near the main rail station and is divided into two sections, express and long distance on one side and the local services on the other. The bus company offices separate the two sides.

Other smaller operators include the Bath Bus Company and Pickford's of Chippenham. These pictures were taken on Monday 12th November, 2001.

The centre of Bath is not motor car friendly. The ring road allows access to peripheral multi storey car parks (at a price), and in the city, street parking is strictly limited and rigorously patrolled by "Blue Meanies".

So, the Park and Ride, operating from Monday to Saturday, is a boon for the visitor. The parking places are clearly sign posted from the city approach roads, and the buses are new, clean and frequent.

This 1999 Dennis Trident low floor bus is typical of the  dedicated vehicles. They carry a distinctive livery and are operated by First Bus. Unlike most city routes, these do not use the Bus Station, but arrive and depart from convenient points near the shops.

W715RHT Dennis Trident Low Floor on Park and Ride duties in Queen Square
L651SEU Leyand Olympian in Manvers Street

The more usual First Bus livery is sported by this 1993 Leyland Olympian en route to Chippenham.

I spotted a higher that usual  proportion of women drivers here, and all companies seemed to be recruiting. I saw the First Bus training bus out for a spin with four trainees on board. This was a specially purchased end of life coach from a Welsh operator. It looked like a Leyland Leopard with a Plaxton 53 seat coach body.

K238KAE Dennis Dart leaves Bus Station

This standard floor Dennis Dart sports the new First Bus livery, with the tag "Badgerline". The original Badgerline was formed in the early 1980s to provide bus services operating into rural and hitherto unserved villages. It grew into a larger bus operator, but remained dedicated to the notion of rural accessibility. Some of its novel schemes included summer only tourist services, through ticketing, flat fares, and day rovers. The brand, that had built considerable loyalty, was submerged into First Bus, and all individuality was lost.

L136TFB Leyland Leopard leaves Bus Station

Here a First Bus operated "Bright Orange" University service leaves the Bus Station. These buses work several routes to the University with a 15 or 20 minute frequency during the day. They are well patronised, and in a successful outreach, town and gown mix on these popular services.

A fleet of Leyland Single deck buses originally from Lancashire or as here from Bath itself are run on these highly visible routes.

Whilst not using the newest of vehicles, they are well presented, save for one that I saw with considerable Fresh damage (not the one pictured here) to the rear near side quarter. This was due, no doubt, to the adolescently minded boy racer behind the wheel yanking the steering right without catering for the rear overhang. Pedestrians and car drivers were in severe peril when this maniac came around.

P748HND Dennis Lowfloor Dart leaves Bus Station

The Bath Bus Company operates tourist open top services, as well as regular stage carriage. Here one of its Dennis Dart 10.6SDA  SLF Plaxton B33F buses, originally from Greater Manchester, leaves on its circular route to the south and south west of the city taking in the residential areas of Odd Down and Bear Flat as well as the government buildings at Foxhill. A First Bus Dart in the old livery is bringing up the rear.

BBZ6018 (C113HDT) Leyland DAB bendybus leaves the Bus Station

This 1985 Leyland DAB 1735L articulated bus is one of three operated by the Bath Bus Company. They were originally built for Sheffield Mainline and now provide an eye-catching sight around the city. Here, I think, the 167 passenger capacity is overkill on this circuitous route to Midsomer Norton. The round trip will take just under two hours, a direct bus route could cover the eighteen miles (15 km) from Bath to Midsomer Norton and back in 1 hour 10 minutes. The lean to the right seen here is the result of a worn levelling valve or seals in the pneumatic suspension. These buses undergo weekly adjustments to correct this problem

D143TFT Mercedes 705 leaves the Bus Station

Finally, this example of one of J. V. Pickford's fleet is a 1986 Mercedes Benz 709D with Reebur body originally from Newcastle upon Tyne Busways. These were the first new purchases made by Busways Travel Services, an employee owned concern, when it took over from the PTE's bus operations under Thatcher's Bus Deregulation on 26th October, 1986.

Pickford's of Chippenham run mostly Mercedes minibuses from a variety of sources over short city routes from the Bus Station. Their noticeable vibrant yellow and oh so blue buses are seldom full; this company seems to specialise in marginal routes.

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