• John Woodman

TALKING BUSES


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Blackpool's smart new buses provide similar audio announcements as the trams - but apparantly with a computer taking the place of Bryan Lindop ! Or so it seems. A novel feature is a welcoming message to passengers from the BTS Managing Director which may in time lead to further topical voice overs - we hope.

The last time Blackpool trialled audio announcements on a bus was way way back in 1946. Walter Luff (inevitably) decided that the prototype single staircase double deck bus (28) then being trialled before orders were placed for postwar vehicles - would also incorporate a driver operated announcement system. This involved the driver speaking into a microphone fitted in front of him in the cab - a definite Health and Safety transgression right there! The innovation was less than welcomed by crews and passengers alike - drawing caustic cartoons in the local newspaper. The equipment was hurriedly stored away and quietly forgotten. In a similar and parallel trial Glasgow Corporation tested more or less the same system in the cab of a Coronation tram. Here too a well meaning exercise was also quickly terminated after one driver let his feelings be known to the entire tram when some errant road user impeded the 'caur's progress'.

The Service 5 is now definitely a route with distinction. One of the new fleet stops outside Council offices in the town centre en route to Halfway House - showing off its distinctive side sweep to great effect. Below - Mrs Woodman with her 'doppelganger' after alighting on Abingdon Street.

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