Almost new PD2 349 about to pick up one passenger on Bispham Road en route to Talbot Road Bus Station. Note the telegraph pole, concrete lamp standard and cast concrete shelter along with the bus stop and 'Fare Stage' sign. Ah those were the days! Photo : Copyright John Woodman
The number 9 Service which has been running between Blackpool and Cleveleys for eighty years has seen its route extended to Blackpool's now very busy Victoria Hospital. With an ageing population and considerable retirees living in the Fylde
not to mention a very busy A&E dealing with alcohol and drug related problems - the hospital is probably the busiest destination on the Fylde coast outside of seasonal events. A smart new bus terminus was incorporated into a new build extension and specialist unit opened last year to which the 'Palladium' branded Citaro buses made their inaugural runs on Service 5.
In the latest reorganisation of several BTS bus routes, the 9 Service has now been extended from the Town Centre to Victoria Hospital - but travellers from Bispham, Anchorsholme and Cleveleys first encounter Blackpool town centre before they continue on towards the Hospital destination (and vice versa).
At one time the 15A operated from the former tram depot on Red Bank Road via Bispham Road, Warbreck Hill Road, Dickson Road and then traversing the town centre, exiting via Church Street and on to Newton Drive, ending at 'Hospital'. The 23 Service was also to be found at Victoria Hospital having begun its journey at either South Pier or Halfway House.
No doubt further service alterations and frequencies will end up being adopted to handle traffic (so to speak) to this extremely busy destination. Large seated capacity single deck buses being obviously essential for infirm and elderly passengers. It is noticeable that the Promenade 1 service operated by double deck buses inevitably find the lower deck filled to capacity (and standing) with the top deck half empty. At some point planners will be looking at ways and means of running trams on to Layton and directly to the hospital. More seating capacity would be a prerequisite for that service too - with softer and actual cushioned seats please ! A ride this week on 717 on the promenade contrasted sharply with the hard edged interior seats on the Bombardier products - questionable progress indeed as far as passenger comfort is concerned. That company should take lessons from the German builders of Blackpool's Citaro buses where passenger comfort is concerned, not to mention noise abatement requirement on the wheelsets of their trams.