Not Number 349 but a sample of Blackpool's current double deck fleet in 2016.
Having just returned from a doctor's appointment - must exercise more or else - I found myself behind a Blackpool (BTS) bus on Talbot Road. Whilst we recognise that buses emit diesel fumes these are normally kept to a minimum by careful maintenance and legal limits. Not so this bus.
For the benefit of BTS staff this was Bus 349 on the 14 service to Fleetwood at
noon today. At every stop on leaving the bus spewed out noxious black fumes and an exceedingly unhealthy dose of particulates. I believe the last time I saw a Blackpool bus with a similar level of exhaust was in the 1950s when the ageing pre-war Titans were on their last legs and put on extras during the morning and late afternoon peak hours. In those days one could hear the engine struggling to achieve its maximum power, especially from a standing start on inclines such as the one at the former Windmill junction off Benson Road. I was particularly familiar with this as I frequently rode to school on the 9 from Bispham into town and the right hand turn on a relatively sharp incline in traffic usually meant a crashing of gears as the 1930s bus tried to gain momentum from its waiting position at this point with a lull in traffic (there were no traffic lights in those days at the Windmill).
Number 168 en route to Cherry Tree Gardens on the 3A in 1957. Photo Copyright : John Woodman Archive
So BTS 349 brought back memories from way back when as it generously polluted the roadway and both traffic and pedestrians on its lengthy journey to Fleetwood. I hope that someone might take note of this blog and urgently advise BTS to bring in 349 for early remedial attention. Ironically a television news feature a week or so ago reported on the high level of pollutants to be found inside buses - more than those externally on the road. The introduction of electric and hybrid vehicles will no doubt see the elimination of most of the current Blackpool bus fleet - starting possibly with number 349.