The Lights Switch On last Friday with its now major event taking over the Tower Headland took place on a marvellous day weather wise, attracting predictable crowds no doubt to the satisfaction of the organisers. However elsewhere in the town centre scenes of public confusion reigned with bus services being abruptly terminated (again) and traffic encircling that Blackpool landmark (the Wilko concrete edifice) in a continuous frustrating circle. The recently enhanced bus stances on Market Street were weirdly empty and devoid of traffic as an exercise in frustration took over in nearby Talbot Road.
Here some very uncomplimentary language was heard from crowds of people endeavouring to find their bus to get home, given that a large number of services all coalesced at the outbound stop on Talbot Road instead of their regular stands on Clifton Street, Market Street, Corporation Street. BTS staff made brave efforts to deal with the peak hour queues of regular travellers on Blackpool's bus services. Clearly this episode is one best left in the 'lessons must be learned' category. Crew changeovers on vehicles at the same location didn't help matters; with slowly progressing buses and milling queues uncertain on which vehicle was next.
All of this was very ironic to the writer who well remembers the orderly progress of bus services terminating inside Talbot Road Bus Station even during the busiest times - a point where it seemed almost every Blackpool Corporation Transport bus service headed for this destination. Despite its uninviting bare concrete interior, bus stands were clearly marked on the building pillars and barely changed over decades. The 11 Services to Lytham and south Fylde communities always occupied the north western corner stance, whilst the 9's, 14's held fast to the parallel spaces before turning right on to Talbot Road for their destinations. Scout and Ribble similarly kept to their predictable stands within the cavernous interior. Even late night inebriated travellers could be certain of finding their way to their correct queue ! Nowadays this same structure is taken over by a space hungry exercise business and an eatery at the corner where buses and coaches entered this once famous interchange terminal. North Station railway terminus was just across the road on the site now occupied by Wilko. Reminiscent scenes from those days are in the forthcoming book on Blackpool's transport during the 1950s soon available through Rigby Road Publications with individual orders welcome in October.
Great buses - well presented, pity about the passenger shelters or lack thereof.
One shelter - a handful of metal benches - fortunately fine weather. Elderly passengers and those with shopping, luggage and children all left to their devices with minimal explanations on where to wait, time of their next bus, or somewhere to rest. Pretty poor service delivery which contrasts with the attention and effort being expended a quarter mile south on the promenade for the benefit of visitors.
Dickson Road - crawling traffic encountering multiple taxis edging in to queues, constant pedestrians crossing along Talbot Road at one of the busiest mini roundabouts in the town centre. A number 3 Solo handles a waiting queue outside Wilko's store with lines of vehicles inching their way goodness knows where on Friday afternoon. No seating for waiting passengers, nor shelter, and minimal service information available - certainly no real time signage which the public are accustomed to in most major towns and cities in Britain. Below : Council standards have slipped of late ! Moorpark Health Centre ! bus shelter on Bispham Road for the 9 Service.