One bus operator not mentioned of late in these Blogs is of course that perennial firm - Catch22Bus founded by longstanding Blackpool bus and tram enthusiast - Philip Higgs. Philip and his colleague, Eric Berry, played an important role in ensuring the preservation of several Blackpool and Lytham St Annes buses (and others) going back decades now. Moving professionally into the transport operating arena Philip set up Catch22Bus to provide services locally for Fylde coast communities. Initally acquiring secondhand vehicles from the Cardiff area operator, hence their livery being used in the early years complete with bi-lingual notices - the company has morphed into a far more impressive player with equally distinctive fleet colours and up to date vehicles.
Their 'Coastliner' service along the seafront, extended to St Annes in the summer, is a frequent sight along the promenade whilst the services connecting Cleveleys with Thornton (along the original Blackpool Corporation Tramways motorbus route of 1921) and further to Poulton is now extremely popular.
I availed myself of the Coastliner service today with a fast run to Cleveleys Bus Station in glorious sunshine and finally warm temperatures. Catch22 has come a long way from its early days with RMs and former Welsh operator vehicles plying their trade (and colours) around Blackpool. Their current models seen at Cleveleys today with an example on the 'Coastliner' service to Cleveleys (Right and Below).
Below : Different era on show at Cleveleys Bus Station with an early Trident model on the 7 Service in its Trevor Roberts fleet styling next to the current 'Palladium' branding of Jane Cole's management (on Service 9). Further ADL vehicles are anticipated in 2019.
And finally to complete an interesting excursion to Cleveleys this morning an illustration of how not to park your tradesman's van on a busy road.
The bus driver was unable to traverse behind the parked van with an enormous buildup of traffic from the promenade and Victoria Road hidden behind the vehicles. For BTS records the van registration is clearly seen here with the bus driver hardly to blame for the holdup.
The Bus Station had two of BTS services side by side with contrasting buses and liveries - hence the images below.
BTS service 9 was caught up in a traffic snarl on Victoria Road thanks to an inconsiderate van driver whose vehicle protruded into the roadway preventing Blackpool buses from turning left on the 7 Service. A buildup of traffic ensued across the busy Victoria Square road junction as vehicles attempted to travel due west - and trams found themselves threatened with blocked tracks to make things even more frenetic. The errant van driver finally appeared and with minimal (if no) apology drove off to unlock the resulting snarlup. Pity a traffic warden / parking attendant wasn't in evidence - where are they when you actually need them?