Still regarded with affection by many, the electric trolleybuses replaced Bournemouth’s former tramway system in 1933 and ran for 36 years.
They followed a network of electrically-charged overhead lines suspended above the road. The silent and emission-free trolleybuses were popular with holidaymakers and residents alike. At their height, the trolleybus network extended to 29 miles and was served by 127 vehicles. In the year ending March 1937, the trolleybuses carried 26.3 million passengers. Ten years later the figure had risen to 42.7 million.
The trolleybus era came to an end in 1969 with a closure procession and civic ceremony marking the last day of scheduled services on Saturday April 19. In their place came diesel buses. Yellow Buses has now updated its ‘history bus’ as a tribute to the trolleybuses. The ADL E200 single decker contains display panels with archive pictures tracking the proud 117-year history of Bournemouth Transport. But now external vinyls have been added with old time film spools showing electric trolleybuses in action from 1933 to 1969.
Yellow Buses also welcomed former driver Keith Burbidge to its Yeomans Way depot in Bournemouth. Keith and his wife, Carol, have built their own mini-trolleybus, based on a reconditioned mobile scooter, as a tribute to what many still regard as Bournemouth’s favourite mode of transport. The replica is accurate down to the last detail, including a scaled-down driver’s tea flask on the dashboard.
David Squire, Yellow Buses’ Managing Director, said: “We’ve proudly served the people of Bournemouth, and beyond, for 117 years but, without doubt, the trolleybus era was one of our finest periods. “It’s amazing how even 50 years on so many people remember the trolleybuses with genuine affection. The ‘history bus’ is our tribute to what has gone down as one of the finest chapters in our long and proud history.”
During his visit to Yeomans Way, former driver Keith also brought along original tickets from the last day of trolleybus services. He said: “We’ll be using our trolleybus to promote, and raise funds, for the Bournemouth Vintage Bus Rally in June. Both Carol and I travelled on the last trolleybus and this is our tribute to that time.”
Yellow Buses has announced plans for a revised network from April.
Following the introduction in January 2017 of eight colour coded lines, including new route numbers, Yellow Buses conducted a major public consultation.
The exercise involved 1,200 street surveys, focus groups and other passenger feedback mechanisms.
In response, Yellow Buses is fine-tuning its network to offer greater service to the people of Bournemouth and surrounding area.
The revisions include the restoration of through buses from Poole to Christchurch. Limited services to some outlying areas, which are not viableand the local authority does not wish to support, will be withdrawn.
The routes have been registered with the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain and will take effect from Sunday April 8.
David Squire, who was appointed Managing Director in October, said: “We will be keeping some very successful elements of last year’s network change such as the colour coded routes.
“The changes we are making will ensure a simple to understand, high frequency network that is both punctual and reliable at an affordable price. The majority of our customers will see the same or better frequency, as a result.
“We will be delivering this from April. Put simply our message to passengers is: You’ve spoken and we’ve listened.
“Yellow Buses is a great company with a huge history and an iconic brand but like any business we cannot rest on our laurels.
“We are in a highly competitive market, with challenges from cars, congestion and sometimes the climate and so must keep evolving to retain the loyalty of our customers and win new passengers onto our excellent services. I’m confident these changes will provide a solid foundation for that success.
“We will be focussing our resources in the revised network to offer the best possible services, as expressed by the surveys we’ve undertaken, that are financially sustainable for the long-term. We shall be looking to extend these further in due course, although this will depend on the evolution of transport policy in the wider conurbation,” said Mr Squire.
Ahead of Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) Programme’s plans, funded by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership*, to carry out improvements on the A338 and Blackwater Junction, various preliminary works will be undertaken in the area in January.
Site clearance of vegetation will take place at Blackwater West junction starting on January 9 for two weeks ahead of bird nesting season in the spring. Single lane traffic management may be needed in the first week to ensure the safety of those working on the verge.
The second phase of works will begin on Monday 23 January for six weeks on the A338 between Blackwater and Cooper Dean. The first three weeks will result in a lane closure and a 40 mph speed restriction. The second three weeks will involve work away from the highway to carry out exploratory works for the Wessex Fields scheme and is not expected to impact on road users.
The A338 improvements form part of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s BIG Programme, an ambitious economic growth plan aimed at improving connectivity, easing congestion and opening up employment opportunity sites in and around Bournemouth Airport and Wessex Fields, behind the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.
Ian Kalra, Head of Transportation Services, said:
“Ahead of making improvements to the road layout in the area, it is necessary for us to carry out some preliminary works including site clearance and surveying. In some cases, this may mean traffic management being used, to ensure the safety of the workforce, but this will be kept to a minimum wherever possible.”
The BIG Programme’s first major transport scheme – the £22 million major renewal of the A338 Bournemouth Spur Road between Ashley Heath and Blackwater – was successfully completed on time and under budget in May 2016.
The next phase of works schemes, being delivered by Bournemouth Council in partnership with Dorset County Council, consist of three elements including:
Construction is set to start on the Blackwater Junction in autumn 2017.
Yellow Buses’ new-look service will pick up passengers from the airport’s arrivals terminal as well as the ever-growing Aviation Business Park.
The new service has been designed to bring direct connections to many more people; it continues to serve Bournemouth Square and the railway station, but will now be serving Winton, Moordown, Northbourne and Parley Cross.
It will run from 6am through to 7pm every day of week, including weekends and bank holidays. The deal between Bournemouth’s brightest bus company and Bournemouth Airport will see the service change from the A1 to the 14, bringing the service into Yellow Buses’ wider network. This means that passengers will benefit from cheaper prices, with a single ticket to the airport from anywhere on the route costing no more than £2.40, and a day return ticket costing no more than £3.70.
Regular users wanting to access the growing job market at the Aviation Business Park will benefit from Yellow Buses’ Glo cards, making the daily commute more affordable.
Andrew Smith, Managing Director of Yellow Buses, said: “This is a renewed contract but we’ve widened out the service. It will go to the airport passenger terminal and around the business park, as well as providing passengers from the Winton and Moordown area with a direct bus to and from the airport. We are opening up the service to meet the wider market and another benefit is that the service will be run on our own fare structure meaning it will be even better value for money. We’re particularly excited about our new-look app, which not only helps passengers plan their journey with real time departure information at their fingertips, but also allows them to buy their bus tickets.”
Paul Knight, Managing Director of Bournemouth Airport, said: “Ryanair has doubled the size of their winter programme this year, so we will be seeing even more passengers using the airport – many of whom will benefit from this improved service. The new route will also be a huge boost for those working on the Aviation Business Park which currently supports over 200 businesses, employing 3000 people.”