Travelling back in time on red buses

David Umpleby with one of the heritage buses which are running along the Promenade

David Umpleby with one of the heritage buses which are running along the Promenade

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A nostalgia bus service is proving a hit with passengers in Blackpool.

People are being offered the chance of hopping on board vintage double deckers, including the iconic red London Routemaster buses, which are now running along the Promenade.

The Number 12 route has been launched for the summer by Blackpool-based company Classic Bus North West and runs every 15 minutes between the Pleasure Beach and Uncle Tom’s Cabin in North Shore.

Eight jobs have been created, with drivers and conductors on board most buses, which also include open-topped and modern vehicles.

Philip Higgs, manager of the Seafront 12 service, said: “The response from the public has already been amazing.

“Every time we take one of London Routemasters out on the Promenade we are amazed by the amount of people who have stood and watched or even tried to flag them down.

“We’re also delighted at the response we have had from businesses in the resort.

“Many of the larger hotels have agreed to sell tickets to their guests.

“With all the huge events taking place in Blackpool this summer we hope many visitors will take the opportunity to try this new service and travel between the fantastic attractions we have in Blackpool on a piece of transport heritage.”

Operations manager David Umpleby said people enjoyed the nostalgia of travelling on the traditional vehicles.

He added: “The London buses are really popular and the open top vehicles are great on a nice day.

“People love hopping on the open platform at the back and the conductors have old-style ticket machines so it’s really nostalgic, especially for older people.

“A lot of the heritage trams are not operating apart from at weekends and our buses are a real contrast to the new trams.

“Visitors really like the conductors who can help them when it comes to finding their hotel or attractions.”

The new buses do not comply with the Disability Discrimination Act which comes into force in 2017, but Classic Bus hopes to secure an exemption for its fleet because it operates as a tourist attraction.

Tickets, which cost £2 for adults and £1 for children for any single journey, can be bought either on the buses or from The Queens, The Imperial, The Cliffs, The Carleton, The Claremont, The Hilton and The Viking hotels.

Passes for between one and three days, as well as family tickets are also available.

But the route has had an impact on Blackpool Transport, who run buses and trams on the Fylde coast.

Managing director Trevor Roberts said: “The service competes with our Line 1 and tram services and obviously takes away revenue and passengers.”