Bus routes’ big shake-up

Blackpool Transport bus
Blackpool Transport bus
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Blackpool Transport has unveiled a shake up of some services in a bid to ensure more buses run on time.

Three routes – the two, the 16 and the 20 – are to be replaced with two new circular routes which it is hoped will deliver a more punctual service.

The 16 currently has the worst punctuality record of all Blackpool Transport’s routes.

The northern circular will see passengers board buses 12 and 13 covering the town centre to Talbot Road, Staining, Poulton, Bispham, Grange Park and Blackpool Victoria Hospital, while the southern circular will be routes 15 and 16 serving the town centre, parts of South Shore, Marton Mere, Stanley Park, the Zoo and BVH.

Each service will run on a 30 minute frequency, with the two buses on each circular route operating in reverse directions to each other.

Bob Mason, (pictured) director of delivery at Blackpool Transport, said: “This is a package of service enhancements which we believe will improve the reliability of these services.

“Service 16 was originally a subsidised service and it is very difficult to operate it reliably because of the route it covers.

“If there are roadworks in the south of the town, that affects the punctuality in the north.

“So we hope by replacing it with these two circular routes, with a hub at Blackpool Victoria Hospital where the services will connect, we will improve reliability for our passengers.

“We have carried out extensive consultations with the attractions, our bus passenger forum, the council and BVH.”

The changes will be implemented on Sunday June 28 and it is also proposed to trial a £2 adult flat fair on the circular routes (£1 for children).

Other changes being introduced at the same time include increasing the frequency of the number one route along the Promenade in the summer, extending the number 10 to St Annes and increasing the frequency of some services on Sundays and bank holidays from June 28 to November 8 when the town is at its busiest.

Mr Mason added: “We need to have a network that is fit for the summer and fit for the winter, and you can’t have a ‘one size fits everything’ approach in Blackpool.

“There are going to be times when there is congestion but we are using data from our ticket machines and feedback from passengers to improve reliability and punctuality.”

Passenger numbers are up by 200,000 with 18.8 million passengers being carried by Blackpool Transport in the year up until April 2015 (including buses and trams), compared to 18.6 million in the previous 12 months.

Full details of all the route changes will be provided in the company’s new timetables and travel guides.