Bournemouth's open-top buses roll off into the history books

Bournemouth Echo: LOSS: Open-top buses are being withdrawn by Transdev Yellow Buses LOSS: Open-top buses are being withdrawn by Transdev Yellow Buses

BOURNEMOUTH’S famous open-top bus service has been axed after transporting day-trippers and holidaymakers along the coast for more than four decades.

Transdev Yellow Buses has announced that it will not be running the loss-making number 12 service this summer.

The company blames the decision on poor passenger numbers and the need to concentrate on its core services across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Three years ago TYB issued a “use it or lose it” plea to open-top bus service fans after plans to axe the service sparked protests from outraged users and a reprieve.

Since then the company has tried a number of initiatives including running buses on just the busiest sections and extending the service to include Bournemouth railway station.

“Seafront 12” took passengers on a scenic coastal route via Sandbanks, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Hengistbury Head using four buses painted in traditional Bournemouth Corporation plum and custard livery, dating back to the 1980s.

Jenni Wilkinson, TYB’s head of marketing, said: “We have examined and, where possible, put into action every possible initiative to increase passenger numbers but to no avail.

“The fact is that in these tough economic times we cannot afford to continue running a loss-making service carrying so few passengers.

“We recognise that this will cause disappointment but our focus must be on the routes we operate throughout the year for our 12 million passengers.”

Andrew Young contacted the Daily Echo after emailing TYB to enquire about the open-top coastal service.

He slammed the decision to axe the service stating that it signalled the end of “more than 40 years of history of a Bournemouth institution.”

Comments (30)

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8:36am Thu 4 Jun 09

ben111 says...

Oh well leaves the door open for Wilts & Dorset
Oh well leaves the door open for Wilts & Dorset ben111

8:38am Thu 4 Jun 09

The-Bleeding-Obvious says...

Is this a bit premature since we are being told more people will be holidaying at home this year?
Is this a bit premature since we are being told more people will be holidaying at home this year? The-Bleeding-Obvious

8:50am Thu 4 Jun 09

ben111 says...

quote : Jenni Wilkinson, TYB’s head of marketing, said: “We have examined and, where possible, put into action every possible initiative to increase passenger numbers but to no avail. Has any one had the idea of packaging up this as a sea front trip that could be offerd to Hotels as part of them staying their , Just an idea ..
quote : Jenni Wilkinson, TYB’s head of marketing, said: “We have examined and, where possible, put into action every possible initiative to increase passenger numbers but to no avail. Has any one had the idea of packaging up this as a sea front trip that could be offerd to Hotels as part of them staying their , Just an idea .. ben111

9:08am Thu 4 Jun 09

retired lady says...

Maybe this is another service that Shamrock could pick up.
Maybe this is another service that Shamrock could pick up. retired lady

11:03am Thu 4 Jun 09

nobull says...

How come everybody knows better than the operator. If its not making money it can't be run simples.
How come everybody knows better than the operator. If its not making money it can't be run simples. nobull

11:50am Thu 4 Jun 09

Lord Spring says...

So there will no open top bus to take the Cherries around the town when they are saved.

Security word

Roof-blow
So there will no open top bus to take the Cherries around the town when they are saved. Security word Roof-blow Lord Spring

11:58am Thu 4 Jun 09

Esqui says...

At least they're not getting rid of the convertible vehicles. It could come back!

I stopped using it when they got rid of the Boscombe Pier - Christchurch section. Not so easy to get on if it doesn't go anywhere near you any more!
At least they're not getting rid of the convertible vehicles. It could come back! I stopped using it when they got rid of the Boscombe Pier - Christchurch section. Not so easy to get on if it doesn't go anywhere near you any more! Esqui

12:05pm Thu 4 Jun 09

patrick stack says...

FORGET WILTS & DORSET, TRY GETTING FROM RINGWOOD TO WEST MOORS,THEY ARE CUTTING ROUTES NOT MAKING MORE, THIS LETS FACE IT IS THE SIGN OF THE TIMES,PASSENGERS HAD THIER CHANCE & BLEW IT OVER A PERIOD OF 3 YEARS, THE YELLOW BUSES NEED THIS MONEY TO KEEP UP THIER GOOD SERVICE .
FORGET WILTS & DORSET, TRY GETTING FROM RINGWOOD TO WEST MOORS,THEY ARE CUTTING ROUTES NOT MAKING MORE, THIS LETS FACE IT IS THE SIGN OF THE TIMES,PASSENGERS HAD THIER CHANCE & BLEW IT OVER A PERIOD OF 3 YEARS, THE YELLOW BUSES NEED THIS MONEY TO KEEP UP THIER GOOD SERVICE . patrick stack

12:19pm Thu 4 Jun 09

djd says...

Sad to see the end of the open toppers but it is a business nowadays, not a service.
Sad to see the end of the open toppers but it is a business nowadays, not a service. djd

12:19pm Thu 4 Jun 09

djd says...

Sad to see the end of the open toppers but it is a business nowadays, not a service.
Sad to see the end of the open toppers but it is a business nowadays, not a service. djd

12:28pm Thu 4 Jun 09

MoordownMarc says...

Just over ten years ago I recall there were up to eight yellow open-toppers on the 12 from a fleet of twelve. The service ran frequently between Christchurch and Sandbanks and was usually busy - wet days not so good! In addition there were at least four or more yellow open-toppers running daily sightseeing 'Pines & Chines' tours from Bournemouth Pier.
Where did this all go so wrong? Has the nature of the town's holidaymakers really changed that much, or did Yellow Buses kill the services over recent years by taking the wrong decisions about frequency, introducing expensive London based franchises, etc.
Wilts & Dorset and Shamrock have open-top buses in their fleets perhaps this is an opportunity for them.
Just over ten years ago I recall there were up to eight yellow open-toppers on the 12 from a fleet of twelve. The service ran frequently between Christchurch and Sandbanks and was usually busy - wet days not so good! In addition there were at least four or more yellow open-toppers running daily sightseeing 'Pines & Chines' tours from Bournemouth Pier. Where did this all go so wrong? Has the nature of the town's holidaymakers really changed that much, or did Yellow Buses kill the services over recent years by taking the wrong decisions about frequency, introducing expensive London based franchises, etc. Wilts & Dorset and Shamrock have open-top buses in their fleets perhaps this is an opportunity for them. MoordownMarc

1:17pm Thu 4 Jun 09

KLH says...

I wish there was a good service going to Hengistbury Head
The open toppers would, I'm sure do good business if a route was introduced from the Square that went to Hengistbury Head and Southbourne beaches. Out of season normal closed top buses could do the route.
I wish there was a good service going to Hengistbury Head The open toppers would, I'm sure do good business if a route was introduced from the Square that went to Hengistbury Head and Southbourne beaches. Out of season normal closed top buses could do the route. KLH

2:27pm Thu 4 Jun 09

Glashen says...

You would think that this would be an opportunity for an independent operator, particularly if they made it a tour of the area with commentary, but I worry if one did get going as in the past, that Transdev would suddenly find it was economic to run the service so forcing the independent out.
You would think that this would be an opportunity for an independent operator, particularly if they made it a tour of the area with commentary, but I worry if one did get going as in the past, that Transdev would suddenly find it was economic to run the service so forcing the independent out. Glashen

3:55pm Thu 4 Jun 09

Trifecta says...

They disenfranchised a huge section of the services users and then wonder why nobody uses it. Add on the appalling weather of the last two summers and it is yet another reason to remember who sold "our" family silver to the French.
They disenfranchised a huge section of the services users and then wonder why nobody uses it. Add on the appalling weather of the last two summers and it is yet another reason to remember who sold "our" family silver to the French. Trifecta

4:09pm Thu 4 Jun 09

Zzzz says...

Have Transdev been taking too much heed of those dodgy Met Office weather forecasts?
Have Transdev been taking too much heed of those dodgy Met Office weather forecasts? Zzzz

4:38pm Thu 4 Jun 09

seuthsayer says...

...cuts at the top makes a change!!!
...cuts at the top makes a change!!! seuthsayer

5:00pm Thu 4 Jun 09

KLH says...

Who wants to get ANY bus to Sandbanks anyway? Except for the ferry and workers the only thing a bus to Sandbanks would be is for tourists to see the flash houses, and celebrity spotting...

Who wants to get ANY bus to Sandbanks anyway? Except for the ferry and workers the only thing a bus to Sandbanks would be is for tourists to see the flash houses, and celebrity spotting... KLH

6:04pm Thu 4 Jun 09

busguy says...

In 2005, the final summer before Yellow Buses were sold I was the MD at YB and we tried everything to keep the 12 route as part of Bournemouth's heritage. We presented two older Fleetline vehicles, 138 and 140 in pristine condition for the enthusiasts as well as the convertibles. We wanted to keep this route running but it was patently obvious that it was not making money despite using excellent drivers who knew and appreciated the route. It is a shame if it goes, but even Shamrock and W&D can only run it if it makes a profit.
In 2005, the final summer before Yellow Buses were sold I was the MD at YB and we tried everything to keep the 12 route as part of Bournemouth's heritage. We presented two older Fleetline vehicles, 138 and 140 in pristine condition for the enthusiasts as well as the convertibles. We wanted to keep this route running but it was patently obvious that it was not making money despite using excellent drivers who knew and appreciated the route. It is a shame if it goes, but even Shamrock and W&D can only run it if it makes a profit. busguy

7:08pm Thu 4 Jun 09

djd says...

Glashen wrote:
You would think that this would be an opportunity for an independent operator, particularly if they made it a tour of the area with commentary, but I worry if one did get going as in the past, that Transdev would suddenly find it was economic to run the service so forcing the independent out.
I don't know if it still runs, but there was an open top bus tour with commentary run by a private operator which ran from Bournemouth during the summer.
[quote][p][bold]Glashen[/bold] wrote: You would think that this would be an opportunity for an independent operator, particularly if they made it a tour of the area with commentary, but I worry if one did get going as in the past, that Transdev would suddenly find it was economic to run the service so forcing the independent out.[/p][/quote]I don't know if it still runs, but there was an open top bus tour with commentary run by a private operator which ran from Bournemouth during the summer. djd

8:00pm Thu 4 Jun 09

dopey says...

Guess we just have to wait for the next normal bus to go under a low bridge !
Guess we just have to wait for the next normal bus to go under a low bridge ! dopey

11:25pm Thu 4 Jun 09

Markmag says...

I understood the Bmth/Boscombe Pier service last year was doing a good trade, but was heavily reliant on senior citizen free pass travel. This year the rules changed and councils don't have to pay for seniors to use open top tourist services. At that point it was doomed.

Wilts and Dorset are at least investing in new open tops for the 50 between Bmth Train station and Swanage - as a normal route that just happens to use open tops they still get the pass money. Any chance of extending on to Boscombe Pier and maybe even Christchurch?
I understood the Bmth/Boscombe Pier service last year was doing a good trade, but was heavily reliant on senior citizen free pass travel. This year the rules changed and councils don't have to pay for seniors to use open top tourist services. At that point it was doomed. Wilts and Dorset are at least investing in new open tops for the 50 between Bmth Train station and Swanage - as a normal route that just happens to use open tops they still get the pass money. Any chance of extending on to Boscombe Pier and maybe even Christchurch? Markmag

12:20am Fri 5 Jun 09

Paul009 says...

Surely the dismal weather was a major contributor to the poor usage last year. I remember it being packed on the occasional day when it was hot and sunny, but empty most days due to the continual rain we seemed to have.

Surely the dismal weather was a major contributor to the poor usage last year. I remember it being packed on the occasional day when it was hot and sunny, but empty most days due to the continual rain we seemed to have. Paul009

1:42am Fri 5 Jun 09

Dorset_Born_n_Bread ! says...

Years ago both Bouremouth and Poole tourism open buses boomed, especially as we had so many foreign students visiting for a month and regularly enjoying a jolly on an open double decker, while learning English at Tjeareborg or EF or STS language schools (where I worked) - Sadly internet developments and scarey drunken local youths attacking students has given out town a bad rep. We should remember those days as a fun time. Shame its all gone now! But yes remind the hotels and guest houses to sell tickets to these services!
Years ago both Bouremouth and Poole tourism open buses boomed, especially as we had so many foreign students visiting for a month and regularly enjoying a jolly on an open double decker, while learning English at Tjeareborg or EF or STS language schools (where I worked) - Sadly internet developments and scarey drunken local youths attacking students has given out town a bad rep. We should remember those days as a fun time. Shame its all gone now! But yes remind the hotels and guest houses to sell tickets to these services! Dorset_Born_n_Bread !

9:04am Fri 5 Jun 09

John Garrett says...

I see on Wilts & D's website that they have bought new open top deckers for their swanage services.
I see on Wilts & D's website that they have bought new open top deckers for their swanage services. John Garrett

9:08am Fri 5 Jun 09

alasdair1967 says...

they do have an open topped bus !!!!
they do have an open topped bus !!!! alasdair1967

9:09am Fri 5 Jun 09

alasdair1967 says...

retired lady wrote:
Maybe this is another service that Shamrock could pick up.
shamrock do have an open topped bus
[quote][p][bold]retired lady[/bold] wrote: Maybe this is another service that Shamrock could pick up.[/p][/quote]shamrock do have an open topped bus alasdair1967

11:47am Fri 5 Jun 09

Julian1964 says...

What a sorry state of affairs this world is coming to???Dont blame the credit crunch on this maybe high prices does not help and the chopping and changing of routes is not making the public wanting this kind of service.Not long ago was talk of a come back for trolley buses which would have bought a great deal of money back into the town if this had gone ahead.
What a sorry state of affairs this world is coming to???Dont blame the credit crunch on this maybe high prices does not help and the chopping and changing of routes is not making the public wanting this kind of service.Not long ago was talk of a come back for trolley buses which would have bought a great deal of money back into the town if this had gone ahead. Julian1964

11:50am Fri 5 Jun 09

djd says...

There were a few open topped buses ownd by BPTA, couldn't they be brought back into use for the summers. I'm sure a lot of their members would volunteer as crew and save some of the costs.
There were a few open topped buses ownd by BPTA, couldn't they be brought back into use for the summers. I'm sure a lot of their members would volunteer as crew and save some of the costs. djd

1:53pm Fri 5 Jun 09

tony.j says...

Ben111:

I think that you in Ringwood have a fair (&fare) choice.

Try using W&D from/to Swanage! It's a nightmare!
Ben111: I think that you in Ringwood have a fair (&fare) choice. Try using W&D from/to Swanage! It's a nightmare! tony.j

8:50pm Sat 6 Jun 09

KLH says...

I saw a W&D Swanage open top today at the interchange. If I didn't have bags of shopping to get home I would have hopped on for around trip.

I saw a W&D Swanage open top today at the interchange. If I didn't have bags of shopping to get home I would have hopped on for around trip. KLH

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