13 October 2009

The Fifty Two Blues

Plymouth Citybus 201 X201CDV (by didbygraham)
One of the less positive changes to Citybus services on the 25th October sees the end of the Citybus 52 service linking Plympton with Derriford Hospital. It is a service which has had a volatile history to say the least. It also has a very vocal group of passengers who use the service and have fought hard to keep the service as it is and have used every opportunity to let Citybus, and other operators know what they want.

The previous reduction in the service to peak hours only saw Target Travel come in and take up the day time workings that Citybus gave up. The morning and evening runs on the target Travel 52A are very popular with their regular passengers. The Citybus duties also seem to carry a fair few passengers when I have seen them. However it is understandable in the present circumstances that Citybus want to make much better use of their resources so their 52 comes to an end in just under two weeks time.
The news of the 52 demise has been well publicised at Derriford Hospital so I was waiting for the backlash. Sure enough...
"After ringing Target to ask if they will be adding the 52's times to their timetable their response was NO. After many discussions on the bus with the regulars who use this service, we thought it would be a good idea if we bombard Target Travel with e-mails and hopefully will let them know there is a need for the extra buses at peak times"

It remains to be seen if Target do fill the gap. When they started it seemed that they did want to run the full service if Citybus gave up their runs, but of course since then they have taken on a lot of extra work in Plymouth so may not have the capacity to take on extra runs at the moment. I am looking forward to the next bus users meeting (well overdue!) as I am sure the 52 will be brought up! Of course before Citybus ran the service it was with First where it was a lot less reliable but a lot more interesting in that you never knew what would turn up on it....

First Western National 4521 R164TLM (by didbygraham) ©Terry Partridge July 2003
First Western National 1755 A755VAF (by didbygraham) (Not actually on the 52 at the time of the photo, but they made plenty of appearances on the route for a while.)

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