Sorry for the lack of posts over the last few days. A combination of trying to clear a large backlog of photos and also needing a few days break!
I did though manage to have a go on the new Falcon service last week
I have to say I am impressed with the coaches themselves. Very comfortable seats with reasonable leg room meant it was a very civilised ride to Bristol. I suffer from back problems and occasionally find that longer coach journies leave me in quite a bit of pain, but this was not the case at all with these coaches. I have heard reports that some of these rattle quite a bit but I cant say I noticed any at all on my trips. There was an annoying alarm that kept going off on one of the coaches but as I plugged my music in that didnt bother me either.
It was not all good news though. I found the wifi really dissapointing. On the way up there was no inernet at all and on the way back it was very hit and miss ( more miss than hit) with a limited slow connection available between Taunton and Exeter when it dropped again. The power socket though was really useful as it meant I could play my music all the way up and back on my phone.
I do hope that the operators eventually get wifi sorted as it rarely works reliably on any of the Citybus or Stagecoach buses I have used either.
Time keeping was not a problem for us on either journey with both runs arriving within 5 mins of their advertised timetable which on a long run like this is quite impressive, especially with so many roadworks around at the moment. Drivers were all very friendly and the coaches were all well driven. The lady on the coach coming home did “tell me off” in a frendly way for having a return ticket when I should have purchased two single tickets at £1 each - but did point out it was the drivers fault so she would accept it. (yes - I did get both trips for £1 - 50p each way!)
Loadings were pretty good too with aprox 25 on the way up and over 30 on the way back. I have heard a few reports of coaches being full and passengers being turned away on some journies. Stagecoach using Twitter to inform passengers when pick ups were being dropped (although I wonder how many passengers would have seen them). This should ease considerably when the proper fares kick in this week.
As for Bristol itself, I cant say I am a fan. My wife would have loved it for all the clothes shops but I am not a shopper and it was too cold to do much else. I basically had a three half hour trip up, then had a cooked breakfast, and a stroll around the park. spent a short whilke taking photos and then caught the coach back - having just two hours in Bristol, which was more than enough for me. Then a nice relaxing three half hours journey back. I cant remember the last time I just spent seven hours sitting back relaxing listening to music so for that alone I have to thank Stagecoach!