Yesterday I decided to take advantage of a day off and finally get round to trying out the South West Cornwall network. It would have been great to be able to buy the Cornwall £10 bus and train ticket which would have given me much more flexibility but sadly Citybus dont sell these on the bus. I didn't have the time to try elsewhere - is there anywhere you can buy this in Plymouth? Has anyone actually used this ticket on a Citybus? Anyway
I duly boarded a fine Enviro 400 of Plymouth Citybus (531) with a nice front seat view
Old photo but the same bus
having paid my £8 which is still pretty good value
and off we went, nice and on time with just a few passengers off Royal Parade.
Now the plan was to get the 71, a route I have been meaning to try for ages and then connect up with the 11A at Liskeard - a ten minute window was cutting it a bit fine, especially when we had to wait 15 minutes for a ferry across the Tamar!
We picked up quite a few passengers at Torpoint including a young family - an American Mum with two young children who sat on the front seats opposite me. To say they enjoyed the journey was an understatement comparing it to a fairground roller coaster as we went up and down narrow lanes with stunning sea views. The joy on meeting oncoming traffic just added to their fun. Luckily for me there was not too many holdups and we were catching up time. When they departed off the bus at Seaton, they thanked the driver for a great ride! I was enjoying it too.
However on the short run up to Liskeard on much better and wider roads than we had been using, there was an almighty bang and then a showering of glass as the right hand (offside) front side window smashed having been hit by a low hanging branch. We had plenty of these on the whole run mostly on the nearside, but this was from the other side. I am so glad that this didn't happen when the young family was sat there as they would have been covered in glass and quite possibly hurt, at the very least badly frightened. It wasn't the drivers fault, he was brilliant - I didn't even see the branch which we hit.
The driver duly stopped to survey the damage and I had to sit downstairs and we then continued to Liskeard where we stopped at Morrisons so the driver could phone in. One passenger was hoping to pop in, do his shopping and then catch the same bus back to Seaton - he wanted to know if the bus would be coming back! I did see it continue down to Liskeard Station shortly afterwards so maybe he was able to continue as long as no one sat upstairs?
While the driver made his call I noticed the 11A coming up behind and was just able to get out in time to flag him down. He ended up taking all the passengers from 531 into Liskeard. I then sat and enjoyed a spirited ride all the way into Padstow, a place I had never been to before, and probably never will go again. Over crowded, over priced and stinking of fish. Nothing more to say really.
First were doing a great job on a very busy Park & Ride service with Tridents every ten mins all of them packed with staff on hand marshalling the queues. The place is very popular, just dont ask me why!
Having tried in vane to get something to eat I purchased one over priced ice cream and finally found a Spar shop where I could at least get a dull cheese sandwich to keep me going. There were a few pasty shops each of which had long queues just to get and and see what they had on offer! Having managed a hole hour in Padstow I took the next 11A out back to Wadebridge, a much more civilised place.
At the small bus station I found this these two little buses
Then this rather scruffy Dart appeared on the 95.
Had I had the chance to get the £10 ticket I was hoping to travel up to Bude and then come back on a Citybus 12, but never mind…
I then had an hour to wander around Wadebridge and finally get a decent portion of chips and another ice cream before the long run home to Plymouth. I cant recall which Dart it was, but it was nice and fast and well up to the job. The seats being comfortable enough for the long run to Plymouth. The heater was on which occasionally gave me a full blast of heat, but at least this time I could have the window open, unlike the run down where they were all shut by the mainly elderly passengers.
It was a good day and the drivers were all great, being friendly and helpful to all the passengers, quite a few being on first name terms with some of the regular passengers. At £8 for the ticket I cant complain about that either but it would be nice to have the full option of the day ticket for Cornwall. The extra £2 would give so many more travel options.
It does still seem odd seeing a Plymouth Citybus Dart this far down into Cornwall!