Friday, 25 September 2020

Vintage bus is helping passengers with social distancing

Vintage bus is helping passengers with social distancing

Over the years I have been delighted to feature on this blog several incidences of classic machines - in this case vintage buses - being successfully pressed back into everyday use in varying capacities.  From a Christmas Day Routemaster service in Keighley, West Yorkshire, through tours of the Yorkshire Dales in an AEC Regent, to timetabled ex-London Transport AEC R/Ts serving towns on my local heritage railway's route, these numerous occurrences are proof that these vehicles are not just museum pieces and can still provide a useful service alongside more modern means of transport.

The service in this instance is a twice-daily run from Gateshead in Tyne & Wear to Chester-le-Street in County Durham, North Yorkshire, as part of a regular scheduled route operated by local bus company Go North East.  With the social distancing rules currently in place giving public transport operators major headaches (most bus companies at the moment being forced to run at barely 25% of their normal capacity) Go North East have hit on a wizard wheeze to try and maximise capacity and minimise passenger contact on its busy Number 21 route by wheeling out a 1960s Routemaster from its local heritage fleet in order to help take some of the pressure off the rest of its buses.

source - The Northern Echo

The result looks to be a wonderful trip back in time married to a [hopefully] safer method of public travel for the people of Tyneside, who I hope will be able to enjoy and appreciate this little bit of vintage effort to combat the social effects of Covid-19.  Whether Go North East will be able to continue with it in light of the direction things seem to be taking again remains to be seen - we can only hope that another lock-down can be averted and that demand for the service continues to be high enough to warrant the ongoing use of this splendid old Routemaster.  In any event it is great to see yet another vintage bus being brought back to its original role, especially to aid people in these particularly difficult times, and I am sure it will not be the last time such a story features on here.  In the meantime a jolly well done to Go North East and the North-East Bus Preservation Trust and here's wishing many more happy miles for their service 21 Routemaster.

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