Axe Valley Travel’s 899 is often diverted away from Branscombe. When Roger French was thus diverted je reported that the diversion was “only a short distance” via the A3052,
Roger’s diversion is shown on the above map in GREEN. Whilst the mileage may be “short” it represents approximately one third of the total route length; and it leaves the long drawn out Branscombe completely unserved.
Branscombe has an all-year-round population of a modest 500 souls, augmented significantly in summer by holiday homes, holiday lets and visitors in general.
Here is the 899 timetable from the Devon County web site.
The school day only (SD) journeys do nor run via Branscombe but instead serve “THREE HORSE SHOES Inn”.
This is said inn in the 1930s …
… this is the inn a few years ago …
… and this is the inn today.
Yes, gorn for ever!
Geographically it is “in” Branscombe – but it patently isn’t.
The development that replaces it does not seem to have a name …
… it remains anonymous on all maps!
But the diverted 899s go that way.
The non-diverted route is rejoined here …
… just in time to collect/deliver crowds (?) visiting the Donkey Sanctuary …
… before rejoining the A3052.
So there are FOUR journeys Monday to Friday via Branscombe and THREE on Saturdays – unless there aren’t because of repeated road closures.
Real bus riding enthusiasts will try to catch a bus via Sid …
The 0930 from Seaton and the 1240 from Sidmouth follow the YELLOW road (see map above) to serve the community of Fortescue, sometimes called “Sid”. Open Street Map shows us the highlight of the route …
… namely Fortescue Phone Box.
And there it is, complete with bus stop “flag” for the 899.
Such is the truly wonderful public transport experience delivered by fbb! Sid (or Fortescue) is on the posh side of posh, so only the occasional passenger will join or alight. But he route via Sid is much nicer than the boring main drag.
And yes, it is called “Sid Road”.
The normal service just follows the main road vua Sidford …
… into Sidmouth, terminating at “The Triangle”. Here there used to be three matching shelters made of environmentally acceptable timber. The local “youff” burned one down but it was replaced with a “near match” and the visual congeniality was happily preserved.
But now the two original unburnt edifices have been demolished and replaced with horrible glass and plastic “advertising” shelters …
… leaving the wooden fire damage replacement looking decidedly odd.
Surely the originals have not been torn down just to get free shelters from the advertising contractors?
But at least Devon County bus stop flags proliferate, but with small printing as usual.
So, if you have your portable step ladder with you and thus can read it …
… you can catch the 9A to Lyme Regis.
You would have a very long wait! The 9A does not extend to Lyme Regis any ,more – withdrawn by Stagecoach.
The 9A goes no further than Seaton/
Perhaps someone should tell Devon County Council!
Which brings us back to the appalling and repeated bad treatment of Branscombe’s bus passengers.
We must accept that digging up narrow roads may well present a problem for public transport. But Axe Valley run a reliable service over a route that deserves to attract visitors and locals alike.
It seems a disgrace that the best bit of the route is taken from them so often. In view of the need to dig holes now and then, fbb has some suggestions.
1. Dig the holes on SUNDAY when the 899 does not run
2. Run a minibus or taxi “shuttle” connecting with the diverted route.
3. Ensure that the hole diggers pay compensation to AVT
4. Co-ordinate hole digging to reduce the cost of the above.
It ought to be possible!
But if our readers get the chance, PLEASE ride the 899 – you WILL enjoy it!
Next “How Much” blog : Wednesday 3rd August