Coastliner disappoints but Gold makes up for it




Travel author and adopted Brit Bill Bryson recently published The Road to Little Dribbling, the sequel to his 1995 best seller Notes from a Small Island.

In it he travels the length of breadth of Britain once again, providing a commentary, sometimes caustic and sarcastic, about the places he visits.

In his new volume he takes a number of bus journeys starting out with Stagecoach’s Coastliner 700 service along the south coast, but Bryson was less than impressed. “The bus service from Bognor Regis to Brighton is advertised as Coastliner 700, which makes it sound sleek and stylish, possibly turbo-charged,” he reported, adding that the name suggested that he would soon be travelling in air conditioned comfort “in a plush velveteen seat”.

“In fact, the bus when it wheezed in had none of these features,” he sadly noted. “It was a cramped and airless single decker filled with hard metal edges and moulded plastic seats. It was the sort of vehicle you would be expected to be put on if you were being transferred between prisons.”

Luckily though, Stagecoach Oxfordshire’s ‘Gold’-branded service made up for it. Bryson spent a night in Woodstock and travelled into Oxford on one of these buses and he was very impressed. “The bus was very blue inside and out, and very clean too,” he wrote. “This was the bus I had expected on my journey from Bognor to Hove. The seats were exceedingly comfy, in a deep blue leatherette finish.”

He also admits to being a fan of the group’s Coasthopper service in East Anglia, acquired with the purchase of Norfolk Green. “The coast here has the best and most intelligent rural bus service I know,” Bryson said. “Because it is so dependable, it has proved remarkably popular with locals and visitors alike.”


This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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