And so it was that across the land local authors competed in Bradt’s competition to find the country’s best-loved bus routes… From London and the Home Counties, South and South West England, to Wales, across Central England, the Pennines and Yorkshire, as far as Cumbria, Northumberland and Scotland, the call went out… The result, published this month, is Bus-Pass Britain a practical compendium of the 50 winning entries best judged to celebrate public transport by road in England, Scotland and Wales – ‘written by the public for the public’.
Buses may have dodged the 60s ‘Beeching Axe’ but there was no escape from 80s deregulation – in a competitive market private operators counted costs and valued public service as nothing. Profitability was key and in parts of rural Britain buses soon achieved the same semi-mythical status as free school milk and candy cigarettes in tales recalled by granny. However, despite the term ‘charabanc’ having recently been declared extinct by Collins dictionary, Bradt’s new guide suggests that bus travel is back in fashion, boosted by its sustainable profile, a growing cohort of bus-pass holders, and those with a weather eye to economical exploration who prefer to look at the view rather than the traffic ahead. ‘Buses divert to what was described by a fellow passenger on one journey as ‘all those silly places.’ They meander through villages, potter down country lanes, and squeeze between cottages nearly removing their thatched roofs, while we are free to gaze into gardens and over the countryside.’ says Hilary Bradt in her foreword. Journeys featured range from 30 minutes to three hours, traversing rural and urban settings, mixing small independent operators and large nationally recognisable companies. Revealing recommended pubs and cafes, nearby walks, historical gems and informative background along each route, Bus-Pass Britain is an enticing invitation to partake in serendipitously sociable discovery via the medium of local buses.
Title: Bus-Pass Britain
Editors: Nicky Gardner & Susanne Kries
Publisher: Bradt Travel Guides
Publication: October 2011
ISBN: 978 1 84162 376 4