Wednesday 5 August 2015

A Day On The 521

March 31st 2014 was the start of an era. On that day BorderBus began operating the SCC sponsored 521 between Halesworth and Aldeburgh, which was their first service route. They bought a mini E200 for the service, which it has to be said I wasn't entirely complimentary about if you read my report from that day by clicking here.

Since then I've barely been on the route although I see the bus almost everytime I go out. So since the legend that is Malcolm was taking a day off from the 146 and was behind the wheel of the 521 it seemed a good time to assess both the popularity of the route and how well the bus had lasted.

BB14 BUS at Halesworth Station
I'm pleased to say both aspects get good reports. The bus had passengers on board near enough the entire time I was on it especially in the Aldeburgh/Thorpness areas thanks to the good weather, but also some regular shoppers going into Saxmundham and Halesworth. I said at the time the easy access aspect of the bus would go down well and that seems to have been the case. It is a popular and much needed route and for some people a vital link.

Turning at the picturesque Benhall Green
Now the bus. In the 16 months it has been in service it has somehow clocked up 88,000 miles which is quite astonishing when you think it has spent its life trundling between Halesworth and Aldeburgh. I must also emphasise that the roads are not Suffolk's finest, and since everyone knows that E200's are rattling when they leave the factory and after 5,000 miles sound like a wedding car trailing a dozen tin cans, you will be expecting me to say you can hardly hear yourself think on it.

Not so. Dave Marshall and Colin Stammers at BorderBus have worked miracles and the ratttles are no worse than they were when the bus entered service last year. That is some achievement and I didn't even notice the awful whine that annoyed me on its first day out. All in all the bus, route and passengers seem pretty happy and it was a very enjoyable few hours with Malcolm who put up with me like a true pro!

At Aldeburgh after the sun had gone

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