HUNDREDS of families and bus enthusiasts braved a cold and wet winter’s day to enjoy the Vintage Bus Day created by bus operator Salisbury Reds, to mark the end of more than 70 years of bus operations at Salisbury bus station and fundraise for the Hospital’s Stars Appeal. Andrew Wickham, managing director of Salisbury Reds, was one of the first volunteer drivers taking the historic buses onto special routes around the City in a 1962 London Routemaster double deck bus.
More than 20 old vehicles shared the Bus Station with the new. There was a rare opportunity to see a New Bus For London outside of the capital city that was introduced by Transport For London in February 2012 running through Salisbury alongside the oldest bus, an 1939 Bristol K5G.
Go South Coast, part of the Go Ahead Group which owns Salisbury Reds and other bus and coach operations in Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, has pledged to double the final total raised for the Stars Appeal.
Salisbury Red’s operations manager Andrew Sherrington said that many of the public commented that the vintage bus day was a fitting end to the era of the bus station, now closed because it is too expensive to maintain and operate services: “We were fortunate to be joined by some buses that were recognised by local people from the Wilts & Dorset and Hants & Dorset operations. We thank everyone who contributed to help make the day a great success.”
With the bus station closed, bus services will now use bus stops around the city with some timetable changes. Information can be found by visiting www.salisburyreds.co.uk or calling 0845 072 7093, from bus drivers or from the Bus Station. Both Salisbury Reds and Wiltshire Council will have advisors in the city centre helping customers through the period of change.