This Sunday morning, July 5, the weather was sunny, a bit windy, but nevertheless a nice day. But may be the presence of the wind was the answer to a conundrum? The 102 bus to Camber was waiting at the bus stop, and its bifold doors were open so I took the opportunity to have a chat with the driver.
The first thing I noticed was a sign inside suggesting a safe limit for passenger numbers was 20, but that actual numbers allowed on the bus at any one time was at the discretion of the driver, and he was wearing a face mask and gloves, and passengers were advised to wear face coverings, but (he said) he could not enforce this.
[Editor’s note: Government websites say wearing facemasks on public transport was mandatory from June 15, but who would enforce this was not clear. Transport police? Bus or train staff? A few days later however many buses had banners on their fronts saying that facemasks were compulsory !]
As it was sunny and 11:30 in the morning, I assumed most revellers would be up and about by now, even if they had imbibed in a glass or two of something the previous evening, given that pubs were now open.
But no, there was nobody on either deck of the double decker, and this was the driver’s fourth trip to Camber that day and he hadn’t picked up a soul as yet. What a turn around when only about two weeks ago, getting to Camber was virtually impossible not only due to the sheer volume of traffic – but with consequential road closures in place. Then, it seemed, the world and his wife were heading for the famous sands.
One explanation could be the current closure of Pontins Holiday Park at Camber and in a statement on their website, it says: “Pontins Holiday Parks and Sand Bay & Pakefield Holiday Villages are re-opening from 17th July 2020 in line with current government advice. At this time we can only offer self catered breaks. Following government guidelines there will be no entertainment and the activities on park will be limited as social distancing guidelines must be adhered to.”
The reduced activities are reflected in a price drop for those booking holidays in July and August. It will cost £89 for four people to share a one-bedroom self-catered apartment at any Pontins park for three or four nights, equivalent stays for next year are priced up to £179.
The driver was a bit despondent and confused as to why passengers had gone to ground, but cheerily went on his way in his empty bus for the fifth time that day. The bus service was available, the driver was being paid to drive and deliver the service, but unfortunately there was nobody available to take advantage of it. Was it just that the Pontins Holiday Park was closed, or perhaps the fear of travelling on public transport, or did the windy weather put them off?
Adjacent to the bus stops are some brand new high tech digital bus timetables confirming the route, destination and time of services available. They appear to have been provided by East Sussex County Council, very smart, unobtrusive and easy to read, and what a pity there was nobody around to read them.
Image Credits: Nick Forman .