From time to time, I like to update my readers about the bus scene in my local city of Portsmouth. This is the first of a two part post - the first surveying a Sunday/bank holiday service, the second on an every day Mon-Sat operation.
Firstly, a look at Stagecoach. Stagecoach South operate four routes into Portsmouth on a Sunday. The 700 is one of those, which has seen its frequency doubled recently to every half an hour on a Sunday. Coastliner branded Enviro400s tend to operate the route throughout, with the odd non-branded Enviro400 from Chichester, or single decker Enviro300 from Chichester or Worthing. The standard fare to Southsea are these Scania/E400s though, as illustrated here by 15594 (GX10HBC) passing Portsmouth's cathedral in the city centre.
On a Sunday, route 21 and route 23 provide five buses an hour between Portsmouth City Centre and The Hard. For the 23, this is a Sunday only variation. The 21 seems to be operated by Enviros on Sundays rather than the standard Darts, although this is only based on my observations. Here's 27562 (GX58GNJ), which has recently been repainted out of the Sail23 branding.
The daily Hoverbus service is usually operated by former Tellings Golden Millar Dart 33156 (LK55KZZ). Here is the specially branded bus, heading for Portsmouth city centre on bank holiday Monday.
Over to First, whose Sunday Portsmouth operations seem to be primarily operated by Hilsea depot. The recent route changes means that, for the first time in nearly a decade, Fareham and Portchester see regular Hilsea-based buses on route 3. Here is former Hong Kong, Edinburgh and Devon Dart 40959 (S335TJX), heading down the appropriately named Edinburgh Road! Apart from the Volvo B7RLEs on routes 7 and 8, and the odd Scania or Volvo B10BLE out on route 1, 2 and 3, this is about the biggest First bus in service in Portsmouth on a Sunday.
Hilsea's former London Dennis Dart SLFs operate on the main city routes on a Sunday, being primarily allocated to the peripheral routes (13, 14, 15, 17, 18) on a weekday or Saturday. Here is 41346 (V346DLH) heading for Paulsgrove last Bank Holiday Monday.
In addition to the shorter Dart SLFs, the Solos come out to play on the main city services on a Sunday or Bank Holiday. Usually allocated to route X9 on a Monday-Saturday operation, here is Portsmouth's youngest and only native Solo, 53140 (YJ05XOP), heading for Southsea on Portsmouth circular route 1.
As a final note, all photos were taken along Edinburgh Road, just up from the city centre. With the high sun and shorter shadows, this is an excellent photography location in the summer. Photos, such as those posted above, are available from around 0900 until about 1230ish. Traffic is at a minimum - the main problem is other buses or the occasional taxi getting in the way. Pedestrian foot-flow is also not a problem, so if you want an easy, comfortable location to photograph in Portsmouth with an excellent backdrop, this is your place!