Winchester bus day to be the last on New Year's Day

Andover Advertiser: Winchester bus day to be the last on New Year's Day Winchester bus day to be the last on New Year's Day

THE annual vintage bus running day in Winchester on January 1 will be the last.

Friends of King Alfred Buses has announced that the 2014 Running Day in and around Winchester will be the last one to be held on that day.

The charity says the looming Silver Hill scheme will see the bus station redeveloped.

So FoKAB says it will be rethinking the formula for 2015 but will still stage something similar.

On January 1 some 40 elderly buses, many from the defunct King Alfred Bus Company, will recreate journeys from a bygone era.

FoKAB founder and chairman James Freeman said: “We have had enormous fun staging this very popular event every year – taking advantage of what was often a blank space in people’s calendar to get people out after the Christmas holiday.

“But the world is changing and it’s time to do something different.  For many years now we have relied on the generous help of our friends at Stagecoach in making the bus station available to accommodate the many visiting buses needed to carry the huge numbers of people wanting to ride on the buses.

“Last year over 21,000 passenger journeys were made on the day!  However, now that the days of the bus station are clearly numbered as the Silver Hill redevelopment starts to look as though it will really happen, we feel it’s time to stop and re-focus our efforts for future years”.

Mr Freeman added: “We are considering moving the day from New Year’s Day to a time when the weather is kinder and with less risk of weather causing disruption or even cancellation (which has never happened so far!). The format will also need to change significantly to reflect changes in Winchester’s development and traffic management and to focus more completely on the King Alfred buses, of which we are so proud.

“The King Alfred buses will continue to appear in Winchester in the meantime and we will be back with an exciting new format that ensures the public can relive the best years of the King Alfred buses and their free rides to the full”.

Souvenir timetables are available in advance by post (for £12 post free) from: FoKAB, 13 Ashley Close, Winchester, SO22 6LR.

FoKAB is a registered charity dedicated to preserving King Alfred buses and coaches and the memory of King Alfred Motor Services  which provided Winchesterl bus services between 1920 and 1973.

Membership of FoKAB is open to all over 18 years of age at an annual membership of £15.  Further details can be found at www.fokab.org.uk. There are around 300 current members.

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