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Commuting to Bristol in 1977/1978

"Wotton-under-Edge resident 1977/1978 - so didn't stay long!" : Click for more details
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PaulW2U   Jun 22nd 2014 17:07

My parents moved to Wotton-under-Edge in early 1977 and I reluctantly moved with them.

Although I had a small motor-bike at the time I remember using the bus to get to work in Bristol. It seems commuting was so much easier then than now. And I used to do it five or six days a week!

There were three buses each morning that I could use, an 0700 and 0745 525 or may be 526 and an 0730 400. The 525/526 was a Bristol/Gloucester service, the 400 was a Bristol/Stroud service. From memory the 0700 started at Wotton and ran to Bristol via Charfield and Rangeworthy. The 0745 followed the same route but started at Dursley. I normally caught the 0730 from the War Memorial which ran via Wickwar, Chipping Sodbury and Fishponds.

Back in those days there were no traffic delays. Each service would arrive at Bristol's bus station within a minute of the advertised time. (Really!)

To get home there was a 525 or 526 at 1750 and a 400 at 1805. Again both services would be on time with very little in the way of traffic problems. On a Saturday I used to catch the 1250 from Bristol, getting home about 1315. I generally had a 12 hour day away from home (0715-1915) and was reasonably happy with the journey but I was so much younger then. It's not a journey that I would even attempt now. By the way, I seem to remember the single fare being just 96p!

I am now living in Yate but even with five buses an hour into Bristol, commuting hasn't really improved as the traffic is so much heavier and the delays are so much worse.

I remember some of the Gloucester services were driven by Bob White and may be his son too. Were they both local to Wotton? There was a depot/out-station in which to keep three buses overnight, two for the Bristol/Gloucester service and one for a local route. I looked for it yesterday, returning to Wotton for the first time since 1978 but couldn't find it. A forum search confirms it is no longer there. But when was it demolished and houses built in its place?

Anyone care to fill in the gaps to help my fading memories of those happy times long past? It would be much appreciated.

Last edited by PaulW2U on 23/06/2014 at 17:01:16

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bladerunner   Jun 23rd 2014 01:12

Nice memories there Paul, can't fill in any gaps I'm afraid as I'm a relative newcomer
to Wotton, but I do remember back in the late 50s early 60s quite often getting the
'country bus' from Downend to Stroud, which went through Wotton. It was quite an
adventure as we then got another bus up to Amberley where a family friend lived.

It's actually one of my earliest memories of the bus grinding its way up the hills
around Wotton and something about watercress beds near Ruskin Mill. I also seem
to remember there was a faster bus to Stroud which went via Old Sodbury and A46?
In my defence, I was very young.

Those were the days of the long-lamented Bristol Omnibus Company which actually
ran services to places you needed to go - but that's another story...

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BobsBoy47   Jun 23rd 2014 10:35

The Bus Depot was located at the Bradley Street end of Westfields and still there until at least 1975 when I left Wotton.

A quick check at the local council offices, Gloucester County Records Office or Wotton Heritage Centre will probably give you a more accurate answer.

A quick look online at Wikipedia about Bristol Omnibus Company mentions privatisation in 1980 so my guess is that by 1985 the bus depot would have been disused.

Any locals on the forum who can tell us for sure?

"Wotton-under-Edge resident 1977/1978 - so didn't stay long!" : Click for more details
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PaulW2U   Jun 23rd 2014 17:23

Thanks for your replies.

I think that I had always assumed that the breakup or privatisation of the Bristol Omnibus Company and the inevitable decline of passengers using the Bristol/Gloucester service meant that the Wotton depot had little reason to exist. Passenger numbers in and out of Wotton were always low but both Gloucester and Stroud services were pretty full in and out of Bristol and probably Gloucester too.

I seem to remember that the Bristol/Gloucester service was driven by Bristol, Gloucester and Wotton drivers with the Wotton drivers operating the first services out of Wotton and the last services back but whenever there was a need for a driver change at Wotton, the change would always be done in Bear Street near the depot rather than at the more logical stop at the War Memorial.

Now, one for real bus enthusiasts:

There was a 'sneaky' driver/bus change at around 2315 each evening at Dursley Bus Station which allowed buses based at Wotton to be returned to Gloucester depot and to be exchanged for a 'new' vehicle for temporary out-basing at Wotton. wink

[external link] shows a lot of services in the area were withdrawn by BOC on 25/07/1981.

"Wotton-under-Edge resident 1977/1978 - so didn't stay long!" : Click for more details
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PaulW2U   Jun 30th 2014 21:08

And here's an extract from the 1976 Bristol/Gloucester timetable:

[external link]

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