Showbus goes Flyby to accommodate social distancing
Showbus International on Sunday 27 September has been altered radically to allow it to go ahead in spite of social distancing and other coronavirus precautions still expected to be in place then.
Instead of a display of parked vehicles at the Hertfordshire County Showground in St Albans, it will be a mobile event called Showbus Flyby, with buses running at frequent intervals along a 25mile stretch of the A40 between Beaconsfield and Wheatley, starting at 10.00. They will make 5min stops southbound at Stokenchurch Kings Hotel, northbound at Wycombe Retail Park (near the site of the old Thames Valley bus depot) and in both directions at Thame Town Hall as the A40 is closed at Tetsworth and all traffic is following a signposted diversion. They will also call at High Wycombe bus station in both directions.
Besides these locations, there are potential photo opportunities at junctions with the A329 at Milton Common and the B4009 near Lewknor.
The organisers hope that regulations will permit it to hold the Showbus Traders’ Village at West Wycombe Village Hall, which has been reserved from 10.00 to 15.00. If this part of the day goes ahead, the organisers recommend that visitors travelling by car use a large free car park 6min away used by visitors to the Hell-Fire Caves. The road through the village is narrow, so on-street car parking could impede the flow of the large number of buses passing in both directions.
The hourly Carousel bus service between Wycombe and Stokenchurch passes the village hall. Showbus hopes that the service — which may still have vehicle capacity restrictions – can be enhanced on the day.
Still to be confirmed are trips, with seats to be booked in advance, on buses from Beaconsfield and Oxford railway stations, with the Oxford buses also picking up at Carfax and Thornhill park-&-ride. These would make a 30min stop northbound at the traders’ village.
There will be no admission charge to the traders’ village.
Showbus organiser Martin Isles is likely to miss this year’s 48th event. He normally spends each British winter in Melbourne, Australia and is still there, where a second six-week lockdown has just been declared. The UK-based organising team will oversee Showbus Flyby.
All being well, the event – historically the UK’s biggest bus and coach gathering – will be back at St Albans on 26 September 2021.
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