During a recent holiday in Venice I saw a bus I thought I recognised.
Mrs Busman John and I were travelling in a hotel shuttle minibus on the island of Lido Di Venezia (near Venice) when we saw a distinctly British-looking bus. As we drew closer I thought I recognised the livery – a psuedo Huddersfield Corporation scheme applied to an ex-Leeds Corporation Daimler CVG6 bus. Confirmation came as soon as I could read the registration number 572CNW.
Later the same day we found the bus again, this time on foot so that we could have a closer look and take some photos. The bus was exported to Italy in 2011 after it was sold by Quantock Motor Services, for whom I worked as a conductor for a time.
I conducted on this bus a few times at running days and on private hire jobs so I was rather gobsmacked to see it again! It is a permanent fixture beside a road on Lido, converted for use as a snack bar. The interior has been ripped out and the roof cut off, being replaced with a ‘lid’ which can be raised up on poles as seen here.
It still wears the livery applied by QMS and, if you peer into the cab, you can see the ghost of a former owner still at the wheel!
I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the poor old girl, especially as she was in operational condition with a Class 6 MOT when sold. If you want to hear about the epic delivery journey from the UK, speak to Martyn Hearson of Reliance Bus Works!
There are other buses in the area of course and we made good use of them during our stay. However, they didn’t have much to interest me. They were all the same – modern orange Breda single decks with only 20 seats. The rest of the space was devoted to standees, of which there were often many.
On one long journey we were surprised to find the bus driving onto a car ferry to cross a busy shipping channel. In fact, almost as soon as we had left the dockside we passed astern of a large container ship which happened to be passing by.
Which leads me neatly to the other form of transport for which Venice is famous. No, not gondolas, the water bus or Vaporetto (‘little steamer’). Because Venice is a man-made structure, most of the streets are canals. I was amazed to read that all the buildings are supported on large oak pilings which were sunk into the mud of the Venezia lagoon hundreds of years ago. There is no land there at all.
If you want to get anywhere, most people use the vaporetto service which operates just like a city bus service with a frequent service on many routes.
The photo below shows the busy scene at the tourist hotspot of the Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Square. Vaporetti, gondolas, water taxis and tour boats all going about their business makes the scene a busy one. Add in a few slow-moving commercial freight boats (the equivalent of a DHL delivery van) and you have a very chaotic waterway. Despite all this activity, we didn’t once see an accident. Not even a near miss. I must say that the level of seamanship was high and the crews of the vaporetti have a very slick system of calling briefly at the ‘bus stops’.
If there is one disadvantage of being a tourist on the vaporetti for several days, it’s having ‘sea legs’. I don’t suffer from travel sickness but, when on dry land I still felt the ground beneath my feet swaying hours after being on a boat!