Sunday, May 25, 2014

Service Change: Bermuda, Part 2 - 7 (Hamilton - Dockyard via South Shore Beaches), 8 (Hamilton - Dockyard via Middle Road), and the Hamilton Bus Terminal

I'm taking way too long with these posts. I do apologize for that. I'll be splitting what would've been part 2 into 2 parts, making a total of three. But enough about that...
Having just gotten off of the Sea Express at the Dockyard, we needed to take the bus down to Somerset to walk the Railway Trail (the Express and the Trail will be talked about in Part 3). We didn't have any worries about schedules, as the two buses that go to the Dockyard, the 7 and the 8, run every half hour coordinated. The stop we waited at was just a simple bench outside of the amazing Bermuda Maritime Museum.

Stop! Bus! I always love that.
A 7 came along, but the driver said it was out of service. Thus, we never actually took the 7, but I know the route and took a few pictures of its buses on the trip. The 7 follows the 8 all the way down to Barnes Corner, then turns onto South Road (the 8 stays on Middle Road). It's much more scenic than the 8, with great ocean views, and it also serves the many beaches on this side of the island. The beaches are so popular in fact, that there is also an every 15 minute service from Hamilton to them, ending at Barnes Corner. The 7 soon joins back up with the 8, but whereas the 8 takes a more suburban approach into Hamilton, the 7 joins up with the 1, going by the Botanical Gardens and the Hospital. Here are the pictures I took of the 7:

The 7 that was "out of service." That clearly says Hamilton on the front!
Oh, my mistake, there were two 7's that were out of service.
The 7 in a rural area.
Another 7, in a different rural area.
Luckily an 8 came along soon, and it was indeed going to Hamilton. Well, it was actually designated as an 8c, which makes absolutely no sense as the 8c supposedly goes from Hamilton to some place called Cedar Hill. It's not supposed to go anywhere near Dockyard, to my understanding. But whatever, it was a bus towards Hamilton and that's what matters.

Rounding the corner.
And approaching the stop.
It was a 2001 Berkhof, almost identical to the one on the 11 from the airport. I did get a better interior picture here, though.

The bus ended up getting pretty crowded, but it was empty here at the first stop.
This sticker on the bus appears to be a bit outdated...
The bus was fairly crowded as we turned onto Camber Road, then "Clock Tower Parade." There was an actual shelter and a fair few people waiting at the next stop, near the harbor. We then went onto Pander Road, which was a bridge over an industrial area, that became Cockburn Road.

There was an absolutely massive cruise ship docked here.
The view from Pander Road
There was a lot of island-hopping in the next stretch, none of which were particularly of note, but the views from the bridges between them were nice. The best one was Watford Bridge, a fairly long one between tiny Watford Island and the comparatively much larger Somerset Island. Here are various views from the ride that may not be in chronological order:


We soon turned into the Somerset Terminal. This was the former terminus of the Bermuda Railway (more in Part 3), and is currently a place where some buses short-turn. We proceeded back to Somerset Road, and soon made a left turn onto...Somerset Road. There were some businesses here in Somerset Village, but it's a mostly suburban town. There were houses for a while, with the occasional massive park. Somerset Road eventually became Middle Road, and we soon came to Somerset Bridge.

We actually got off here, as we had done the Railway Trail section from Somerset Terminal to this point already. Somerset Bridge is noteworthy in apparently being the smallest drawbridge in the world. All the guidebooks and tourist guides say this is a "claim," though, so who knows if it's true. One thing's for sure, it's really tiny.

Seems kinda useless, frankly.
So we walked the Railway Trail all the way to Barnes Corner. From there, we had to get a bus back to Hamilton, and it ended up being another 8. The bus was one ordered in 2009, which apparently have some...problems. A local Bermudian called the order a "disaster" - drivers apparently refuse to drive these buses. I mean, it didn't seem that bad. The poles littered with ads were kind of annoying, but they have to make revenue somehow.
We waited here for a bit. It was very comfortable. Very. Comfortable.
Really. Really. Comfortable.
Okay, it was awful. We were pretty happy when the bus came.
The bus was really crowded, but it looked like it had a back door! That would be useful, as it can be annoying when people want to get off on a crowded bus; usually people have to get out to allow the exiting person to pass. Seems like the second door would alleviate these issues.

Wait, the driver wasn't using it at all. Could it have been broken? No, there was distinctly a time when the driver accidentally opened them, then closed them again. So basically, these doors are a complete waste of space. There could be four, or even six seats in its place! It's apparently meant for people in wheelchairs, which is certainly good, but not when there's a separate service on the island for them! And if you're stuck with the doors, why not use them and make things easier for everyone? *sigh*

Okay, the stop request buttons are pretty cool.
A view of the inside.
A bad picture of the back doors.
Middle Road was, like most of the island, a mixture of suburban and rural environments. It was next to the water for a while, but ultimately went inland. Eventually we merged with the 7 again, but broke off soon after, turning onto Stowe Hill. This portion south of Hamilton is unique to the 8, and was very interesting. The neighborhood was made up of narrow one-way streets that was even more fun on a bus.

But we soon merged with the 7 and the 1 again, and headed down Crow Lane - Bermuda's only four-lane street. This became Front Street, which was right next to Hamilton Harbor. Both cruise ships and cargo ships could be seen from here. Soon we turned, heading through downtown Hamilton. Buses take a strange route getting to the terminal, making a lot of sharp turns, and there were a lot of red lights to contend with. But, we finally got to the Hamilton Bus Terminal. Here are the pictures I took there:

These monitors are supposed to show...something.
The one picture I got of the new 2014 buses. I never got to take a ride in one.
I find it interesting that there are shelters in an already sheltered area, but I guess they're for the open bit in the back.
Looking the other way.
The office there was unmanned. The upstairs portion is blocked off. But there are vending machines!
Stay tuned for Part 3, where we look at the Sea Express from St. George's to Dockyard and the Bermuda Railway Trail!

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