Heavy demand during King Alfred running day

Heavy usage of the Friends of King Alfred Buses (FoKAB) New Year running day has been reported. Almost 3,500 free tickets were issued during the event.

Eight King Alfred buses, supported by four visiting vehicles, operated across the one-time King Alfred network, radiating out from Winchester Broadway across the city and into the surrounding area. Programmes, designed by Best Impressions, were sold at £5 each and the stock was almost completely exhausted by the end of the day.

A popular innovation this year was the introduction of a direct link between the King Alfred celebration and the Provincial Society’s Ale’n Ride event based on Fareham and Gosport. This was well used all day.

David Morgan, FoKAB’s Secretary, said: “Demand was extremely heavy between around 11am and 2.30pm, with some journeys fully loaded before leaving the Broadway.”

One bus that could not be part of the day’s operations was 1950 Leyland Olympic JAA 708, very badly damaged in a fire on 8 December. FoKAB’s stall sold a stack of the comprehensive book by Stephen Morris ‘The Return of the Leyland Olympic’, which had been published to mark its launch in 2012.

“This was certainly the best New Year’s Day operation we have experienced for a good many years” – James Freeman, Chairman of FoKAB

James Freeman, Chairman of FoKAB, said: “This was certainly the best New Year’s Day operation we have experienced for a good many years. The buses performed well, the volunteers did all that was expected of them and more, the passengers came in droves from all around and a good time was had by all.

“Buses are fun because they are for sharing and yet everybody’s experience is unique to themselves. After New Year’s Day’s success we look forward to welcoming everybody back to Winchester for our biggest event of the year, the Original King Alfred Running Day on Bank Holiday Monday 6 May!”

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