The notion that Fleet St should be free of buses has been around ever since Fleet St was pedestrianised which was over 20 years ago. There is an other way round other than using Fleet St; two in fact. The first is that the buses that come down Union St and Pimlico continue round the Post Office Roundabout and up Abbey Road and turn left into Torr Church Road onto Lucius St and left down Belgrave Rd and left at Torbay Rd and onto the Strand. This route has a couple or three problems. First it would add 6 or 7 minutes onto the journey time and increase the cost. I can almost heard Stagecoach saying, "Goody." Second there are a couple of nasty bends in Torr Church Rd, add 53 buses an hour going this way and it is only a matter of time before two of them go bump, day or night. And three, there are lots of hotels in Belgrave Rd. These hotels do a lot of coach tour type holidays and very few of them, none in fact have coach parks that you can drive into and out the other end. So we have to reverse our coaches into the hotel grounds. Try that with 53 buses an hour running up and down the road and fun will ensue.
The second idea which was put forward recently is even dafter. The buses (12, 12A, 31, 32, 34, 111, 61, 64/65 (sorry if I missed any)) coming down Pimlico would terminate in Abbey Road opposite the cinema, just take a second to imagine the effect of 4 or 5 buses waiting time on Abbey Rd, and those passengers who wished to continue to Babbacombe, Welswood, Paignton, South Devon College and Brixham could walk down the now completely vehicle free Fleet St, except that is for council vehicles, delivery trucks, taxis with disabled access, emergency vehicles, Security vans, cycles and any lost souls who have driven past a clear sign saying no vehicles except local buses. Once at the harbour, a 700 yard walk, they would patiently wait for an other bus to take them on to their destination. Yeah right. It would be the same the other way as well. Passengers would get off on the Strand and walk up, and it is up hill, Fleet St faced by the hoards of passengers heading down Fleet St. Not the best idea of the 21st century.
It does look nice without buses though. Mind you I had to wait 10 mins to get this bus free shot.