Sunday 2nd March 2003
week commencing 10th March 2003
Please note that any comments made in this news page are those of the Editors' and in no way constitute
any official points of view from the bus companies mentioned, or indeed any other official body.
As a news page we reserve the right to make valid comments as seen from an editorial point of view.
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This week's update will, needs must, be rather short and sweet. The weather last Friday was appalling and not conducive for photography and Saturday I had a wedding to attend in Horsham plus I was blessed with a lousy head cold. This meant that Sunday has been spent trying to get away from the cold and ensuring I am fit to fly to Amsterdam, as is now usual on a Monday morning. however I have received some good input from a number of you plus some photos, so all is not lost.
Friday evening saw me make the 1620 up to London (X90) and this brings me to the thrust of this week's Editorial. The serious traffic congestion affecting bus and coach services in Oxford and London. It took all of one hour to get out of Oxford due to the very heavy traffic through Headington. In fact traffic was backed down Headington Hill and apart from a short break after Headington shops leading up to the ring road roundabout traffic speed was down to a crawl. The road is hardly wide enough for any sort of bus lanes and there is so much traffic joining the main road at Gipsy Lane and Headley Way that the congestion occurs. Also with the stop there being almost opposite the inbound stop and a busy bus service this adds to the problem.
As can be seen from the photo above the traffic stretches for a long way and if one is to encourage bus and coach travel something needs to be done. Maybe a widening of the road and some form of tidal flow bus lane is the answer. On the London side the exit from London along the Westway approaching the junction with Old Oak Common Road seems to lend itself to a bus and taxi lane. I can imagine the howls of anguish from motorists but if we are to get longer distance motorists out of their cars such actions need to be done. It is not unusual for this stretch to take over 10 minutes or more in rush hours, just at the time workers are coming home. With the potential for Park & Ride sites along the M40, maybe at High Wycombe and Beaconsfield, with a speedier journey into an out of London for the coaches, ridership might increase significantly. Such action should be applied to all the motorways leading into London. The M4 could benefit from a Park & Ride near Reading and other routes must have similar possibilities. Only with such actions will London's Congestion Charge system be fully complimented. Such Park & Ride sites need to be properly fitted out with security (which works), waiting rooms with refreshment facilities etc. The railways are running at peak with overcrowding, a major complaint on many lines. Coaches are not permitted to "overcrowd", everyone must have a seat. I wonder how long it will be before Government tackles this part of the road problem. Equally they will need to spend some money and acknowledge that operators are going to need support in adding extra coaches to their fleet to match the potential increase in ridership. This is not just an Oxford-Chiltern's problem but is a countrywide need. Do any of you have any thoughts?
Marc Downing wrote from fellow company Brighton & Hove saying "Just a quick word from down south in Brighton. The 18 Scania Omnidekkas due for delivery in March to Brighton and Hove are running late due to Scania switching bus chassis production to another factory in Sodertalje because of increased demand. It seems that the chassis's wont be delivered to East Lancs until April. As a result, Scania are lending us six Scania single decks in all white livery until the Omnidekkas are delivered. The new Scania's seem to be a popular choice among staff here as the older Scania N113's in the fleet are very comfortable vehicles to drive with smooth gear changes, powerful engine and comfortable cabs. My personal favourite buses to drive are the Volvo B10BLE's followed closely by the Scanias. Regarding Airlinks, I also find their livery choices strange. We now have an hourly Jetlink service from Brighton and any coach from any four liveries seem to operate this service apart from the ex Stort Valley vehicles which i have never seen in Brighton."
Thanks for that Marc, I wonder what you think of the Mercedes Benz Citaro now here in Oxford and of course in Slough.
On another matter Brian Matthews sent in a few pictures this week including this one of a Whites Mercedes in St Aldates.
Brian says "Regarding the picture of the White's Mercedes minibus it does seem that nearly all these types of services suffer from the lack of satisfactory temporary route and destination detail displays. I can see that the provision of a permanent changeable screen (as used by the large operator fleets) is not practical but there must surely be a 'middle of the road' answer to improve the situation, which at present varies from nothing at all to computer printed A3 size cards propped or flopped in the front shelf / screen area. Any other views on this or suggestions for improvements? As some of these services may have local authority subsidies involved there is also the possibility of lost revenue, with unmarked white minis doing the town rounds and with potential casual passengers not realising that it was a 'proper' bus service passing by. Perhaps the "Oxfordshire County Traffic Group" may like to comment?"
This whole business of destination displays is one which is featured in a big or small way most weeks. There are, for example, many buses in the Arriva fleet at Wycombe, which have no destination equipment in working order. Transfers of buses in proiduce even late models buses with paper stickers in their windows. And yet a small local operator like Carousel seems able to ensure that all its buses have proper destination equipment. I wonder why?
This Vario has paper stickers front and side which since buses are used by elderly people often
with impaired sight, I wonder how this is permitted? 2171 is a new arrival at Wycombe.
A now a request, Bob
Hessian from Bicester writes as follows "Not
sure if you can me on this. I'm trying to compile as much information as
possible regarding the history of Bicester. Do you have any information as to
when the first motor buses ran between Oxford and Bicester and the commencement
of any other services around Bicester.
Chairman, Bicester Local History Society"
Well if anyone has some thoughts and information please send them to me and I will pass them on. I expect photos would also be of use.
Steve Annells wrote to say
a look at
http://busstation.fotopic.net/ - it's so new I've
not put any captions on yet, and
experimenting with the format, but I think most people will forgive that. I'll
be publicising it in my next Bus Station update . There will be more when I can
spend some time with my scanner.
YOUNGEST DRIVER ON OXFORD'S GUIDE FRIDAY.
Richard Morgan wrote to me
about his daughter featured driving a Guide Friday tour bus on last week's page.
He says "Further
to you photo of Tappins 39 and comments about my daughter in Weekly
News Issue 20, I thought you might be interested in having
Guide Friday-City Sightseeing Oxford has the youngest person driving any City Sightseeing open top tour worldwide. Carole Morgan gained her PCV licence on Monday 6 January 2003, at the age of 18 yrs 5 mths. She has worked for Guide Friday since she was 6 years old. She started unofficially at Guide Friday, riding around Oxford on her father's bus. Her appetite for the industry was whetted and when she turned 15, she was employed officially as a PA, at 16 she moved on to selling tickets and by 17 she became office staff. Carole works part time for Tappins, who own the Guide Friday City Sightseeing Oxford franchise and passed her test in a 12-metre Volvo/Plaxton 53 seater, with seven-speed manual gearbox. Carole is currently in her final year studying 'A' Levels at Oxford College, before hopefully going to University in September.
A photo of Carole driving Tappins no 129.
Co-incidentally, Guide Friday City Sightseeing Oxford also
emloys the most elderly driver working for City Sightseeing worldwide. He is
Reg Trinder, aged 73.
Thanks for that Richard, it adds a human interest angle to the page which is much appreciated.
I look forward to your continued support with news and photos for this page. The many very positive comments make it all worth while.
Malcolm Crowe, March 2nd 2003.
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
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News of the local companies - 2nd March 2003
Arriva serving The Shires
Nigel Peach writes
not reported much recently as other people spot things before I do!
You reported last week that SLF Dart 3823 has been transferred to Aylesbury, but you can't keep it away from Wycombe! It was in the bus station on the
324 from Aylesbury at lunchtime.
Volvo B6 3244 is still in the bus station out of service, it's blind still saying 353 Maidenhead. Maybe someone will correct me, but I reckon it's not run in service for about four months!
An update on Volvo B6 3244. Inevitably, a couple of days after I say it's been out of use for months I see it running. It was at work on Sat 1st March, so cancel my previous note!!"
Steve Warwick writes : "Olympian 5114 (G284 UMJ) is to be transferred from H/W to Aylesbury on Monday for replacement of the remaining Blue/Yellow Olympians 5083, 5088 & 5097 as they go in for repaint and refurbishment."
Carousel, High Wycombe.
M703 is refuelled around the corner from the depot.
This can often cause a problem for an operator of deckers as not every filling station has clearance.
Ed Maun writes "I note your reference in Issue 21 to the letter in last week’s Bucks Free Press entitled “Getting nowhere on the buses”. You may have seen an article on page 4 of the previous week’s edition entitled “Peak bus services slashed”. This reported on the withdrawal of service 332 between Thame and High Wycombe and the Risborough Town service (77). It implied that there would be no more buses from Saunderton and Bradenham to High Wycombe. This report was misleading and incorrect in that it failed to mention the enhanced service 321 operated by Carousel and Z & S from Monday 17th February. This is a replacement for both the 77 and the Risborough to High Wycombe leg of the 332. I wrote to the Bucks Free Press pointing this out with a request to publish my letter to set the record straight. It came as no surprise that they chose to publish the negative letter to which you refer, instead of my more positive letter!"
I have included Ed's comments as the 321 is partly operated by Carousel these days.
City of Oxford Motor Services - The Oxford Bus Company.
Volvo 611 waits time in Queen St on a 2 road working with 644 about to overtake on a 4 road service.
Volvo 633 heads towards Rose Hill, near the track on which the 4 minute mile was broken many years ago.
Volvo 658 works an X3 service followed by 648 on 4 road, seen in New Road.
The remaining Olympians still in service are 221-224. 214 is leaving the fleet to joins Woottens.
Stephen le Bras writes re the Mercedes Benz Citaros "They will be EC2012-2019. They are pretty much ready to go into service from mid week onwards. The white trainer has disappeared off to be painted silver and 4 buses plus one in the sheds were visible on a flying visit to Slough yard yesterday.
A photo appears on appears on http://www.firstlondontimetables.co.uk/
writes on the same subject "Noted
1st March were the Citaros: WXB, WXL, WXN, WXO, WXP. WXP is lettered for airport
services the others are unlettered silver.
Also driver trainer MB592 H392 WAR M.B. 709D/Beaver.
The Citaros will be fleet numbers 2012 - 2019 LT52 WXA/B/L/M/N/O/P/R."
Motts, Stoke Mandeville
Following last week's notes and my request for a fllet list, Steve Wariwck sent the infomration below.
Motts Fleet – February 2003
5705MT 1995 Volvo B12R/Jonckheere Monaco 71 seater
B12RMT 1995 Volvo B12R/Jonckheere Monaco 71 seater
MT51MTT 2001 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Mistral 49 seater
W200MTT 2000 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Mistral 49 seater
T100MTT 1999 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Mistral 49 seater
S5MTT 1999 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Mistral 49 seater
90WFC 1998 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Mistral 28 Exec WFC Team Coach
R50MTT 1998 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Mistral 49 seater
R968RCH 1998 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Mistral 49 seater
M616ORJ 1995 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Deauville 53 seater
M617ORJ 1995 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Deauville 53 seater (re registered 6247MT)
4442MT 1995 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Deauville 49 seater
6787MT 1994 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Deauville 49 seater
5812MT 1993 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Deauville 49 seater (ex Oxford Tube)
B10MMT 1993 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Deauville 49 seater
9920MT 1992 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Deauville 53 seater
1746MT 1991 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Deauville 51 seater
5874MT 1990 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere Deauville 53 seater
6957MT 1988 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere P599 53 seater
6601MT 1983 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere P50 51 seater
T7MTT 1999 Volvo B7/Plaxton Prima 51/33 & 5 wheelchairs
T9MTT 1999 Volvo B7/Plaxton Prima 53 seater
S20MTT 1998 Volvo B7/Plaxton Prima 55 seater
5814MT 1987 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere P50 53 seater
9975MT 1987 Volvo B10M/Jonckheere P50 53 seater
S300MTT 1999 Volvo B9M/Jonckheere Mistral 36 seater
5723MT 1996 Volvo B9M/Van Hool 36 seater
E25UNE 1988 Leyland Tiger/Alexander N 57 seater (Ex Arriva Midlands North)
E26UNE 1988 Leyland Tiger/Alexander N 57 seater (Ex Arriva Midlands North)
E27UNE 1988 Leyland Tiger/Alexander N 57 seater
E28UNE 1988 Leyland Tiger/Alexander N 57 seater
641UTO 1976 Volvo B58/East Lancs 49 seater
F763EKM 1989 MCW Metrobus Mk2 70 seater (Ex East Kent)
F766EKM 1989 MCW Metrobus Mk2 70 seater (Ex East Kent)
E153OMD 1988 Leyland Olympian/ECW 76 seater
CUB539Y 1983 MCW Metrobus 76 seater
CUB540Y 1983 MCW Metrobus 76 seater
LIL7230 1985 Leyland Olympian/ECW 73 seater
MT02MTT 2002 Mercedes 815D 29 seater
S490UAK 1998 Mercedes 814D/Plaxton 29 seater
P373XGG 1997 Mercedes 711D/Plaxton 25 seater
M971CVG 1995 Mercedes 711D/Plaxton 25 seater
Forthcoming Vehicles in the next few weeks:
MT03MTT 2003 Mercedes 0815 Sitcar Beluga C29F
BT03MTT 2003 Volvo B12B Plaxton Panther C49FT
GB03MTT 2003 Volvo B12B Plaxton Panther C49FT
Also E29UNE & E30UNE 1988 Leyland Tiger/Alexander N
(when Arriva Midlands North releases them).
Michael Wadman writes "Last October RH Transport of Witney started a network of tendered services based on Woodstock marketed as "The Woodstock Wanderer". Ford Transit Chassis Developments F124JGS has just arrived at Woodstock on the 242 from Bladon and will form the 09:20 service 203 departure to Kidlington.
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire & Stagecoach in Oxford
Double decks have now arrived on the Bicester services and here 16440 waits time Gloucester Green last Friday.
Seen last Friday in Gloucester Green yet another un-renumbered Stagecoach East bus, 757
alongside 33943 from Swindon.
22935 a few days ago in Queen Street with technical problems awaiting assistance.
For my National Express lovers, this Stagecoach South East Volvo B10M-62 leaves VCS for Ramsgate.
One of my correspondents writes "For the 3rd time in a week, I have woken up about 3.00 a.m. with answers to problem of the previous day.This one concerns buses. Question - Why did COMS not get route 600, and why are Stagecoach using high floor Merc 709s. Probable answer. It goes to Churchill Hospital (not JR as I thought). The Churchill has been served by Thames Transit using Transits (The Woodman service), then COMS used Metroriders on the 11/11A Circle. I remember when on these routes, that the entrance to the Churchill is a very small turning circle, so larger buses would not be able to get to the door. COMS do not have any suitable buses (although Gateshead does), and Stagecoach only have long Solos - probably too long, but none spare. I am however surprised that a purchase of short Solos was not made, but possibly the County was not willing to pay the price.
has a new minibus. It is L327YKV formerly a
Oxford vehicle. It has new livery but no fleet number but
Rugby Mercedes 41504/41505/41506 are all now in new livery with 41504 (ex 404) being the last to be treated.
Leyland Nationals 25402 (ex 702) and 25405 (ex 705) were both in action on local services last week in Nuneaton and Rugby. 25402 now carries "Stagecoach in Warwickshire" logos.
I've nearly completed my Nuneaton and Rugby re-numbering lists with all vehicles includng withdrawn minbuses at Nuneaton. I'll foward them shortly.
catching up a few things now and I've attached my sightings list (in Excel) for
and Rugby Depots. As you can see (please let me know if you have problems
opening) I only have one vehicle from each to see plus the Nat Ex coaches. My
Leamington list is pitiful ! and not ready for publication yet !
Only four withdrawn minibuses now remain "dumped" at Nuneaton. 306 and 307 have been re-numbered 40106 / 40107 and there are two 709D/Alexanders without any markings or registration plates. I'm not sure which two they are although I think they both came from Oxford.
Withdrawn Merc 420 has passed to Midland Bluebird in Scotland.
I hope to complete my lists in a week or so.
Can anyone tell me what livery ex Banbury DD C963XVC is in and also what number it was allocated by Oxford (or was it always 963) ?????
Thames Travel Wallingford.
From earlier today, heres a picture of TT Dart M501VJO with new Marshall Capital front
on recently revised route 142 at Reading Station. Photo by James Cusworth.
A Thames Travel Mercedes this week, on its home territory at Wallingford, on the local service to Goring Station.
Photo by Brian Matthews.
Michael Wadman visited Oxford last Saturday to check out new(-ish) bus operator RH Transport.
Whites Coaches' MB 811 Robin Hood E353PFV at Castle Street having arrived
on what I assume was route 30 from Abingdon - the board in the windscreen just saying "Oxford" was unhelpful.
Photo by Michael Wadman
I travelled out to Woodstock on Worth's 08:45 route 71,
which was Volvo B10 Duple coach G844VAY, seen here at Woodstock.
Photo by Michael Wadman
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
I welcome your photos for inclusion on this page. Please send them to me at
This is a most interesting site which I do recommend
For the national renumbering of The Stagecoach Fleet, I have been speaking to Bill Potter of British Bus Publishing. This company has produced a handbook with the full listing and details.
A special offer has been negotiated with Bill and he is prepared to let my readers have a copy of the new handbook for a reduced price of £15.25 (£1 less than the cover price) if you call him on 01952 255669 or visit the web site mentioning:
The Oxford Chiltern Bus Page.
The main site address is http://www.britishbuspublishing.co.uk/index.html I am sure many of you will want to take advantage of this offer.
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
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