Issue 53
(OBP-269)

Monday 3rd November 2003

next update week ending 14th November 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.

If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will advise of any mid week news please
let me know on
malcolmhc@aol.com

There is quite a bit of news this week about various services in south Oxfordshire. An extract from the County web site states:

New bus services unveiled

Rural bus services in the Vale of White Horse are due to undergo significant improvements starting from October 27, including:

o A service linking Kingston Lisle, Uffington and Baulking with Wantage, five times a day on weekdays

o A weekday commercial service to Shellingford, near Faringdon

o A taxi-bus service linking Oxford, Appleton, Frilford, Kingston Bagpuize, Southmoor, Hinton Waldrist, Longworth, Fyfield, Appleton and Oxford

o New Saturday services between Wantage and Swindon

o A Wantage-Grove local service operating on a half-hour frequency

o The doubling of Sunday services between Oxford, Faringdon and Swindon

o A service via Millet's Farm shop, Frilford Heath.

Commenting on these changes, Ralph Adams writes, "The highlights I see are the Sunday service 66 to Swindon is being increased from 3 to 4 but the actual timetable from Stagecoach shows 6 per day. I hope that is correct because I plan to use it next Sunday.

Heyfordian have now lost the W1/W2/38 (now just 38) but gained the 67 Wantage - Faringdon. This will be with a low floor bus and is I believe their first low floor.

A minibus service will operate the Appleton and Longworth service although the first 2 early Stagecoach journeys to Oxford will divert via Appleton. There is no evening return. However the 0650 journey ceases on 23 Jan 2004 with no obvious replacement. 

In contrast, Whites, who have just put a Solo on the 108 are not advertising a low floor."


Following the criticism about various service withdrawals in the area, the county does seem to be making efforts to improve matters in some areas.

On another note I am often surprised by the number of flag stops attached to the various bus stops around the city of Oxford. My picture below emphasises this with a shot taken in Speedwell Street.


Only three operators service this stop but with quite a number of routes.

Well, now on to the reports for our area. Your contributions continue and I am pleased to receive them each week. However due to afore mentioned time constraints these will be held over until next week. My thanks to everyone who sent information.

Malcolm Crowe, 3rd November 2003.

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002

News of the local companies 3rd November 2003


Arriva's Vario 2244, a one time Leeds bus operating a 260 service at Oxford High Street.


That route branded Volvo, 3844, seen this time outside with a clear view of the livery.


One correspondent asked the whereabouts of the ex Motts decker.
It is seen here in Newlands Bus Station last Sunday

James Smith asks if I would add the following link to this page for a site he is running with coverage of Arriva the Shires. The link is shown below.

 http://www.arriva-shires.co.uk 

Nigel Peach wrote saying "Spent a few days in York this week which included a ride on Guide Friday's Atlantean KPJ241W. This bus is ex London Country/Chiltern Rover and was one of about 10 which were based at Amersham (later Wycombe) depot for many years from new.

Popped into the bus station while in Wycombe this afternoon (Saturday). I noticed from the roster board that ex Arriva London 5853 is now in service (but I didn't see it). 
[I saw 5853 on Sunday - Ed]

Olympians 5833 and 5122 are both still at the back of the depot and both look to be in a state of cannibalisation. I don't think 5122 has actually run in service at Wycombe.
[Indeed 5833 is looking very sad, even it seems to being cannibalised and is missing a headlight, steering wheel and other items. There is no ticket machine fitted either Ed]

I think 3844 is the only Volvo branded for 328/329. I've not seen any others so branded."

Graeme Wilson writes "A few bits and pieces of news this week.

Wednesday 29th:
Olympian 5826 has had a turbo fitted (which is presumably why it was off the road for a while) and it looks like 5825 is having it done too, it was parked at the back of the bus station with turbo-engined 5833 next to it in pieces.

In other news, Optare Solo Y42HBT was having work done to its engine. (these vehicles seem to spend more time off the road than on!)

Friday 31st:
Ex-London Olympian D166FYM (5853 I think) was in service on route 372 this afternoon. I've heard these buses will replace the last ex-COMS Olympians.

That's all the news for this week, except that ex-Motts Olympian 5108 seems to have disappeared (perhaps it has been transferred somewhere else?)."

Carousel, High Wycombe


A shot of Carousel's yard on Sunday caught M57 with blinds set for the A40.

  

   

One correspondent asked the whereabouts of Trident 108. Your Editor worked a 300 late duty last Friday and lo and behold my steed was 108. It is pictured below.


Trident 108 has returned to service after a period under repair in the body shop.
It still awaits vinyls and is seen here last Saturday in New Road on service 400.


A morning shot of Volvo 642 on 2 road turning into Speedwell Street.
The trees are now gaining their autumn colours and Great Tom can be seen in the background.

Oxford Bus have kindly provided their latest fleet list which can be viewed by clicking this link

Adrian Lancer writes with following sightings. 

Wednesday 29/10/03
602 - 2 (35 branded)
652 - 400

Rob Williams notes :

Mon 27th

508 on 5A
501 has new branding for route 5 (as previously reported)

Ron Potter writes with the following sightings on Monday 3rd November. 

Trident 120 on driving school duties with L.Plates.
Citaro 822 was seen at elms rise on 4a service (relief)   
Dart 510 on x3 early then 18/2c    
Dart 515 on 13c service
Volvo B10BLE 813 on 13s am and x3s pm.

Ron also asks about the new livery on the buses. He has seen 602, 606 and 810 appear and wonders what the plans are for the immediate future. He says "I am not sure if I like the new livery or not. It certainly looks better on 801 than the older Volvos. Will the new Citaros for the X3 feature this livery? What do other readers think about the new red livery and the new fleet name Oxford Red? Some friends I have spoken to feel that from the rear it is too easily confused with Stagecoach."

Well Ron, lets see what others have to say. I think the jury is still out on a general opinion. Ed.


Coachman Travel Bristol VR HUD497W (Ex Oxford).
This will be used in public service in the Wantage area.
Swindon, 1 November 2003
picture courtesy http://bus-photos.fpic.co.uk/
 


One of Stagecoach Warwickshire's Rugby based National Express coaches stays overnight at Horspath Road.
Rugby's NatEx routes mostly don't come anywhere near
Oxford, but 52447 is seen at 8am on Thursday 30th having stayed overnight
and is heading for Gloucester Green via New Road to operate one journey that does.
Photo and caption by Rob Williams

 

David Whitley, until recently Marketing Manager of the company sent the latest attached fleet list (period 7 - October 2003) to be published in this week's page. you will need Adobe Acrobat to view this file. Click here to view. (you will need to rotate one of the pages to view)

getacro.gif (712 bytes)

A couple of photos of recently departed Oxford Olympians, taken by Rob Williams, at work in their new home of Leamington Spa. 16439 is seen working route X16 from Coventry to Stratford upon Avon and 16140 the X12 from the University of Warwick to Sydenham. Both are seen in Leamington town centre.

    

Rob Williams reports the following

Mon 27th

16403 in yard, another loan from Devon

Wed 28th

16072, 16076, 16078, 16079, 16140, 16438, 16439, 16440 all confirmed in service at Leamington.

Stripy Dart 32058 left Oxford for Rugby on Friday afternoon. It is being transferred there to replace their solitary Leyland National which was withdrawn the week before last following a break down. South Midlands therefore now only has one National remaining - at Nuneaton.

Fri 31st:

32058 departed for Rugby to replace their Leyland Nation which has been withdrawn following breakdown.

16403 virtually ready for service

Adrian Lancer writes

Wednesday 29/10/03

16144 - 10
52124 - X5 - no branding, old stripes livery and missing ultimate blind!!

Ralph Adams writes "On Thursday black 22053 was in revenue service as a duplicate on U1. I have still not seen it in full all day service".

A regular correspondent sent in an interesting piece on his recent travels in our area.

I recently decided to make use of an explorer ticket on the 233 route on Thursday. Some years ago, the frequent service was introduced as X3 to Fulbrook with Merc 711D buses and on my previous trip it carried few passengers on the trips I took. It now goes to Milton under Wychwood and I was surprised to see 6 passengers at midday at Witney, with 2 passengers starting at Burford, 4 going all the way to Milton.

I later used the school day service which came into Witney on the 100 Route Olympian. It then went out via Thorney Lees instead of Tower Hill used by
Witney starting buses. At Burford lay by we had 4 passengers on board and the driver then warned us there would be a delay whilst we went into Burford College, giving us the chance to alight and walk into Burford (none did as all were going further). At the college there were already several school buses including 2 6 wheel ex Hong Kong Metrobuses of Angelas. We parked up right behind another bus, so it was obvious we would not leave before any other bus and all buses left in a convoy at 1510. Both doors were open and most used the centre door whilst only about 5 came in the front to pay their fares.

It then transpired that the fares were from scholars who left before Fulbrook as they are not eligible for free passes, whilst all the others have County supplied passes. There are only 2 drivers who have been vetted for driving the children and the same driver is used on both trips every day. It was obvious that he had a good rapport with the scholars knowing many by name and a comment was made to one boy who went home but had not been on the morning trip. The bus stop button was used infrequently as he knew which stop they all needed anyway. The bus diverted to Ascott under Wychwood where 35 passengers alighted, the only Stagecoach trip to the location although McLeans operate a single journey every day.

The bus is an 83 seat (plus 5 standing) bus and there are 79 scholars travelling daily. Fortunately only 2 regular non scholars are carried but if 10 were travelling it could cause problems. The return had a couple of passengers until to reached Burford when another 10 scholars came on board who are not in the catchment area and needed to go to Witney, not receiving free transport.

Apart from the scholar travel (paid by County Education department), it is obvious the service cannot operate without subsidy but has obviously built up a small number of regular users from scratch.

Loading continue to improve on a number of journeys and there have been instances of full 94 loadings. Often, I understand, it is school groups who would otherwise not be able to afford a trip to London, who take advantage of this service.


SJI4558 operates the 1600 departure from Oxford to London seen here in Hythe Bridge Street.


Seen on Friday 31st Oct at its London Marylebone end about to set off on a return.
Photo by Colin Cooke

Whites of Abingdon

One correspondent wrote about the lack of blinds in the Vario of Whites.


R946AMB in St Aldates on Saturday, now with full destination blinds, looking much smarter.

PHOTO CORNER
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at 
malcolmhc@aol.com


T734JHE, a Scania/Irizar on hire to National Express last Saturday in Gloucester Green

I welcome your photos for inclusion on this page. Please send them to me at
malcolmhc@aol.com

This is a most interesting site which I do recommend

Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002

Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002