Monday 7th October 2002
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.
Our second issue of the revised news page brings comments from many of you how much you like the new site. however from one of my long standing readers come a comment on the use of the St. Georges flag in place of the Union Jack. He seems to have a really strong view on the use of this flag and the implication that it does not acknowledge the wide readership that the page enjoys. I wonder if anyone else has strong views on this matter as I do try to cater for all interests and flet that the new design reflected the English base of the page and the area covered. I look forward to any comments but in speaking to a number of you so far, the general consensus was that you liked the page, St Georges flag and all.
On a news note this week I made two visits connected with my enthusiast interest plus a return visit to Malmö and Copenhagen. The buses in Malmö are now showing more signs of their Arriva ownership but I saw nothing much new. Indeed the airport services were still operated by the same old selection of coaches from two years ago. At Copenhagen airport double decks were much in evidence on the 250S which runs to the city centre.
An event of some interest this week was the attendance by a number of buses from all over the country to blackpool where a parade was held in connection with a demonstration by the NFBU to the Labour Party Conference. Oxford Bus participated and sent along Trident 101 which seemingly created an excellent impression by all who saw the bus. Chris Maxfield sent some photos and I publish them below with a report by Edmund Tresham.
The current issue of the National Federation of Bus Users
magazine "Bus User" has an article "A day in the life of a Service Controller"
which covers a day with Stagecoach Oxford. The web address is
I went up to Blackpool last weekend with NFBU. It was good to meet regular contributor to your page Chris Maxfield. NFBU gathered 14 buses to parade though Blackpool and Oxford sent Trident 101 which had a tachograph fitted specially. It also had the NFBU logo and lettering "Buses..... new way of thinking" between the decks.
Trident 101 led the procession from Preston and through Blackpool. Bus users and bus drivers had the opportunity to talk to junior transport minister David Jameson.
The Tower greets 101 in Blackpool. Photo Chris Maxfield.
In company with fellow Go-Ahead Scania- Wright from Gateshead. Photo Chris Maxfield.
On the other fronts, a visit to Expocoach at the NEC proved interesting and I have written a few notes regarding two most interesting items, one on Wayfarer ticketing developments and the other on VideoRoute, a route training system. .My report also includes some pictures of coaches on show.
Finally Sunday saw me at The Amersham & District 14th Annual Running Day which proved as interesting as ever with the added bonus of a fine sunny day.
It was a pleasant change this last week to find that the local papers were at last free of the criticism of recent weeks and our bus services seem to be pleasing people for the time being at least. Fare rises are once again in the news with increases by Arriva and Oxford Bus. We will have to wait and see what Stagecoach are going to do. Carousel are not increasing and I have not heard of any changes at Thames Travel. whatever the case may be, one has to acknowledge that costs continue to rise and increases have to be paid for. Wages are going up in line with the cost of living and when I look to my 1965 PSV record book I see that I received the net princely sum of £18.7.6d for 89.6 hours worked on Ribble motor Services, based at Manchester Lower Moseley St. My work in that week was 5 days, 2 days off and I actually worked a Morecambe on the Sunday, Coventry on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday (14hrs 4u per day) plus on the Monday I worked through to Kendal from Coventry returning passenger and signing off in Manchester 24hrs after starting!!!! No tachos in those days. My gross pay was £24.7.7d (£24.36).
And so on to the special reports for this week starting with Expocoach.
Weavaway were present yet again with this impressive Noge Catalan.
Whilst there were a large number of new coaches and some buses, I could not help noticing large gaps towards the edge of the show halls, giving a somewhat deserted air to those parts of the exhibition. Another change of quite some note was the disappearance of the old names such as Dennis, Alexander and Plaxton now all merged under the one name of Transbus. Indeed there is now no other indication of type on that groups vehicles. Somehow, for one from my generation, this loss of traditional names marks a sad end to a proud heritage.
The new logo on a "Dennis-Plaxton" coach.
B.A.S.E. (Holmswood) were showing this refurbished Plaxton bodied Leyland Tiger especially for school work.
The three and two seating layout does not appear over cramped though older scholars might find a longer
journey less comfortable. The coach was for local operator, Weavaway.
There was so much to choose from, I had to select just a few photos. This Bova was for National Express
and featured a galley and toilet at the rear. This design has changed little over the years it has been in production
Next to it, just seen, was a six wheel 13.8 metre Bova in right hand drive format.
turning now to the Wayfarer stand I was most impressed by developments now taking place in the oft forgotten area of ticketing. It is now possible to have a GPS module in a ticket machine which will control stage setting and feed back information to a basde station on bus progress time keeping and general performance. If this is then linked to a full GPS system, it could be possible to have a full display at a control room of the position of every bus in the fleet on a large plasma wall screen. It could even be possible to have such information linked to on board displays telling passengers exactly where they are. Presently the Wayfarer systems are under trial but the whole face of our industry could change beyond recognition in just a few years. For those interested I recommend the Wayfarer web site at http://www.wayfarer.co.uk. Certainly having had some practical experience I would welcome a system that never fails to ensure the correct stage being set and also the larger screen giving a series of stages. Additionally it seems that a control room could send SMS to a machine to give route and running information. this may well be of great importance should it become illegal to use a radio whilst on the move.
On another stand I came across VideoRoute who provide a software system for a standard PC combining digital video footage of a bus route with a digital street map of a given area. This enables drivers to be pre trained on route learning, often a big problem for companies in these days of an ever moving work force. I was most impressed by the possibilities.
One wonders if in the future we will have head up displays set into vehicle windscreens which give route, traffic and timing information plus SMS messages to the driver? Certainly the technology is heading that way and it will only be a matter of time and of course cost that controls the way forward.
The second main visit this week was yesterday, Sunday, to the Amersham running day This year dawned bright and sunny and we were entreated to a fine display of mainly ex London Transport buses. The AEC was once again king for the day and there was a fine line up of RFs to be seen at various times during the day at Amersham.
Part of the fleet of RFs which graced the day at Amersham last Sunday
During the early afternoontwo services were worked by RLHs and these brought memories of the '50s
back to the area. RLH48 leads RLH32 loading up at the rally site.
Also present was this delightful Aldershot & District AEC with Weymann body, 543, NOR581.
Some of these worked on hire to COMS in Oxford during the early '70s I believe.
What chunky little buses these GSs were. GS17 leaves Amersham on the 348.
Beautifully turned out Leyland olympian B271LPH, was correct down to its perfect wheel trims and
Leyland badge plus National Bus company symbol. Is it now 20 years ago that such buses entered service?
When I first moved to the area 27 years ago, this bus, if memory serves me right, often worked the 441
from Staines to High Wycombe. I would pass it on my way to work at Heathrow. RT604 leaves on the 359.
From an earlier time, T792 departs on a 394 service to Gt. Missenden Station. It was immaculate.
The lovely RLH48 loads for Berkhampsted on the 353.
Finally Michael Wootten brought along his ex Oxford training bus, ABW310X (VUD33X) and worked a 362 service.
I must say I found the day most enjoyable, having the opportunity to meet so many of you in person, with some new friends made. The turn out of the buses was excellent with a good support from Carousel buses amongst others. The rally control was provided by Arriva with Olympian 5828 resplendent in its Swan advertising livery. I will publish more photos next week.
I could not resist publishing the picture below sent by reader Brian Matthews who also sent some running day pictures of buses.
Memories are made of this! A King at Gerrards Cross. Photo by Brian Matthews.
A delicious Green Line RT at Berkhampsted. Photo by Brian Matthews.
I look forward to your continued support and contribution and welcome your comments.
Malcolm Crowe, October 7th 2002.
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The operator news from our area follows.................
News of the local companies - 7th October 2002
Arriva serving The Shires
Arriva's Dart 3365 on loan to Wycombe from Aylesbury has appeared on various services including the 315.
This last weeks has seen the Bristol VR languishing at the back of the depot out of use following mechanical problems. Dart 3826 is also off the road as is 3844 and 5829. Services however seem to have run reasonably well.
My regular correspondent Steve Warwick reports as follows.
"NBS worked the 323 1545 & 1745 dep from Aylesbury yesterday with Easybus Solo during the last week on one day. I think it was 0442"
Mike Penn writes "Regarding
the Bristol VR in High Wycombe, it has always been VVV956W. The registration
given in the Arriva Bus Handbook is an error, not the only one unfortunately."
Carousel Buses, High Wycombe.
This company had two Metrobuses and
Lynx LS558 at the Amersham Running Day.
City of Oxford Motor Services - The Oxford Bus Company.
It seems that route branding on the X3 service is ending with the repainting of Volvo 617 in normal livery.
I asked why coach 21 was at Reading, pictured last week. Nigel Eggleton of Oxford bus kindly informs us that "re your query about 21 in Reading. It was undertaking a private hire from Oxford Brookes University on behalf of a sustainable environment conference held during the week".
Thanks to Mr Eggleton for that input.
Whilst two Olympians,, 221 and 22 now see service on the 35 during the week, Saturdays still
sees them appear on football specials. Here 22 loads up at Grovelands last Saturday
for the match vs Scunthorpe. Sadly Oxford lost 1.0.
David Presdee wrote regarding his observations last week saying "Just to let you know that on 01/10/02, whilst on a visit to Oxford city I noticed the following unusual workings by Oxford bus company.
1) Volvo 642 on 16 road instead of one of the usual low floor 800 series.
2) Trident 106 working on 300 road looking great in it’s new colours, but without any Park And Ride Transfers.
3) Volvo 657 working on the X3 road
I must admit out of the 3 the most unusual is No. 3
Thanks to David for that report.
Coach 27, with its new livery and vinyls has as yet eluded me but I hope to catch it during the coming week with my camera. Also of note is that Trident 106 is now in works for the application its vinyls and should appear during the next few days. Let us have your comments on the full livery, especially the rear end? Trident 107 is the latest bus to return to Transbus for rectification work and can be expected to re-enter service in the new livery.
Stagecoach in South Midlands & in Oxford
Sadly this week no one has made any reports of developments with this company.
Rob Williams writes "Tappins Paramount ECZ 3504 was visiting Coventry today. I first noted it in the Wheatley Street coach park, but then later it picked up its passengers outside the Cathedral, allowing me to take some quite nice shots (spoiled only by parked cars - the coach was double parked). I enclose three for you to use on the news page if you wish....
The first shot is one that Keith might enjoy... the coach with the main entrance to Coventry University in view. The second shot was taken from the opposite side of the road, with part of the new building. In the last shot I tried my best to get the angel to appear to be standing on the coach's roof!
Jon Hunt writes with a
question which i am sure my eagle eyed readers will answer. He says "I
am working on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council to produce a transport model
of Oxfordshire (part of OCC's Transport Network Review). I was hoping you might
be able to help me with some simple information I am trying to gather.
For the model I need to enter vehicle types for each service. This has proved simple for most services. However I am having real problems with Thames Travel services. I wondered whether you had any knowledge of the type of vehicles used on their routes? In the model these are broken down into four simple types - double decker, single decker, minibus or coach. I have listed the services I am interested in below. If you are able to provide me with any information on these I would be extremely grateful.
The service numbers are as follows:
From my own observations all bus seem to be used on all routes with the exception of the Taxibus services which use the new or old Mercedes 8 seaters.
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Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002