Spottings & Jottings

Issue nr. 37 - November 23rd 2010

Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Current archives from October 2002

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

There has been a longer gap than planned between issues as I spent quite some time preparing my presentation to the Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society which took place last Tuesday. I was pleased to see a number of my readers and I think everyone enjoyed the evening.

There have been continuing roadworks on the M40 with overnight closures between junctions 3 and 4 plus the resurfacing of Park Lane has also added to delays which have not helped the timely running of services between Oxford and London in recent days.

The weather has also been rather poor with alternatively fog and icy mornings and long periods of heavy rain. This does not seem to discourage people from going out and there are still large number of scantily clad young ladies adorning the street of Oxford whatever the weather! Rather them than me.

Another batch of Hybrid buses to take the road are those on the 94 which runs along Holland Park Avenue and Bayswater. These buses are however totally devoid of any branding. I am pleased to include a picture of these buses taken by Mark E. Lyons. Mark writes "London United is currently receiving 20 ADL Enviro400H buses for use on route 94.  Interestingly they do not carry the green leaves that have been a feature of London's hybrids hitherto.  Also, and presumably in anticipation of the transfer of this operator to RATP, they only carry one fleetname, on the lower front panel."

He adds "Route 18 which reverted to DD operation yesterday. (13/11)  The buses are to a modified design from earlier B9TLs for London (and based on the one-off VN37943, delivered in the summer).  They feature a revised battery arrangement and repositioned Ad-Bu filler along with various chassis modifications.  Also of note is the driver's seatbelt which are now a standard fitting on new buses for First."


Pictures by Mark E Lyons

The UK BUS awards took place last Tuesday and the results are included below in the news issue. Locally companies did quite well with the Stagecoach X5 winning the Express Coach Operation award for the second year running and the Oxford Tube awarded runner up status.

Much to the relief, no doubt, of operators across the country the BSOG grant was cut by only 20% when it has been suggested it could cut by as much as 50%. This was of course following the announcement of government cuts recently published.

Geoff Cunliffe provides with an update of happenings in Blackpool.

Last Saturday, 20th november, saw another march in London which took place early on Saturday afternoon, leaving Speakers Corner around 1pm and heading down Park Lane, along Piccadilly to a finish in Trafalgar Square. This resulted in the closure of Park Lane for some 40 minutes and the rerouting of all bus and coach services. I was on duty at Marble Arch to assist with the running of the Oxford Tube service and had opportunity to record a few pictures of the event.


Shortly before the closure we were still able to serve the Marble Arch stop. The picture shows the last but one service to call before police closed Park Lane.


The pictures above show just how deserted Park Lane was in the closure period, it felt rather strange.
I rather liked the solitary cyclist who was not quite obeying the rule of road!


Hyde Park corner suffered with congestion and the approaching 758 was somewhat perplexed as which route he was going to take.
I last saw him heading up Piccadilly.

As ever there is a great deal of information and many pictures contributed by readers which always add so much to the page. Thank you all.

Photo request

We are still looking for pictures of Leyland National PUK641R when it was operated by Ensign Bus and Classic coaches, most especially if anyone has pictures of this bus operating London route 60. 

A word about digital photos

I receive many pictures for inclusion on the page and notice that some contributors do not have the date set up on their cameras. It would really help if you could check this and if your date is not set it would be most appreciated if you could do this within the camera set up.

LOTS

For those interested in all things London, I can recommend the link below. The monthly magazine is of particular interest.

http://www.lots.org.uk/

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society

John Hammond writes that The Folly Bridge Inn is the location for the remaining meetings of 2010 and the final date confirmed as:

Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society
 

The Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society was formed in June 2010 and aims to provide an informal

monthly social meeting in  Oxford for those with an interest in buses. Meetings are normally held

on the 3rd Tuesday of each month and normally take the form of a picture  show with local and guest

speakers.  A small charge is made to cover the cost of hiring the function room and this is usually

around £1 per person per meeting depending on numbers.


Next meeting: 14th December 2010.

19.00 - 21.30pm

when Graham Low will be giving a presentation on Oxford in the '50s, '60s and '70s.

Meetings are held at:

 

Upstairs Function Room

The Folly Bridge Inn

38 Abingdon Road

Oxford

A detailed programme of meetings can be found at the following look and we hope more of you will attend future meetings.

http://www.oxbuses.webs.com/

Finally and as always, my thanks to all who have contributed to this issue.

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - November 23rd 2010.

A note regarding photographs which show drivers faces.

Some bus drivers do object to their pictures being taken, even though the photographer is taking the bus and not the driver.
So I will blank out the face to avoid any discomfort to the individual concerned. If you are the person involved send me an email to have this action taken.
I am sure people will realise that to ask everyone in advance of publication, whose face may appear in a picture is wholly impractical in both time and practice.
Now that we live in a world of human rights and political correctness which must be considered.
It is interesting to note that a change in official attitudes to pictures is changing and even companies will not support bus drivers who are abusive or threatening!

Spottings

Readers varied contributions

Oxford & London Interlude by Gavin Francis


On a recent Saturday Gavin found that Oxpens was more akin to a Shearings out-station!


A closer look at the visiting Shearings coaches. The older livery looks rather dated now!


A bright visitor was
FJ05AOO, a Volvo B12B with Jonckheere C57FT bodywork once with Lochs & Glens.


Seen in Oxpens coach park last week, this tri-axle
MAC 96P, a Volvo B12M/Jonckheere of Countywide Eurocruiser.
This company has recently been filling in on the NEx 737 service following a shortage of coaches by the contracted operator, Stagecoach.


On a foggy morning earlier this month G Line Holidays Van Hool YJ07JWL takes a break from tour work.


Another tri-axle, this time an Irizar PB of Phoenix - HS10PBS.


Now a Go-Ahead company, even operating some ex Oxford Bus Dart SLFs, coach 316 rests up at Oxpens.


An impressive Neoplan of Woods takes time out at Oxpens.


Haytons of Manchester pass through Oxford and their Scania YN06TFY is seen at Oxpens.


Another Oxpens visitor, a Catteralls M A N, H10PGL.


From the London scene here is another all over ad on a Go-Ahead WVL35 on route 11 at Victoria.


Clarke's of London are a prominent operator in the capital and here we see a commuter service, 770, operated by a Setra.

Pictures above from Gavin Francis.

The Editor visits the Bus Show in Birmingham.

A few interesting vehicles on show at the N E C which I found of interest.


The Shuttle Bus from the car park, now getting  rather long in the tooth.


The Sunderland Team coach, who would have thought they would beat Chelsea!!!


The Wrights new small bus which looks very good.


For service in Manchester, run by First.


One seems never far from a Routemaster!


Stagecoach Manchester had this Hybrid on the ADL stand. Note the position of the rear fleet number - just like Oxford's.


Also on the ADL stand from Plaxton was this new Volvo B13BT for Megabus to be based at Rugby - 54101.
This coach has a revised Elite style front layout.


Another ADL Hybrid was in the park outside ready for delivery to Transdev for service on the 94 in London.


Bringing visitors from Coventry. this Optare offloads outside the NEC.

Pictures all from Malcolm Crowe.

~~~~~~~~~~~

And so on to fleet news with individual company happenings.

Readers contributions 

Gerard Butler writes "Went up to Wycombe on Wednesday to see what the latest was with Carousel and Arriva and there seems to be a lot of interworking by both companies on their routes: 

Carousel: Route 1 was Olympians G530VBB and G534VBB during the day, with other journeys operated by Dart DMS14, EVLs and the Thames Valley liveried Olympian H556GKX which then worked the afternoon 643 

Routes 2a and 2c had early morning workings with M758 (then on the afternoon 400) and the A40 branded Olympian H564GKX. DAF sds were on these routes during the day. 

Routes 3 and 651 used Metrobus C432BUV 

Route 4 used the new Enviro 200s and one EVL 

Route 27 used a B6 which then went onto a school contract 

Route 35 used the purple Dart SLF, with green Dart SLFs on the 36 except for an EVL on an afternoon journey 

Routes 336 used the Irisbuses, with one also on the 740/A40 

Route 740 had an EVL on it alongside the Citaros and other sds 

On private contracts, M1386 and West Midlands 2744 and 2865 were seen in use 

Left in the depot were the out of use remaining Cardiff Ailsa as well as V2, all three Routemasters, Olympian F510NJE, Metrobuses M524 M598 and A707UOE

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Arriva saw plenty of variety: Olympians made appearances on the 800 and 850, but also the 32 33 39 and 62 as well as an Asda service. 

Scania SDs mainly appeared on the 32 37 74 800 and 850, with Solos on the 40 and the remaining routes like the 45 52 340 seeing a mix of Dart SLFs and Scanias. 

There were two TfL Darts out- the spare one, 3482, was on the 33, but another, 3839, made appearances on the 39 and 45. A scruffy step entrance Dart 3413 was on the 33 

Other strange workings included a Park and Ride Volvo on a 37 to Bourne End and an Orange route Versa on the 33, However, the green route and red route branded buses don't seem to stray. 

Woottens were using Olympian E227CFC on the T3 and 106 with Red Rose using a Volvo B10M to Oxford on the 275 

Tried some different photo locations too, such as Desborough Avenue and Amersham Hill with mixed results. Attached is an earlier photo from Sunday 24 October from an excellent vantage point near the Wycombe Wanderers ground."

 

Gavin Francis has been out and about and one photo of interest is that of the bus station at Hemel where building appear to have been demolished and are awaiting rebuilding. As he has been on the 737 to Stansted we have pictures also from that location.


Overall view of Hemel Bus Station.


Rail Replacement at Stansted.


Pictures from Binders Yard


Not sure which RMA it is.


Usual 1960's London Bus Garage scene in Ward Jones.

Andrew Morgan writes "three pics taken today (10/11/10) in Stevenage first is of Veolia transport SCANIA IRIZAR PB NXL20 (YN05WKP) on layover at the coach stop just outside the bus station at 11:17 (forgot to change clock on camera so shows as 12:17) waiting its time to going out on the 777 to Birmingham then second is taken at 11:44 after I saw a parking warden place a ticket on it (the driver came up from the back a few minutes after so I think he was asleep on it and got the radio about it. I wonder what his bosses had to say about is as the coach was parked at a stop ?)

The next one is of ex-TRAVEL DE COURCEY MCV bodied MAN 14.220 533 (AF53EUW) in use with Centrebus not sure if is staying or not, as did not have a Centrebus fleet number so could just be on loan?"

 

John Hammond sent a large number of pictures and says "Some pictures of Arriva the Shires vehicles on rail replacement work over the weekend. Arriva The Shires supply a number of buses and staff to TfL and were busy on the Piccadilly Line this weekend covering Rayners Lane to Acton Town."


KN52NDU of TGM London


Volvo N37JPP of Arriva the Shires


SN58 EOB of Hemel depot


SN58EOK leads a queue of Arriva vehicles at Acton.


Aylesbury's SN58EOK on late standby at Rayners Lane

 

Glenn Knight contributes sending pictures taken on 18/11/2010.

Red Rose Travel:


R445LGH Dennis Dart on 29 to Bletchley taken at The Point ex-London Central LDP045

Marshalls Coaches, Leighton Buzzard:


K858LMK Scania N113DRB Northern Counties taken at Stadium MK (MK Dons) ex-London Buses S58 & Magic Bus 15358

Fares revue from November 28th.


Aylesbury

CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR SERVICES 2010-2011

CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR SERVICES: AYLESBURY GARAGE

Up to & including 23rd Dec – normal school holiday service

Friday 24th December – normal Friday school holiday service with the early finishes on the following services:

Service 2 – PM peak Edison Road service will not operate; last circular journey is 1857 from Bus Station; last Bus Station to Haydon Hill and Quarrendon only is at 1907.

Service 4 – last Walton Court to Coppice at 1840, last Coppice to Bus Station at 1903; last Bus Station to Walton Court at 1850, last Walton Court to Bus Station at 1857

Service 9 – last Bus Station to Bedgrove at 1850; last Bedgrove to Bus Station at 1901; last Bus Station to Stoke Mandeville Hospital at 1900, last Stoke Mandeville Hospital to Bus Station at 1904

Service 16 – The 1919 Bicester to Aylesbury will not operate

Service 60 – last Aylesbury to Buckingham at 1745; last Buckingham to Aylesbury at 1845

Service 61 – last Luton Airport to Aylesbury at 1900; last Aylesbury to Luton Airport at 1715; last Aylesbury to Ivinghoe at 1815.

Service 100/150 – last Aylesbury to Milton Keynes at 1750; last Milton Keynes to Aylesbury at 1830

Service 280 – last Aylesbury to Oxford at 1825; last Oxford to Aylesbury at 1905

Service 300 – last Aylesbury to High Wycombe at 1810; last High Wycombe to Aylesbury at 1826

Service D1 – last Johnson Drive to LB Rail Station at 1845; last LB Rail Station to Johnson Drive at 1902

Saturday 25th December – no service

Sunday 26th December – no service

Monday 27th December – Sunday service

Tuesday 28th December – Sunday service

Wednesday 29th December – Saturday service plus Wednesday Tesco buses

Thursday 30th December – Saturday service plus Thursday Tesco buses

Friday 31st December – Saturday service plus Friday Tesco buses; plus early finish on the following services

Service 2 – last circular journey 1850 from Bus Station

Service 9 – last Bus Station to Bedgrove at 1842; last Bedgrove to Bus Station at 1852; last Bus Station to stoke Mandeville Hospital at 1900; last Stoke Mandeville Hospital to Bus Station at 1849

Service 16 – the 1920 Bicester to Aylesbury will not operate

Service 60 – last Aylesbury to Buckingham at 1745; last Buckingham to Aylesbury at 1845

Service 61 – last Luton Airport to Aylesbury at 1750; last Aylesbury to Luton Airport at 1730

Service 280 – last Aylesbury to Oxford at 1745; the 1845 ex Aylesbury will run as far as Thame only; last Oxford to Aylesbury at 1915.

Service 300 – last Aylesbury to High Wycombe at 185; last High Wycombe to Aylesbury at 1845

Service D1 – last Johnson Drive to LB Rail Station at 1845; last LB Rail Station to Johnson Drive at 1902.

Saturday 1st January – no service

Sunday 2nd January – Sunday service

Monday 3rd January – Sunday service

Tuesday 4th January – normal School holiday service

Wednesday 5th January onwards – normal Schooldays service

Wycombe Park & Ride -

Mike Chadwick writes "Many complaints from passengers on the new  P&R 1 service. 

It seems that the revised Wycombe Park and Ride timetable only requires three vehicles in the evening peak (plus one extra journey in the morning peak). The press release also mentioned that "the new contract allows Arriva to make more efficient and economical use of the buses" - which I presume means use them on other routes. One of the buses used its new found freedom by operating the 0935 and 1135 40 to Thame and back today 2nd November (albeit running c12 minutes late on the first journey and only gradually recovering). Don't know about the 1335, but by the 1535 the usual Solo 2497 was back to join its colleague.

Don't suppose it was a conscious decision, but it will have provided useful extra capacity on Thame / HW Market Day!

An observation from yesterday evening (Wed 4th), circa 1920 when requirement is down to one vehicle, was 3208 on the Park and Ride service!" 

From Ian Brown, Hemel. 

According to the latest edition of RAIL, the magazine for the rail industry professionals, Green Line's 712 service from St Albans to London Victoria Bullied Way is to end in January after 18 months. The offer of a £1,800 saving on season ticket failed to win enough business. 

This service is operated by Hemel-based Green Line vehicles that travel light to/from Hemel to St Albans. According to the Green Line website: 

When Butterfly World approached us to see if we could work together to bring more people to the amazing attraction we jumped at the opportunity and changed the route so that off peak journeys called into Butterfly World offering a connection for people from St Albans Station and direct from London.  We also offered a great travel and entrance deal.

Despite our best efforts, the commitment and enthusiasm from staff and a small number of regular customers, it is now come to the point where we are going to have to cancel the service.   With the current economic climate and challenges that are facing our business we are unable to sustain the support that the service needs to operate as customer numbers are extremely low.

We appreciate that there are some people who will be hugely disappointed by our decision and we can only apologise.  We have been able to maintain one journey in each direction to offer a link for London based passengers travelling to Butterfly World when it reopens in April 2011.

We would like to thank everybody who has been part of the service since June last year and those customers who have enjoyed using the service.  It is with great disappointment that the service has not been as popular as we had hoped.  The changes come into effect on 2nd January 2011."

Hemel news from James Allum as follows:

Saturday 06th November:
 High Wycombe s R208 GMJ (3208) was seen on the 52 at Hemel Bus Station.
 Hemel based P175 SRO (3175) was seen on the 300 at Hemel bus station.

T828 NMJ (3228)
V232 HBH (3232)

The above buses have now been repainted into the Arriva Inter Urban livery.

Gavin Francis reports that a step entrance Dart was used on the 40 on Sunday morning just gone. He wonders with a yard full of buses at this time why such a bus was used on a route much supported by elderly people? The bus replaced by SLF 3210 on later journeys.

Other fleet news

Scania 3202 is confirmed as having been transferred to Wycombe from Aylesbury.

Another interesting transfer is that of Solo 0441 (YJ10LZV) in salmon pink livery from MK to Aylesbury.

Coach 4363 is presently delicenced  after an accident at Aylesbury.

VDL DB250/Wrightbus Pulsar Gemini 6041 (LJ05GLY) is a recent arrival at Garston from Brixton. This will cover during the refurbishment of 6026-6036 but will eventually be for the 258.


Scania 3201 works a 340 service from Stokenchurch to High Wycombe on November 2nd.
Picture from Gavin Francis.


Another variant on the 340 was this Volvo, 3866, somewhat off route for Penn and Hazelmere on November 16th.
Picture from Gavin Francis.


A picture of recently transferred 5452 working the 280 into Oxford.
Picture from Gavin Francis.


Solo 2496 on its regular route, Line 40, at Stokenchurch. I wonder why this bus even lacks Arriva fleet names, let alone any branding?
Picture by M Crowe.


Dart 3217, leaning badly to port, leaves Stokenchurch for a lopsided journey to Wycombe on Line 40.
Picture by M Crowe.


A rather poor shot of repainted VDL 3702 taken at 7.30am last Saturday morning in Cressex depot. M Crowe.


The ex Wycombe Bus Darts are all having a repaint and 3822 is seen here entering Cressex depot. M Crowe.


Looking akin to a greyhound, leaping forward up the hill is 3849 on its way Reading last Saturday. M Crowe.


The sad line up remains at Cressex depot with four of the ex Oxford Bus Volvos in varying states of decay. M Crowe.

Noel Clarke writes from Carousel saying "I note the observations made by contributors on your webpage and this information may be of interest.

The last of the five new MAN A66/ADL Enviro 200 vehicles has now been delivered. ENV20 has no route branding as it will be used on a variety of routes although it will normally be seen on the A30/A40/740.

Plaxton Primo P07 is now permanently allocated to the 305 and has proved very popular with the passengers.

MCW Metrobus M336 and Volvo Ailsa V431 have both been scrapped.

MCW Metrobus M703 has been moved to offsite store (with Dart H125 THE) and has been delicenced as it is surplus to requirements.

MCW Metrobus M1432 and Leyland Olympian L510 are both surplus to requirements and withdrawn for disposal. It is hoped a home in preservation can be found for M1432, interested parties are invited to contact us but please only do so if you are seriously interested in the vehicle.

MCW Metrobus M598 will return to service as this is the vehicle that started Carousel Buses 10 years ago. The future of Volvo Ailsa V451 is undecided although it is unlikely to return to service."

On the 19th Pete Cannon wrote "just passed my front room window 19th November on route 27 High Wycombe Cock Lane via Rayners Avenue was, wait for it, RK07BNF. I waited for it to come back down the hill to make sure, yes,  it is the bus that's been on the 305s for several months."


The little Primo was back on the 305 last Saturday morning and awaits its positioning journey from High Wycombe. M Crowe.


The 336 is of course now running from High Wycombe to Watford giving a good connection between both places.
Here AL3 is seen working this service. M Crowe.


The Carousel yard on November 6th.


Citaro MB51 stands in front of an ex London under restoration. M Crowe.


A line up in Wycombe Bus Station recently. M Crowe.

This branch of the company has just received 112 (L712JUD) transferred in from Leicester. This is an interesting bus which started life with Thames Transit in Oxford.

Grayline 

Richard Sharman reports that vehicles acquired are :

MX07NTD - Ex Britannia Parking and Unknown
MX57CCV - Ex Lloyds Coaches, Cymru
MX08MYY - Ex Britannia Parking and EasyBus


with Tappins

Nick Eustace writes "Just a quick note about 461XPB, Tappins have indeed sold on the Plaxton Viewmaster that wore that plate for many years. They have however retained the registration and reassigned it to one of the Van Hools as seen in Gavin’s pictures from Didcot Parkway. 

I've attached a picture I took in May on the way back from her MOT"

Matt Bullock writes "regarding Tappins 461XPB (Spottings & Jottings Issue 36). The original holder of this mark, the Plaxton Viewmaster-bodied Volvo B10M-61 formerly registered NBL904X and new in May 1982 does appear to have been sold. It became 461 XPB in August 1984. It was one of a pair, the other NBL 905X becoming 500 EFC which is still current in the Tappins fleet.

The "new" 461 XPB is no 301, reregistered from LUI 9301 and originally K301 GDT, a Volvo B10M/Van Hool Alizee, one of a pair new to Tappins in March 1993.

Another interested readers adds "I was interested in the article on Tappins 461 XPB.  I used to travel from Cholsey to Wallingford School on Tappins Coaches in the 80's.  This was when Tappins had bases both in central Wallingford and Didcot.  I think Tappins had at least 2 of these Viewmaster vehicles, and I think the original registrations were (I might be a few digits out but should be fairly close):

NBL 901X
NBL 902X

Whilst I was at school Tappins had a phase of ordering vehicles every year, so I can recall most of the registrations from the time that I was at Wallingford (some of these were re-registered in latter years).

LAN 72P
YAN 822T + about 10 others in this range
DJB 865V + few more in this range
KDP 832W + few more in this range
A412 CJH + few more in this range
B162 FWJ + few more in this range
C325 UFP + few more in this range

It was at A reg that they received their first high floor Plaxtons Paramounts, some of these are still in service now.

Motts

Hedley Shanks of Motts has provided the latest fleet list for this operator. Hedley says "Here is the latest fleet list as promised with the Irish Olympian re registrations."

Fleet List as at 1st Nov 2010 

Total Vehicles 60                   55 Licences                    52 For Service 

            REG                              YEAR                   MAKE & MODEL                                 SEATING

 

1) 9775 MT (S150 SET)                       1999    Neoplan Skyliner                                              CH57/18Dt

2) 5705 MT (DD03 BUZ)                      2003    Neoplan Skyliner                                              CH57/19

3) ET10 MTT                            2010    Scania K400EB Omniexpress Lahden 14.1m                  C63Ft  

4) MT09 MTT                            2009    Volvo B12B 420 I-Shift Plaxton Panther                      C49Ft

5) CT07 MTT (YN07 OPC)         2007    Volvo B12M 420 I-Shift Plaxton Paragon                     C53Ft

6) ET07 MTT (YN07 OPK)        2007    Volvo B12M 420 I-Shift Plaxton Paragon                     C50Ft

7) MT07 MTT                            2007    Volvo B7R Plaxton Profile                                            C70FL

8) MT56 MTT                            2006    Scania L94 Irizar Inter Century                                   C70FL

9) UK06 MTT(YN06 NYD)         2006    Scania K114EB Irizar PB                                              C49Ft

10) GB06 MTT (YN06 NYC)      2006    Scania K114EB Irizar PB                                              C49Ft

11) MT06 MTT                          2006    Volvo B12B 340 ZF Auto                                              C49Ft

12) MT05 MTT                          2005    Volvo B12B 340 ZF Auto                                              C49Ft  

13) MT04 MTT                          2004    Volvo B12B 340 ZF Auto                                              C49Ft

14) GB03 MTT                          2003    Volvo B12B 340 ZF Auto                                              C49Ft

15) GT03 MTT                          2003    Volvo B12B 340 ZF Auto                                              C49Ft

16) 90 WFC (HL03 HCA)          2003    Neoplan Starliner MAN (WWFC Team Coach)               C30Ft

17) 9920 MT (YN03 AXF)         2003    Neoplan Euroliner MAN                                                C53F

18) MT51 MTT                          2001    Volvo B10M 360 Auto Jonckheere Mistral 50                  C53F   

19) W200 MTT                         2000    Volvo B10M Jonckheere Mistral 50                                 C49Ft

20) T100 MTT                          1999    Volvo B10M Jonckheere Mistral 50                                 C49Ft

21) 5814 MT (T910 UOS)         1999    Volvo B10M Jonckheere Mistral 50                                 C51Ft

22) 6787 MT (S68 UBO)                       1998    Volvo B10M Jonckheere Mistral 50                     C53F

23) R50 MTT (R16 CED)          1998    Volvo B10M Jonckheere Mistral 50                                  C49Ft

24) 6957 MT (R968 RCH)        1998    Volvo B10M Jonckheere Mistral 50                                 C53F

25) 6601 MT (M616 ORJ)         1995    Volvo B10M Jonckheere Deauville                                C53F

26) 6247 MT (M617 ORJ)         1995    Volvo B10M Jonckheere Deauville                                C53F

27) 4442 MT (M573 DSJ)         1995    Volvo B10M Jonckheere Deauville                    C53F    unlicenced

28) B10 MMT(K914 RGE)           1993  Volvo B10M Jonckheere Deauville                                C53F

29) 5874 MT (G380 RNH)        1990    Volvo B10M Jonckheere Deauville                    C53F    unlicensed

30) MT08 MTT                          2008    Volvo B7R Plaxton Profile                                            C53FL

31) T9 MTT                              1999    Volvo B7R Plaxton Prima                                              C70F

32) S300MTT (99-KK-469)      1999    Volvo B9M Jonckheere Mistral                                       C38Ft

33) CT10 MTT                          2010    Volvo B7R Sunsundequi Sideral 10                              C40Ft

34)M455 TCH                           1995    Volvo B10M Alexander Q Type                                     C70F

35)E25 UNE                   1988    Leyland Tiger Alexander N Type                                  C53F    withdrawn

36)E27 UNE                             1988    Leyland Tiger Alexander N Type                                  C70F

37)E28 UNE                             1988    Leyland Tiger Alexander N Type                                  C70F

38)E29 UNE                             1988    Leyland Tiger Alexander N Type                                  C70F

39)E30 UNE                             1988    Leyland Tiger Alexander N Type                                  C70F

40) T200 MTT (exRV489)        1999    Volvo Olympian Alexander                                                    H78F

41) T300 MTT (ex RV492)       1999    Volvo Olympian Alexander                               H74F    unlicenced

42) T400 MTT (ex RV487)       1999    Volvo Olympian Alexander                               H74F    unlicenced

43) T500 MTT (ex RV491)       1999    Volvo Olympian Alexander                               H78F    unlicenced

44) N590 NRH                          1995    Volvo Olympian Alexander Royale                                        H84F

45) N660 NRH (A1 EYD)          1995    Volvo Olympian Alexander Royale                                         H84F

46) KSK 967 (N591 NRH)        1995    Volvo Olympian Alexander Royale                                         H84F

47) KSK 966 (93-D-166)                     1993    Leyland Olympian Alexander                                     H78F

48) KSK 965 (93-D-160)                     1993    Leyland Olympian Alexander                                     H74D

49) E153 OMD                          1988    Leyland Olympian Optare                                 H78F    unlicensed

50) GT10 MTT                          2010    Mercedes 0816D Unvi Riada GT                                             C29F

51) GT07 MTT                          2007    Mercedes 0816D Plaxton Cheetah                                         C29F

52) VU06 MTT                          2006    Mercedes O816D Plaxton Beaver                                          C33F   

53) GT06 MTT                          2006    Mercedes 0815D Esker Riada                                               C29F

54) GT05 MTT                          2005    Mercedes 0815D  Sitcar Beluga                                           C29F   

55) MT03 MTT                          2003    Mercedes 0815D Sitcar Beluga                                             C29F   

56) MT02 MTT                          2002    Mercedes 0815D Sitcat Beluga                         C29F    withdrawn

57) MA07 BUS                          2007    Optare Solo M710SE                                                             B23F

58) MB07 BUS                          2007    Optare Solo M710SE                                                            B23F   

59) CV06 CYG                          2006    Ford Transit Tourneo                                                               M8

60) FN09 NUY                          2009    Renault Traffic                                                                        M8


Here's one to get your teeth into, taken by Gavin from a high point on the Chilterns. What is it and does anyone know the registration.
I think its Motts on a school run from Icknield College.

Picture Gavin Francis.

Hedley writes "The picture at Stokenchurch is our M455 TCH a Volvo B10M Alexander converted to C70F from C53F. (Issue 36.)

The ex Irish Olympians are going through our workshop. We have acquired T300, T400 & T500 as their registrations, T200MTT is RV489 (which is already out and about), T300 is RV492 (being prepared for MOT), we haven’t decided on the other two yet.
 
MT09 MTT will be back on Channel 4's Coach Trip program shortly with a celebrity version (Z - listers !!)"

Gavin Francis attended the recent match between Wycombe and Port Vale sending this picture of the latest coach in the Motts fleet at Port Vale.

http://www.nationalexpress.com/

Ian Davies - (Operations Manager - Yeomans Travel Group) writes "Yeomans PINK Levante was on a dupe working when it was pictured in London. We operate the W13 service for Wembley contracts as well. (Indeed it was seen through Oxford last Wednesday 17th November. Ed.)

Yeomans have just recently taken delivery of 2 new Volvo Levantes for our new joint contract on the 222 service with Bennett's Coaches from Gloucester. They operate the Gloucester - Heathrow - Gatwick workings and we cover the 2 journeys from Hereford to Heathrow.

The vehicles are FJ60 HYG and FJ60 EFZ." 

Danny Gill writes "I was reading your page and came across a photo of NXL23 on rail replacement. My partner works as a traffic manager for Veolia Birmingham and has told me that Veolia are currently getting lots of sub contacted rail replacement work from national express, hence why the NEx coach on rail replacement.

Normally NXWM Perry Barr do lots of rail replacement however Veolia seem to be gaining more work."

If you ever want any news on Veolia transport Birmingham I run a facebook page on them-

http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=107384255971051


The Yeomans
pink Levante, FJ07TKD, was on route 509 - have they been given diagrams to Cardiff?" Picture by Stephen Le Bras.
Why am I reminded of a flamingo? Ed.

From Stephen Le Bras.

VCS - 20th November

Two more new Levantes- FJ60EFW on the 540 (Haytons, Manchester) and FJ60HXS on the 561 (NX, Birmingham) & I also noted a South Gloucestershire Levante on the 444 service- I suspect on hire to Stagecoach- as L444SGB was a few weeks ago- but without a hire notice.
 
Traffic was bad in London today.

 

Gavin Francis has taken some interesting pictures of the NEx Levante fleet and comments on them.


New Levante for Excelsior at Gloucester Green on 7th November.


More Excelsior Levantes in Oxford


New Haytons Levante.


59212 looks a bit grubby and battle scarred.

 
004. New Stagecoach Elite on the 449 at VCS.

  
Unusual style scroll, with the route number on one small line.


Bit off course in GG. Selwyn's
FJ59APX, branded up for Manchester-Leeds.


Unusual registration for a Levante. Excelsior own this one.

·         Excelsior Coaches, Bournemouth :: Fotopic.Net

913 BU08CGG Volvo B12B YV3R8L22X6A114253 Caetano Levante FO63043068 C49FTL 05/08 Has also carried the registration FA08CUP

www.nationalexpresscoaches.fotopic.net/c1152543.html

·         Bus Lists on the Web

BU08CGG: Vo B12B YV3R8L22X6A114253: Co FO63043068 : C49FLt: 5/2008 : Excelsior,Bournemouth 913: BU08DAO: Vo B7RLE YV3R6K6248A126616: Wt AB496 : B45F: 7/2008

www.buslistsontheweb.co.uk/year/year.asp?


008 and 9. More Haytons Levantes. Maybe they all have the ad on the back.


More normally seen on the 210 or 777, this Irizar PB is working the 420 off VCS.


Countrywide work the 737 service to Stansted on November 14th following the absence of 53702.

Pictures above from Gavin Francis.


Silverdale operate this Levante on services to the north midlands. It was working the 450 in this picture at VCS.


NEx owned Kings Ferry are seen helping out on NEx services from VCs last Saturday.


Sadly this coach was to be involved in an accident with a car near Hemel a few days after the picture was taken.
SC 53702 will be off the road for a few weeks whilst repairs are undertaken.

Pictures above from Malcolm Crowe.

 

The company buses are seemingly lacking in branding these days with the City2 etc now missing from buses. The super rear branding is still in place but one wonders what is planned as the new Scania deckers carry now route branding at all.

 


Three P & R's together near The Randolph Hotel by Gavin Francis.


Volvos 820 followed by 791 both on 400 road pass through Frideswide Sq. Picture by Gavin Francis.


903 on 300 P & R seen in Worcester St by Gavin Francis.


Volvo 799 is seen on 6 road outside the Randolph Hotel by Gavin Francis.


Variety on the 400 P & R in New Road and Frideswide Sq by Gavin Francis.


Unusually two Airline coaches work consecutive journeys on the X90 on the 4th November. Picture by Gavin Francis.

Other Go-Ahead news

Robin here just thought I would let you know the last two citaros brought over from Unilink in 2006 HF06FUA/FUB have left the fleet for a transfer to GANE in swap for 4 of their cadets for Bluestar. 

Just thought you could include this on your news. I will send you on some photos soon. 

I have attached photo of HF06FUA Citaro, some ex London/Metrobus Olympians and ex Oxford K125BUD. Also ex Southern Vectis 310 (WDL310Y) National Holidays which came over for the running day during October.

Thanks to LOTS I can advise recent disposals of the ex London and Oxford VN (Volvo B10B) buses which gave such good service to the Go-Ahead group, especially  in Oxford.

K121BUD - sold by Bluestar to Nigel McCree (Dealer) by Oct 2008. (ex Oxford 647 and London VN4.)
K122BUD - sold by Bluestar to Southern Vectis, being dismantled for spares to supply spares to other GA vehicles. (ex Oxford 648 and London VN5.)
K123BUD - sold by Bluestar to Nigel McCree (Dealer) by May 2009. Then to Glover of Ashbourne re-reg AIG8338 by July 2009. (ex Oxford 649 and London VN6.)
K124BUD - sold by Bluestar for scrap in Dec 2008. (ex Oxford 650 and London VN7.)
K125BUD - loaned by Bluestar to Southern Vectis. (ex Oxford 651 and London VN8.)
K126BUD - sold by Bluestar to Nigel McCree (Dealer) by May 2009. Now for sale (ex Oxford 652 and London VN9.)
K127BUD - sold by Bluestar to Nigel McCree (Dealer) by Aug 2009. (ex Oxford 653 and London VN10.)
K128BUD - sold by Bluestar to Nigel McCree (Dealer) by May 2009. Then to Kiddles of Warboys, Cambridge (Jun 2009) (ex Oxford 654 and London VN10.)
K130BUD - sold by Bluestar to Nigel McCree (Dealer) by May 2009. Then to Kiddles of Warboys, Cambridge (Jun 2009) (ex Oxford 656 and London VN10.)

Any pictures of these buses in present service would be much appreciated.

Red Rose

The company has acquired W408 and 411UGM from Dawson Rentals. They were formerly Travel London later Abellio.


Gavin Francis
caught up with the new arrivals in Stokenchurch and also includes a picture of one when in London service.

It is of note that N744XDV and N772RVK (via Stafford Bus Centre ex Stagecoach Sheffield.) have been repainted into fleet livery.

A white Enviro 200 on loan is YX08HBZ.

MB 709d buses N802 and 803GRV have gone to Stafford Bus Centre presumably in exchange for the two Darts.

Ex Brighton & hove Dart M79CYJ has not been used for many months now and Tiger F49ENF and Vario R796GSF have left the fleet.


Another picture from Gavin Francis of the ex Stagecoach Alexander PS working the 275 from Oxford through Stokenchurch.

Marcus Lapthorn writes "A superb view of the centre of Faringdon with a Stagecoach bus appeared in the Faringdon Folly newspaper. The local photographer who took this shot is Al Cane. I have asked Al if he would be willing to have this shot considered by you for inclusion in the 'Buses in the landscape' feature and he has said that he would be very happy for this to occur. I hope that you will feel able to publish this and to credit Al for his efforts!"

Yes indeed, a great picture Ed. 

 

Oxford 

Gavin Francis notes "Saw our old Tube 50052 operating for Mitcham Belle this morning in Victoria."

The remaining M A N s from the early S registered batch remaining at Oxford are noted as follows:

22925
22926
22933
22934
22935
22936
22940
22941

Other fleet details are as follows:

vehicles awaiting disposal
31362 P362 DSA Volvo B6LE -  ALX200 BY
31365 P365 DSA Volvo B6LE -  ALX200 BY
31320 P320 EFL Volvo B6LE -  ALX200 BY
vehicles in reserve
33822 R822 YUD Dennis Dart SLF - fair condition OX


Not all the S reg M A N s have left Oxford and 22934 is seen here with new Hybrid 12022 at horspath on November 21st. M Crowe.

Another M A N still retained at Oxford is 22926 seen here with Tube 50222 at horspath on November 21st. M Crowe.


A comparison between the Scania Enviro 400 and the Hybrid Enviro 400 can be made in this picture at Horspath depot on 21st November. M Crowe.


The newer M A N s are all being repainted and 22947 is the latest to return from the paint shop in Banbury on November 21st. M Crowe.

Other Stagecoach news.

Scotland

Yorkshire

Ex Stagecoach Oxford ALX300s Now In Yorkshire from Ben 

22203, T203 TND:

http://btp.fotopic.net/p66981152.html

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67038305.html

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67227095.html

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67548579.html 

22205, T205 TND:

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67497383.html 

22207, T207 TND:

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67938416.html

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67938412.html 

22915, S915 CFC:

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67938427.html 

22919, S919 CFC:

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67698104.html

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67698097.html

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67698100.html

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67698102.html

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67698108.html 

22923, S923 CFC

http://btp.fotopic.net/p68000254.html 

22927, S927 CFC:

http://btp.fotopic.net/p66751285.html

http://btp.fotopic.net/p66751771.html

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67497379.html 

22931, S931 CFC:

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67867011.html 

22932, S932 CFC:

http://btp.fotopic.net/p68000226.html 

22937, S937 CFC:

http://btp.fotopic.net/p67497389.html 

22938, S938 CFC:

http://btp.fotopic.net/p66752086.html

Glenn Dinsdale writes "Here's a photo of one of several ex Stagecoach Oxford MAN / Alexanders now with Stagecoach Yorkshire in Sheffield."

 
22932 S932CFC  MAN 18.220 / Alexander ALX300, Sheffield,4/11/10

East including Cambridge

Glenn Knight caught this bus on an unusual route for such a type.


Stagecoach Bedford 16228 (S758DRP) a Volvo on the X5 to Bedford taken at The Point

 

Midlands (Stratford)


Gavin Francis caught this Scania from Stratford on a Sunday working of the S3 in Oxford.

Swindon

A correspondent from Swindon, regarding the problems with the M A N s used on the 66, writes "the theory expressed in issue 36 is partially incorrect. 22620-22626 have all been modified and you are correct the reason they overheat is because the radiators suck in debris. This is because the radiators are on the left hand side whilst usually they are on the right hand side of these buses. They are MORE reliable on the 49 as the higher speed the fan is able to cool the engine down especially 22620, this being the worst bus for overheating when operated on local trips. 

As there has been a higher demand for the 66 that serves Swindon New College in the mornings a decker is used and is often left on the same running card throughout the day, being swapped the in the afternoon. Also a second decker is sent out at 07.45 to return from Oxford to accommodate the concessionary travel.

Regarding the use of the high pressure wash, the garage have full use of the equipment between 8:30am-9pm."

Correspondents then note:

Gavin Francis.


Still using old Darts on 66. 33928 and 33942 meet in Oxford on November 14th. Another Dart, 33968, again on the 66 on November 9th and then Trident 18445.
Pictures by Gavin Francis.

Marcus Lapthorn.

d/d 18177 on route 66 on Wed 10 Nov.

d/d 18182 on 66 route Swindon - Oxford on Friday 19 Nov.

The use of the double decks is now explained as above.


Megabus


Refurbished Paragon on M34 in Oxford was PHE692 by Richard Sharman


Seen here at Water Eaton Park & Ride is 52436 operating Megabus service M34 to Bradford, this coach is no stranger to Oxford having
latterly been used on National Express duties from Rugby (over-nighting at Horspath Depot on some diagrams) and then being used on the X5. its
re-registration is recent (original registration R36AKV), but this is also a mark that's been seen on United Counties Tigers operating into Oxford in the past!


As so often happens a Citylink coach is used on a Megabus journey to London.
This one comes from the Glasgow depot of SC West Scotland and 54069 is seen on Elizabeth Bridge late at night by Gavin Francis..

Update from Lye Green.

New coaches are Volvo B12B / Plaxton Panther YN60FMV and YN60FMX C53/49Ft.
These coaches will be numbered W70 (YN60FMV) / W71 (YN60FMX) and are the last Volvo B12B's to be registered in the UK.

The photograph shows the new vehicles at Lye Green prior to entering service.

Coaches sold during October were:

W4  N289OYE (ex-B9WTN) to Llgwellyn Coaches, Tonbridge
W30  WJI2849 (ex-N903ABL) to Colchester Coaches

Ex-Redwing W4 was the first executive coach to join the fleet and gave over ten years service.

I notice that the Leyland Tiger/Alexander yellow school coach new in 1983 is advertised for sale following the loss of a contract.

 

Jottings

 

Major news
 

New London Bus unveiled  

http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/london/hi/people_and_places/newsid_9180000/9180067.stm

What I saw today at the Acton Transport Museum Depot was - give or take a few tweaks - what we'll be seeing on the streets of London in 2012.

On first impressions the new (and as yet, unnamed) bus has a familiar modern shape at the front. But going to the back, the spirit of the Routemaster is there with the open platform at the rear, and the curve up to the roof on top.

Have a look at the gallery. By the way, it really is red. The lighting turned it orange!

But this bus for all its sleek design has to function as a bus.

It will carry 87 passengers far fewer than the 150 capacity that a bendy bus has, but the project team behind 'A New Bus for London' were at pains to say the new bus isn't a 'Bendy Bus Killer'.

Going inside, I was struck by the space - a far cry from the cramped conditions of the old Routemaster. With three doors including the open platform, and two staircases it seems designers have sacrificed seating for access. Though they have worked in space for disabled passengers.

You can enter through any door as you can with a Bendy, swipe your oyster and if you go upstairs you'll find another similarity with the Routemaster - the lack of head room.

All in all though, it's impressive and also ticks a lot of environmental boxes with its carbon emissions 40% less than a conventional diesel bus.

But can we afford it, especially with hard financial times ahead? Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy thinks we can in an interview with me at the depot. 

Studio North has designs on Stagecoach's Sheffield services 

Manchester agency Studio North has designed a new identity for Stagecoach Yorkshire's bus services in and around Sheffield.

Studio North was hired to help promote a raft of improvement works on the network including new buses, the introduction of double-deckers for the first time and an increase of routes.

To announce the changes Studio North devised a creative strategy based around the theme 'Let us take you there'.

The agency said its aim was "to create a strong brand image through the city" and to "ensure continuity of this brand image".

Its creative concept has now been rolled out onto the buses (pictured) and will be used in online and print media including an outdoor 48-sheet poster campaign.

Kerry Dennison, account director at Studio North, said: "We have been working with Stagecoach for over 4 years and therefore really understand the brand and it’s audience.

Take You There’ really does encapsulate both the rationale and emotional impact of the new investment made by Stagecoach to the Sheffield travel network." 

Stagecoach celebrates success at UK Bus Awards

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Transport group Stagecoach won a host of top honours yesterday (Tuesday 16 November) at the 2010 UK Bus Awards.

After winning the highest number of awards at the previous three ceremonies, the Perth-based transport company was again among the front-runners at the 15th annual London ceremony, winning three awards and taking four runner-up spots.

Stagecoach East’s successful X5 coach service was awarded the Express Coach Operation of the Year honour for the second year in a row after impressing judges with its continued success in attracting more passengers. The service – which also won a UK Coach Award this year – links Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge. Stagecoach Oxford’s popular Oxford Tube service finished runner-up in the same category.

Stagecoach Manchester Engineering Director Darren Roe scooped the Engineer of the Year Award after winning acclaim for the high standards he promotes, and for his work to provide employment and training opportunities to young people in south Manchester and Stockport.

And Stagecoach’s ground-breaking Merseyside contactless payment scheme – in partnership with RBS WorldPay and Mastercard – won the Innovation Award. The UK-first project allows passengers to pay for their bus travel simply by tapping their debit or credit cards on a high-tech reader.

Stagecoach Yorkshire finished as runner-up in the City Operator of the Year category for transforming the network in South Yorkshire that it acquired from Yorkshire Traction in 2005, while Stagecoach South West’s Go2 service was named runner-up in the Bus in the Countryside Award.

In addition, Kent County Council was named runner-up in the Winning New Customers category for its partnership with Stagecoach East Kent and Hastings in the provision of bus services in Ashford.

Les Warneford, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “We are delighted to have had so many of our operating companies, and our people, recognised at this year’s awards. These awards are down to the hard work and commitment of our staff across the UK to providing high-quality, good value, reliable bus services for our customers.

“Our focus on innovation, improved customer service and further environmental achievements will allow us to continue attracting even more people on to our greener, smarter bus services.”

As well as the winning and runners-up spots, Stagecoach companies were also Highly Commended in several categories including:

Success for Arriva at UK Bus Awards

Arriva, one of the UK’s leading bus operators, has scooped four top bus industry awards. The operator won the awards for Top National Bus Depot, Bus Marketing Campaign of the Year, London Bus Garage of the Year and the London Service Quality Award at this year's UK Bus Awards.

The company’s Birkenhead depot took the award for Top National Bus Depot for its focus on service delivery and employee communication, which has contributed towards impressive customer and employee survey results. The depot was also recently awarded ‘Investors in People’ status. Judges were particularly impressed with the depot team’s commitment to detail and the importance placed in building good employee relations.

The Bus Marketing Campaign of the Year was scooped by Arriva Yorkshire for ‘The Arriva 110 Takes Off’ campaign. The campaign re-launched the 110 service in Wakefield. In addition to leaflets, posters, sales promotion and extensive PR, the campaign included a YouTube video, a spoof of the Virgin Atlantic ‘still red hot’ advertisement. Judges were impressed with the comprehensive nature of the campaign and its underlying aim at changing perceptions of bus travel.

Arriva London’s Wood Green garage, the capital’s largest, was named London Bus Garage of the Year, following an independent nomination by Transport for London. The high-standards of operational performance demonstrated by Arriva’s Wood Green team, excellent communication and driver quality and vehicle presentation were noted as having contributed towards the award. The judges said the garage ‘performed exceptionally on all fronts and is therefore the deserving winner’. The garage’s work to embrace a ‘greener outlook’ was also noted for having started to operate hybrid buses from the depot six years ago, which is providing valuable feedback and helping development of the technology.

Arriva London’s Mick Gilroy and Alan Ball were also recognised for their drive to ensure Arriva delivers an efficient and reliable service, picking up the London Transport Quality Award. Mick and Alan manage Arriva London’s team of 176 route controllers, which includes an ongoing assessment and development programme to ensure every controller knows what is expected of them. The judges praised their ‘across-the-board drive, and their commitment to sharing best practice and improving communications between drivers and controllers’.

Mike Cooper, managing director for Arriva UK Bus, said: “These awards are a tribute to the hard work and high standards of all our employees in delivering reliable bus services for our customers and other stakeholders.

“The winning awards, together with Arriva’s other successes at this year’s UK Bus Awards, not only recognise some of the innovative ways we are making bus travel more accessible and attractive for our customers, but also the vitally important work which happens behind the scenes.”

Other Arriva successes at this year’s UK Bus awards included:

• Top National Bus Depot – Runner-up: Arriva Yorkshire, Heckmondwike depot
• Top National Bus Driver – Runner-up: John Peck, Arriva the Shires
• Bus Marketing Campaign of the Year – Runner-up: Arriva Midlands, We are Derby
• Innovation Award – Runner-up: Arriva UK Bus, Bus tickets 2 ur mobile
• Winning New Customers – Highly commended: Arriva the Shires and partners
• Top London Bus Driver – Highly commended: Arriva London’s Eusebio Duarte and Mohamed Sadeq Mulla
• London Service Quality Award – Highly commended: Wood Green Control Team, Arriva London 

Malta update

From Times of Malta

(Sunday, November 21, 2010)

New bus service will dispel 'dogmata'

Arriva displayed its first bus for Malta yesterday when the 10-year bus service operations contract was signed between the company and Transport Malta.

In comments during the ceremony at the Vittoriosa Waterfront, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Austin Gatt pointed out various changes that the 'revolution' of the bus service would bring.

The differences, he said, were stark:

"Firstly, in place of several hundred owner-drivers in a loose association without order or a goal, we are signing a contract with one of the largest and most innovative transport operators in Europe.   Secondly, in place of millions of subsidies, we have today secured foreign direct investment of 40 million euro in a new bus fleet and new transport systems without any form of public funding.   Thirdly, in place of a guarantee on losses we have a fixed subsidy regime aimed directly at reduced prices for pensioners, students and children and regular services in thinly populated areas, like Gozo and Malta's rural north.    Fourthly, we have secured a deal that gives a disproportionate commitment to provide regular all-day, all-week services in Gozo. I should say that the commitment is perhaps disproportionate to Gozo's population density but fully proportionate to our ambitions for our eco-island.   Fifthly, in securing all this we will be saving on what we spend today and keeping our costs in check for the next 10 years."   The new service, he said, would shoot down several dogmas. Among them were the dogmas that buses in Malta cannot be relied upon to take you from one place to another; That a choice must be made between expensive fares and poor quality of service; That buses are for losers or for the poor and anyone who can, should drive; That there is no feasible way of acquiring information about the bus service; That drivers are over-worked, untrained and badly attired; That good public transport is something to be experienced abroad but never in Malta; and that accessibility to cities and towns is equivalent to a fictitious fundamental right to drive and park for free and with the benefit of public subsidy.

"These dogmata are also doomed and those who live by these apparently accepted facts and those who live by criticising them will again lose themselves in some misguided detail and ignore the big picture," Dr Gatt said.

"The big picture is not the imaginary right to enjoy a public subsidy to park in Valletta. Nor is it imaginary European laws on alleged discrimination that when found to be inexistent are replaced by odd notions of residential discounts being offensive to non-residents!

"The big picture is that the value of our country – not merely as a tourist destination, but more importantly as the only home we have in which to live – is depressed by the congestion and the pollution we are suffering today.

"Doing the right thing involves getting more people to travel less by car and more by bus. Doing the right thing is to transform the bus into a credible alternative to the car. Doing the right thing is to actively discourage car use when the bus becomes a credible alternative," Dr Gatt said.

"I have been in politics long enough to know that when it comes to it, I’m in this business to actually do the right thing."

megabus.com expands footprint in North America

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megabus.com, Stagecoach Group’s market-leading budget inter-city coach service, is extending its footprint in North America from next month.

A new hub is being created in Washington DC with an expanded service to 11 new locations, while services from New York will link additional cities in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Customers will be able to travel with megabus.com from Washington to Boston; Buffalo, N.Y.; Charlotte, N.C.; Frederick, Md.; Hampton, Va.; Harrisburg, Penn.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Pittsburgh; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Toronto.

It will mean megabus.com will serve 14 cities from its Washington hub, offering multiple daily departures at fares from just $1 plus booking fee.

New York services are also being extended to cover Hartford, Conn., and Amherst, Mass., proving five daily departures and bringing the total number of cities serviced from the Big Apple hub to 15. Routes to and from Pittsburgh and State College, Penn., will also be doubled to four daily departures.

The improved services and new routes will start operation from 15 December 2010 and customers can start booking via the website from today (16 November 2010).

Dale Moser, President and Chief Operating Officer of megabus.com in North America, said: “megabus.com just keeps on growing as customers look to make their dollar go further. We are delighted we have been able to expand further in North America to bring our great value fares to more locations.”

Elliott L. Ferguson, President & CEO, Destination DC, said: “By expanding its footprint in the DC market, megabus.com is making DC even more accessible and affordable to travellers. The new routes and additional service will also make DC more appealing to the young, tech-savvy travellers, business travellers and families we want to attract, as well as to international visitors who are exploring other cities on the East Coast and beyond.”

George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company, the City’s marketing, tourism and partnership organization, said: “We are pleased that megabus.com is expanding its New York City service just in time for the winter travel season. There’s never been a better time for those travelling to the five boroughs to experience the City’s energy and excitement at such extraordinary value.”

More than seven million passengers have now travelled with the service in North America since the successful concept was exported from the UK in 2006. In addition to low fares, megabus.com’s services in North America offer customers environmentally-friendly coaches, free Wi-Fi, power outlets and toilets.

Earlier this month, megabus.com confirmed that it had bucked the economic downturn by creating more than 200 jobs in North America over the past two years as passenger demand for low-cost travel continues to grow.


Bay changes at Aylesbury bus station

Bay 2 and Bay  9 departures

In the interest of safety and operational access out of the bus Station 

As from Monday 22 Nov 2010

Service 500 and 61 will now depart from bay 9

Silver rider  service  (Fairford leys) will operate from bay 2

Blackpool trams again by Geoff Cunliffe

As the Blackpool trams trundle into their depot for the last time this season on the eve of Sunday 7th. November, details are to hand about what infrastructure upgrades will be happening over this winter. 

Track relaying and upgrades include:- 

The long stretch of Talbot Square to Gynn Square, which will incorporate a realignment of the track behind The Metropole to form a “semi-reservation”. This stretch which has always been difficult for car drivers unfamiliar with the layout and exasperating for the tram drivers.  The Talbot Square layout will probably incorporate new pointwork (possibly lifted from Foxhall Square which was put in place in anticipation of the new tram depot being located on the old Blundell Street shed site – Plan A long since discarded in favour of Starr Gate) to allow for a future extension up Talbot Road to the Talbot Gateway development albeit that this is currently on hold. 

Anchorsholme Crossing to and including Cleveleys Square with new crossover arrangements in Cleveleys itself (it is anticipated that the “heritage” fleet may operate this far from the Pleasure Beach on occasion). 

A road crossing at Copse Road, Fleetwood, the site of the old Fleetwood depot.

Those road crossings in Cleveleys which are being retained are to be fitted with automatic signalling. 

All new trackwork in Fleetwood should be finished by Easter 2011. It is possible, therefore, that “proper” Blackpool trams will once again operate to Fleetwood Ferry, although this will be the last season that this happens. 

Apparently the Railway Inspectorate have ordered a period of “ghost” running when the new cars arrive, which should be interesting.  

Someone who is pretty competent with graphics software has given us a preview of what the Promenade may look like in 2012.  They have taken a photograph of a Nottingham Bombardier tram and superimposed it on one of Blackpool Promenade,- and it looks very impressive. They have even altered the destination display to read “Starr Gate”. It is expected that the new Blackpool units will look very similar to this Nottingham one. It can be seen on the web page of the Huddersfield Passenger Transport Group, http://www.jsh1949.co.uk/BLACKPOOL%20Tram%20Bus%20151-225.htm where it is described as experimental tram 202.  

However, all of this upgrade comes at both a cost and considerable inconvenience. Blackpool Tower is, simultaneously, upgrading its front elevation and entrances and the effect of the two projects is roughly as follows. Blackpool Promenade in front of the Tower will be closed to southbound traffic until the end of February 2011 and then in both directions until mid June 2011. The length of Promenade between Talbot Square and Gynn Square will be closed to southbound traffic until late April 2011.  

All of this will have an horrendous effect on traffic generally. For example, bus services leaving the Town Centre in a southwards direction (i.e. towards St.Annes) will have to execute a long and intricate “omega” shaped loop before regaining their original route which will be on heavily congested town centre roads, will add significant delays and extend their running time. Visitors to the town will find explanatory signs erected on the M55 motorway as they approach, and 20,000 leaflets are being distributed to hoteliers for the information of their guests.  

It will all be worth it in the end – even after the work over-runs! 

You may be interested in the Lancashire County Council web site about the tramway upgrade. It can be found at:

www.lancashire.gov.uk/tramwayupgrade

It gives a great deal of information for those interested in the detail of the upgrade and current works.

Trips out

John Hammond made a trip to the North West and sent us some pictures:


A Preston Citi branded Enviro 400


A Transdev Lancs United Volvo B10B


A Solo of Cumfybus


A Volvo Olympian of Stagecoach


A Preston Bus P&R livery Solo SR


A Preston Citi branded East Lancs / Scania


A Jonckheere bodied Volvo


F803 FAO - a Stagecoach Leyland Olympian


Stagecoach livery Scania Omnidecker


A Megabus Volvo Tri-axle



A former Preston Bus Trident now in Stagecoach livery


A rare find to see a Bova on National Express work


A Preston bus Trident in PB livery


A DAF SB200/Plaxton Centro of Fishwicks


Ribble Valley branded Scania


Volvo B10M/PS of Stagecoach


A Plaxton Primo of Holmeswood


A National Express coach of Stagecoach (53716)


Northern Trains Class 142 (the trains based on bus shells)


A Dart of Pennine


A Mainline branded Volvo B7/Wright


An Optare Solo of Tyrer Bus, Nelson


A Pennine Dart with Oxford connections


A Volvo B10B / Alexander Strider


A WitchWay branded Volvo B7


A Transdev Starship branded Optare Versa


Another Pennine Dart


A Mercedes 709D of M&M Coaches.


A Leyland in Accrington Centenary livery

The remaining pictures were sent without captions but I think everyone can realise what they are. I hope you have enjoyed a look at things North West thanks to John Hammond.


Fishwicks is a wonderful local company running services in west Lancashire based on Leyland.


Transdev are prominent in East Lancashire and retain the Lancashire United fleet name.

 

 

Glenn Knight writes "I visited Hulme Hall coaches of Cheadle Hulme on Monday 15/11 there I found 3 ex-Arriva Luton Buses"


F151KGS Volvo Plaxton Derwent Ex-Buffalo/Arriva


F153KGS Volvo Plaxton Derwent Ex-Buffalo/Arriva


M727OMJ Volvo B6 Northern Counties Ex-LDT 3127

I remember travelling on this in HW on the 74 this was a speedy bus!


I have attached a picture of M727OMJ taken in HW Depot on 16/01/2010.

Buses in the Landscape

John Bristow writes "The photo was taken at Swansea University on 15 November and shows one of First Cymru's FTR bendibuses on the route linking the two main hospitals in Swansea.  They run every ten minutes during the day so the photographic possibilities are enormous!"