Sunday 7th September 2003
next update week ending 20th September 2003
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Today, Sunday 7th September, saw the start of a new operation in Oxford, brookes bus. This brings together services previously operated by Oxford bus and Stagecoach and was reported in these pages over the past few weeks. there is a new heading under the Stagecoach section where we will keep everyone up to date with the latest on this new operation.
New vehicles are ordered for this service and the latest information is that the first will be delivered by 19th October. The livery will be as shown above and will bring further colour to the streets of Oxford. Indeed with new colours and rebranding of Oxford bus services, Oxford is indeed a colourful city these days. What a change from National Bus days when everything was red and white.
First day of operation of the U2 saw Volvo B6, freshly repainted and bearing really small fleet numbers
working a service from Tesco to Morrell Hall, an evening and weekend only service.
Buses and Coaches I have driven
On the 26th June 1965, your Editor was on the X50 Manchester-Morecambe service with this
Leyland Atlantean "White Lady", seen here on arrival at Morecambe.
Carrying on from last week's "Buses I have driven" I thought this might evoke some memories for the older readers of my page and that compared to today's wages for driving a note of what one was paid back some 40 years ago. Sunday the 26th June saw my week on the Ribble starting with an X50 duty, AV130, to Morecambe. Sign on was at 1000, leaving Lower Moseley Street at 1015 and sign off back in Manchester was at 1500. This was then supplemented by stand duty from 1700 until 2300. A total working day of about 14 hours including spread over all paid at time and half. Indeed if one worked a Sunday rest day one got double time. The full seven days were worked according to my note book and for a total of 95.6 hours (including Monday and Tuesday on X60 Blackpools, Wednesday and Thursday on a two day Glasgow and again up and back Friday and Saturday, The last mentioned trip was with one of Ribble's 120 Leyland bodied Royal Tiger coaches, 904 - FCK904 and these were really heavy on the steering with a full load. top speed was normally about 42mph which for a Glasgow trip of 200 miles was really slow. Shap would be taken at 15-18 mph.
For the week I received the princely sum of £21.8.10d net. however one has to consider that at that time a good Manager's wage was £20 per week gross or a £1000 per year. I suppose also one should also consider that you could buy a new Mini for less than £500. However back to 1274. What beasts these were, flat out at 58 mph, they had air suspension on the front axles only. This meant that an uneven road could start you bouncing which if any steering was required could produce an effect somewhat like a rough channel crossing on an old ferry boat. Seating 59, the rear of the lower deck was a luggage area and I suppose the modern equivalent is an Oxford Tube. Speed is not that different, only a few miles an hour but strangely the entrance for the luggage was on the offside. There was no power steering either and I do remember leaving Blackpool on one occasion with a force six hitting the offside and having to drive towards Preston with a half turn of right hand lock to keep a straight line. Happy days!!.
I now have some more details about the Amersham Running Day which this year will be on Sunday 5th October 2003.
Amersham & District Motor Bus Society 15th Running Day, in association with RT/RF Register. Amersham London Underground station car park starting at 10.00. Details: Brian Barlow, Orchard Hose, 20 Wheelwrights, Weston Turville, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP22 5QS. Phone: 01296 613001 or Anthony Bassett, phone:01494 522531. Info from - http://www.busweb.co.uk/aecbus/rallies.htm
Oh and finally I saw my "53" coach this week, a picture appears under Plaistows.
Well, now on to the reports for our area. your contributions continue and I am pleased to receive them each week.
Malcolm Crowe, September 7th 2003.
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News of the local companies – 7th September 2003
Abbey coaches, High Wycombe.
Martyn Pearce writes to advise "Another addition to ABBEY COACHES in High Wycombe is S177JUB a Mercedes Sprinter with a quality conversion by Olympus. It features 16 seats with 3-point belts, wooden trim, power operated passenger door, drop-well boot and air conditioning. It was previously with Healys Of London.
During the summer holidays Abbey Coaches have been assisting Carousel Buses on the 333/334 using either the Sprinter, Mercedes 811d/Autobus Classique (J566DJV) or National Greenway (LFR638W).
Ford Transit C14C R757HNL is withdrawn and for sale (anybody interested??!!)
the Arriva Bus Running Day
Sunday 21st September 2003
- there will be visiting Routemasters as in previous years
and the event is organised by Richard Bond.
sae to Richard at 11 Telford Way, High Wycombe HP11 8UX for full details
venue : Newlands Bus Station time: 1000-1700
Red Route Dart 3825 passes through central Wycombe last Saturday on the 33.
Ed Maun visited Wycombe last week and reports "I was in High Wycombe Friday last (5/9) and was pleased to see that the new bus stops with integral timetable cases were all in place at the eastern end of Red Route 33 – that is in Totteridge Road and Totteridge Lane. They look very good; the Kassel kerbing has of course been in place since 1996 when the 303/313 were branded EasyAccess (Quality Bus Partnership Mark 1). Incidentally, now that the 303/313 no longer exist as opposite directional loops, there are a couple of redundant bus stops between Tyzack Road (the terminus of the current 33) and the Amersham Road that have Kassel kerbs!! I am sure the residents would like the loops back again. The current situation also means for example, that the Kassel kerbed stops in Arnison Avenue have very few, if any SLF type buses using them. Going back to the 33, I observe that buses heading west display "Desborough" on the destination screen whereas the BCC Travel Guide uses "Castlefield" in the timetables – how confusing!! When I went to school in H, Wycombe in the 1940/1950’s it was always known as "Desborough Castle"! There was a time, in the 1970’s if my memory serves me correctly, when the 33’s displayed "Town Service" as the ultimate destination which meant the crews didn’t have to change the display at each end of the route – not very helpful to the travelling public. I note a similar situation developing in Aylesbury recently with a number of buses displaying just "Bus Station"!"
Thanks for that Ed. I suppose with bus company officials coming from other areas and few really local bus men left, it is inevitable that local names may be misused or misspelt. Pity though!
Graeme Wilson writes "
A few things to report
following a visit to Aylesbury and Wycombe.
The 13:45, 261 departure and later the 15:50 66 were operated by Roe-bodied Olympian 5071. The Wycombe Olympians, 5828/9 have entered service from
Aylesbury depot on service 66.
Meanwhile, at Wycombe Olympian 5134 and a Lynx operated 326's, while a Scania was on the 363. There was also a Lynx on the 340 service.
Olympian 5108 does remain at Newlands Bus depot, but it looks as though it is not used in regular service any more, today it was parked in a corner with front panels missing. Also, noticed former 5081 (B271 LPH) parked near the exit, possibly staying because it operates a school service in the morning and the afternoon.
Five former COMS Olympians appear to remain at NBS- 5825/6 and 5830/3/4 all remain active here.
5834 works a 362 last Saturday, seen here heading out of Wycombe.
Perhaps a service under pressure from Stagecoach and the new Brookes Bus services is the 280.
Now competing with the U1, Arriva 5161 heads past Asda this Sunday.
Note the use of headlights, said to cut accidents by 25%.
This time its 606 in the first version of the new livery.
This variation is set to be unique it seems
Rob Williams notes
406 on 2 824 on 300 822 on 400
803 on 300! Thus 04/08:
112 on 500!! It had 500 on its numeral display and the old Oxford Bus company logo as the destination.
644 on 5
Adrian Lancer notes for one day last week
2A - 410,505,808
5 - 104 15 - 603
22 - 656,657,804
Due to the St. Giles Fair buses on OBC routes 2, 2A, 2B, 2C, 6, 6A, 6B, 10C, 10D, 14, 300 and 500 will be diverted from Sunday 7th to 8am on Wednesday 10th September. Seehttp://www.oxfordbus.co.uk/new/News%20Stories/News%20Story-StGilesFairDiversions2003.htm for full details
One of the Manager's from Oxford Bus wrote following publication and caption to the above picture last week. He says "I am sure you have got the history of 153 and 155 wrong. As far as I am aware these were one of the last batches of coaches purchased by Grandforce Ltd before the Go-Ahead takeover.
They were delivered in Oxford Citylink livery with simple airport branding to the rear. The livery was a version of the National Bus Co stripy livery adapted to have only one thick set of horizontal stripes, similar to that used on the Metroliner double deck coaches.
Also, the picture shows them with X90 vinyls on. Therefore, this could not be before they were put into airport livery as when these coaches were delivered the X90 was not in existence it was the 190. X90 was a Go-Ahead invention, and as I have said earlier these coaches were purchased by Oxford Bus Company pre Go-Ahead.
I would be interested to hear what your other readers have to say on this."
Well at least it shows my page is read and I think these coaches were actually pictured on arriving back from warranty work at Ware by Plaxtonsa.
This weekend saw the withdrawal of Olympian 221 which made its final foray for OBC on the 601 yesterday.
224 may also be an early withdrawal but here 223 is seen working a 2A duty last Friday afternoon.
Comments from passengers suggest that a decker on the 2A is quite unusual
Full Circle Tours
Stephen le Bras sent this shot of the third bus to join the Full Circle fleet.
Ex West Midlands NOA451X.
Airlinks make crew changes at Oxford and it seems that it is not so unusual for a coach to be used
to ferry the crew to and from Oxford. Here an ex Capital Volvo is seen approaching Oxford last Friday.
It does however seem a rather expensive way to do the job.
Plaistows of Wheatley
Plaistows have a second new Volvo B12M or is it a B12B - FJ53KZO.
David Whitley, Marketing Manager of the company has asked for the latest attached fleet list (period 5 - August 2003) to be published in this week's page. you will need Adobe Acrobat to view this file. Click on the Stagecoach logo to view. (you will need to rotate one of the pages to view)
I think Tubes 41 and 60 have gained new rear ads. That on 41 on the left is saying Volvos are awesome.
what about the M A N?
Rob Williams writes "One vehicle from the 2220x batch has been used on the BMW contract each day. 22207 was the vehicle on Tuesday.
32057 on X4
16614 and 16615 arrived from Leamington after lunch on loan for the start of the Brookes services next week. Work quickly commenced to fit Wayfarer and MCV machines ready for service in Oxford.
20417 went out in service for the first time to cover for a break down out at Chipping Norton.
42374 on staff shuttle
From what I gather 20417 and 20423 were on the group disposal list before coming to Oxford anyway. I think that the forthcoming new vehicle deliveries and transfers across the various South Midlands depots should see off the two Warwickshire Nationals in due course.
32610 has also been in service this week."
writes "20417 &
20423 are due to move to Harwell to replace 2 modern B10s
2 Leamington Olympians are being collected today - they will be amongst their best, poor Leamington.
2 Manchester deckers are being collected next Tuesday (10th Sept)
These are all short term loans.
Apparently 20417 & 20423 are to go on the group external disposal list after Oxford needs are finished. As Nuneaton and Rugby both have a National each, I feel that is surprising.
32057 was on X4 all day today with a fixed route blind (very smart) and the old Oxford or Abingdon Express on the destination blind. 32058 was also in service until it needed attention at the garage. Both had been noted as in the reserve fleet
PS St Giles' Fair has the same diversions as last year on Sunday, Monday & Tuesday, with the 7B terminating in Broad Street like the X59."
Brookes Bus got off to fine start this morning and I took the opportunity to get some first day pictures.
An Olympian, 16076, just off route 7, waits its turn at Green Road roundabout, on its way back depot.
16076 departs from Brookes on its way to Gipsy Lane
16524 heads towards Wheatley Village and Brookes on the next journey.
This bus will have originated at Harcourt Hill.
The U2 and U3 routes
The U2 starts from Tesco and here 31330 works one the morning journeys on the first day
The last of the three ex HKG Olympians, SIW4558, turns off St Giles en route from London
I was speaking to a source within Stagecoach who commented on
remarks made last week on this page. It seems they are not officially allowed to
put a bus stop plate on the stops in London, which is why they have adopted a
low key at that end of the route.
As many will be aware Megabus have a very comprehensive advertising campaign in Oxford involving daily adverts in the local press, 24 radio adverts per day and 350 posters at bus stops. This is based on the fact that the potential market using megabus.com will be from Oxford, since there is more of an existing market between Oxford and London.
From the London end, it is very difficult to attract people to come to Oxford in a cost effective manner, particularly on the basis that newspaper advertising is very expensive. With seats selling at £1 per head, the cost of a newspaper advert would probably be covered only if all existing London to Oxford passengers transferred to megabus.com! ( a worrying thought for the two incumbent operators )
Advertising so far from the London end has been very 'low
key', although a full page advert has been taken out in a visitors' magazine
(available in hotel bedrooms and various other places throughout London).
A series of internal vinyls are also being produced to put in several hundred London buses.
Loadings on certain journeys have been very light, but overall megabus have been very encouraged by the success of the service, with initial research showing that 100% of customers would recommend megabus.com to a friend. At the weekends in particular - a time when both established coach operators
have struggled to cope with demand - megabus.com departures have been running with strong loadings.
The new timetables (wef today - 7th September) are now atwww.busbook.co.uk
Still in its original livery. Y877KDP works a 101 service last Saturday.
Michael Wootten writes to advise of a new arrival, pictured below.
E227CFC has been purchased from Arriva and started life as a Park & Ride bus with COMS.
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