Sunday 8th February 2004
next update week ending 21st February 2004
Please note that any comments made in this news page are those of the Editors' and in no way constitute
any official points of view from the bus companies mentioned, or indeed any other official body.
As a news page we reserve the right to make valid comments as seen from an editorial point of view.
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The weather improved in one way, that is to say, road conditions were not treacherous, as was the case in the previous week. however high winds and a lot of rain made driving on occasion quite unpleasant. On Friday I spent sometime in Oxford and treid a few changes on my camera in order to get sharper pictures in poor lighting. One thing however was the fact that at the equivalent digitally of ASA400 many of the digital destination displays failed to show on the final result. Obviously one is taking at a faster speed and the refresh rate on the Hannover screens seemingly cannot keep up.
During a short time spent at Carfax corner - oh why did they remove that useful bollard one could sit on - three vans were parked outside the Town Hall. This was OK until another van chose to park exactly opposite. By this time a traffic warden, who looked ready to book me for being a parked pedestrian, had disappeared and shortly after the whole place became gridlocked. In the photo below 809 cannot clear the crossing and therefore 62 cannot turn into High Street. I was then minded of the criticism in a recent newspaper article where complaints were made about air pollution in central Oxford, often caused by the buses. In fact any buses in Oxford now use green diesel and are CRT fitted, thereby reducing pollution. Maybe it is time parking restrictions are better enforced. Certainly the scene below resulted in over 5 minutes of delay and did nothing for the peace of mind of the drivers involved.
Gridlock in Oxford at Carfax last Friday
Visiting enthusiasts to Oxford often ask about good locations for photography. The Martyrs' Memorial at the bottom of St Giles, erected in 1841 offers some different pictures since one can take shots from the top level of steps with some nice results. The sun is rather low at this time of year but buses coming down St Giles are facing the sun giving a good location.
A Stagecoach Olympian, shortly to be replaced by new Tridents, round the Memorial on the 100 service.
Oxford Bus 612 taken from the top level of steps waits in line, with a SC Volvo PS on the 28, for the lights to change.
Ken MacKenzie writes regarding help with the PSV Circle News Sheets for our area. He says "I have been approached from a Sub Editor from the PSV Circle with the view of taking over the Sub Editor for Oxfordshire Others. I live just over the border in West Berkshire and travel the Oxfordshire south area on a regular basis.
The reason I thought I would e-mail you is, as you are already supplying info to the WWW, do you obtain support from others in the area that could supply me with an update so that the area can be brought up to date and give a good list of the county. The job should flow once it's up to date but I know that vehicles from McLean, Hitchings (Wantage), Luxicar and Rebound haven't been reported.
Keep up the good work with your site, look forward to seeing what help you and your friends could possibly offer before I go forward with this request.
What I'm really looking for is to see if people in the county can help if I took this task on. I help with Berkshire at present and know it's a big job but with support from fellow enthusiasts this could bring it more into line."
If anyone could help Ken, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, now on to the reports for our area. Your contributions continue and I am pleased to receive them each week. My thanks to everyone who sent information.
Malcolm Crowe, 8th February 2004.
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News of the local companies – 8th February 2004
Nigel Peach writes "A
few recent observations: All 4 ex London Olympians are now at Wycombe. I think
all 4 are in service - certainly 5853/5/6 are - I'm not sure about 5854 yet. It
means that we have now received all 11 buses to replace the 11 ex Oxford
examples. However, 4 of the ex Oxfords are still in service - 5825/6/31/34.
Now that the new Transbus Darts are working the U9 & the Merc Minis have been transferred to other duties, I wondered which 3 buses have been replaced. I think the answer is none so far! The U9 now requires 3 buses and I haven't yet seen MPD Dart 3482 returned from repaint as the "spare".
The ranks of the ex London (DW) Darts have dwindled. 2 (3819/20) were transferred to Aylesbury when Lincoln Road depot closed, I note from the Jan issue of the TV & A Bus Interest Circle mag that 3812 went in October. I think 3818 went maybe before that. 3816 has been out of service at the back of the depot for some weeks now, leaving just 5 in service."
Ex London Olympian 5855 leaves Newlands Bus Station displaying 362.
Another Olympian 5856 lacks a destination number but has a rather ragged piece of paper for the 363.
It is seen in the centre of High Wycombe.
Another correspondent advises that the 280 branded S reg Olympians may be refurbished. I do have to say that the interiors do look rather drab and seat covering is very dull.
Newman Morgan wrote of an unfortunate incident
reported in the mid week local papers in High Wycombe. He says "Glanced
at the headlines of the Midweek Free Press today and noticed Arriva came in for
some stick with a bus on the 665 Holmer Green-Marlow Hill school run leaking
fuel from a fuel pipe causing several pupils to be sent home from school and one
ending up in hospital. I think they were all John Hampden pupils. As a
consequence Bucks CC have cancelled Arriva's contract and awarded it to
Prestwood Travel. The incident happened on 22 January."
The new image on the X90 is now becoming much more familiar and there are now only five coaches left in the old livery in service. 9-12 and 71. Nr 8 of course has the VCS livery and the colours, as shown in the picture below, are rather similar.
coaches 8, 18 and new nr 5 rest up at Gloucester Green last Friday.
Nr 18 is the last "refurb" to return to service and as yet lacks any vinyls on the rear.
Coach 21 heads down St Aldates, near the end of its run from London.
The "refurb" coaches are receiving carious interior branding and as the picture shows
are being branded as "Excalibur class". coach 23 has full branding inside now plus a further "Toilet Tale"
Dart 403 has received the new standard style rear light clusters which are being applied to a number of buses.
Trident 113 loads at "Debs" for its run up to Pear Tree last Saturday. This shot was taken from the
top steps of the Martyrs' Memorial by St Giles.
More pictures of the new depot show work on the main building from the rear.
A further building on the site takes shape. This is to be the bus wash and fuelling bay.
Ralph Adams writes "Dart 505 has now been renumbered T5, seen travelling in High Street today with staff only on board."
Dart 505 has been renumbered T5 as reported by Ralph Adams and is seen in Cowley Road Garage.
Coach 98 (3) was reported travelling southwards below Didcot on the A34. I believe this coach has been sold to Wilts and Dorset and was on its way there when seen last Friday afternoon.
An interesting item is the subject of an article in The Oxford Times this week regarding the 16 which is to be rerouted.
Passengers angry that a
"well used" Oxford bus service is changing routes have started a petition. More
than 100 signatures opposing alterations to route 16 were passed to the Oxford
The revised service -- which normally links Minchery Farm to Oxford city via Cowley, Florence Park and Abingdon Road -- will no longer stop in Abingdon Road or Donnington Bridge Road. This means there will be no direct route from south to east Oxford.
But Oxford Bus Company said it was not going to rethink its plans, which will take effect on Monday, February 23.
A Spokesman for the company said the changes were because of of Oxford's traffic problems. He said: "Route 16 has become so unreliable due to road works and traffic congestion that we can no longer give the majority of our passengers the service they need and want."
"The existing route will remain on evenings and Sundays." But pensioners travelling to the Sweet Memories coffee club, in Iffley Road, feared they would be left isolated.
Ruth Barrett, 80, and her husband Gordon, 79, of Cornwallis Close, Oxford, are regulars at the club. Mrs Barrett, who has a bad hip, said: "It is a long way to go to town and back to Cowley. If they run it once an hour it would be better than nothing." Mr Barrett added: "How do they expect us to get around? We don't have a car. They tell people to use the bus instead of cars and yet they take services away. We will be lost without it."
OBC said passengers could catch the number 18 bus from Herschel Crescent via Cowley centre. However it only runs four times a day, compared with route 16 which goes every half hour.
One has to have sympathy with both sides of the problem. Bus companies must run services to time and can be penalised if they don't.
Seems a case of "damned if you do and damned if you don't." In fact further road works on the Abingdon Road are planned this summer and will add to the problems already being experienced.
Full Circle Tours
The Ashmolean Museum makes a nice setting for the Ailsa in better weather last Saturday afternoon
Guide Friday - Tappins
The weather on Friday afternoon was hardly conducive to open top bus travel.
Tappin-Guide Friday nr 53 awaits passengers in St Aldates.
A new Solo was seen on Saturday working a service to Campsfield out of Oxford. It was registered YN53YGZ and was in full livery. Anybody have any further details or photos?
Red Rose, Aylesbury
In the Editorial above I mentioned the congestion in St Aldates on Friday. Here Red Rose Solo RR03BUS
negotiates the problem of parked vans assisted by the Stagecoach City Controller.
From Stagecoach in
website: Eleven years of round-the-clock bus services in Oxford will be
marked by yet more improvements to the Stagecoach late night bus network.
From 20th February, Stagecoach will run buses between the city centre & Wood Farm every 30 minutes between midnight and 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.
The N15 will depart from the city centre and run via Morrell Avenue, New Headington and Girdlestone Road on route to Wood Farm.
Following the successful experimentation on Stagecoach's current night uses to speed up boarding times and get people home as quickly as possible, the N15 will also have a simple flat fare system. Single journeys as far as Morrell Avenue will cost £1, whilst travel onto Girdlestone Road and Wood Farm will cost £2.
To enable people to escort their friends home - or just travel about - the £2 ticket will allow unlimited travel on the N15 and anywhere on the nightbus network in the city until 3.30am on the day of issue, which will actually offer a saving over the equivalent daytime fare.
All travel passes will be valid for travel on the N15 to reward those people that travel regularly with Stagecoach.
Adam Rideout, Marketing Manager for Stagecoach in Oxfordshire says: "We have spent several months looking at ways to improve the night bus package, researching which areas of Oxford would benefit most from late night services.
"Having analysed our findings, we decided to launch the N15 and if the service proves popular then more late night buses could be introduced in the future".
Stagecoach will distributed thousands of flyers to residents in Wood Farm and to late night travellers over the coming weeks.
Newman Morgan writes "Last Saturday I noticed that Bicesters were predominantly single deck worked."
Well, not quite all Newman. Here 16402 works the 27 last Friday but, yes, after a lot of publicity
about using deckers on the Bicester routes, single deckers do seem to predominate these days.
Quite a bit of correspondence appeared on the other web based news and chat page last week regarding the use of a decker on the 233 from Witney.
233 in Burford (16516) - Photo The journey photographed was the scheduled 1101 in Burford
(according to TT 1044 from Thorney Leys and the 0957 100 departure from Oxford. Adrian Lancer
Adrian Lancer sent me the picture above of 16516 on this working and following this I note the under mentioned comments on what goes on.
Ralph Adams says "The
vehicle concerned does the following duties as Y1
100/0650 100/0757 100/0901 100/0957 233/1035 233/1119 100/1531 100/1627 100/1725 100/1825
Between the peaks Witney has no spare small buses in the garage so a larger bus than really necessary; which needs to have greater capacity at peak times, is used. The extra fuel on an Olympian is not excessive against a single decker. You notice that it has quite a reasonable early afternoon break in duties."
Adrian then says "I take it the 1150 ex Witney and the 1235 ex Milton are supposed to be worked by a Vario (seen at 1217 in Burford but too far away to ID it, or see if it was actually in service!"
Vikki Lee reports
Thurs: 34466 was on the 10.
Fri: 16516 - 7A 20005 - 10 and one of these was also on the 1, but I couldn't i.d. it. 22052 - U1?
Ralph Adams mentions that "34467-72
are all branded for X4. The PVR is 6. So there is one spare bus which is 34466."
Richard Griffin mentions "Saw 22057, one of the new X4 buses, doing an NU1 (I think it was) on Wednesday night. And saw one of the Deckers on 7A this past evening."
Rob Williams notes "05/02/04 I noted: 34466 on 7A & 20012 on 10"
Ian Pinnell writes "I would just like to make a few notes on some unusual workins on Feb 3rd and Feb 4.
Stagecoach Oxford Olympian
is used to work the 7A
Feb 4: Two Stagecoach Oxford Olympians used to work the 7A (Sorry, cant remember fleet numbers)
Also on Feb 4, an elderly Stagecoach which i was a passenger on broke down near the Barton exit of the Green Road Roundabout. The driver said that it was a problem with the gear sticks, and every passenger that was onboard that bus walked off and waited for another bus. But could this be the start of seeing more elderly buses on the Barton routes? I can understand why, what with all the attacks, but is this what the residents of Barton want? Or were these workings just one - offs?"
It does seem more regular at present to see Olympians on the 7 routes. Ed.
Steve Annells writes "Stagecoach Oxford 32054 noted on 32 in Sutton Courtenay. Also B6/Alex Dash M845EMW in old Stagecoach livery at Tappins, Didcot"
Richard Sharman says that the B6 was on its way to Ensignbus.
Hammond writes "Changes
to Oxford routes 1, 3, 7 group and X4 all come into effect from week commencing
15/2/04, plus the new N15 service. New timetables are in print at the moment,
most timetable changes are just to improve reliability on services rather than
any major or radical timing changes.
Following the delivery of the new Darts I was able to get a number of pictures of them in service on Friday and Saturday last.
As mentioned above the first of the batch, 34466, is not branded and has appeared on 7s and 10s.
It is seen here unloading at Carfax last Saturday.
Sadly the Graffiti brigade has been at work already on the rear two offside seats of 34466.
And its only one week old.
34467 waits departure time in St Aldates last Friday.
Also of note is the branding of a recently arrived M A N, new to Manchester.
22209 has received route 1 vinyls and is seen at Carfax.
Late on Saturday evening 22209 was working the 7A and 20007 and 20543 were working the X4. Does this mean they use old buses on Saturday night?
Lancer writes ".... a non-enthusiast friend has just told me that he caught
the 1930 Megabus ex London on Saturday evening and says it was operated by
"a brookesbus". Not sure if it was actually a "class 18" or he used brookesbus
as a generic term for double decker. Can anyone confirm?"
Trevor Wilson writes "Stagecoach 16141 R141EVX bus seated long Alexander Olympian seen at the Allsop Arms (near Baker St) Megabus stop at 17:30 on Tuesday 03 February 2004. Megabus card inside driver's windscreen."
Several reports suggest that the ex Hong Kong tri-axles are capable of very fast speeds on the flat but do die on the hills.
Comparing with Oxford's T5 shown under the OBC heading, ex 501 looks very different. It is seen here by Carfax.
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A Silverdale Volvo/Plaxton drops of in St Giles last Saturday. It is R964RCH.
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inclusion on this page. Please send them to me at
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