Sunday 9th February 2003
week commencing 10th February 2003
Please note that any comments made in this news page are those of the Editors' and in no way constitute
any official points of view from the bus companies mentioned, or indeed any other official body.
As a news page we reserve the right to make valid comments as seen from an editorial point of view.
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This week I am able to bring you news of an exciting new project in Oxford and would like to express my appreciation to Marcus Lapthorn and Jane Dickers for updating me on developments.
The following news release was made a few weeks ago.
NEW PUBLIC FACE FOR OXFORD’S GUIDED BUS SYSTEM
GTE for Oxfordshire Ltd has revealed the operating name which it will use to progress its plans to make guided buses a reality in Oxford. The initiative will be called Expressway Oxford and this is the banner under which the guided bus networks will operate when the project comes on stream.
Along with the new name, the GTE company, under General Manager, Marcus Lapthorn, has developed a corporate image which will equip it to take the project forward. The next phase will cover an environmental impact assessment, completion of the engineering feasibility work on various routes and the detailed business case for this project as a whole. Following this, there will be extensive consultation on a range of viable options.
The company is confident that the development of the Expressway Oxford identity captures the essence of the proposed system and will become familiar to the public in representing the guided bus route plans which were previously badged ‘GTE’.
A high priority for GTE for Oxfordshire Ltd is to ensure that information on the Expressway Oxford concept is widely available to residents, the travelling public and other interested parties. To this end, the company has also announced the appointment of OXLink Ltd, based in Oxford, to design and create an appropriate web-site to support the future roll-out of the guided bus system. It is intended that the site will go live early this year at http://www.expresswayoxford.com.
Philip Kirk, Managing Director of the Oxford Bus Company and GTE for Oxfordshire Board Member, said:
“We have already received tremendous support for GTE as an exciting new approach to sustainable public transport in Oxfordshire. The use of the Expressway Oxford operating name brings the project a step closer to fruition and is a practical tool in increasing the public’s general awareness of the plans.”
I will be bringing you further news as it is released.
Oxford Bus Company announces 111,000 jump in passenger numbers.
The Oxford Bus Company has announced a major increase in passenger numbers in the company’s most recent figures.
OBC says it carried an extra 111,000 passenger journeys in the final three months of 2002, compared with the same period in the previous year. It says the increase in passengers is due to it running more frequent services and the growing popularity of bus travel in Oxford.
Oxford Bus Company MD Philip Kirk says: “This is a very significant increase in passenger numbers for our company. It is a reflection of the fact that we have run more frequent and reliable services. It shows the benefits of the investment we made during the year in our fleet and the significantly improved financial package for our staff. Moreover it is also a sign of the continuing growth in popularity of buses as a way of travelling in and around Oxford”.
A small part of the increase is due to the fifth Oxford Park & Ride at Water Eaton becoming fully operational during December, further increases in passengers numbers being expected when those figures are released shortly. Philip Kirk adds “Park & Ride services continue to be hugely popular. The early signs are that the new Water Eaton service is bringing new customers to Park & Ride and adding to the already strong reputation of the system.”
The Oxford Bus Company runs local buses in Oxford plus routes to Kidlington, Abingdon and Didcot, services for the city’s five Park & Ride sites, “The Oxford Express” to London and “The Airline” day and night airport coach service to Heathrow and Gatwick. The 111,000 increase in passenger journeys for the period October-December 2002 took the total passenger numbers for the Oxford Bus Company during the period to 4.5 million.
Wycombe's new bus station.
Other development news is of the Western Project, now renamed the Phoenix Project and relating to the shopping project in High Wycombe. This will include a fine new bus station pictured below.
I am grateful to Wycombe District Council for allowing me to use this picture and stress that this is an artisits impression and the final result may differ in some way. Further details can be found on the Wycombe site http://www.wycombe.gov.uk
Following my report on the weather causing havoc on the M40 two weeks ago I received an interesting note from Philip Rumsby. This gives an idea of what travellers were subjected to on that fateful day. Philip writes " I was very interested to see you pictures of the snow bound M40. I believe I may even have been on tube number 39 featured in the photo. I was on the 0712 departure from Oxford which reached Stokenchurch Hill at sometime after 9am after having been stationary for most of the time since getting onto the motorway. We eventually arrived in Shepherd's Bush at 1130am!! The journey back to Oxford took over 3 hours, most of which was spent getting out of London. I reckon I spent around 8 hours on the bus that day!! Luckily the loadings on both trips were fairly light with the coaches less than half full so I had a couple of seats to stretch out in.
On the following day, Friday, the 0712 was in London by 0845am - it was more like a Sunday morning!!
This shot was taken at 0901 which almost certainly makes it the coach Philip was on!!!
Geoff Cunliffe, my correspondent from the Lancashire coast wrote this evening with a picture of an Edinburgh tour bus, very similar to the ones we used to have in Oxford. Geoff says "Just had a day in Edinburgh, courtesy of the Daily Mail cheap rail ticket offers. Scratched my head for a link to Oxford, and realised that the attached is from the same series as four(?) Olympians working the Oxford Tour (or they were). Smartly painted LRT 314, E314 WSG carries a reasonably heathy load along Princes Street last Thursday on a fine but perishingly cold day!
Edinburgh 314 on tour in that city. I wonder where 301-303 have gone to?
Variety in high St, Oxford. One of the new Citaros on the 400 following 5161 on the 280 and passing
Oxford Bus 817 on the 15 heading for Wood Farm.
One of my correspondents opens the old cheery of cyclists in the city of Oxford. He is somewhat incensed by the behaviour of a number of cyclists saying "Once again cyclists must be brought to the headlines. Until the police start to stop cyclists riding on the pavement, riding without any lights, riding the wrong way down one way streets and lastly ignoring traffic lights, we will have problems. I say this, as yet again buses and coaches were throw in disarray, when a cyclist ignored the lights by the police station in St Aldates last week which ended up with the cyclist colliding with a large lorry causing buses to be diverted for three and a half hours. Not only were the travelling public inconvenienced by this but it doubtless needed extra staff from the bus companies being drafted and plans drawn up as to where to divert the buses as not all diversions were going to be the same." My correspondent closes by saying "So come on Thames Valley Police start doing your job."
I am sure the foregoing will draw howls of anguish from those cyclists who do ride correctly but sorry Guys, it's a fact, too many cyclists ignore the basic rules of road and little or nothing seems to be done. Maybe, in consideration for the police, who have a difficult job, it is just not possible to get those breaking the law to abide by same.
Paul Dudfield wrote
following last week's page saying "Whilst
I look forward to reading the Oxford news each week I do realise it
is only a hobby for you and many things (most things perhaps?) are more important. The fact that the odd edition is missed is not a major issue. It doesn't snow here in Exeter but the news reports suggest it was pretty bad in your part of the world so I can understand the lack of new pictures. However, the archive shots were of great interest. "
Thanks for those comments Paul. I do always feel slightly guilty if I miss a page. I know that I have many readers out there who look forward to each edition.
I include a couple of items for the second time, in the hope of some response.
Michael Wootten of Wootten's Coaches of Chesham writes asking a question which someone may have the answer to. He asks
For the national renumbering of the Stagecoach fleet, I have been speaking to Bill Potter of British Bus Publishing. This company will be producing a handbook of the full listing very shortly. A special offer has been negotiated with Bill and he is prepared to let my readers have a copy of the new handbook for a reduced price of £15.25 (£1 less than the cover price) if you call him on 01952 255669 or visit the web site mentioning the Oxford Chiltern Bus Page.
The main site address is http://www.britishbuspublishing.co.uk/index.html I am sure many of you will want to take advantage of this offer.
I look forward to your continued support with news and photos for this page. The many very positive comments make it all worth while.
Malcolm Crowe, February 9th 2003.
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002
News of the local companies - 9th February 2003
Abbey coaches, High Wycombe
Martyn Pearce writes to advise of developments in his company. He says "Latest addition to the Abbey Coaches High Wycombe fleet is OWG368X Leyland Leopard/Plaxton Bustler C53F from Motts Travel.
A visit today allowed me to get a photo of the two latest arrivals.
Further to my comments on the appearance of white Jetlink coaches it is suggested that a totally new livery for Air related services is in the offing. Details are top secret but keep your eyes open from early March.
Volvo 826 breasts the hill from high Wycombe, approaching Studley Green.
The 757 no longer stops at this point which has lost a significant traffic from Bible Centre
here a number of overseas visitors work who supported this service in the past.
Arriva serving The Shires
Dave Stewart wrote following my picture of 5114 last week. Dave says "Re. the picture of Arriva 5114. I can confirm that the company has now transferred it to Wycombe. It originally went from Garston to Luton but only stayed there about a couple of weeks. In your picture showing "Manchester", you will observe that the word is at the bottom of the screen rather than filling it. I think you will find that it is just the top part of "Manchester Street", the location of the main Town Centre stops in Luton ! I don't know if it now has a Wycombe blind, I was in Wycombe on Tuesday (briefly) but did not see the bus."
Graeme Wilson writes "I
have information regarding Olympian 5163 (EWW 543Y), depicted in OBP issue 18.
This vehicle was withdrawn from Arriva stock some while ago now (I think it
operated out of Luton depot), and I read in a magazine that it had been sold
to Roundabout Buses of Sidcup, along with similar 5373 (when was the picture
taken? This may be the answer to whether or not it has been sold).
Steve Warwick writes
Route changes as from 16th Feb:
260 is going via Holton Village as well as Wheatley.
261 departs Aylesbury then Cuddington, Long Crendon, Thame Town Hall and then onto to Chinnor and return same way.
332 withdrawn. No service now via Bledlow Village/Longwick via Risborough to High Wycombe, except two journeys on the 261 which extends to Risborough pm.
331 to serve Towersey and Kingston Blount/Sydenham.
Steve also advises that "MPD Darts 3492 & 3497 vinyl less ready to receive route 9 branding. Rumour has it that we are to receive two 'new' buses, one double decker and a MPD Dart from Arriva London as one more Dart is needed for the 9 service.
Fri 7th Feb
Olympian 5071 worked the 10.45 260 service to Oxford.
Following my picture of 5104 (when with Luton & District) I saw it in Oxford last Saturday with 5103 pictured above.
Finally Nigel Peach writes "Mon
3rd Feb: "Bouncy Castle" Dart 3811 was in the bus station. It is now in normal
livery having lost its advert for C F Lake Electrical. That surprised me as it
only acquired it not long before the Arriva take over. But, come to think of it,
that was 2 years ago now!"
Carousel, High Wycombe.
The final Armchair Olympian of the four purchased has arrived. It is pictured below in the depot, today sunday.
City of Oxford Motor Services - The Oxford Bus Company.
Volvo B12B 33 leaves Gloucester Green last Saturday morning on the 1000hrs service to Gatwick.
It was looking very clean and shiny..
Only one Olympian was in service last Saturday, with Trident 103 on the 22, now the haunt of those older deckers
New Citaro 826 waits time by The Randolph before working to Water Eaton.
Photo by Stephen le Bras.
Shortly afterwards, Dart 406 passes Trident 106, a happy coincidence.
Photo by Stephen le Bras.
Volvo coach nr 4 made two workings on different days last week on the X80 to Gatwick. This was due to technical problems with the rostered Volvo B12Bs. The use of number 4 on both occasions was pure coincidence but reminded me of a trip with 59, an old Shearings Volvo just before it was withdrawn on the same route.
My sources tell me that the following unusual workings occurred on February 6th.
Dart 517 on 2 road - Volvo Plaxton Verde 640 on 2A road - Volvo Paladin 649 on 5 road with sisters 637 & 638 on 15road .
On the same day Verde 635 on 22road with Paladin 647 on 35road. Trident 103 worked the evening peak duty on 500s and, as mentioned above, coach 4 covered the 1600 X80 from Oxford being the 1900 ex Gatwick.
Trident 119 is nearing completion of accident repair work and should be back in service shortly. Volvo B10BLE 815 is also nearly ready to return to service after repaint and fitment of an electronic display.
Volvo B10BLE 802 has gained different rear lights, similar to those fitted to Alexander Tridents.
Stephen le Bras writes to advise "I
made my way to London to look at the new articulated Mercedes Citaros on the
436. Whilst passing through Slough I noticed that the first all-white Citaro has
turned up in the yard. It is LT52WXA and should be EC2012 when
painted and ready for service.
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire & Stagecoach in Oxford
Renumbering is now in full swing. If you click on the link below you will be taken to the list kindly provided by David Whitley, Marketing Manager of Stagecoach South Midlands.
This is an Excel file .xls
Brian Matthews writes "Good page - Stagecoach renumbering list very useful. Every Sc bus seen today in Witney shows renumbering - if fact one has gone a stage further and has already lost the last digit on the front display ! I think it was 3262 (32625) but will confirm if I notice it again this week
Note that your pic of Witney d/d 16519 will not load as the " /upload190103/ " is missing.
16516 on the 20 to Chipping Norton last Saturday.
Caught at last, ex London 16144 on the 77 ay Brookes, Wheatley.
This carries Stagecoach in Oxfordshire branding.
Not to be outdone by their rivals in the city, Stagecoach are now fitting new blinds to the MANs.
Here 22923 works the 7A to Barton.
"Back in town" , an ex Oxford Dart 808 works a Swindon based 63 service last Saturday.
The use of a variety of font faces and sizes on the renumbering of Stagecoach buses is notable.
Not all Stagecoach buses have been renumbered as these two photos show. Taken last Saturday.
The promised deckers on the Bicester services were not in evidence last Saturday.
Here 20007 operates a mid morning departure to Bicester.
Vario 42371 arrives at The Green ready for a 25 service back to Bicester last Saturday.
The fleet numbers on these buses are not so prominent.
Stagecoach United Counties are also behind in renumbering as Olympian 753 shows arriving
at The Green on an X38 from Northampton.
Several readers have advised me of seeing a Tube on suspended tow north of Oxford. It seems that this was indeed fire damaged 38 on its way for refurbishment. One will be most interested to see it upon its return to service.
It now appears that the Tubes are all to be refurbished in the coming months and we may see some interesting developments in the coming weeks on the Tube service.
Thames Travel Wallingford.
I have tried for sometime now to catch the branding on the Darts used on the Oxford Science Park route.
Here "651" gets ready for an X39 back to is home.
Michael Wootten writes re his fleet. He says "Acquired is Leyland Olympian Coach-ECW B782FOG (B111WAT, B107LPH). This coach was new to London Country as St Albans based LRC7. The vehicle came to Woottens via Jacksons Coaches of Chelmsford and is being prepared for service.
Yellow School Bus Leyland Tiger- Wadham Stringer DP68F B811YTC has been advertised for sale.
Z&S Travel Aylesbury.
Ed Maun writes "Z & S were operating an ex London Dennis Dart / Plaxton midi bus today (Monday) on the Risborough Town Service (Service 77). It was J159 GAT and is owned by Z & S.
AEC half cab, 727 - now preserved, rests a while at Goucester Green whilst still in service.
(this image is from a colour slide courtesy of the British Trolleybus Society)
Another Brian Matthews offering, this time of Leopard coach 6 in Weymouth.
If you have a digital camera and wish to submit photos for this page please send them to the me at
KP51UEX, normally rostered to Shuttle services from Southampton to VCS, works a 310 service last Saturday
T209XVO an Arriva Fox County Van Hool DAF works the 348 to Swansea last Saturday.
This service originates in Leicester and has called at Gloucester Green en route.
For those who like titans, Stephen le Bras caught this ex Reading example working for Thames Bus in Windsor.
I welcome your photos for
inclusion on this page. Please send them to me at
This is a most interesting site which I do recommend
Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002