Spottings & Jottings nr.  93 - March 10th 2016

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Oxford City centre and not a red bus in sight on March 1st as shown by Gavin Francis.
Oxford has indeed become a kaleidoscope of colour!


Oxfordshire advises dates for termination of Tendered Services

July 20th 2016 sees the termination of tendered service in the county with many services lost as a result.

Background information

On 10 November 2015 Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet met to consider public feedback to the subsidised bus service and Dial-a-Ride service proposals that were put forward in a consultation held between June 19 and September 15, and to then make a decision about how to make the savings needed from these services. 

They took the decision that the council withdraw subsidies paid to run 118 subsidised bus routes in Oxfordshire. This decision was approved at the full council’s overall budget setting meeting on 16 February 2016.

It is important to note that the withdrawal of an Oxfordshire County Council bus subsidy does not necessarily mean that the service will be cancelled (or subsidised portion of the service). The operator may decide to continue running it without any Oxfordshire County Council subsidy (or another operator step in and take it on).

Oxfordshire County Council is in discussions with operators and will work with them to try to maintain or commercialise services wherever possible if a subsidy is withdrawn.

Bus routes affected (follow the link below)


This gives full details of ALL services affected and is worth your consideration.

I found the changing face of transport in Oxford and interesting item for this issue of the OCBP.

Long gone are the days of the faceless image of the National Bus Company and, if nothing else, each company now has an opportunity for self expression.  One questioned the sense in having route branding extended to the actual colours of the buses on each route but time has proved that it can work and Oxford Bus who now appear always to keep route liveried buses on their appointed route.


Indeed the company has now produced timetables which are artistically rather nice and feature some nice artwork as can be seen above.

Stagecoach has applied some route branding on routes such as The Headington connect group and with its Gold Buses and Hybrids does give some contrasts.

Local companies have been slow in introducing 16 plate vehicles and probably the first is Stagecoach who have a new staff transport based on a Ford Transit crew bus, a 12 seater L2 Medium wheelbase in white.

The new staff bus MX16 XYM. with fleet number 93069. This will not be carried on the vehicle which has not yet entered service.
Picture by Gavin Francis taken on March 7th at the depot.

16 plate vehicles from further afield.

GHH VDL ST16GHH ready to work a Megabus M11 service caught in the lens of Mark Atkinson on March 3rd in Elizabeth Street, Victoria.

Abellio are taking delivery of a large batch of E200 MMCs and one of the first, 8846 YX16NZU, is seen on crew training
on Buckingham Palace Road on March 1st, a coup by Gavin Francis. There are some 17 new buses for the C10.

Go Ahead London's SE288 SN16OLP, one of three, leaves Alexander's works on February 26th taken by Gordon Scott.
Three of these are charming little 25 seaters for the Metrobus operation,
have been delivered to Orpington garage,
 for an increase in the pvr on route 162 Eltham to Bromley.

For the East Kent fleet a new Scania N250UD leaves Alexander's works on February 26th taken by Gordon Scott.
This bus is one of four reported to be for Canterbury, YN16WVB, WVD, WVF and WVL in a batch of 30 with fleet numbers 15261 to 15290.
They are scheduled for delivery during March 2016 and are to Euro 6 standard.

Another recent event was the opening of a new depot in Swindon for Stagecoach West. I was lucky enough to be asked to take one of the Oxford Hybrids to the open day on the Sunday, February 28th and everyone enjoyed a fine but very cold day at the new location. The company formally unveiled its all-new Swindon depot to the press and other invited guests on Friday (26 February), with local MP Justin Tomlinson ceremonially cutting the ribbon.

The £3.2m development in Cheney Manor Industrial Estate has been designed and project managed in-house by Stagecoach, and will service a peak vehicle requirement of 55 buses. Besides five pits and an area with vehicle lifts, the site also houses a DVSA Authorised Testing Facility, complete with all the equipment required for MoT testing of Stagecoach’s own fleet.

Stagecoach West MD Rupert Cox says: “44 weeks after construction began, we have a fully-functioning bus depot that we’re incredibly proud of, and excited to showcase to our staff, stakeholders and the community.” He adds that Stagecoach’s operation in Swindon has boomed over the past decade.

“Ours is a growing business. We have increased employee numbers by 40% in 10 years, and we are carrying 50% more passengers. I look forward to the first buses departing from the depot on Monday (7 March).”

Mr Cox also points to the new facility’s environmental credentials as an indication of Stagecoach’s recognition of its place in the community, with the 200 solar panels on the roof not only powering the depot, but also feeding energy into the grid.

The drive-through wash reclaims between 90-95% of water for re-use, meaning that is consumes just 23 litres to clean each bus. An underground water attenuation system also stores rainwater in a large below-ground tank and releases it slowly to prevent flooding.

Around 200 staff will be based at the depot, which is fully equipped to support them. It has more parking space than is currently required, opening the potential for further growth in the future.

Pictures of the buses attending the open day on the 28th taken by Malcolm Crowe.

Stagecoach current vehicles and the visiting Hybrid from Oxford.

Other visitors seen on the day.

The pit area taken from the upper level area in the new depot.

Other items covered in the next parts of this issue include your Editors visit to Manchester, a report on running days in deepest Buckinghamshire by John Horsman and news from the fleets around our area and further afield.  

Stagecoach donates bus to school

Stagecoach have donated a Volvo Olympian S317CCD at the end of its working life. The bus has been given to Tower Hill School, Witney for use as a library. A lot of work on modifying the bus to its new role has taken place. The pictures show how well the bus is suited to its new role.

The bus spent most of its working life with Stagecoach South, based around Hastings and Eastbourne.

The interior of the donated bus.

Running Days

Amersham & District Motorbus Society

The programme for 2016.

John Horsman writes

John Horsman writes "Here is a picture of the Saturday Red Rose journey through the picturesque Chiltern village of The Lee in case it is of any interest. The 177/190 routes are worked by Red Eagle during the week.

It is a favourite place to visit on running days also and is one of the Chiltern Ridge villages near Great Missenden.

Red Rose 50525 on a Saturday journey through the picturesque Chiltern village of The Lee on February 6th.

The longstanding 394 route ran from Chesham to Great Missenden via a number of Chiltern Ridges villages including Chartridge, Swan Bottom, The Lee, Lee Common, Ballinger and South Heath. A useful route that was quite irregular. As is common with such routes, it did change format over the years but was most consistent in the 1960s to 1980s period with RF and then BN operation. 

An excellent running day took place locally on 2nd August 2015, on which date the photograph of the RF at The Lee was taken.

RF679 NLE679 on the 394 in The Lee on August 2nd 2015.

On this date a T also operated the re-enacted 394 route, taken here near Chartridge and also at The Lee. One is posed near one of the last remaining old LT bus stop flags that must date from around the 1960s, but not unsurprisingly is now in poor condition! I understand that Ts operated the route in 1956?

T792 in the village of The Lee on August 2nd 2015.

Also attached is another running day photograph, this time of a BN at The Lee on 5th October 2014.

The current route 177 is a mere vestige of that operation, the photograph seen above having been taken on 6th February 2016. "

I hope this gives readers the encouragement to enjoy the future events planned for 2016. Ed. 


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 for members per meeting depending on numbers.  For non-members a charge of £3 per head is made.


Next meeting:

Tuesday 15 March at 7.15 p.m.

Graham Low will give us a talk on "the Buses and Coaches built by Eastern Coach Works - quality and variety",

 illustrated with his own photographs. 

the location of the meeting

The Tree Hotel

63 Church Way



The restaurant is open well before the meeting and serves a wide variety of British and Indian dishes.


 The Tree Hotel is about 5 minutes walk from bus stops on Iffley Road served by frequent bus service number 3 (jointly operated by Oxford Bus/Stagecoach).

 For the walking route from the nearest bus stop, here is a MAP 

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


When readers take copies of pictures from the OCBP site 


Some of the contributors to this site have noticed that their pictures are appearing on e-bay sites selling such things.


Needless to say this is a theft of copyright and one which I deplore!


I would not wish to have to watermark photographs, thereby making them unsalable as such but if this practice continues I shall be left with no alternative. I am sure this would detract from the pleasure so many of you get from the OCBP.


May I please ask readers to do two things?


1/ If you see any photos on sale please let me know and where they are appearing.


2/ If you are someone who has copied and sold photos please desist as this is theft and I will have to take legal action against anyone found doing so.


The site is free to all readers and I pay a price to publish the pages which is not passed on.


Please respect those freedoms and I hope I may not have to mention this matter again.



The level of contribution to this page by readers, as ever, remains excellent! Thank you all. 

Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - March 10th 2016



Observations and pictures

As ever Gavin Francis has been very busy with his camera in various locations and some of his London work is included below.

easyBus is not so high profile as its own minibus fleet no longer comes into the Victoria area.
However above we see two of their present fleet near Waterloo, BK14XNX and LF12BFK on February 10th.

Tower Transit WSH62998 on the RV1 near Waterloo on February 10th.

Airport Bus BX65WBE in Grosvenor Gardens, Victoria on February 10th.

MEC 28 and 29 on the 521 near Waterloo on February 10th.

Stansted Citylink BG65VXA at Bus stop S on Midland Road, St Pancras on February 19th on the 767 to Stansted.
These coaches are housed at the Central Engineering Unit near Hangar Lane, West London.

Gordon Scott as ever has provided some interesting pictures shown below.

McGills DAF SB250 Wright Pulsar ex Arriva London DW121 LJ05BNA now 6904 KFZ33 on X23 in Glasgow on March 6th.
McGills now operate some 400+ vehicles and took over the Arriva West Scotland operations sometime ago.

East Fife 26019 YX65 PZU, an E200MMC, approaches Halbeath Park & Ride on 747 service on February 23rd.

The first fleet of Volvo/Plaxton's, which launched the Amsterdam and Paris Megabus services, are now being cascaded to more mundane work in Scotland.
They are being repainted at Kings of Grangemouth and then will be used on various Scottish services.
53641 and 53643 are seen awaiting treatment and 53636 and 53637 are seen after completion and awaiting collection by the new operators.
The pictures were taken in February and March of 2016.

Graham Low writes "I was briefly in Plymouth last week and saw various new buses including Stagecoach Volvo B11R/Plaxton Elites on the Falcon to Bristol, Stagecoach E40D/400MMCs in Park & Ride and standard livery, Stagecoach Enviro 200MMCs in park &Ride livery, Plymouth Citybus E2oD classic in new Green livery and E40D/E400s in the new Cornish Bus livery - this view from the top deck of another bus!"

Devon's 10491 on the 1 in Plymouth
on February 26th by Graham Low.

Devon's 26035 on the Park and Ride service in Plymouth on February 26th by Graham Low.

Devon's 10461 on the Park and Ride in Plymouth on February 26th by Graham Low.

Devon's 54325 on the Falcon service in Plymouth on February 26th by Graham Low.

Plymouth Citybus's 159 E20D classic in new green livery in Plymouth on February 26th by Graham Low.

Plymouth Citybus E400 in the new Cornish Bus livery in Plymouth on February 26th by Graham Low.
An interesting livery application but I wonder how many people will connect with this innovation?

Graham Low will be speaking on “Eastern Coach Works - Quality and Variety” at the next meeting of the Oxford Bus Enthusiasts Society - 15 march at 7.15 p.m. at The Tree Hotel, Iffley.

And now on to the company news.

and TGM

Ben Christie writes "Here is a picture of one of Wycombe's StreetLites on route 32. I have noticed that they are migrating further afield recently. I have also spied them on late night workings of 74 to Slough and 35 to Bourne end."

Whilst the picture is not of great clarity I felt it was worthy of inclusion as one gets the bus and a train in the one picture. Ed.

Arriva has developed its network around Wycombe and now includes the new 34 service which is a Cressex Circular. This replaces their operation of the PR1, now in the hands of rival Carousel.

Ex Park & Ride 3701 is seen on the 34 in Cressex on March 5th - picture by Malcolm Crowe.

Since Carousel took over the 40 to Thame with a half hourly short working to Stokenchurch I was of the impression that we had seen the last of Arriva in Stokenchurch. Imagine my surprise, when coming out of Wycombe on Tuesday evening around 1945, to see a DAF Trident working the 40 to Stokenchurch. However, on checking, I see that the last two services in the evening are indeed operated by Arriva. I suppose these are county tendered services. You can see the timetable at the link below.

For those interested in the allocation of Arriva at High Wycombe, this can found in the following link which shows the three Optare Versa 1100s as now being at Derby, although very late news from another source suggest they are now back at Shrewsbury from whence they originally came.


There now follows a recent selection of pictures taken of Arriva buses.


Arriva 3703 leaves Eden Bus Stn on March 6th by Malcolm Crowe.


Variety on the 800 with 3865 and 4532 on working on March 6th by Malcolm Crowe.


Cressex depot and the out of service area showing buses in the area on March 5th by Malcolm Crowe.


Sunday March 6th at Cressex depot by Malcolm Crowe.


6280 followed by 6244, recently arrived and I believe now the oldest bus on allocation, seen in Eden Bus Station on February 11th by Gavin Francis.


Not normally the haunt of deckers, the 34 saw 6302 on a working on February 11th by Gavin Francis.


Hemel's 3968 seen on a 758 working in Victoria on March 4th by Gavin Francis.


Much more unusual was the use on March 1st of 4072, a training coach in service, on the 755 in London by Gavin Francis.
One wonders what passengers must have thought when boarding a coach with L plates on ???


Levante 4103 on a 757 service near VCS with an NEx Levante with easyBus sticker to the rear on March 2nd taken by Gavin Francis. 

Carousel Buses 

A busy month for Carousel with the new route to the Wycombe Coachway and an increase in other services.

The PR1 service is illustrated below and seems to be growing in patronage. This will especially be helped from today, March 10th when the new Waitrose opens opposite the departure point at the Coachway.

Carousel's 403 at the Coachway on the PR1 seen on February 13th by Malcolm Crowe.

Interior shots of 403 taken by Gavin Francis on February 11th, one showing the very sensible floor indications used on these buses.

404 calling at Wycombe Rail Station on its way to the Eden Bus Station. On the return to Cressex the bus calls at the hospital.
Taken by Gavin Francis on February 11th.

Now I made an unforgivable mistake on last months' page when I referred incorrectly to 873-5 as being Citaros. They are of course Mercedes OC500Us and are noted as being very reliable and from a passenger point of view and excellent ride. They are also very snappy buses not known for hanging about.

Thanks to Nick Aris for his correction on the type.

I have quite a few pictures to include this month which are seen below.

Pictures by Malcolm Crowe.

The High Wycombe depot on Sunday, March 6th and not a decker in sight. Do they have other parking facilities, I wonder?

E200s 420 and 421 in and around the Eden Bus Station on March 6th.

Solo 713 on a 40 working in Stokenchurch on Saturday, March 5th. A strange thing was the destination which kept going on and off!

Pictures from Gavin Francis

101 leaves on the 740 to Uxbridge from the Eden Bus Station on February 11th.

111 is seen in Stokenchurch on the short working on February 26th. Seemingly these buses do not have a 40 blind other than that used on the Thame service !!
Also it is unusual to see a decker on these workings by Carousel.

This is the regular type on the short workings when 403 is seen at Stokenchurch on February 11th.

418 on the one leaves the Eden Bus Station on February 11th.

E200 422 seen after a 28 working in the Eden Bus Station on February 11th. This one of three red E200s, the other two being orange for the 39 route. 

A nice shot of an ex Stagecoach Manchester Alexander PS on a local working into Oxford taken by Gavin Francis on February 16th.
This was 20835 in the SC Manchester fleet. Latterly I believe this bus was with SC South based at Chichester. 


The A6 was once the p[reserve of NEx owned coaches with a fleet of tri-axle Levantes, these days it appears anything goes.
Here Chalfont's WF63LTE is seen approaching VCS on February 17th by Gavin Francis.

Go South Coast 7131 SIB5373 which was on a Levers coach works the 033 on March 2nd by Gavin Francis.

RATP London United VL5 r 561, a recent addition to LU fleet, seen opposite VCS on February 25th by Gavin Francis.

Silverdale of Nottingham's FJ61EWP in Armed Forces overall at Victoria on March 1st by Gavin Francis.

From March 1st Skills took over operation of the 310 which passes through Oxford's Gloucester Green.

Several new 55 seat tri-axle Levantes are used on this service and first we have BD65JFG heading north to Bradford
and next we have BD65JFN heading south to Poole on March 5th both by Gavin Francis.

For a period of time Parks operated this route which was somewhat removed from their normal sphere of operation.
Towards the end of their tenure Elite NBW999 is seen leaving Gloucester Green for Bradford on February 25th by Gavin Francis.

Skills SIL9543 on a NEx working near VCS on March 1st by Gavin Francis.

An ex Parks Elite tri-axle now Skills SAN10JKE on the 440 to Derby near VCS on February 17th by Gavin Francis.

Travelstar FJ61GZA on the 210 waits time at Wycombe Coachway on February 13th by Malcolm Crowe.

Another operation to have seen a variety of operators is the Eurolines service to Amsterdam.
Now Kings Ferry with one of two  VDL Synergy CH61-16DT EO3 WJ65EHU operate this route seen on March 1st by Gavin Francis

By now we should be seeing some new 16 plate coaches. 

Andrew Webb writes "Very surprised to see this in service on GHA's service 45 last weekend (6/2/16).  Photographed passing Warrington Borough Transport's depot.  It was new to Oxford as N603FJO." 

As can be seen from the Oxfordshire County Council link above concerning loss of tendered services Oxford Bus are marginally affected.

Pictures by Gavin Francis

eliteI 75 on the X90 near Victoria. I have wondered why is route number on the wrong side on some OBC coaches?
Seen in London on March 1st.

Branding is now complete on these 2 road buses as seen on 223 - March 5th.

Wrights Hybrid 660 passes through Friedswide Square towards the Rail Station on March 2nd.

The present fleet of the company is entirely Jonckheere's of this model. This presents an excellent image for this local company.
Picture taken on February 28th by Malcolm Crowe.



Fleet details and changes.

Wi-Fi fitted vehicles (150)

10067 10068 10069 10070 10071 10431 10432 10433 10434 10435 10426 10437 10438 10439 10440 10441 10442 12001 12002 12003 12004 12005 12006 12007 12008 12009 12010 12011 12012 12013 12014 12015 12016 12017 12018 12019 12020 12021 12022 12023 12024 12025 12026 15533 15534 15535 15536 15537 15609 15610 15611 15612 15613 15614 15615 15616 15617 15618 15619 15620 15752 15753 15754 15755 15756 15757 15758 15759 15760 15761 15762 15830 15831 15832 15833 15834 15835 15836 15837 15838 15933 15934 15964 15965 15966 15995 15995 15996 22761 22762 22763 22764 22765 28742 28743 28744 28745 28746 36763 36764 36765 36766 36767 36768 36769 36770 36771 36926 36927 36928 36929 36930 36931 36932 36933 36981 36982 36983 36984 37401 37402 37403 37404 37405 50261 50262 50263 50264 50265 50266 50267 50268 50269 50270 50271 50272 50273 50274 50275 50276 50277 50278 50279 50280 50281 50282 50283 50284 50285 50286

New vehicles for Banbury (route 500) 

37401-37405 ADL E20D/ADL Enviro 200MMC (2015) B37F

37401 YX65PXS
37402 YX65PXT
37403 YX65PXU
37404 YX65PXV
37405 YX65PXW

New staff bus at Oxford: Registration number is MX16 XYM. Fleet number 93069 - It is a Ford Transit 12 seater L2 Medium wheelbase. 

Stagecoach Oxford 33463/4 both are now Withdrawn from Service at Diamond and stored at Kidderminster Depot as seen in Richard Sharman's picture below. These buses spent a short time at Oxford following the demise of RH Services.


Seen on February 7th by Richard Sharman.


Two Optare Solos transferred to Stagecoach South Wales, 47238 from Stagecoach Oxfordshire and 47285 from Stagecoach Yorkshire, are at Bulwark Engineering for component recovery and the remains will then be disposed of.


At Stagecoach Oxfordshire the Optare Solo on loan here was providing cover whilst rectification work takes place on the Optare Solo SRs. This bus has now returned to Optare.



Solo 47455 has remained at Banbury, although the S4Connect contract it was used on has now terminated. It is providing cover for the B7 route which is disrupted by major roadworks.


Banbury’s Dart SLF 34469 is currently out of service undergoing major engine repairs, whilst most of the service 500 route branding has now been removed from Enviro 200 36448.



Scania/Enviro 400s 15434/35 have transferred to Stagecoach South West and 15436-39 have transferred to Stagecoach South East.

MAN/Enviro 300s 22761-64 have transferred to Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire and are no longer part of this fleet.

MAN/Enviro 300s 22765-22771 have transferred to Stagecoach Yorkshire and are no longer part of this fleet.

Dart SLFs 33651/52/54 have been sold.

Optare Solo 47238 has been sold (see above)

Optare Solo 47434 has been transferred to Stagecoach West Scotland


Clarification on the allocation of vehicles to routes at Banbury. The information we have received is:


Dart SLF 200, 488, B5, B6, B8, B10

ADL E20D/Enviro 200 200, 488, B5, B6, B8

ADL E20D/Enviro 200MMC 500 (B5, B8, B10, 200, S4)

Scania/E300 (Gold) S4

Optare Solo B1, B2, B6, B7, B10, S4C

Route 500 branding has been removed from Enviro 200 36450.


The company has had a notification from Oxfordshire County Council regarding the supported bus services that they run at all depots. The County has given the company a termination notice on the following routes:
Oxford    17,17A, 17C, 20, 85, 86 and 89
Witney    X15, 18, 19, 213, 214, 215
Banbury   B1, B2, B7 and B10

The date for the termination of these routes has been given as the 20th July which is the last day of the school term.

47736 on the 17 which is soon to loose funding seen on February 25th by Gavin Francis.

Solo SR 47833 on the 18 in George St heading for Bampton which will end up with no bus services at all after July 20th.  Seen on February 20th by Gavin Francis.

There was some part funding on the following routes:
Witney 11 and 233
Banbury 488 and 489
Chipping Norton S3
However these services will continue to run but will have some slight alterations made.

Pictures of the fleet by Gavin Francis.

 ADL E400 10070 standing in for a Gold on the S3 on 20th February.

Scania E400 15995 on the X30 Frideswide Sq. on March 2nd.

Pictures by Richard Sharman.

MMC 10432 is seen on an S4 working to Kidlington Airport. February 1st.

A new super rear on 36981 on route 10, February 1st.

West & South West

Various new services have started in this area and I have two pictures from Carl Berry which should prove interesting.

Once on the X5 Cambridge-Oxford route 53609 is working between Bristol and Gloucester. Behind is one of the new tri-axles for the Falcon service.

Variety at Cabot Circus, Bristol including a Megabus elite I.




West's 15969 on the 66 heading homebound through Frideswide Square on March 2nd by Gavin Francis.


Astromega 50265 off its normal inbound route, turning from Marylebone Road into Baker Street (the X90 route) on February 10th by Gavin Francis.

The date is February 19th and the time around 0735.
The once daily tube operated X30 service from Wantage to Oxford, coach 50276 is seen at the main stop in Grove. Picture by Malcolm Crowe. 

Megabus 50233 near Victoria on February 10th by Gavin Francis.

With its home depot now Plymouth, elite I 54272 is seen by VCS on an Exeter & Plymouth working on February 24th by Gavin Francis.

Thames Travel has variety of liveries and perhaps the most significant is that used on Harwell Campus services with the connector brand. This also has its own timetable style as seen above. 

Thames Travel's 212 is seen in St Aldates on an X2 working on February 24th by Gavin Francis.



Transport Minister Andrew Jones used the UK Bus Summit in London to set out some more detail about what will be in the Buses Bill.

A date for publication is still awaited as the bill is still being drafted, but it is expected to appear towards the end of next month.

“In preparing this bill, we have one clear aim, which is this: To increase bus passenger numbers,” he told the audience.

He also said that the bill will not impose any particular arrangement on local authorities or on bus operators. Neither will it give local authorities “new powers to take bus operators’ assets, such as vehicles or land.

“Instead, the Buses Bill is an enabling bill. It gives local authorities new choices.

“Choices about how they can improve bus services in the interests of their residents, and, I believe, in the long-term interest of the bus industry too.”

He said the government is “plainly on the side of free enterprise” and “in favour of cutting red tape,” adding “there’s so much about today’s de-regulated bus industry that works well.”

He went on: “But it would be wrong to pretend that there’s no room for improvement. We only have to look to the streets outside this building to see how, in some circumstances, things can be done differently.

“And just as in London, passengers right across the country want Oyster-style ticketing, better access to information about timetables, better information on fares before they travel, and real-time data about when the bus is going to arrive at their stop.”

The bill will require all operators to make data about routes, fares and times open and accessible to allow app makers to develop products for journey planning.

The proposals also remove the requirement that a quality partnership scheme must always involve new infrastructure.

It will also introduce “new, enhanced, partnerships that allow local authorities and bus operators to agree their own standards for all services in their area — such as focusing on frequency and reliability along a particular route or transport corridor, or setting emissions standards to improve local air quality, or introducing common branding, marketing and ticketing rules over a wider geographical area.”

The most dramatic part of the bill will include franchising powers for local authorities, if they want it.

“I want to keep the good parts of the quality contract scheme process, which at least forces people to think things through properly, but I want to lose the parts which don’t work, such as the excessive cost, the bureaucracy and the second-guessing.”

He says that powers will have to be “accountable” and not disadvantage cross-border bus services.

He concluded: “Everything in the bill will be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny. So there’s plenty of opportunity to shape the content.”

Full speech at

DVSA clamps down on dodgers.

For my readers to more fully understand the current rules regarding current DDA requirements I thought this piece might be useful. 

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has confirmed that it is actively pursuing operators that are not complying with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

DDA compliance became mandatory for buses with a maximum gross weight (MGW) of 7,500kg or below and a carrying capacity of 22 or more passengers on 1 January.

Compliance is enforced by the DVSA.

Buses in this category require certification of compliance with the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR). Any that do not comply fully with the regulations cannot be certificated, which is necessary if they are to continue to be used on registered services. “If operators are found to be operating buses without the required PSVAR certificate, then the matter could be raised with the Traffic Commissioner,” says the DVSA.

Guidance issued by the DfT also states that operators using a vehicle that does not conform to the relevant provision of the Regulations are liable to a fine up to £2,500.

Operators should be aware that the vehicle being low-floor and having a wheelchair ramp does not mean automatic compliance with the regulations, although both are necessary for certification.

Many early low-floor buses were built before PSVAR was agreed, and are not compliant. Issues for these vehicles are the size of the wheelchair space, positioning of handrails, and the lack of side destination displays.

Several other factors are considered, such as contrast between handrails and surrounding surfaces, ramp angle, wheelchair space provision, and provision of destination displays, meaning that vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz Vario are no longer permitted to be used on stage carriage services.

DVSA also enforces certificated buses’ compliance. “If buses with PSVAR certificates are found not to be in compliance – defects are listed in the Categorisation of Defects – then a prohibition notice and fixed penalty notice can be issued,” adds the DVSA.

It  is suggested that a number of operators are still using non-certificated buses with an MGW of below 7,500kg on local service work. The DVSA says the agency is “at the early stages” of three investigations into non-compliance with PSVAR. All single-deck buses used on stage carriage service must comply with PSVAR from 1 January 2016, and all double-deckers by 1 January 2017. Coaches on scheduled routes must be compliant by 1 January 2020. In all categories, vehicles used on ‘closed door’ contracts are not subject to PSVAR.

Guidance at 


Manchester day out by Malcolm Crowe.

I enjoyed an outing to Manchester a few weeks ago and was able to visit the Manchester Museum of Transport and whilst waiting for my train home to Oxford, saw bus operations around Piccadilly Station. My pictures are shown below. I would like to thank Les Burton, my friend from those parts, for his hospitality on the day.

The variety to be seen on a visit to the museum.

A particular favourite of mine is this 1929 Leyland Tiger similar to nr 33 which I an a friend drove from Manchester to Exeter back in the '60s.
Sadly 33 donated much to the superb restoration seen above.

An amazing find and one of the more recent additions to the collection is this 1934 Crossley, nr 436, which had its original body by Crossley
replaced in May 1938 by an MCTD Car works body carried today. Much works needs to be done but it certainly is a challenge.
The gentleman in the picture was making a fine job of hosting a young school group.

What an antique vehicle - 106 - YM9410 - Karrier recovery vehicle dating from 1926 and in use until 1970.
What a tribute to the manufacturer and the operator Stockport Corporation Transport.

Far more up to date and reminiscent of the minibus era is this BeeLine Buzz Company Sherpa of which dozens hit the streets of Greater Manchester in the '80s.
I always loved the destination shown at the end of the day, "I'm buzzing back to depot"

On the streets of Manchester

They still have bendi-buses in Manchester!

First has many faces in the city - this one looks quite smart.

Metroshuttle is a free city circle service operated by First. The fourth picture was such a change from the days when a two row taxi rank occupied this approach.

This is the A6 London Road which passes Piccadilly Station. How the buses, taxis, trucks and trams merge is something to watch.

The trams are a bonus to travellers and offer fast journeys to the outskirts of this large northern metropolis.


Stagecoach plays a large part in transport in the city and London Road gives access to the east.

On my way back on the train I caught this picture of Mersey Square in Stockport with the Pennines in the background.

It was a most enjoyable day and I would like to spend a little more time when I go again. It was my home area for 30 years but has changed out of all recognition now.

As a postscript Jonathon sent this nice picture of a Stagecoach Manchester bus bedecked for the Chinese New Year.
The livery is reminiscent of SELNEC livery of nearly 50 years ago!!!

Paul Bateson in Canada.

Paul sent some most interesting pictures of some amazing coaches used in Canada for sightseeing. There are more items in the next issue on some ex Oxford buses,


New aren't they something?

Megabus in Canada by Paul Bateson.

Note that the tag axle is not at all like the UK models. Seen in Toronto.

Another variety on Megabus in Toronto.

Similar bus but in full Megabus livery leaving Toronto.

History and questions

Eagle Coach Company

A reader recently asked about the Eagle Coach Company and Marcus Lapthorn says it was situated just off Park Road, Faringdon and the site was redeveloped for housing in the 1970’s. The area is still called Eagles. It was alleged that petrol from the coach company leaked into the cellar of the nearby Swan pub.

Luxicars, Oxford 

Andy Hunt asks if any reader has any details of the fleet used by this company established in 1917.

Gavin Francis writes "During the week I saw Cobham's RLH 53 being towed towards Wycombe on the M40. Happened to call in Binders Yard this afternoon and there it was. I wonder if they no longer want it as they now have RLH 48?"

At Cobham in April 2015 and now at Binders Yard in March 2016.

Les Burton
provided this picture of an Oxford entry at the Trans Pennine Run of 1969.

I was making the commentary at this event at Harrogate.


Pictures by Gavin Francis

New Routemaster overall wraps - a colourful London.

Arriva London North LT173 LTZ 1173 overall for the two of us 190216 G Francis

LT2 in its present green livery which is rather nice. March 7th Victoria.

LT 50 among many other NRMs advertising Sky Q. February 17th.

LT159 for Tressime on February 19th.

LT643 for Tommy Hilfiger - February 17th. The offside is very different!

LT174 for L'Oreal - February 17th.

Other company's vehicles.

Omega old and nearly new. THe Skyliner is of course ex Oxford Tube and going strong. February 10th.

Angel Executive Travel of High Wycombe have AT15AET, a Yutong Executive  seen on February 11th.

Cliffs of High Wycombe have LCA183Y a Volvo B10M-61 ex Bostocks of Congleton seen on February 11th.

M&M Coaches in High Wycombe have seen very interesting coaches , many carrying cherished plates seen on February 11th.

Golden Tours have recently applied revised branding to those buses used on the Harry Potter tours from London.

Pictures by Daniel Doyle.

My grandson is in India for 4 months and sent these pictures of Ashok Leyland deckers taken on February 26th.

Picture by Malcolm Crowe.

I think this is a fairly recent addition to the M&M fleet, its a BMC Coach.



Mike Penn's interesting web site for pictures

You might be interested to know that I have now uploaded 268 photos taken in Beds, Bucks and Herts in the year 2000 to my website -

One of the major events of the year was the purchase by Arriva the Shires of the City of Oxford operation in High Wycombe on December 13th. Two days later, as can be seen from the photographs, vehicles had received Arriva The Shires fleet names and legal lettering but retained their Oxford fleet numbers.

The other major event was the enforced sale of the Lutonian operation by Arriva the Shires.

Both Arriva The Shires and Arriva East Herts & Essex continued to repaint vehicles into Arriva livery though there were still many in previous liveries.

Elsewhere in the region M K Metro continued their policy of purchasing various interesting secondhand vehicles. Some of these came from Border Buses – the company in Lancashire that M K Metro had bought.

Buffalo Travel continued to run but Seamarks were taken over by Dunn-Line early in the year.

Many other independents are also represented. 

Mike Penn