Well, it has been a slightly easier week for contributions and changes in the Covid-19 situation seems to be easing restrictions which may allow more passengers to travel on one bus! Many more buses are in service now with coaches to come from the next week or so.

As you will see from the news in this issue there are some good and poor points and I am pleased to see that Shearings will not become just a memory.

Leger Holidays revives Shearings brand

Leger Holidays, the escorted touring company, has announced the acquisition of the assets of former competitor, Shearings.  

The deal will see Leger Holidays acquire the Shearings brand, website and customer database.

Leger Holidays’ chief executive Ian Henry said:
“I am delighted that Leger Holidays will be bringing the iconic Shearings brand back to life and re-launching it as a stand-alone brand in our escorted tours portfolio.  

“We have gone into this deal knowing that the two brands already have many synergies – similar product, customer demographic, experience values, impressive repeat business and customer loyalty and, as such, we already have the business model in place to seamlessly re-launch Shearings. Leger Holidays has nearly 40 years’ experience in escorted tours – we are not recklessly helicoptering into unknown territory!

“We are particularly keen to develop Shearings’ popular UK tours portfolio and increase our UK tours market share.  Post Covid-19 we are predicting an increase in staycations and will be very quickly launching around thirty new UK tours for 2021 and beyond.

“This deal will not only save the Shearings brand but will reinforce Leger Holidays’ position as the UK’s largest coach holiday operator.”

Leger Holidays said it will be working with travel agents on the commissionable sale of Shearings’ tours and is also open to talks with Shearings’ former suppliers.

Gavin Francis has been on a trip to "the Garden of England" this week with pictures from Redhill, Biggin Hill and Orpington plus earlier in the week a visit to Uxbridge and Hounslow West.

Redhill Bus Station on June 24th - Gavin Francis

There has also been much in the press this week about Manchester planning an operation similar to TfL. One problem for all of these operations is the cost in £millions per day!

Parked up in Stockport's bus station is the Hybrid fleet of buses recently employed by *** but owned by Manchester authorities.
Picture by Les Burton on June 26th 2020.

The support for the page has and continues to be excellent and is much appreciated.

Finally what a scorcher this week has been, too hot to handle!!!! This edition is smaller than recent weeks but it is challenging to work in this weather at my advanced years.

Whether you’re travelling from Oxford to London or returning from London to Oxford, the Oxford Tube is the perfect option.

Returning to service on Monday, July 6th Oxford Tube coaches will run up to every 15 minutes during peaks, delivering a reliable service for commuters and those looking for a day out in the Capital or University city of Oxford. You can view the Oxford Tube timetable online to start planning your journey.

Social distancing measures will be in place on board our vehicles with reduced capacity implemented in line with government guidelines. Whilst our drivers enjoy interacting with passengers and seeing your smiling faces as you board, we'd like to remind customers that unless you are exempt, a face covering is now a legal requirement for travel on public transport. More information on  the level of operation and safety procedures in place can be found here.

We have a new contributor this week, Daniel Harwood, who has provided a nice picture of an Oxford tube back in 2019.

50276 is seen on May 13th 2019, just over 12 months ago, when we had no idea of what was waiting for our country in the Pandemic !

The Oxford tube website advises that the service now has a number of safety features in line with social distancing etc:

On behalf of all readers of OCBP I am sure we wish Stagecoach good fortune with this resumption of service, especially since there is a basic half hourly service.

Back from July 3rd

We’ve introduced new safety measures to help keep you and our people safe on board. We’d ask that you read these in detail before you travel and thank you in advance for helping us keep all our passengers and people safe.

What has been implemented
  • All drivers will be provided with PPE.
  • Anti-bac stations on board all our coaches.
  • Customers are required to wear face coverings when in coach stations, at coach stops and when travelling on our coaches. Please bring your own. 
  • All customer service desks have an increased cleaning program in place as well as screens between customers and staff.  

Social distancing

  • We’ve limited the number of seats on board to allow for social distancing. You can still reserve a seat with us as normal. But if you haven’t reserved a seat, you’ll be allocated a seat when boarding. 
  • Passengers will need to maintain social distancing with the driver and other passengers where possible.
  • Keep to your allocated seat and only use the on board toilet if necessary.
  • Make sure you’re following the drivers instructions at all times – they’re there to help keep you safe.

Keeping it clean 

  • Enhanced cleaning regimes are in place on our coaches, coach stations and customer service desks.
  • We’ve increased our cleaning regime and filter changing schedules for our air conditioning units. 
  • Customer touch points will all be cleaned regularly throughout the day.
  • Anti-bac stations have been installed at both the front and middle of every coach.

There are a further number of items which can be viewed at this link:   https://uk.megabus.com/coronavirus

It is worth looking at this ink, one the very best I've seen.


So, let us trust that services will return to the future with good support.

An interesting collection of pictures from the past, provided by Keith Newton via Michael Wadman, for this week's issue which I hope readers will enjoy. This week we feature House of Watlington.

Keith Newton/Michael Wadman

Here are a few more photos from Keith Newton, this time featuring House of Watlington. 

WXC 347, a Bedford SB8 / Harrington from Grey Green, on a school run. We’re not sure whether these school journeys were public. 

Another school bus, BSB 311C, a Bedford VAS1 / Duple Midland, new to Stewarts of Dalavich
, Argyllshire.

BSB 311C again, in  Hambledon 

CUD 713R, Ford R1114 / Plaxton, in Rotherfield Greys en route, if the destination display is correct, from Henley to Russell’s Water. 

And finally an unidentified Bedford SB / Plaxton. Keith thinks that this and WXC 347 are somewhere in the woods new Stoke Row.

These really are fascinating pictures of an operator who, is now, but a memory. It shows the narrow roads and lane which predominate in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

One from Paul Bateson which is unusual as one of Brampton's ZUM artics is seen working the 115 to the Airport. 

It’s Monday, 22 June 2020 and a quick check of www.transsee.ca  and Brampton Transit revealed that another New Flyer XDE60 articulated Zum bus has entered service – fleet number 2078 on regular Zum route 501. 

A first for me, and maybe a first occasion for BT, was a Zum articulated assigned to route 115 Airport Express.  Today was the first day of a slight increase in service although still an enhanced Sunday service with large areas of the city without a bus service. 

Brampton Transit's 1778 working the 115 seen in Team Canada Drive on June 22nd by Paul Bateson.

Gavin Francis in Redhill, Biggin Hill & Orpington

Gavin spent a very pleasant morning south of the Thames covering an area which has not featured on this page previously. His photos show the variety of operators to be seen in this area. Operator variety is the keyword for buses to be seen, ALL of which look very tidy!


Two types in use at Redhill are shown here, a WHV70 and WVL510 both on route 405 to South Croydon.


The company operates more than 30 of these Scania Omnicity double decks.

... and 21 of these StreetLite single decks.

Another Scania type, the single deck Omnicity on fastway 100 to Gatwick.


LK04CRU was Metroline VP516 and often worked the 6 along Park Lane.

Examples of the single deck fleet in Redhill.

Compass Bus and Cruisers
https://www.compass-travel.co.uk/currentfleet/ https://www.cruisersltd.co.uk/315-bus-timetable/

These two companies also run into Redhill with smartly turned out buses.

So as readers can see there is quite some variety in Redhill and Gavin said what a great location for pictures.


Abellio work the 464 through Biggin Hill using these E200MMCs new in 2017.

A now elderly E400 Hybrid, EH20 works the 320 to Biggin Hill Valley.

When taking these pictures Gavin did not realise that Biggin Hill Airfield was literally around the corner!!


The company serves this town with StreetLites branded for local routes.

Late model Citaros serve route 358 to Crystal Palace from Orpington with MEC64 seen in the High Street.

Stagecoach route 61 worked by E400 19742 is seen  in the High Street.

MMC 37501, seen again in the High Street working a local B14 Orpington service.

We will have further pictures from Gavin's travel in the next issue. This time from Hounslow West and Uxbridge. Certainly the above pictures wet ones appetite to visit the area above. 


North of the Border with Gordon Scott - our man in Drum Brae!

Caught up with MOD Driver Training for Key workers

Volvo Plaxton Panther SK14CVE taken at Edinburgh Zoo, Corstorphine on June 17th.

June 25th

Longstone Lothian Depot

Lothian Airlink 1128CE - SB19GLY Volvo B8L Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 XLB seen parked in Lothian Longstone Depot.

Edinburgh Park and Hermiston Gate Rail, Tram and Bus connections shots below.

Lothian 417LS - BN64LHX Volvo B5TL Wright Gemini on route 2 terminus in Edinburgh Military Tattoo 70 years livery.

Lothian 42MA - BT64LHX Volvo 7900H on route 20.

Lothian must win a Gold Award for the cleanest wheels!!!!!! 

Fleet news and developments

Various contributors this week shows us some of Arriva's operation across the area.

Clearly branded for the 280 to Oxford, 5461 working the 300 in Frogmoor High Wycombe on June 21st by Gavin Francis.

Now some pictures from Gary Seamarks taken in Milton Keynes on June 22nd

StreetLite 3309 is seen with local route 300.

Looking very long indeed Scania 3578 is seen with a route 2 service.

Two Wrights deckers working route 6 and 5 in MK.

Two buses notionally on loan to Arriva work services in MK.

Now from Nick Ross

Solo 2498 alongside Mercedes 1008 in Leighton Buzzard on June 18th 2020 by Nick Ross.
2498 looks new!!!! 

All of the liveried loaned buses from Thames Travel have returned leaving two loans which are Scania's 214 and 219. Carousels ex London's have returned and are now in all day use on the network.

The duty that 941 is seen on, in Stokenchurch, works most of the day on the 27 and then one trip on X8 before a one way trip to our village.
Taken on June 19th before running back to depot empty.
710 is a regular on this duty but the night before the picture above it was 942.

Gavin Francis

The shuttle bus. Found it outside Amersham Hospital. Spoke to the driver. He does a 10min round trip and a 40min break every hour for 12hrs!!

977 is seen in Whielden Street, Amersham on layover. June 21st by Gavin Francis.

Citaro 876 is seen in Oxford Street with a 102 short working to Beaconsfield. June 21st by Gavin Francis.
Note the VERY tiny fleet number on the nearside front!!

Nigel Peach

As I was walking in Flackwell Heath on Friday 19th, I saw Citaro 876 on the 35 to HW approaching, so I got my phone out. An unexpected bonus was that 886 came in the other direction (on the 36 to Bourne End) as I was lining up the picture!

Despite www.bustimes.org; telling us that Thames Travel's 214 and 219 haven't been running for months, they are both still working at Carousel (whereas the others on loan have returned to TT).  StreetLite 401 is back on the road - I saw it on Friday, its first day of working since February according to bustimes. 402 hasn't been working since March. I wonder what it is with those two buses. They both seem to spend long periods off the road. 

A correction to the item in issue nr 108 is seen hereunder. It was a K not an X in the three letter mark! NK20EKT.

NK20EKO Wt StreetDeck SA9DDRSXX19141718 Wt AS480 H??/??F 6/2020 Go North East 6341
NK20EKP Wt StreetDeck SA9DDRSXX19141719 Wt AS481 H??/??F 6/2020 Go North East 6342
NK20EKR Wt StreetDeck SA9DDRSXX19141720 Wt AS482 H??/??F 6/2020 Go North East 6343
NK20EKT Wt StreetDeck SA9DDRSXX19141721 Wt AS483 H??/??F 6/2020 Go North East 6344
NK20EKW Wt StreetDeck SA9DDRSXX19141724 Wt AS547 H??/??F 6/2020 Go North East 6347

Carol Bridges

 Carol took this picture of the bus in front of Oxford Train Station on June 8th.

NK20EKT on evaluation trials at Oxford Train Station on June 8th.  Don't you love the BAMFORD BUS COMPANY display?
It is to be 6344 for Go North East.

Neil Bridges reports seeing a brand new unregistered StreetDeck for Thames Travel on the Eastern By-Pass earlier this week. This might have some relevance to the loan above.

Pictures now from various contributors as indicated.

Ciaran Bird

Branded 364 is seen working a 500 service in Woodstock on June 20th.

Two further surprises working the 500 on June 20th were Brookes 608 and red StreetDeck 661.
This may have been as Park & Ride buses were used on Bicester Village services around that time.

Jack Cooper

869 working the 250 on June 22nd and 883 on the 25th both in Magdalen Street East.

Branded for the 2, 365 is seen with a 2A service on the 25th in Magdalen Street East.

Brookes 606 is seen in a sylvan setting on June 25th in Magdalen Street East.

Branded for the 5, 655 is seen on 6 road when then becomes a 35 on June 25th in Magdalen Street East.

663 and 664 both working the 300 Park & Ride on June 25th.

Finally it is "StreetDeck city" in this scene from Magdalen Street West on June 25th. 


Press Release - June 22nd 2020

•950,000 miles and 300,000 journeys completed in two-year pilot scheme

•Rural Mobility Fund application submitted in bid to unlock government funding to re-launch a revised demand responsive service in Oxfordshire

PickMeUp, Oxford Bus Company’s demand responsive ride-sharing service has completed its last day in service following a two-year pilot scheme.

Colleagues who worked on PickMeUp gathered to mark the end of the landmark service which was the first of its kind in the UK. Oxford Bus Company would like to thank everyone who has travelled on the PickMeUp and all colleagues who worked on the service.

Picture by Oxford Bus Company

Oxford Bus Company can confirm it has applied for a grant via the government’s Rural Mobility Fund, in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, which if granted would result in a revised PickMeUp service returning to the county.

PickMeUp was launched to improve connectivity in the eastern arc of Oxford by complementing traditional bus routes. It enabled passengers in eastern Oxford to summon buses to pick them up on a street corner of their choice, to go to a bespoke destination.

More than 38,000 people downloaded the app and more than 300,000 journeys were made on the service which covered 950,000 miles. However, the service did not reach the commercial milestones required to make it sustainable beyond the two-year pilot, even though not all demand could be met.

Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company Managing Director said: “PickMeUp was a great innovation by Oxford Bus Company and we are proud of its achievements. We have taken a lot of learnings from PickMeUp and are hopeful it could be re-introduced to Oxfordshire if we are successful in our grant funding application, albeit in a revised format.

“Unfortunately, at this time we were not able to secure the additional funding support required to retain the current service beyond the pilot scheme once we had identified that the service could not be sustained financially with the limited number of partners that we had. We would like to thank everyone who has travelled with the PickMeUp service and our superb colleagues who have worked with us throughout the pilot scheme. It is no reflection on their hard work that we have had to finish operating the service.”

News this week projects some hope for the future of this type of service.

The Oxford PickMeUp demand responsive transport (DRT) service ceased operation after completion of its two-year pilot scheme on Saturday 20 June – but it may later return in a revised form, operator Oxford Bus Company (OBC) has said.

A restart relies on the government’s Rural Mobility Fund. OBC has worked in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council to apply for a grant. If approved, it will enable PickMeUp to serve rural and suburban areas surrounding Oxford.

Among them would include some that do not currently have a bus service. Each zone would include a park-and-ride site as a ‘mobility hub’ for onward connections.

PickMeUp would not serve Oxford city centre under the plans. The new format would seek to improve connectivity to existing interurban bus corridors for rural and suburban communities and give them better access to employment hubs, shopping, healthcare and entertainment areas.

An application for Rural Mobility Fund money to allow PickMeUp to return in a revised form is among four Expressions of Interest submitted by Oxfordshire County Council to the Department for Transport. It hopes to access around £20m of funding for DRT.

Although the initial PickMeUp pilot proved commercially unsuccessful, Oxfordshire County Council says it believes that DRT has a future in the county. Yvonne Constance, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, adds that lessons learned from PickMeUp will be used to “help shape services to come.”

During its two-year pilot, PickMeUp carried over 300,000 passengers and saw its app downloaded more than 38,000 times. The minibuses used covered 950,000 miles. While it delivered improved connectivity in an eastern arc of Oxford, it was not sustainable without further outside funding.

Well, I wish the company every success in restarting this very useful initiative!

Daniel Harwood, a new contributor.

MMC 452 with a 98A in Great Western Park, Didcot on June 20th by Daniel Harwood.

Jack Cooper

Scanioa 912 is seen in St Aldates with an X39 to Reading on June 25th.

Short MMC 511 is seen in Frideswide Square with the ST2 on June 25th. 

One from Gary Seamarks in Milton Keynes area.

In heavy rain YK69NKX is seen with a 34 service on June 17th

Another picture from Graham Mildenhall taken just outside the entrance to what was USAF(RAF) Upper Heyford.

Mercedes C17HTL in Upper Heyford on June 21st by Graham Mildenhall.


A note from Reading Buses.

On Friday afternoon we received surprise notification that Reading Bridge will be completely closed from 29 June for approximately 6 weeks for gas main works.

We are voicing the strongest of objections to the total closure, which whilst at a traditionally quiet time of year, will still cause severe disruption to services in Caversham and substantial additional operating costs. We are
making the case that it should be possible to maintain outbound access for buses at the very least, and will keep you informed of the final outcome.

There is likely to be significant disruption to Pink, Berry and Little Berry services as a result, on both the schedules that started on 15 June and those being planned for 6 July.

I do not have any update so far.

Don't for get to look at Stagecoach reports on the SKM Website.

By now you will all be aware of extra services in the coming days and details are available on their web site.

Pictures now from various contributors.

Ciaran Bird

MMC 10686 with an S3 in Woodstock on June 20th.

Gold 15832 working route 7 to Oxford through Woodstock on June 20th.

Solo SR 47834 is seen with a 233 service in Woodstock on June 20th.

Neil Bridges mentioned on June 24th that MMC400 11241 operating the 0750hrs 233 service from Woodstock I'm not sure if there had been one on this before.

Daniel Harwood

MMC 10675 is seen heading southwards down St Giles with a 2A service on June 18th

MMC 10677 is seen with an S8 in Grove on June 3rd.

MMC 11254 is heading for Carterton through Eynsham on June 14th.

Gary Seamarks has provided a few pictures from Milton Keynes taken on June 22nd.

21307 is seen heading for Cambridge.

21310 is thanking all  KEYWORKERS.

Volvo B8RLE/MCV B44F buses in use on the 99 and X5 - 21366, 21367 and 21368.

Jack Cooper

... and 213568 is seen arriving in Oxford on June 25th.

Well, only just over a week to go and then they'll be back. Check my notes under COVID-19 update above. 

Service start a week on Saturday,  Check my notes under COVID-19 update above. 

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