Since the last issue the main event for the OCBP area has been the reintroduction of the Oxford tube service from July 6th. The first service at 0315 on Monday, July 6th was operate by 50265 which also operated the first return fro London at 0515. It was good to see the service back up and running and pictures of the first day are shown under the Oxford tube heading in the Fleet News section.

Also included are pictures of the Flixbus and National Express operations in London. Also under Covid-19 heading pictures of Victoria Coach Station with social distancing limits by Gavin Francis.

Another service to resume is the Oxford Airline to Gatwick, see below. It also appears that numbers of passengers on various buses are to be increased but full details were not available as I went to press.

Ring road section could be closed as old Kennington bridge repairs take place
PARTS of the Oxford Ring Road could be closed later this month as work to prop up an old bridge is carried out.

Oxfordshire County
 Council has previously said that Kennington Bridge needs replacing because bearings which hold up the underside of the bridge have worn away, and repairing them is not cost effective.

Work to replace the bridge, at the southern end of the Ring Road, is set to take place in spring or summer next year and will cost £40m.
Ahead of that a contractor has been hired by the county council to add props to the underside of the road, helping to stabilise it.

This work will begin from July 20th and will mostly not affect people’s road journeys.

I find that very hard to believe!


Oxford tube first service after lockdown was on Monday, July 6th.

Long time user Phil Rumsby enjoyed a trip into London on one of the commuter services of that morning.

Phil writes "I’m delighted to be back on the Tube this morning on the first day of the service resuming.  Very light loadings although I’m sure this will change as the word spreads that the service is running again.

I’m am sure you will be out and about yourself but I thought I’d take a few pictures as well which I’ve attached. I was on the 0745 departure. Two of us boarded at Thornhill – out of a total loading of 6."


Pictures show departure from Thornhill, en route of seat for use and one blocked with finally arrival at Marble Arch.

Gavin notes that 50265 worked first bus for the tube on July 6th!

Revised Airline timetables from July 19th

So, the big news this week is that the Airline will be serving Gatwick once again, the link above will show the timetables for Gatwick and Heathrow. More under the company heading below.


Pictures by Gavin Francis on July 6th, 7th & 8th.

The sense of isolation is enhanced by these pictures. Let us hope life can return to normal soon. 

Another picture from Gavin is that of Thornhill Park & Ride on July 7th, emphasising the lack of customers.

Thornhill Park & Ride.

Also of interest is the picture below of showing Victoria Bus Station.

One odd thing is that in spite of being completed Victoria Bus Station has not as yet reopened.
Picture by Gavin Francis taken on July 8th 2020.

Richard Sharman writes "Despite the increase in bus services, footfall in Oxford and its surrounding towns is still extremely low, possibly lower than normal Sunday levels."

Oxford Bus 683 sets that scene at 1600hrs on a Tuesday, July 7th.

New bus gates will 'ban' motorists driving through Oxford city centre

CARS will not be able to drive through the centre of Oxford when new measures come into force next month.

Two new bus gates are planned for the city centre as part of post-lockdown changes to the roads to encourage people to take up walking, cycling or riding the bus instead of driving.

Bus gates guard certain streets where only public transport, taxis and emergency services are allowed to drive at peak times.

All other vehicles get fined for entering if caught by automatic number plate recognition cameras.

They already operate on the High Street, George Street and Castle Street.

But two temporary ones could be place at new locations by August according to Oxfordshire County Council.

One could be put on either Hythe Bridge Street or Worcester Street, between Frideswide Square and Beaumont Street; the other could be placed on St Cross Road or South Parks Road, between Parks Road and Manor Road.

The Worcester Street bus gate would mean that cars could not travel down through North Oxford to park at the Westgate for example, but would instead have to travel north onto the ring road and enter Oxford by Botley Road or another main route.

The gate on St Cross Road would stop drivers from cutting east or west across the city without having to travel out to Marston Ferry Road.

Though permanent bus gates are guarded by cameras, it has not yet been decided how the temporary bus gates would be enforced.

A third bus gate is also being considered on Thames Street or Oxpens Road, though it is unsure if it will go ahead yet.

If this was put in place, drivers travelling on either the Botley Road or Abingdon Road would not be able to turn onto Oxpens to visit the Westgate.

Lib Dem county councillor John Howson said at least ‘one third of traffic’ on its way to the Westgate would be filtered onto remaining roads when the plans go ahead.

How Oxfordshire Liveable Streets envisages the Cowley Low Traffic Neighbourhood. The orange signs mark bus gates and the red signs are physical barriers to stop cars. 


Martin Isles writes "The 2020 Bus Rally season has been decimated by the corona virus pandemic, but SHOWBUS is coming to the rescue by restructuring the event scheduled for Sunday September 27th. 

We have held on hoping that the situation might improve by late September, but as social distancing will be with us for some time, the large crowds at SHOWBUS would prevent the event taking place altogether.  We simply do not have the resources to ensure compliance. 

The solution is to spread the visitors and entrants over a distance of around 25 miles.  Dubbed the “SHOWBUS flyby” the event will take place over a stretch of the A40 between Beaconsfield and Wheatley.  Buses will leave from either end at regular intervals starting 10.00am and run the complete route there and back.  The round trip should take a bit less than two hours.  Each entrant will have their own start time and it is not intended that vehicles will gather at either of the start points, the M40 service stations at both ends.  An added bonus for spectators is that the event will be free." 

The old A40 presents many scenic backdrops for photographers to choose from which to view the event.  Photo opportunities will occur at the following locations where buses will pause for 5 minutes at each of these four spots.:

         Tetsworth Green (southbound)

         Stokenchurch Kings Hotel (an old coach refreshment stop - southbound)

         Wycombe Retail Park (by the old Thames Valley bus depot - northbound) 

         Milton Common (northbound)

In addition all buses will call at High Wycombe Bus Station in both directions.

For those with elderly vehicles and do not want to undertake the round trip we are trying to secure a number of places along the route for individual buses to static park.  These will obviously be limited in number. 

It is also hoped to keep those happy who have been deprived all summer long of an opportunity to browse the enthusiasts stalls by holding the SHOWBUS TRADERS VILLAGE at West Wycombe Village Hall.  Assuming regulations permit the Hall has been reserved on the day and would be open from 10.00am to 3.00pm.  If you want to visit the stalls, you can either drop folk northbound at the Hall and park up at Piddington before returning to pick them up.  For a 10 minute visit it should be possible to park on the approach to the hall, before the bus stop.  Stopping southbound is likely to cause congestion in the narrow village.

A revised entry form and further details will all be on showbus.com/display from Monday July 6th.   If you enter a bus you will receive an individual itinerary, it will not matter if you do not adhere to it strictly, but we need to avoid bunching and allow other road users the opportunity to speed by.  There will also be suggestions of places to park up before embarking on the road run as the service stations cannot accommodate a mini display and we risk large crowds gathering, but with 25 miles to spread spectators along we should be ok.

I am currently stranded in Australia and likely to miss the event, but the usual SHOWBUS ground crew will be on hand to oversee the day.  In consequence participants please contact me via the SHOWBUS website and rely on email communications. 

All being well SHOWBUS will be back at the Hertfordshire County Showground on September 26th next year and gearing up for the celebratory 50th event on September 25th 2022. 


Dr Martin Isles  dok@showbus.com    (+61) 4683 68147 0800-1300 BST


Postal address for entries: Great Hill Farm, Oldway, CHUDLEIGH. TQ13 0TA


Dom Spooner, 27 West St, WAREHAM. BH20 4JS  SMS 07935 289454

I hope the weather is kind and admire the planning and effort to provide something different this year. 

An interesting collection of pictures from the past for this week's issue which I hope readers will enjoy.

Michael Wadman/Keith Newton on Watlington service 101

In November 1995 City of Oxford withdrew a number of country services, including the 101 between Oxford and Watlington. This route was replaced by Grayline on a temporary contract pending proper tendering, and as it was only temporary they ran it with coaches. A driver told me that they had tendered for the substantive contract and if they won they would get some service buses for it, but in the event it was not to be and the route passed to Thames Transit in May 1996.

KIB 7026 was formerly APH 516T, a Volvo B58-61 / Duple new to Hodge’s of Sandhurst.

Seen awaiting departure from Watlington on March 9th 1996 and in Oxford on April 6th 1996.

EOI 4376 was formerly NDC 242W, a Leyland Leopard / Plaxton new to United Automobile Services.

Seen loading in Oxford on March 9th 1996 and in Watlington on an unknown date. This photo by Keith Newton, the others by me.

The Watlington service certainly has got history.


Comments on the 853 Cheltenham service from Andrew Dyer

I was interested in the story about the 853 in the latest OCBP and it is proof that history repeats itself! When I started as depot manager in Cheltenham in the 80s the older drivers would tell stories about running the Oxford route ....and colourful winter tales of getting stuck in the snow at Northleach. I think NBC abandoned the Oxford route sometime in the 70s (I'm sure other readers will know better) which is when Swanbrook took it over. 

I wish Stagecoach good luck, but can't imagine that it will be a money-spinner!

Comments from Ian McNeil

In pre-Stagecoach days, the Oxford to Cheltenham route was run by Bristol OC with Lodekkas and numbered 171. 

It will be interesting to see if Stagecoach West retain the 853 number. This company will then be operating all 3 legs of the Oxford-Cheltenham-Swindon triangle, and hopefully they can develop some marketing to boost passenger numbers especially between Oxford and Cheltenham.


Arriva 3838 - KX53NXA - Dennis Dart - Transbus B29F new to High Wycombe in January 2004.

Gavin Francis provides an interesting history of an Arriva bus which has had a variety if liveries and locations! This item was prompted by my picture of that strange bus for the U9 in last week's issue.

Seen at UXBRIDGE on April 26th 2004 when almost new on route U9.

This picture taken in Stokenchurch was when 3838 was working the 342 service on March 11th 2007.

Again and after an MOT inspection, 3838 is seen with a 33 service in Bridge Street on June 2nd 2007.

By April 13th 2012 the bus had received Arriva blue livery and a digital destination display. It is working the 340 in Stokenchurch.

Another piece of history when 3838 is working the 52 to Hemel Hempstead on May 23rd 2012.

By September 17th 2012 it was working the PR1 service to Cressex Park & Ride.

Here in Arriva blue 3838 is seen with a 31 service to Penn on March 3rd 2015.

Finally by July 1st 2020 this game little bus was in Luton working service 27 and still looking good for 16 years of age!

Many thanks to Gavin for those pictures. 

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

Stagecoach East Scotland Fife taken at West End Edinburgh. July 4th.

Volvo B8RLE Plaxton Panther LE
54518 - YX18LLD on X56 Perth to Edinburgh, Perth depot based.

54511 - YX18LKP on X55 and
Parks HSK 660 Volvo B11R Plaxton Panorama on Citylink 900 Edinburgh to Glasgow seen together.

Lothian East Coast Buses 10062 - SF17VML
Volvo B8RL Wright on route 106 now fitted with driver screen protection.

Stagecoach East Scotland Fife ,coaches fitted with driver protection screens fitted again taken on July 4th.

X60 route reinstated again. 

53737 - BF63ZRV Volvo B8R Caetano Levante on X60.

X61 route reinstated again.

54356 - YX67UPA Volvo B11R Plaxton Elite on X61.

54139 - YX63NEJ Volvo B13R Plaxton Elite on X61.

East Scotland certainly has a great selection of coaches! Thanks to Gordon for these pictures. 

Fleet news and developments

For this issue I can provide the latest fleet/allocation list for Midlands & The Shires.

Arriva Enthusiast Fleet List July 2020

Changes to services this past week can be seen at the link below.


Recent pictures of Arriva buses were provided by Gavin Francis.

Short StreetLite 1663 is seen in Hemel Hempstead on July 1st, one picture showing Sorry BUS FULL.

Luton based StreetLites working various routes including the trunk route 321, normally a double deck route, on July 1st.

MMC 3114 seen in Luton with 321 working on July 1st.

Another major Luton route is the 31 to Dunstable and here StreetLite is seen on July 1st.

3752 in MAX livery and 3770 working the long trunk routes to WGC on July 1st from Hemel Hempstead.

These near 20 year old buses still giving service in Luton, 4712 and 4713, the latter in the oldest livery.

Gavin comments "The first two pictures at Luton are Trident 5445. It still carries branding for the 310 route from Hertford to Enfield. Tridents were replaced on this route by MMCs in 2016."

These elderly Tridents were delivered 20 years in a batch of 26 for The Shires.
Having worked many routes it is interesting to see that 5445 still has branding for the 310!!!!

The more up to date scenario for the 310 is ADL MMCs as seen by 6488 on June 1st 2017 !! 

Nigel Peach on July 6th

Saw Arriva Southern Counties ADL Enviro200 MMC 4082 (YX17NGZ) in HW on the 30 today (July 6th) It has come from Harlow. I remember getting excited three years ago when we had a batch of these - and then what happened?!! 

Increased Green Line service from July 5th:
    - 757 is back, linking London to the Airport hourly Monday to Sunday
    - Extra trips between Hemel and London to help commuters on 748/758/759
    - Extra trips on 755 to help commuters.

Gavin Francis has provided some pictures of the current Green Line coaches working the above services.

Tourismo 7102 is seen with a 755 working in Luton on July 1st.

Temsa 7104 is seen with a 755 service in Buckingham Palace Road on July 6th.

Temsa 7102 is seen with a 755 service in London on July 8th.

These Temsa coaches were purchased for a new service from Stansted to East London which it appears may be on hold at this time!

Nick Ross

July 9th of DART 3829 at Leighton Buzzard station on the D1 Sandhills shuttle with a key workers thanks up front too!! 

ArrivaClick launches in Watford with initial three minibuses

The ArrivaClick demand-responsive minibus service was launched by the group in Watford on July 1st. It will initially operate with three minibuses that due to social distancing measures will be able to carry a maximum of four passengers for the time being.

Watford Borough Council (WBC) is providing subsidy to the ArrivaClick service, which operates daily throughout the borough and to Warner Brothers Studios and Croxley Park. Fares range from £1 to £2.50 per mile depending on the time of day. Weekly passes and credit bundles are also available.

ArrivaClick in Watford is part of WBC’s goal to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030. The service uses technology from Ioki. Customers book via a smartphone app and the service collects them from a ‘virtual bus stop’ nearby.

Arriva says that the service in Watford is being introduced in phases. It will be scaled up as restrictions around coronavirus COVID-19 are lifted.

One wishes Arriva every success with the service but similar services, such as PICKMEUP, have not proved wholly successful in the long term without funding of some sort.

Some pictures from Gavin Francis taken in Hemel and Luton on July 1st.

520 is seen in Hemel with a 46 branded service.

E200s 567 and 582 are seen with 17 services in Luton.

E200 562 is seen with an 88 working in Luton.

Many thanks to Gavin for those pictures.

Again from Gavin Francis reflecting the start of domestic services in the UK.

BM Coaches are providing this Levante for the new services. BK15AKG in Buckingham Palace Road on July 6th.

A new contributor is Richard Denny with a picture of a recent BM Coaches Van Hool based in Hayes, Middlesex seen in full Flixbus livery.

Flixbus YJ19BDE of BM Coaches on the M1 by J15A on July 6th at about 16.15.

News from Phil Southall, Managing Director, Oxford Group.

It’s been encouraging in recent weeks to see a continuing gradual easing of lockdown measures from the government. Passenger numbers on our services have continued to gradually improve, and we are now carrying
between 20 and 25% of the passenger volumes we would normally expect to see. The reduction in social distancing guidance from 2 metres to “1 metre plus” has also meant we  are now able to carry more passengers on
each journey than previously this being a big help to us going forward.

All of this is positive progress but to get back to where we need to be, for our business to be sustainable, we all need to continue making a big effort to spread the message that it’s now safe for most people to get out and about again, and more importantly to use buses and coaches when they do so.

To combat this, we’ve produced a video for customers called “We’re safe and ready when you are,” showing all the measures we COVID-19 has had a serious impact on
the group’s cash flow and therefore our ability to purchase expensive new vehicles.

Therefore, this year we have had to work much more closely together with our sister companies around the UK to work out our new vehicle requirements than would
normally be the case.

The group had a number of new vehicles in build at manufacturers when the lockdown measures came in, and these have been reviewed and re-allocated to make sure vehicles
are assigned to new contract developments first, with fleet replacement related purchases being paused for the time being.

We have benefitted from this process due to the recent award of the Bicester Village contract, as well as a large number of contract tenders due to be awarded to operators by Oxfordshire County Council in the coming weeks.

We are therefore pleased to announce that nine new Wrightbus StreetDeck vehicles will be coming into our fleet over the coming weeks. These vehicles were originally built
for Go North East but due to a change of plan at our sister company will now become our fleet numbers 901-909.

901-903 will join the Oxford Bus Company fleet, where they will be used primarily on Abingdon services as well as the Bicester Village Park & Ride.

904-909 will join the Thames Travel fleet and will be used on the X2 service, as well as some new contracts which we hope to be awarded in the near future.

The vehicles are built to a very high specification and include features such as a glazed staircase, USB and wireless charging points, tables and head rests with integrated phone / tablet holders. The first three vehicles are already with us and being prepared for service at Cowley House.  Please note that these are full height vehicles and so should not be driven under the Botley Road rail station bridge, just like all other double deck vehicles numbered in the 900 series.

In return, coaches 72-78 are being transferred to Go North East. We were planning to use these former X90 coaches on some airport-related service developments at both OBC and Carousel earlier this year.

So, very many thanks to Phil for this update and those readers in the North East please keep a look out for our coaches and hopefully send me some pictures.

Individual operating company news

Currently I am advised that Volvo/ Plaxton interdeck coaches 75-78 are back at Oxford ready for their future in the North East.

This does put in doubt the resurrection of the 102 Heathrow through service from Wycombe but nothing firm was available when writing this issue.

Gavin Francis provided us with a picture of this operator taken in Hemel Hempstead on July 1st.

StreetLite 403 is seen on the 105 Uxbridge route which operates via Chesham and Amersham.

Malcolm Crowe

Carousel's yard on June 29th by Malcolm Crowe. TT 849 is still around with 885 yet to enter service.

859 seemingly down at heel but probably due to air pressure loss - June 29th.

Skulking in the back of the depot, Link40 423 not in use on June 29th. 

Phil Southall

I asked Phil about the NEx coaches being seen in all white. His reply is below.

"National Express does not know when the 737 will restart so they have given us 12 months notice of termination and will be back in touch if and when they want it to restart. Meanwhile, they have advised us to redeploy the drivers and take the livery and equipment off the vehicles. We will be using them on Rail Replacement duties from this weekend."

Neil Bridges

June 28th Oxford rail replacement on Cotswold line 

Graham Mildenhall

Saturday July 4th 2020.

Just been out on to Camp Road, Upper Heyford to record the final COMS operated 250 service, the 1925 Oxford to Bicester. Poor light didn’t help but one for the records nevertheless.


It is rather atmospheric for the final day! Ed.


Ciaran Bird

Hybrid ex demonstrator 300 is seen along Woodstock Road with a service 6 working on July 6th.

Unusual workings for 500 road, 362 and 367 on July 5th.

Bicester Village 662 is seen in Pioneer Square on July 2nd.

Jack Cooper

Wrapped 368 emphasises the low height Botley Road bridge as it heads in to Oxford on July 9th.

More flowers and matching colours as 678 is seen working a 400 service on July 9th.

Services will resume to Gatwick, every two hours and Heathrow hourly from July 19th. This is similar to the times of over 10 years ago.


We’re back on tour!

The next step in our recovery from COVID-19 will see the City Sightseeing tour returning to the streets of Oxford from Saturday, July 18th onwards.

The service will initially run every 20 minutes, and we will be implementing additional cleaning of touch points and commentary units after each round trip.

The City Sightseeing management team will also be relocating to the Queens’ Lane Travel Shop.

Richard Sharman

Thames Travel's Gemini's always seem to look smart and not like 15 year old buses, the general appearance of the TT fleet seems to be much improved
 since the move to the Didcot depot. 937 is seen operating a X2 service to Wallingford.

Oxford Bus E400 602 is still on loan to Thames Travel, it is seen operating service 11 to Chalgrove.
This route number that has historically always been a Witney area service.  

Daniel Harwood

Daniel also caught 937, this time with a 38 to Wantage and Grove on July 6th.

Jack Cooper

A nice touch by OBC is 213's destination display. Seen on July 9th.

Gary Seamarks in Bedfordshire

A few from a 'Waitrose' run to Ampthill Beds, SC just have the 2 now hourly between Flitwick and Bedford, with Grant Palmer working the 42 on a hourly basis from Toddington to Bedford, the 34 is Flitwick to Milton Keynes also hourly.




Its a far cry from when the late 70's when I was a school in the town, United Counties ran 141 Bedford-Aylesbury (Hourly) worked by both ends, 142 Bedford- Luton about 2 hourly apart from a few workers buses by Luton was all Bedford, 63 Bedford-Flitwick-Dunstable, mostly Luton worked throughout but the Flitwick shorts were Bedford workings, a 24 ran a limited service between Luton and Ampthill via Toddington that was ran from Luton, plus of course the 250 Kettering-Bedford-M1-Marylebone, about 2 hourly by Kettering. With finally a market day service from Eversholt (near Woburn) to Bedford with 2 return trips twice a week. During the late 1980's early 1990's this was also Buffalo's area. 


Ciaran Bird

Still running the 21 Grayline E200 MX61BCO is seen in Bicester on July 2nd.

As readers may appreciate I have received a lot of pictures and not wishing to offend I have included as many as possible. It seems that "KKO" has been more elusive than "KKP" !!!

Graham Mildenhall

“Working at home” today afforded the opportunity for a few pictures of the new operator taking over the 250 Oxford-Bicester service as of today (Monday July 6th 2020)"

Two vehicles seen SM19KKO and SM19KKP both Wrightbus Streetlite DF’s ex Heathrow Hotel Hoppa’s.

A couple of pictures attached taken in the last hour or so (July 6th) on Camp Road, Upper Heyford.

Congratulations to Graham for being first in my mail box with pictures of this operation,

Richard Sharman writes :-

Rotala-owned Hallmark took over operation of the 250 service on Monday, the two StreetLite's increase the amount of WrightBus products operating into the city centre.

SM19 KKS is the second StreetLite used seen on July 7th.

Ciaran Bird

The same bus in Magdalen Street East on July 6th (first day).

Matthew Bullock

Photo attached - Hallmark of Hounslow set up an Oxfordshire base in 2019 and operate out of Grayline's premises in Blackthorn with a licence for 5 vehicles. From 4 July 2020 they took over operation of the 250 service from Oxford to Upper Heyford and Bicester, previously run by City of Oxford and operate it with this Wright StreetLite. Seen in St Giles Oxford on July 9th.

Graham Low

Here are three views of a Wright Streetlite on the new Hallmark operation on route 250 from Oxford to Bicester. 

Van Hool H20HTL seen in Stokenchurch with school service 895, one of the few presently running, on July 1st by Gavin Francis. 


Gary Seamarks in Bedfordshire

Three shots of withdrawn stock with Chiltern Travel/Herberts at there second yard, P428 KSX a Lothian Olympian/RoyaleV113 MEV ex Stagecoach London Trident, , J559MJL a former HKG/Megabus (as J702HMY) and S821BWC (minus plates) also ex London.  JSK492 (now J305UEC on paper anyway), V201MEV again ex London.


Mark Turner advises "Mullanys have brought back 318 service & now runs from Abbots Langley- Watford General Hospital via Town centre & Watford Junction every 2 hours at the present time."

National Express Transport Solutions brings together Kings Ferry, Lucketts

National Express will bring its The Kings Ferry and Lucketts Travel subsidiaries together into a single division called National Express Transport Solutions. It will deliver “a comprehensive range of transport options across the corporate and private hire travel sectors,” the group says.

The new business will retain its existing local brands, but it will operate under the National Express name for all national sales and marketing activity.

A phased approach will initially focus on private hire bookings for one-off events or occasions as well as on commercial contracts such as employee and university shuttle services and transport for sports teams and supporters’ clubs. National Express Transport Solutions will then expand its offering of VIP transport and coach holidays, including day trips and accommodation packages.

National Express Transport Solutions will operate via a UK-wide regional infrastructure using both its own fleet and depots as well as existing and new partner operators. That will be supported by common central functions.

Tony Lawman, Managing Director of Lucketts Group, becomes MD of National Express Transport Solutions. Ian Fraser, MD of The Kings Ferry, takes up the role of Chief Operating Officer.

Existing Lucketts and The Kings Ferry teams form the South and South East regional hubs. They are led by Murray Carter and Chris Burley as respective Regional Directors.

National Express MD UK and Germany Tom Stables says: “The current UK coach market is fragmented, with lots of local offerings from small, independent family businesses.

“The Kings Ferry and Lucketts already have a significant presence in the corporate travel sector. By forming National Express Transport Solutions, we can leverage their joint capabilities with National Express’ strength as a recognised and trusted brand to deliver a consistent, high-quality UK-wide product.”

Mr Lawman adds that the business is already speaking to existing operator partners about its future plans, and starting conversations with potential new collaborators.

“We have the operational experience and expertise alongside the skills to offer a high standard of customer service. There is a real opportunity to provide a product that stands apart from the rest of the market and delivers what today’s customers are looking for.

“We have ambitious plans to build on the work we already do in these areas, initially concentrating on the opportunities for shuttle services and private hire while expanding our offering in the tourism sector.”

National Express purchased Lucketts Group in March. It acquired The Kings Ferry in November 2007.

Interesting times ahead as it is rumoured that some current contractors may no longer feature in future plans!

Richard Sharman

National Express have restarted operations into Oxford with three daily departures to Manchester operated by Selwyn's.
BM68AHO is seen on layover before departure to Manchester.

Gavin Francis in London

Fleet coach 294 is seen with an 075 working outside VCS on July 6th.

Selwyn's BM68AHN is seen with a 540 service to Manchester on July 6th. 

Neil Bridges

Saw OBC BV67JYR today at 0910ish going under Blackbird Leys bridge on Oxford Ring Road going towards Rose Hill roundabout in all white, no National  Express logos at all !

See under Oxford Bus Company news re this matter. 

Gavin Francis in London

E400s working the restored 702 service at their new stop in Buckingham Palace Road in early July.
Still no sign of the new Optare fleet ordered for this route.

Gavin Francis

Seen working a Hemel town service 1 - YX09FMK on July 1st.


Gavin Francis

Looking very smart this 16 year old Dart is seen in Hemel with local service H10 on July 1st. 

Changes have been made to the seating limitations on Stagecoach buses, certainly in Oxfordshire. I had been promised official details but these are not forthcoming so I will hope for news by next week?

Richard Sharman has provided some interesting pictures taken on July 7th.

To allow social distancing, Stagecoach Oxford has been using E400s to operate staff shuttles. 10667 is seen on such a duty outside Gloucester Green.

Many months after its return from repair, 11238 is still devoid of a front Stagecoach vinyl. As staffing levels increase hopefully it will soon gain a new vinyl.

Ciaran Bird

Gold 15756 is seen  in Bicester working its branded route, S5, on July 2nd.

As an alternate S5 branded 15761 is seen in Woodstock with an S3 service on July 5th.

Gold E300 28743 is seen working an S4 service in Oxford on July 6th.

Pretty as a picture is seen working local service 28 in Bicester on July 6th.

Daniel Harwood

MMC 11245 is seen near Swinford Toll Bridge with an S1 service on July 5th.

Gold 10779 is seen in Wantage Market Place with an S8 service on June 30th.

MMCs 11240, 5 and 6 outside Witney depot on July 4th.

Solo SR 47834 is seen leaving Witney Depot on July 4th.

Jack Cooper

Witney 11241 seen in Magdalen Street West with an S1 service on July 9th.

At the same location, seat belted 15966 is seen with an S5 working on July 9th.

Richard Sharman

To allow social distancing, Stagecoach Oxford has been using E400s to operate staff shuttles.
MMC 10667 is seen working such a duty outside Gloucester Green on
July 7th.

Many months after its return from repair, 11238 is still devoid of a front Stagecoach vinyl.
As staffing levels increase hopefully it will soon gain a new vinyl.
July 7th in George Street with an S1 service.

Gary Seamarks

Finally caught up with the Captain, while he was on Bedford Park and Ride duties, driver quite happy for the inside shot to be taken also.

I still think that what the Captain did was remarkable!

19897 seen working route 2 in Bedford on July 8th. 

Gavin Francis

Scania 15650 is seen working an S6 service but this is the first picture of this bus seen by OCBP on July 9th in Gloucester Green.

Marcus Lapthorn

Swindon's Bus Station on July 7th showing much fewer buses than normal.

Richard Sharman has provided some interesting pictures.

Monday marked the welcome return of the Oxford Tube. 50264 is seen during the first morning of operation, whilst 50277 is seen making its way to 'the green' for its first London trip in over 100 days.


Former Tube 50225 is seen with Ridleys Coaches operating rail replacement in Kidderminster, now re-registered Y444DAF.

Gavin Francis from July 6th

Social distancing on July 6th and the last on July 9th.

July 8th and coaches are running a 30 minute service during the day - 50266 in Buckingham Palace Road.

Developments during lockdown

Some odd developments have taken place during the recent service suspension. The pictures below tell the story in Oxford and London.

There are now three bays in Gloucester Green where there were two separated by wide loading isles for people with disabilities.
As the coaches have to swing inwards and outwards the bays are too narrow and so the middle bay is blocked off.
I wonder who created this problem during the resurfacing of Gloucester Green??? Surely not someone who can drive these coaches??

Health & Safety Questions
Marble Arch - Park Lane outbound stops have seen a two way cycle lane developed in London. It runs the length of Park Lane.
The pictures clearly show the shelters, cycle lane and bus stop requiring intending passengers to cross the cycle lane to board the bus or coach.
Now, what about a busy time when there are numerous customers, or a customer in a wheel chair or a blind person on their own.
Will older people realise that cycles are going both ways and will the cyclists give way to pedestrians???
I am puzzled when surely the cycle lane could have run by the side of the fence leaving the bus stops accessible to all.
Maybe someone can inform this "obviously infirm and past it" Editor, who thought this one up?

However it is nice to see the Astromegas heading along the M40 once again!

Gavin Francis from July 6th

54601 passes VCS inbound on July 6th.

54288 seen arriving  in London on July 7th.

Smaller operators and London developments


Gary Seamarks in Bedfordshire

Weberbus of Flitwick entire fleet LK03GJF is a non-runner with the other two for two school contracts,
LX04FYD is ex Grant Palmer and is usually employed on a former GP contract.

Gavin Francis

Pictures from London taken in the early days of July.

New Electric 1526 near VCS working the C10. It has digital blinds which are difficult to capture on camera.

Go Ahead London LT50 still retains its classic livery when seen working route 11 on July 8th.

London United's BE37007 working the C1 in Buckingham Palace Road on July 6th.

Classic Afternoon Tea Bus - London

The tours seem to be starting up again, RML2546 in VCS on July 7th. 

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