It was the end of an era today (21st April 2012) as the long-established 53A bus service ran for the final time in Dublin’s docklands, bringing to a close a once frequent service which had dwindled in recent years to just a handful of isolated journeys. However daytime service in the North Wall area is set to improve, with the introduction of an all day projection of sister route 53 into the area, rather than a handful of extended trips operated at present.
Under the new regime route 53 will run through Alexandra Road in North Wall hourly from 7am to 7pm, and for the first time will be projected eastwards to provide a link to the Irish Ferries Terminal, which until now has only been serviced by premium-priced special buses (numbered 53B) timed to connect to ferry arrivals and departures.
Overall the 53 is losing half its daytime frequency and its evening service, but gaining the extension to the Ferry Terminal and will now have a standard hourly clockface timetable whereas before departures were timed at different random intervals.
Route 53A, which ran via North Wall Quay (rather than via the East Wall 53 route) ran for the last time with the 1305 departure from Alexandra Road, and a number of transport enthusiasts and local residents were there to commemorate the passing of this little piece of local history.
Volvo B7TL / ALX400 AV37 operated the final journey, and is pictured above.
Below, from an earlier era, we see KC138, one of the Irish built GAC single-deckers used on the route from 1984 to the turn of the century.
Dublin’s once vast fleet of Volvo Olympians is dwindling rapidly, and the 64 or so still in service represent just 10% of the original Olympian numbers. All are due to be withdrawn this year, in order to reach a promised target of having a fully lowfloor accessible fleet by the end of 2012.
Those remaining are split between Harristown, Summerhill, Donnybrook and Ringsend depots, and can most often be seen on routes such as the 17, 44, some peak-hour 16s and 41s, and as seen here, all-day service on the 15A and 15B routes.
RV603 is seen on a winters evening approaching The Ferryman public house on the south quays.
Volvo Bus has reported a record year for sales worldwide in 2011, despite difficult market conditions.
The manufacturer’s end of year sales report states::
Deliveries were up 29%, which means 4200 units delivered in the fourth quarter. Volvo Buses delivered almost 1000 more units than the same quarter of 2010, though hard market conditions. Net sales increased by 19% in Q4, mainly due to South America.
Weak markets in North America and Europe, growth in South America
During the fourth quarter, the European bus market was at the same low levels as in 2010. In North America, the total bus market remained weak. The city-bus market declined 17% in 2011, when cities’ investments in new buses were very restricted. The coach market in North America increased 25% from an exceptionally low volume in 2010.
In South America, demand remained strong, with approximately 30% higher volumes in heavy buses, compared with 2010. In Mexico, the total bus market increased from very low levels in 2010.
The market for heavy buses in China grew 13% in 2011, compared with the year-earlier period.
Record deliveries in fourth quarter
Deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2011 totaled 4,172 buses, up 29% compared with 3,230 in the year-earlier quarter. South America accounted for the largest increase. Order intake for the fourth quarter amounted to 3,941 buses, up 7% compared with 3,677 in the year-earlier period.
During the quarter, Volvo Buses signed its largest order ever in Columbia, 688 buses for Bogota. A new bus range, consisting of one city bus and two coaches, was launched in India.
Sales and earnings increased
Net sales for the fourth quarter increased 19% to SEK 6,680 M (5,602). Adjusted for currency fluctuations, net sales rose 22%.
Operating income improved to SEK 295 M (221). Compared with the year-earlier period, operating income was positively impacted by higher volumes, and improved market mix. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2010, operating income was negatively impacted by changes in currency exchange rates in an amount of SEK 22 M. The operating margin increased to 4.4% (3.9).
• Deliveries increased 29%
• Continued negative market trend in North America and Europe, but growth in South America
• New bus range launched in India
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