MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC (UK, 1990s) – Luton VRT [29July2013]

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week we travel back to the mid 1990s, and a classic British bus of NBC era,  ending its life in the bright colours of a deregulated operator.

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The Bristol VRT really was the classic double-deck bus of the National Bus Company throughout the 1970s and 80s, and many lived on for the first decade or so of post-NBC private and deregulated operation.

Seen here in Luton, no. 5035 (ONH925V) in the Luton & Dunstable fleet would have started life with NBC United Counties, part of which was split off into Luton & District at privatisation. The name and the livery shown here is long gone, the operation having been swallowed up by Arriva and now forming part of Arriva The Shires.  The VRT, which was still working normal service despite the school branding on the front, lasted until at least the end of the 1990s.

(UK, News) Bus Users Share AgeUK Concerns On Rural Travel [23July2013]

 

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Bus Users UK, an independent group which champions the interests of bus and coach users and campaigns for better bus and coach services, says it is concerned by the findings of an Age UK report into the effects of cuts to rural bus services on older people.

Despite having free bus travel, the report points to growing isolation among older people as services are reduced and in some cases cut completely. Many older people in rural areas rely entirely on bus services to access healthcare, social activities, community events and shops, as well as visiting friends and family.

The report also concludes that reduced services mean that many people now face a fairly long walk to their nearest bus stop. Delays, cancellations, long waiting times and cold bus shelters add to the problem and make bus travel for older people even more challenging.

Gillian Merron, Chair of Bus Users UK said: “Older people in rural areas face the double challenge of having many services and amenities centralised in towns and cities that they now can’t access because they simply can’t get to them. It undermines the whole idea of providing free bus travel when there’s no bus to travel on.”

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The AgeUK report calls for greater consultation on local services to ensure they meet local need.

Gillian added: “Free bus travel for older people has been a great success and has enabled the millions who use the concession to lead active lives. Older and retired people make a huge contribution to society, undertaking volunteering and providing vital childcare support to family members who wouldn’t otherwise be able to return to work.

“What this report proves is that when bus services are cut it isn’t just older people who suffer – we all suffer.”

Bus Users UK,which describes itself as ” the voice of bus passengers”, is an independent not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve bus services across the UK and get more people on board.

 

MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: (UK, 1997) This Is Not A Yellow Bus !

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week’s classic takes us to Bournemouth in 1997, for a bus that is not all it seems . .

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Bournemouth, on the south coast of England. Renowned for its sandy beaches, its safe holiday atmosphere, and its large elderly population. Home, in the late 1990s, when this photo was taken, of the municipal fleet of yellow painted buses, operating under the fleet name of . . Yellow Buses.

The buses on either side of our subject are indeed Yellow Buses, in all senses of the word. The fleetname can even be seen on the bus in the background, on the right side of the picture. But the bus in the centre, the brightest, yellowest bus of all, is not a “Yellow Bus”

The fleetname could be generic to any large city, but only the small sticker on the front window gives us a clue that this is actually a London bus, a “red bus” if you will.

This was the era when London Regional Transport allowed the different operators of tendered bus services free reign in terms of livery, and with Grey Green buses on the 24, maroon and cream Routemasters of Kentish Bus on the 19, the the yellow buses of Capital Citybus dominating the east, it looked like the traditional red London bus could become a thing of the past.

Capital Citybus grew out of the the network of London routes won on tender by Ensignbus – they started small with the 145, then they got the 62, then a huge swathe of routes when Hornchurch Garage closed in 1988, and more to follow. Sold off to a Chinese investor, Capital Citybus eventually ended up much later coming into the First Group fold, and until recently formed much of the eastern edge of that group’s London operations.

So it’s a London bus, not a Yellow Bus, but what it it doing in Bournemouth?

A closer look shows it is blinded for the 752 Coastliner Excursion service – express day trips from London to the seaside towns were big business in the years after World War II, and the practice continued right through to the 90s.  So Capital Citybus number 409 is working an excursion, and, therefore, it must be a Sunday.

The bus itself is also interesting, being a representative of a small and almost forgotten type – the Dennis Arrow, the last high-floor double-deck produced by the Guildford manufacturer, and introduced (in 1995) so close to the coming of lowfloor accessible deckers that it never really had time to take off in the marketplace. Less than a hundred Arrows were built between 1996 and 1998, the vast majority went to Capital Citybus, a handful to London & Country, and ones or twos to other operators. This example has Northern Counties bodywork, but many were delivered with bodywork by East Lancs.

 

 

QUICK-PIC (UK) – Metrobus Scania at Redhill, Surrey [13July2013]

Metrobus operate both inside and outside the TFL area, and so their fleet contains both standard London red and their own blue grey livery.

East Lancs bodied Scania 471 is seen at Redhill, Surrey, on service 460 to Gatwick Airport. Metrobus also operate red Scanias on TFL route 405 from the same location.

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(UK, News) New Volvo Coaches For Lochs and Glens [10July2013]

 

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VOLVO PRESS RELEASE: New Volvos for Lochs and Glens

 

Scottish-based coach holiday specialists, Lochs and Glens have taken delivery of eight new Volvo B13R, 14 metre, tri-axle, Jonckheere bodied coaches as part of an ongoing upgrade to their all Volvo fleet.

 

The Gartocharn registered company operates 16 coaches in total, all of which are specified on the proven Volvo chassis. “Lochs and Glens has always been a traditional Volvo operator,” explained Transport Manager, Steve Nicols.

 

“Five of the new vehicles are being operated by us, the remaining three are in our livery and are working on our holiday programme, but are actually owned and operated by Leeming Bar based Procters Coaches,” he explained.

 

“Obviously we’ve had Volvo B13Rs before so we knew what we were getting. The key factors for us in determining vehicle selection were fuel economy, reliability and engine power,” he continued. “We need the extra torque up here in Scotland, because the vehicles are regularly travelling over steep terrain to reach any one of our seven idyllic hotel locations.

 

“The Jonckheere bodywork also played a part in our decision. The styling combined with the Volvo chassis really does give us the complete package.”

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Lochs and Glens new 57 seater vehicles are specified with Volvo’s fuel efficient, 13-litre, diesel engine rated at 460hp, coupled to the Volvo I-Shift gearbox. Each of the eight new coaches feature an eye-catching light Ivory paintwork and includes the company’s logo on the livery.

 

An ergonomic driving position, with easy-reach controls, adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel means the B13R is a popular choice with drivers and makes it ideal for long journeys, such as those undertaken on the Lochs and Glens holiday tour programme.

 

The Volvo B13R is equally suited to the needs of its passengers with carpet throughout, three-point safety belts, leather headrests, two TV screens, CD & DVD capability, as well as an on-board toilet. Additional features on the vehicles include a fridge, hoover and CCTV system.

 

“We deal with the Volvo Bus dealership North and Scotland at Cardonald,” continued Steve Nicols, “they’ve been a good support to us and of course we’ve traditionally worked with Volvo Bus Regional Sales Manager, Duncan Crosby.

 

“I was sorry to hear Duncan would be changing position within the Volvo Group as I enjoyed working with him, however we’re now working with another top Volvo Coach Sales Manager in James Hyde and we’ve already put in another order ready for next year.”

Celtic Travel Opt For Irish-built Volvos 31/01/2012

 

Celtic Travel have recently purchased three new Volvo B7RLE buses with Wrightbus Eclipse 2 bodywork.

Celtic Travel have recently purchased three new Volvo B7RLE buses with Wrightbus Eclipse 2 bodywork for use on their first ever bus service, the X75, running from Rhayader to Shrewsbury and back.

The family run firm, based in Llanidloes, Powys in Wales, have successfully run coach services for many years, but their new X75 bus route is an exciting new string to their bow. They decided to specify Volvo having experienced the Volvo service and technology on their coaches and after having consulted with their customers and other operators.

“They all said the same thing – you can’t go wrong with the Volvo Wrightbus combination,” explained Celtic Travel Transport Manager, William Davies. “Added to that is the tremendous backup and support you get with Volvo and the endorsement of larger operators, such as National Express, also specifying Volvo Wrightbus.”

With 14 Volvo coaches in their fleet, Celtic Travel are no strangers to the Volvo chassis and the reliability of their current vehicles played an important part in their decision to also specify Volvo for their new bus requirement. “These new Volvo B7RLE buses will each end up covering around 70,000 miles per year,” continued William Davies. “We can’t afford for them to be off the road and with Volvo, we know we are paying for the best.”

The single deck B7RLE has a light weight chassis frame and is powered by the D7E 7.1 litre in-line common rail fuel injection engine. The quality and durable components, fitted as standard, help promote high reliability, low fuel consumption and long service life.

Celtic Travel’s new B7RLEs are specified with 44 e-leather seats, with three point safety belts.

Fitted to the latest DDA specifications and featuring 44 e-leather seats with three point safety belts, the new buses are built with passenger’s comfort and safety in mind. Other internal features include Hanover audio visual equipment and Synetics CCTV.  

William Davies continued “The whole process of purchasing our new buses was extremely professional from our liaison with Volvo Bus Sales Manager, Phil Fletcher and Steve Jackson at Wrightbus, through to our continued relationship with Hartshorne’s Dealership, in Shrewsbury. I’d certainly specify the Volvo Wrightbus combination again if I was to buy more similar sized buses.”

(left to right) Darren Green (Area Service Manager, Volvo Bus), Colin Organ (Depo Manager, Hartshorne) Phil Fletcher (Sales Manager, Volvo Bus) , William Davies (Celtic Travel), Kathryn Davies (Celtic Travel), Phylip Davies (Celtic Travel).

Volvo Bus Sales Manager, Phil Fletcher, explained “We have always had a strong relationship with Celtic Travel on the coach side of our business, so when we had the opportunity to specify three new buses for their first ever bus route, we were obviously very keen to seal the deal.”

“Reliability and low fuel consumption are crucial factors for Celtic Travel and the B7RLE buses offer that in abundance,” he continued. “I look forward to working with them again in the future.”