Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Arriva to vacate Norton Green Bus Depot

Arriva the Shires/Southern Counties has been given notice that it needs to vacate the Norton Green premises - Stevenage's main depot. Permission has been requested for planning permission to alter the layout of the Babbage Road site, so that it can accommodate just over 30 vehicles. Arriva are actively seeking a suitable site to house the remaining vehicles.

Monday, 11 January 2016

2015 - a year of success for Reading Buses!

Reading Buses is one of only 12 remaining municipal bus companies in the UK. It is recognised a company truly championing pioneering new technologies and is very much an industry-wide benchmark for customer service and satisfaction. It therefore comes as no surprise that Reading has once again achieved very highly in this year’s various bus award ceremonies. Under the leadership of CEO Martijn Gilbert, the company has most recently been awarded the most prestigious UK Bus Operator of the Year accolade at the UK Bus Awards held at a new venue, The Ballroom, South Bank, London on 24th November 2015.
They collected:
UK Bus Awards 2015
Winner – UK Bus Operator of the Year
Brighton & Hove were awarded Silver, and Safeguard Coaches Bronze.

Winner – Top Shire Operator
Trentbarton were awarded Silver, and Stagecoach South West Bronze.

Winner – Top Marketing Initiative (Buses on Ice and More!)
Darlington Council's County Durham and Tees Valley Direct Marketing Project was awarded Silver, and First Manchester's The Greater Manchester Young Person's mTicket Bronze.

Winner – Sustained Marketing Excellence (Claret 21)
Stagecoach Yorkshire's Creating and Sustaining Bus Passenger Growth in Sheffield was awarded Silver; Go North East's Listen - Target - Go! was awarded Bronze.

Bronze – Environment Award
Electrifying Nottingham - Nottingham City Council and partners achieved Gold; Diesel into Hybrid - Ensign Bus Company and Vantage Power was awarded Silver.

To help Reading Buses celebrate their success, they organised a company photo, with all staff roles represented. The windows were removed for the photoshoot, and then immediately replaced. Reading Buses CEO Martijn Gilbert commented to the trade press, “We’ve made good use of ADL’s new quick-release glazing, although I’m sure they didn’t have this sort of thing in mind when they designed it. Our engineers are now down to 45 seconds a window.”

Reading Buses celebrates their numerous achievements.
Additionally, a special award was handed to Best Impressions Director Ray Stenning for his “immense and pioneering contribution to design” in the bus industry. therefore, it is unsurprising to note that Reading Buses' liveries are designed by Ray and his team, who are based in London. Other bus companies to benefit from Ray's design expertise are the award-winning Brighton & Hove, Metrobus, Arriva (Sapphire/Max), Stagecoach and First (locally, with the RailAir and Greenline operations).

UK Bus Awards
Winner – Top Shire Operator

Winner – Putting Passengers First

Winner – Unsung Heroes Award – Brian Dawber

Runner Up – Environment Award
Pride of Reading Awards
Winner – Business in Action

Employee of the Year – Brian Dawber
National Transport Awards
Winner – Bus Operator of the Year

Winner – Dedication to Access for All
Route One Awards
Winner – Medium Bus Operator

Winner – Operator Training Award

Winner – Environment Award

Winner – Bus Manager of the Year
UK Bus Awards
Winner – Top Shire Operator

Silver – Bus Operator of the Year

Silver – Making Buses a Better Choice

Silver – Sustained Marketing Excellence
LOWCVP Low Carbon Champions Awards
National Transport Awards
Winner – Bus Operator of the Year
UK Bus Awards
Winner – UK Bus Operator of the Year

Winner – Top Shire Operator

Winner – Top Marketing Initiative

Winner – Sustained Marketing Excellence

Bronze – Environment Award
Route One Awards
Winner – Operator Training Award
Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport
Annual Awards for Excellence
Winner – Environmental Impact
Key facts about the Reading Buses business:
  • Reading Buses employ 550 local members of staff, including 410 drivers, 61 engineers and cleaners and 79 office and support staff, making the company the 10th largest employer in Reading.
  • The fleet consists of 181 vehicles, run from the Reading and Newbury depots; this includes 31 Hybrid Electric double decker Enviro 400's, and 34 Scania Alexander Dennis single decker Enviro 300SG gas buses.
  • 80% of the fleet is equipped with free WiFi, some of which feature superfast 4G speed capabilities.
  • The fleet covers approximately 5.4 million miles per annum.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

More First Berkshire Updates

The remainder of the trio still with First Berkshire
(C) Luke B
It has been reported on the East Norfolk Bus Blog that Wright Eclipse Gemini 37275 LK58 EDJ was collected from Slough yesterday for transfer to Great Yarmouth to join sister 37274. 37275 was expected to be sent straight for repainted into a modified Excel livery for the X1 service.

Mercedes Benz Citaro 64013 LT52 WXB has been transferred down to Southampton and been repainted into 'Olympia' livery. It has also been re-registered OIG 6943.

Mercedes Benz Citaro 64019 LK03 LNF has been transferred to Slough from Bracknell. It has also been repainted out of the yellow 'Beeline' livery into standard 'Olympia' livery.

Four Streetlite Max buses are on order for imminent delivery with some of them being noted as having there PDI checks being completed in the past few weeks.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Arriva adds a sparkle to Milton Keynes!

Over the past few months, many of you will know that a number of Wright Pulsar 2s from the Milton Keynes depot having been going through refurbishment to Sapphire specification for route 6. The twelve single deckers that have been put through this refurbishment were transferred to The Shires, with a number of other based at Stevenage, from Arriva North West earlier this year.

3772 MX12 KXB seen having recently returned from refurbishment
(C) Luke B
Yesterday, the twelve high-specification single deckers were officially launched onto route 6 with a launch event outside the Xscape in Milton Keynes. In attendance was 3768 MX12 KWW along with a number of goodies, competition and games.

3768 MX12 KWW seen at the launch event
(C) Luke B
Follows are a few photos of the dedicated fleet of buses seen operating the recently launched route yesterday.

3765 MX12 KWS

3774 MX13 ALU

3776 MX13 AMO

Rear view of 3774 MX13 ALU
The leaflets being given out in the goody bags announce that route 5 will also being going Sapphire shortly!

All photos copyright to Luke B

Friday, 20 November 2015

UPDATED: Another Wright choice for Carousel Buses

The blog appears to becoming more and more like a news website for the area and less of a place for update to the fleet. However, we can confirm that the delivery of the three Wright Streetlite DFs for Carousel Buses have began with one of the trio being seen after being PDI checked - anyone know what this means? With thanks to Phill McAlinney, we can bring you a picture of the first one to be noted. As yet we do not have fleet numbers or registrations for the trio but I expect that fleet numbers will be 403 to 405.

The first of a trio to be delivered to Carousel Buses
(C) Phill McAlinney 
We hope to bring you more information and pictures on the trio as and when we have it. You can also see Phill's Flickr Photostream by clicking here.

UPDATE: With thanks to Phill, I can confirm that PDI stand for Pre Delivery Inspection. This is to check that everything is as it should be and that all mechanical and braking components are fitted correctly.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

First Berkshire Movements

So, its been nearly four weeks since our last post but we've not gone anywhere. As many of you may know, Friday 28th August 2015 saw the last day of operations at the First Berkshire Bracknell depot with the Greenline 700/1/2 services and route 200 moving to Slough depot. The other services were either withdrawn or lost through contract changes with route 90 being sold to Reading Buses and now operating as there 'Lion 4/X4' services. But with the closure of the Bracknell depot, there was a number of spare buses in the Berkshire fleet with a number of the Plaxton Presidents being on loan to First Hampshire & Dorset for events work. Since then a number of the buses have been put into use in other parts of the First Group but with many going to First Hampshire & Dorset.

It was said that during September five Mercedes Benz Citaros were transferred down to First Hampshire & Dorset. However, only three of these have been noted in service in the Portsmouth area and upon a search on Flickr there are no photos of the other two being in service. Citaros 64001/2/5 LT02 NTV/X, NUB have been noted in service along the South Coast. With thanks to 'Southern England Bus Scene' on Flickr we can bring you a photo of 64002 working from its new home. To check out 'Southern England Bus Scene's Photostream, click here.

One of at least three ex-Berkshire Citaros in service along the South Coast
(C) Southern England Bus Scene
Also being transferred to First Hampshire and Dorset was Wright Solars 65724-6 LK55 ABZ, ACF/J which were sent to the Weymouth depot. These were first noted as having been transferred to the South Coast during last month. As of the 28th October, only 65724 had entered service at Weymouth with its two sister still being prepared for service at the depot.

One of a trio of ex-Berkshire Solars having been transferred to Weymouth
(C) Luke B
Moving away from the South Coast now, we move onto First Eastern Counties' Great Yarmouth depot. The Great Yarmouth depot have seen the arrival of two ex-First Berkshire Wright Gemini Eclipses which were previously used on Berkshires Greenline services between Slough and London. 32348 LK53 LZL was the first one to enter service at the depot upon repaint into First's Olympia livery with 32274 LK58 EDF being the second with it being expected to return from repaint in First's blue interurban livery for the Excel X1 service.  However, when 32348 first entered service at Great Yarmouth she was noted carrying fleet number 32438. With thanks to Grahame from East Norfolk Bus Blog, we can bring you photos of 32348 operating from its new depot with its new coat of paint. I can also recommend that you take a look at the East Norfolk Bus Blog by clicking here.

Ex-Greenline Gemini 32348 operating out of Great Yarmouth depot
(C) Grahame from East Norfolk Bus Blog
On Sunday, three Plaxton Presidents from the First Berkshire fleet were driven up to the First Eastern Counties' Norwich depot for a period of loan with them. The trio of Presidents include 33153 LR02 LXM, 33180 LR02 LYZ and 33183 LR02 LZC. With thanks to Kieran Smith from Norwich Buses Blog, we can confirm that the trio of Presidents entered service at Norwich today.

One of the trio seen when operating for First Berkshire back in August
(C) Luke B
We'll keep you updated as much as we can with movements form First Berkshire in the coming weeks and months.

Many thanks to both Grahame from East Norfolk Bus Blog and 'Southern England Bus Scene' on Flickr for the use of there images!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Arriva the Shires Fleet Update

Alexander Dennis Enviro400 5458 SN58 EOE is now to MAX specification for use as a spare on route 500 and Sapphire 320 from Hemel Hempstead depot.

Wright Pulsar 2 3760 MX61 AWO is a third noted as being refurbished to Sapphire specification. it is currently operating out of the Milton Keynes depot despite originally being allocated to Stevenage.

Wright Renown 3307 W134 XRO has been noted in the Aylesbury depot but not for use in service.

Around eight ex-London LJ04-plated Wright Gemini Eclipses are due at Hemel Hempstead in the near future for use on route 500. They will displace older Alexander ALX400s and will be to MAX specification. It is also thought that some are due at the Aylesbury depot.