07 April 2011

A lot better than nothing

Recently First announced with some fanfare that it had placed the largest order for new buses this country had ever seen. As a group they had all but stopped buying new buses for at least a year, if not longer, as the new order was a welcome sign that things were beginning to change. As is so often the case though once the small print came out things were not looking quite so good. The large order was over two years and for this year the group is looking at 460 new buses:

First orders, 2011-12

Double-deck Volvo B9TL/Wrightbus - 144
ADL Enviro400 - 106
Volvo B5TL/Wrightbus hybrid - 30
ADL Enviro400H hybrid -10
Total - 290

Single-deck
Volvo B7RLE/Wrightbus - 50
Wrightbus StreetLite - 46
ADL Enviro200 - 43
Total - 99
Coach
Volvo/Plaxton - 2
TOTAL - 431 with the other 29 still to be confirmed
Still, 460 new buses is a lot better than none at all, and its noticeable how much of the order is for double decker buses which is also very welcome indeed.
As is so often the case the majority of the order will go to London. There are 293 going to London and 167 buses for everybody else.
So how does that split down?
East England (24)
Manchester (25)
Berkshire (5)
Leeds (16)
Glasgow (33)
Scotland East (29)
Bristol (14)
Devon & Cornwall (7)
Hampshire (14)
Considering that many areas of First will not see any new buses Marc Reddy must be really pleased to get 21 new buses between his fleets. It remains to be seen where the 7 for Devon & Cornwall will end up. As is always the case with the large groups plans can change.  It has been suggested that the Plymouth Park and Ride will see the new buses but as expected Marc is keeping things close to his chest. He has confirmed that the current Enviros are now owned outright by FDC as they have purchased them from Plymouth City Council (7 of them, with 2 being owned by FDC from the start).
I am sure we will also see more buses trickling in from London over the coming year too, along with the odd Volvo Olympian to replace older Olympians in the fleet.
One recent transfer to Plymouth (from Cornwall) is seen below, captured on camera by Ian Kirby:
First 34138 (L638 SEU)
Creative Commons licensed flickr photo shared by Ian Kirby Nice to see one of these in Plymouth, one of the better looking double deck designs in my opinion!

Related Links

  • Ian the Rev photostream Flickr

Elsewhere on the net

  • This week I am going to be going back through my old photo collection, finding some old gems of interest to post on here that I'd thought I'd lost or forgotten about Southern England Bus Scene
  • You never know about media articles you read on 1st April so, without some sort of local knowledge, it’s impossible for me to determine whether the headline from the Huddersfield Daily Examiner’s a spoof Omnibuses
  • The BVBG held the spring version of their excellent running days recently in Bristol, initially in rather gloomy conditions but matters improved as the day went on Transport Illustrated
  • Talking of 1st April the traffic commissioner for the Welsh traffic area chose that very day to reveal his decision on Heart of Wales Bus & Coach Ltd t/a St David’s Travel. This, however, was no joke Omnibuses
  • It was Elsie Miggins who started it. She said that Florrie at No 24 had told her that Mrs Whats-er-name; you know, the one with the deaf cat next to the pub, had heard that the 50 bus was changing at the beginning of May. Her husband, Jack, was going to look it up on his new computer; because, according to Jack, "you can find anything on line, these days"! Public Transport Experience

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