Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Enviro400 City buses for Wheelers Travel and Uno Hertfordshire - and the last 17 New Routemasters with no route

The design of the Enviro400 City is increasing in popularity as Wheelers Travel purchased one Enviro400 City and University Bus (Uno) has purchased six of these Enviro400 City buses.

From Alexander Dennis

The trend towards high capacity, exceptionally well finished double deck buses appears to be gathering further momentum with operators in Kent and Southampton introducing Enviro400MMC models from Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) in recent weeks.

Paul Ham, Managing Director of the family-run business Hams Travel, based in Flimwell, near Tunbridge Wells, has added an 11.5m 85-seat Enviro400 MMC to his fleet of 50 vehicles, while Derek Wheeler, MD at Wheelers Travel, has complemented his line-up of 85 buses and coaches with a 10.5m 74-seat Enviro400City.

Both vehicles are finished to a high specification with LED interior lighting, sophisticated CCTV, DVD, PA and radio systems, state-of-the-art low emission packages, QRG (quick release glass), under seat lighting and seatbelts. The Wheelers Travel vehicle also has USB ports, while the Hams Travel double deck has wood effect flooring.

Derek Wheeler commented: “I think the steady move towards more premium vehicles, whether for service routes, private hire, contract work, day trips or special events, is now inevitable. People are used to cars with higher quality interiors and they expect the same when they go on buses and coaches.

“I am delighted with our new Enviro400City. It has a real street presence and endorses the image we are keen to project as a company. It will be a big bonus for large group hires, school outings and special events such as weddings.”

Paul Ham said: “I couldn’t agree more with Derek. Today’s business world is all about customer care and ensuring that we enhance the passenger experience. These high quality double decks project the right image, offer seating capacity that is hard to surpass – even with a coach – and, performance-wise, the Enviro400 has an incomparable track record.”

Richard Matthews, ADL’s Sales Director Retail Bus, commented: “When it comes to matching capacity and comfort the Enviro400 is in a class of its own. These latest deliveries follow others involving Go Goodwins, Swans, Westway and Skills, plus Tappins and Newbury & District, both of whom introduced six hi-spec Enviro400s to their private hire fleets.”

He added: “There is growing evidence of a trend towards buses that combine the option of 80-plus seats with a touch of luxury. In short, they raise the bar, whether for school transport, private hire or special events. It is also clear that they are helping operators win business.

“The options that can make a difference are many-fold too, so operators can tailor-make their requirements, ranging from high back leather seats, wood effect flooring, tinted windows, customised paint schemes and vinyls to modern CCTV and communications systems, low bridge warning detection, digital tachographs and satellite navigation, as well as low carbon certification.”

LOTS News has reported that University Bus has purchased six new Enviro400 City buses for their services 614 and 644.

From LOTS:

1) Epsom Buses/ Quality Line has, in the past week, adopted the RATP-DEV new fleet class code and numbering system. Unlike at London United and Sovereign where the old and new numbers had in most cases a numerical relationship, at Epsom they do not. London Vehicle Finder www.londonvf.co.uk has been updated to the new system. They can be found under RTP and classes OM/OS/SDE/WS 20**, MCL/DLE/OV 30*** and ADE 40*** blocks that fit into gaps in the LU/LS series.

2) Universitybus (Uno) at Hatfield is about to take delivery of six new ADL Enviro400-City double-decks (Fleet nos. 250-255) for services 614/644 (Hatfield- Barnet- Queensbury).

As the three-door two-staircase hybrid New Routemaster rollout comes to an end, LOTS news have also reported that there are 17 New Routemasters without a route yet.

3) WVL334, the first of what will be twelve converted WVLs, is finally back on route X26, having been converted to single door and fitted with luggage racks. Delivery of LT 954-983 is now complete and most are now in use on Arriva route 137, in turn releasing older LTs for routes 48 and 254. That leaves 17 LTs (984-1000) to come although no route has been announced.

4) This weekend (15 July) marks the latest reduction in central London services with curtailments of routes 3, 22, 137 and C2 and frequency reductions on 14, 22 and 74.

The New Routemaster operates on routes 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 21, 24, 38, 48, 55, 59, 68, 73, 76, 88, 91, 137, 148, 149, 159, 168, 189, 211, 253, 254, 390, 453, EL1, EL2, and EL3. This shows that the New Routemaster now serves 33 daytime routes in London.

The New Routemaster also operates on night routes which are N3, N8, 10, N11. 12, N16, 24, N38, N55. 76, 88, 148, 149, 159, 189, 390, 453 and EL1 which makes it 18 night routes.

I think the final 17 New Routemasters should be kept as “back-up’s” due to the number of routes they serve. Last year I suggested that TfL should brand the New Routemasters into their own network because of the three-door boarding. Shortly after that, TfL announced that the East London Transit routes will convert to New Routemasters.

A couple of months ago I mentioned that bus route branding is now being applied on routes which serve Barkingside. So this could give an opportunity for the New Routemaster routes to have route branding if the Barkingside trial is successful.

There are some pros and cons with the three- door open-boarding system that the New Routemaster provides. One of the pros would be faster boarding with the three-doors, whereas fare evasion would count as a con, something I’ve written about in depth.

I really think the London Bus routes should be restructured to enable more ‘bus rapid transit’ schemes with the New Routemaster buses.

As the New Routemaster rollout comes to an end, the design cues of the New Routemaster live on. A couple of examples of this are the Enviro400H City and Wright SRM (two-door, one staircase New Routemaster). The New Routemasters were purchased by TfL and leased to private bus operating companies while the Enviro400H City and SRM are purchased by private bus operating companies.

Note: the Enviro400H City buses currently serve on routes 26. 78. 133, 333 and 388 and on night routes N26 and N133.

With regards to the Wright SRM, which uses the Volvo B5LH hybrid system, there are only six built and I’m not sure if any operators are going to purchase more. According to London Vehicle Finder, if you type in ‘RTP VHR*’ (without the quotes) you can see the SRM’s in service.

I’m also still waiting to hear about the Volvo B5LHC which uses the SRM bodywork and utilises the overhead conductive charging system - still no news update about that bus.

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Related article:
Most polluting London buses to be upgraded to ultra low emission standards

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