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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

X1 Enviro In Essex

With new buses expected on the X1 next year, if a suitable vehicle can finally be found, there has been speculation as to where the current fleet of Enviro 400's will go. There maybe a clue this week with Kings Lynn based 33808 YX63 LJO spending the week at Chelmsford, operating the X30 between Stanstead Airport - Chelmsford - Southend. The route has been suffering overcrowding problems since E200 MMC's replaced coaches on the route. thus the decker is being evaluated for suitability.

These pictures, reproduced under Creative Commons Licence are by Matthew Evans, whose flickr page you can access here.

In foreign climes. 33808 in Southend  Manners Way          pic by Matthew Evans
33808 at Chelmsford Bus Station                pic by Matthew Evans

17 comments:

  1. great blog Steve what do u think will be the best replacement for the Enviro 400s next year i think the enterprise seems to be a good option. i heard they will be trialing a wright Mercedes soon

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    1. It's becoming a bit of a wild goose chase. This is what I know so far - Wright ruled themselves out last year so doubt that Wright Mercedes will do much - it's basically a Streetdeck. Volvo have said the B5 isn't designed for long runs like the X1. The Scania MMC has been ruled out because of body issues. Coaches are too expensive, and the plaxton half bus half coach hasn't been built yet. My choice would be the Enterprise but no decision has been made due to concerns I can't publish yet. I have made a couple of suggestions - Iriza being one of them, but we shall see. It is rather sad that the British bus building industry can't come up with a decent enough vehicle for it's longest route.

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    2. Unless they just buy more E400s, what body problems were there on the Scanias, because they would suit the route really well and I personally don't think a company like First would buy BCIs...

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    3. it is a real shame new buses are built so cheaply these days. back in the day buses like Volvo Olympians would of perfectly suited the X1 really miss them. i went on the scania MMC back in march and yes it wasn't brilliant and rattled alot. it seems the enterprise is the only decent option, we will see i guess

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    4. Some of the E400's are on their 3rd engine and 4th gearbox. They just aren't suited for the route. The Scania MMC, as stated above rattled so much even First management were alarmed so no chance of them. Ironic that the Scania old E400's were actually quite decent!

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    5. Quite odd, considering standard E400s were terrible with rattles but the MMC is a good improvement. Shame about Scanias, they could have gone for gas. Never mind, I just hope they find something well suited for that route. Shame a UK bus companies have no choice but to buy from their Aussie ancestors!

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  2. Steve - the thing I don't get is that B5TL/Wright are being used without issue by Coastliner on Leeds-Whitby/Scarborough work, probably the closest routes to the X1. Surely they must be possible to use?

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    1. See this https://busandtrain.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/day-trip-to-yorkshire.html

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  3. Typical First
    - Take a successful route with 49 seat comfortable coach with premium leather seats with plenty of luggage storage underneath
    - Replace it with a lightweight bus with cheaper seats with a third less seats and luggage blocking other seats
    - Charge the same fares for a more inferior product that has been dumbed down
    - Realise that the above was the mistake and have to replace vehicles a year old

    Considering how much First has scaled back it's fleet investment the last 12 months surely this is a spectacular own goal to have vehicles last barely a year before they are being considered as needing replacement? They've broke something that didn't need fixing, all to save a few quid by using buses instead of coaches.

    Ironically they're now going to have to buy another fleet most likely to deal with this issue, which wouldn't be necessary if it was dealt with properly in the first place by ordering adequate vehicles, but instead they tried to do it on the cheap and now will literally pay the price.

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    1. I agree with most of what you say. However, First had no choice but to replace the coaches as they were not DDA compliant for a bus service. To keep those coaches on the X30 would have meant registering the route as a coach service, with seats bookable in advance and no Concessionary Passes accepted. That would also have affected drivers and tacho regulations.

      Of course the coaches were replaced with the wrong vehicles, but they did have to be replaced, which wasn't First's fault

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    2. (different person)

      So why did First not replace the non compliant coaches with ones that were like any other operator who faced the same issue?

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    3. I'm sure First are not the only operator to have faced this problem?

      But I don't see Railair in Reading, or the coach service from Swansea to Cardiff replacing coaches with buses and most of their fleets don't meet DDA either.

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    4. Railair is a registered coach service, does not accept Concessionary Passes and is not covered by DDA until 2020. The X10 accepts Welsh Passes and uses coaches that are already DDA compliant. Plus I'm not 100% sure Welsh regulations are the same as English, although I'm sure someone can tell me.

      Clearly First did not want to spend the cash on new coaches for the X30, and wanted to make the route easier for disabled and those with shopping trolleys or buggies, not to mention suitcases since the route serves two airports. Yes, they got it wrong, but it would appear they are looking at viable alternatives.

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    5. "Clearly First did not want to spend the cash on new coaches for the X30, and wanted to make the route easier for disabled and those with shopping trolleys or buggies, not to mention suitcases since the route serves two airports. Yes, they got it wrong, but it would appear they are looking at viable alternatives."

      The X30 uses coaches from 2005/2006 and Stansted Aircoach from 2009, if the 2005/3006 ones are DAA complaint and the 2009 ones are not then again, that's a problem First have made in the spec of the original coaches for the X30.

      A coach is vastly better for people with luggage as the luggage goes under the coach, what happens now is that the capacity of the Enviros is restricted due to luggage space and people not being able to get on as luggage is using seats so passengers cannot sit in them. 95% of the people on the service are going to the airport and shoppers won't pay a premium to use that service so what they want is of little concern.

      The X30 was a successful service, I know many who stopped using it after the coaches were taken away because of the fact First replaced them with cheaper, lower capacity, tighter packed, more basic vehicles with less luggage space, charged the same price and reguarly had seats blocked off as there was nowhere to put said luggage.

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    6. Never said i disagreed with you, just trying to answer your points. On the luggage front it can't help timekeeping if the driver has to keep getting out to stow and retrieve luggage under the coach. Not to mention those pesky Health & Safety rules regarding maximum weight lifting and insurance should said driver put his back out.

      Have you contacted First with your issues as I'd be interested to see what they said.

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  4. Andrew Kleissner12 October 2017 at 14:47

    The as-yet-unbuilt Plaxton half-bus, half-coach sounds like the "dual purpose" of yore.

    What we need are Green Line RF coaches! (Yes, I know we can't have them).

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    1. Sounds exactly like DP doesn't it. I'll match your RF and raise you Olympian coaches!

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