Friday 25 July 2014

Borderbus Common Sense And Long Journey

I gave Borderbus's new 146 service the ultimate test today - not only are they E200's but it was at the end of a marathon 14 hour journey down from Edinburgh!  It started late last night when I caught one of Megabus's really eye-catching and comfortablle Interdeck Volvo B12 coaches down to London, arriving at 0750 (10 mins early) this morning. That is always an endurance test, but I survived!

The bleary eyed (including the photographer) alight at Victoria Arrivals
I had allowed a 90 min window into the schedule to allow for late running before catching the coach to Norwich. What I wasn't banking on was the Norwich coach turning up and not leaving for an hour - I asume for the driver to take his statutory break. That meant some raw fingernails and constant clock watching sweating on my connecttion at Norwich.

However I have to say a word about the coach Freestones used on the service. It was my first taste of an Iriza and after the Levante  I suffered on Tuesday this was a revelation. Quiet, smooth, comfortable amazing legroom, not a single rattle which for a 6yo vehicle is good going and not bad looking either. Plus only £4 for the pleasure.

Freestones Scania Iriza YN08 JBX at Norwich Bus Station
It was quite useful I had arranged for Suffolk Links to pick me up from Wangford so I could sample the new Borderbus 146 service. After I had found the correct stop which has been re-numbered since the timetable was published, and had a quick word with Sam B.W. Larke from Norwich Buses - who told me not to expect too much of a quiet non rattly journey - up rolled, to his surprise BB62 BUS. So I fought through the crowd and with 3 others got on! Now I don't like E200's - it's no state secret. However, this has to be the best example I have been on to date. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, the timetable means there is no belting around chasing your own tail like some routes are these days, and I will happily do it again. I was somewhat surprised to be the first ot get off at Wangford, but thanks to the driver who waited for me to get this pic.

Borderbus 104 (yes fleet numbers now) BB62 Bus at Wangford
Now obviously although it doesn't rattle right now we all know that after another week it will be rattling insanely - it's par for the course. So here is something I have yet to see elsewhere (I'm NOT using THAT word!!) I was told. It was reported by King Roy on East Norfolk Bus Blog that the human camera drone that is Tim Miller had spotted a 4th E200 looking as though it was heading for Borderbus. Well guys you are right. It IS going to be a 4th (well 5th really if you include the baby on the 521) E200 for the 146. That is so every month or so all the E200's can spend some time having everything tightened up so ensure they stay rattle free as much as possible.

Mr Pursey and the Borderbus team have every plaudit I can summon up for that. Yes, the timetable fits the public in around more lucrative school contracts, but if that maintenance regime really does happen (and I'll be chacking) then it says a heck of a lot about Borderbus and it's attitude to passengers, and my word doesn't it say a lot about Alexander Dennis too. To need a spare vehicle purely to stop the others falling apart is a shocking endictment, but backs up everything I've banging on about with regard to E200's, so Borderbus - you're now my favourites!!!!


  1. Yes! But will it make money?

  2. Not until there is a decent afternoon timetable. It has potential, but unless people can get back as well as get there on schooldays too then it won't achieve that potential, and that would be a shame. School contracts are important, even crucial finacially, I realise that, but the public won't respond if they are just a time filler between school runs.

  3. I was thinking more of the good practices. The accountants of the big companies think only in ££s. So if they're to start looking after the passengers, someone has to show them that it can make money too! More than just the paint jobs, and using the bus wash occasionally; oh and throwing in the odd bus with a latest registration for good measure.

  4. Well maybe 4 E200's work out cheaper than 3 Volvo B7rle's or Streetlites. I guess it makes sense to have a spare anyway as routine maintainence and MOTs etc will need to be covered. I would alsothink lost mileage penalties on School Contracts are pretty hefty. If Borderbus truly do what I was told and keep those buses in top condition then I see it as a good investment when it comes to winning contracts (and passengers) in the future.