So it's only right that I start today's post with news relating to a fair chunk of those comments, Ipswich Buses. Quite a few people mentioned IB's fleet, the ex Carters fleet in particular, someone even saying he had heard they were going to be replaced with Scanias. Well it turns out he was right, and then some. I was informed today that Ipswich Buses are getting fourteen 61 plate ex London Scanias. I don't know full details yet, but obviously 14 buses will cover far more than the ex Carters fleet. What remains to be seen is what IB will be doing with them. I assume, like the Borderbus Scanias they will be converted to single door, and I can only hope for the sake of the passengers on the 93 to Colchester, that they have padding put in the seats. IB are normally pretty good with their choice of seats, so if anyone within IB reading this can confirm I'll be grateful. When I get more details obviously I'll publish them.
It turns out all my Star Trek references to the BCI First trialed on the X1 were wrong. The tri axle version, which First are due to trial in August is the Enterprise, the two axle version being the Excellence, which has got to be the most risky name for a bus ever, and asking for trouble! Anyway, a closely guarded secret was that Borderbus, never shy of trying out a demonstrator, were getting one this week, and it duly arrived yesterday when I was in Sussex! So this morning I was over the depot pretty early (for me) only to discover it was already out on the road. A quick chat with everyone, of which more later, and I rendezvoused with the Excellence at Kessingland.
|Ensignbus BCI Excellence 144 LX17 DZE at Wangford
|The bright upper deck of the Excellence
|The enormous interior mirror
His biggest gripe though was the bell, which was exactly the same noise as the indicators That is very confusing if the bell is pressed while indicating. I was convinced the example First had, had a normal bell, and Cameron, who was with me on it, has confirmed that. That really needs to be changed, as it will confuse passengers too..
The only other problem Jed had was with the low ceilings. For a 14'6 bus the ceilings do seem low, and neither of us could work out why, unless it's not 14'6 of course!
But one thing Jed was impressed with was the positioning of the hazard warning lights switch - on the end of the indicator stalk.
|Original placing of hazard warning lights
Oh just one more thing - the wheelchair arm is positively lethal! It seems to stick out further into the gangway than others and the height of it is such if someone was thrown forward, especially a male, then any future prospects of fatherhood could be seriously impaired. I'll try and get a pic while the Excellence is here, and no one knows how long that will be, could be a week, could be all Summer!
So in conclusion overall I was just as impressed with the Exellence second time round as I was first time, and just those small details to sort out. Do that, and BCI might be tempted to change the name from Excellence to Perfection!
So from the Excellence to the anything but excellence. Passing Lowestoft Station I spotted ex Norwich Volvo B7l 66348 on the X22, the only bus with harder seats than those Scanias! A hastily taken pic while at traffic lights but rather pleased I hadn't travelled from Norwich on that. I'm told by Grahame Bessey that it is probably on loan from Great Yarmouth to cover Dart 42908 which is away for repaint. Even stranger was seeing a Gemini on the Town Service 106, so why the rattlebucket was on the X22 is anyone's guess.
|66348 at Lowestoft Station on the X22
|37422 leads in the new coaches
|Bet most of the pax don't realise how lucky they are!
|Guess the year anyone?