The London Bus Page In Exile

Thursday 21 December 2006

Knocking Around The Home Counties 3

Filed under: Companies, Travels, Vehicles — londonbuspageinexile @ 7:56 pm

Metrobus Scania OmniCity 553 (YN55 PWK) at Crawley bus station, Saturday 28th January 2006
Another jaunt southwestward on 28th January took me to Guildford and Horsham and back via Crawley. There you find that Metrobus has the entire town under its control, having ejected Arriva five years ago. Since then, the bus scene in the town hasn’t just been a case of operating London’s cast-offs (though the lower age profile of such buses makes this less of a perceived hardship than in some other towns I could mention). Several batches of Scania OmniCity full-size single-deckers are now in operation, with two orders following that for TfL contract route 358. After the Gatwick Fastway vehicles, the opportunity was taken to convert Crawley town service 1 to OmniCity operation – although there is a capacity cut from the previous Volvo Olympians (which had replaced Darts not long after Metrobus swept into town). The flashier version of the company’s revised colour combination adorns these buses, personified by 553 (YN55 PWK) in the surprisingly amenable bus station.


  1. Matt,

    It’s not strictly true to say that Metrobus ejected Arriva from Crawley – the latter’s departure was more akin to running away, claiming large losses. Quite how Arriva could fail to make money running buses in Crawley (which has to have more potential than much of south east England) eludes me. Certainly Metrobus has made great strides as the press release below demonstrates:

    The Omnicitys are well suited to the loads carried and have plenty of “easy access” seating. Given that most journeys are short the possible need to stand at peak times is not too much of a hardship. The use of single deckers also helps control some of the more anti-social elements of society.

    It’s also worth noting that Metrobus’ Crawley operations are probably the only ones outside London to take dual door buses, now that Lothian has moved to single doors. Lothian must, however, be the only major operator in the UK to use white on black destination blinds, though!



    Comment by Mark Lyons — Friday 22 December 2006 @ 9:34 am

  2. Hmmm!…metrobus(lower case!), good to the passenger, less so to the driver(IMO). Quality service in Crawley tho’, i’d have to agree with that. How about a trip out to Tunbridge Wells(on the trail of the route 402)….Now, here’s a town with a bus service to make MW weep!

    Comment by I'm The Daddy Now.... — Sunday 24 December 2006 @ 9:54 pm

  3. I’ve always had time for Metrobus – They came from nothing in a difficult market to become a major player… It is a shame tho that they decided to do away with the blue and yellow – The new scheme is a bit dull and plain and even a re-jig of the application in Crawley doesn’t seem to have done it any favours.

    Comment by Luke — Saturday 3 February 2007 @ 3:56 pm

  4. some wags at a certain Metrobus depot have taken to refering to the latest fleet colours as ” blue and undercoat”

    Comment by david hulls — Saturday 17 February 2007 @ 8:00 pm

  5. re number 4

    I while ago i saw a copy of the Metrobus internal magazine where there was an explanation to the change of fleet colours. The move of the London Fleet into red was at the insistence of Tfl. This left the “prvincial fleet” in the “traditional” Metrobus blue and yellow a smart scheme and highly vislble, you can see a Yellow/blue bus for miles.
    The decision to repaint the non london fleet into the new two blues scheme was the result of some market research where a focus group were asked to name a food retailer came to mind. It was said that this group thought the Blue and yellow was too Netto, Lidl while the new 2blues is more Marks and Sparks or Waitrose. Metrobus directors obviously bought this hook line and sinker.

    My opinion is what does the colour of a bus wave to do with the price of tomatoes?

    I was in Crawley one wet and windy night and nearly got mown down by a bus in the new colours as it merged into the gloom, while the blue and yellow one that was 100 yards further behind was clearly visible.

    Removing the Yellow is short sighted and I am left wondering if the crews are going to loose their yellow hi-viz vests in favour for blue and “undercoat”.

    Comment by peacefulplonker — Tuesday 20 March 2007 @ 3:25 pm

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