The London Bus Page In Exile

Thursday 18 January 2007

C1 Extended with E200Darts

Filed under: Service Changes, Vehicles — londonbuspageinexile @ 7:56 pm

Travel London Dennis Dart SLF DP 13 (BX54 DLZ) and Alexander Dennis Enviro200Dart ES 2 (LJ56 VST) at Victoria, Saturday 13th January 2007 On 6th January the C1 was extended from Kensington High Street to Shepherd’s Bush, receiving six new Enviro200Darts to accompany the change.
The C1 was very nearly withdrawn entirely at one point, but has survived to find itself on the front line of forthcoming Congestion Charge expansion, which is expected to funnel more people onto the route (irrespective of a postponed change that would have taken it down Blythe Road in Holland Park rather than up the main drag; this may still happen).
Twenty years ago the C1 started as a bit of a gimmick, introducing minibuses to London streets some time after provincial operators had figured they were good for not only increasing penetration of narrower streets, but for freezing wage costs. The Volkswagen-based Optare Citypacers then used were undeniably cute, with their executive-minicoach ambience and subtle piped music (classical!), but they were too flimsy for the capital and were replaced very quickly – first by SRs, then followed Metroriders and Darts, and when the tender was lost to Connex, Optare Solos stepped up. Today’s operator, Travel London, has just taken six Enviro200Darts to accompany the existing Mini Pointer Darts that supplanted the Solos, and a chance shot at Victoria on 13th January sees DP 13 (BX54 DLZ), a bus normally on the P13, joined by one of the brand new E200s, ES 2 (LJ56 VST). I’m not sold on the Enviro200Dart – it’s unadventurous and bland, without the dash of the Dart, but orders are beginning to pick up even if companies you’d expect to buy it sight unseen are now beginning to dabble in other chassis (Metroline taking MANs, for example). Travel London have also got some of the longer version for the 152 (don’t ask me what the chassis designations, if any, are – it’s hard enough juggling all the SFD-etc business that came with their predecessors!), while on the other side of town Selkent have also put a handful of the shortest version into service on the 273, which they regained last Saturday after several years with First.


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