Poor old Metroline seem to be taking a bit of a hiding in the comments you’ve offered, so I might as well stand up for them – I don’t think they’re any better or worse than any other London bus operator. Their territory is varied enough for versatility of operations, they’ve been successful both in tendering (especially recently) and in the acquisitions game (MTL London in 1998 being their biggest coup, and they were bad – remember them?), and they have big group backing (though ComfortDelgro appear a lot more hands-off than might have seemed the case when the Singapore-based transport group (owners of the terrific SBS Transit) took them on. Their livery is unique enough to be attractive, with the otherwise clashing colours of red and blue separated elegantly by the all-important white band, and its subsequent dumbing down to just a skirt was no fault of theirs (I won’t mention the abortive change of shade to the light blue, which was awful, and is best forgotten!).
I don’t seem to get to Metroline’s turf as often as I used to since I moved out of town, and accordingly haven’t managed to catch up with their latest vehicle intake, so I’ll go back a bit to when I photographed their first batch of Enviro400s. This bus doesn’t do a lot for me at all, to match my indifference to the equally dull Enviro200 single-decker, but I’ll worry about criticising the design in another post and for now just present you with a sample picture. Here is Holloway’s TE 676 (LK55 KKH), based on its regular 24 and captured on 12th March 2006 heading north past Warren Street station. This plum central route always gets the new buses, while the 4, which was ahead of it in the pecking order for new vehicles after watching its ex-London Suburban Buses Volvo Olympians deteriorate into decrepitude, had to make do with the 24’s cast-off TPs and VPs.