The London Bus Page In Exile

Wednesday 13 June 2007


Filed under: Companies, Historical, Service Changes — londonbuspageinexile @ 8:58 pm

Arriva Croydon & North Surrey M 521 (GYE 521W) Southdown PSV 388 (X188 BNH) Metrobus 376 (Y376 HMY)
On 2nd June, after little more than a year of operation, Southdown PSV gave up two of their three Surrey routes, the 409 and 411. They went straight back to Metrobus, who had operated them before, and they of course derive from London Country and London Transport Country Area services south of the border towards Redhill and East Grinstead.
Blame the free travel for pensioners – or at least that offered by the parallel-running 405 operated as a TfL contract by Metrobus; the affected age group would pass the 409s and 411s by, as would the other segment of the population being funded, under-18s, with the result that the 405 became so overcrowded it had to be converted to double-deck, while the PSV routes withered. As they couldn’t hope to break even with this going on, they made a tough decision to get rid of the routes before the routes got rid of them. All they have left is the 410 operating further to the south, and the core business of bus sales is unaffected.
While I’m happy with free travel for pensioners (who’ve not only worked to secure a little relief, but are better-behaved), I’ve never been thrilled about that concession having been offered to under-18s; while not wishing to resort to any headline-grabbing, there is a palpable perception that it’s increased the level of rowdiness on buses. Certainly in London bus travel is often noisy and at times outright threatening. It seems a shame that this sort of official irresponsibility is driving away the very small firms that TfL have always said they wanted to invite to compete.
For now, here’s a line-up of three operators of recence on the 409, all taken in Croydon: Arriva Croydon & North Surrey Metrobus M 521 (GYE 521W) on 11th May 2000 (left), Southdown PSV Dennis Dart SLF 388 (X188 BNH) on 22nd April 2006 (centre) and lastly, Metrobus’s Caetano-bodied Dart SLF 376 (Y376 HMY) on 9th June 2007.



  1. So much for TFL being socially responsible! This is an excellent example of them not looking at the implications of their plans and a good case for a reciprocal agreement between two authorities to allow travel on either’s services in such circumstances. But I doubt if either would consider talking to the other.

    Comment by Doug Ely — Friday 15 June 2007 @ 5:40 am

  2. I’m afraid to say that there is more to this story, than there appears – there should be no feeling sorry for southdown psv….the owners of whom “know the score” to say the least. The politics here are not in the offices of TfL on this occasion – more, being fought out “somewhere near Crawley”.

    Comment by I'm The Daddy Now.... — Friday 15 June 2007 @ 6:43 am

  3. “I’m afraid to say that there is more to this story, than there appears – there should be no feeling sorry for southdown psv….the owners of whom “know the score” to say the least. The politics here are not in the offices of TfL on this occasion – more, being fought out “somewhere near Crawley”.” What??

    Comment by Arriva436 — Friday 15 June 2007 @ 3:38 pm

  4. …#3 – My opinion. That’s all. Not yours, presumably(?).

    Comment by I'm The Daddy Now.... — Friday 15 June 2007 @ 4:15 pm

  5. Remember the 324 (Redhill-Copthorne) and the school routes as well – Southdown PSV still operate them as well as the GH4 (whatever that is)

    Comment by Chris — Friday 15 June 2007 @ 7:08 pm

  6. …#5 – GH4 is a hotel-to-Gatwick airport courtesy shuttle bus, Chris!

    Comment by I'm The Daddy Now.... — Friday 15 June 2007 @ 7:49 pm

  7. I was surprised to see a Metrobus Volvo Olympian on the 409 the other day – there haven’t been any step-entrance buses in service in Croydon since Metrobus last operated the route

    Comment by Ian Y — Friday 15 June 2007 @ 8:01 pm

  8. Matt, I don’t really understand how the 405 comes into this at all. It parallels neither the 409 or 411 so I don’t see how the 405 is abstracting passengers. If free travel on the 405 has abstracted passengers, it will be from the trains.

    Comment by Kevin Smith — Saturday 16 June 2007 @ 10:11 pm

  9. I’d guessed that after I wrote the comment (can i plase remove that comment). #7, southdown have actually used 1 step entrance daf/optare delta (s160 JUA) on the 409 etc.

    Comment by Chris — Monday 18 June 2007 @ 6:53 pm

  10. Well Matt I`m uncertain if you had any hand,act or part in this bit of investigative journalism,but the stats quoted therein are fairly chillin…..

    Comment by Alek Smart — Tuesday 26 June 2007 @ 12:33 am

  11. Another reason that Southdown gave up the 409 and 411 was the complete lack of passengers on them, I have been an only passenger on these routes at 4:00, I thought it would be busier than that!

    Comment by Chris — Thursday 2 August 2007 @ 1:43 pm

  12. A particular irony not lost on me is the fact that at least one of the “Principles” behind Southdown psv was a former founding joint managing director of Metrobus at the time of Go Ahead’s take over, and many of Southdown psv staff have past history with Metrobus.
    Small world eh?

    Comment by peacefulplonker — Monday 3 September 2007 @ 4:52 pm

  13. If the contract was so unprofitable why is it that Metrobus can justify the ordering of two scania esteem double deckers to work the 409 and 411?

    Comment by peacefulplonker — Monday 3 September 2007 @ 5:01 pm

  14. A small point – the Scanias on order for the 409/411 will have Olympus bodies, not Esteem. They should be due soon …

    Comment by Wirewiper — Thursday 8 November 2007 @ 1:43 pm

  15. Where are the new buses promised for the 409/11 when they took over the contract from Southdown. Maybe they are not arriving at all??

    Comment by Steve — Monday 17 December 2007 @ 6:52 pm

  16. #15. According to LOTS, the order has been changed to 2 Omnicity double deckers built by Scania in Poland. Delivery is due around April.

    Comment by MT — Monday 17 December 2007 @ 7:49 pm

  17. People like you that write “I’m happy about free travel for over 60/65 ……. etc” really irritate me. They obviously do not know how the scheme works and they even have the cheek to say that under 18 discounted travel is a bad thing. What these big wigs dont understand is that everyone else who ACTUALLY PAYS are effectively paying for them! The local authorities do not have the money to subsidise the bus companies and at most the bus companies only receive 66% of the fare so the other 34% is passed onto everyone else in fare increases!

    Comment by Yeah — Wednesday 18 June 2008 @ 11:53 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: