Thursday 30 November 2023

Sanders ~ Top Independent Bus Operator 2023

Sanders Coaches has been named as the Top Independent Bus Operator at the 2023 UK Bus Awards which took place in London on Tuesday last. The operator also received a Bronze award for “Enriching the Customer Experience” in recognition of the relaunch of its X55 service earlier this year and a Bronze award for overall UK Bus Operator of the Year.

Managing Director Charles Sanders said 'The family are extremely proud of all our staff, who have secured this prestigious award for the Company. There is a huge team of people working tirelessly behind the scenes, every one of them a vital cog in our organisation, it is not just the driver and bus that everyone so plainly sees. The mystery shopping by the judges that took place commented on our reliability, punctuality, driver customer service and the very high levels of customer satisfaction we achieve.'

Sanders Coaches Limited was formed in 1975 by Norman and Gladys Sanders and is fast approaching it’s 50th year. The business remains fully family owned with sons Charles and Paul at the helm. A total of more than 120 local people are employed at depots in Holt and North Walsham with a fleet of around 90 buses and executive coaches operated on a variety of local bus services and private hire contracts.

My thanks to Operations Manager Kieran Smith for his help with this article and many congratulations to the operator.


Wednesday 29 November 2023

First's 36177 Return To Norwich

Earlier today former First Norwich Volvo B9TL/ Wright Eclipse Gemini 36177 BD11 CGF paid a return visit to the city.

The decker, which was transferred to Caister Road on 7th November, was observed by Dan High on the 7 Great Yarmouth to Norwich service. It later returned on the 901 from Notre Dame High School to James Paget Hospital

Thanks for the photo Dan


Wet Wednesday Tour

Leaving my house for this week's Wednesday Tour I was immediately faced with sleet and light snowy weather.

As if to emphasise the time of year, my first sighting was of South Staffs Travel's Temsa HD12 coach GB23 KBZ offering 'Season's Greetings'!

On the opposite side of Marine Parade was liveried Mercedes-Benz Tourismo BU18 YTK from Pats Coaches of Wrexham.

Returning to the northbound carriageway there were another three coaches seen. They were Dovers Coaches' Neoplan Tourliner UK22 DOV, seen in February this year, and Caledonian Travel's Mercedes-Benz Tourismos NH18 MGH and NH69 HHH which are both former National Holiday vehicles. The latter also appeared in last week's Wednesday Tour.

Three coaches were parked on North Drive which included Nigel & Kims Tours' Irizar i6 LT23 NKT, Caledonian Travel's Mercedes-Benz Tourismo UMO 58 and Blakes Coaches Scania WIB 664. UMO 58 was formerly NH69 RHH when with National Holidays. All three have visited the town before.

Outside the New Beach Hotel on Marine Parade was Alfa Travel's Mercedes Benz Tourismo A135 BV22 WTR.


Service Alterations Registered ~ 29th November 2023

A few of items of local interest appear in today's East of England Traffic Commissioner's Notices and Proceedings Report.

Sanders Coaches is to amend the timetables of its 54 North Walsham to Norwich Bus Station and X55/55 North Walsham to Norwich Bus Station services from 2nd January 2024

High Suffolk Community Transport of Woodbridge is providing a new service and varying another in our local area. The new service is the 5 between Southolt in Suffolk to the Sainsbury store in Norwich. The route, which will run on the second Saturday of each month from 1st January 2024, operates via Kenton, Monk Soham, Worlingworth and Eye. From the same date the removal of its service 5 will mean that the 8 route between Redlingfield and the Sainsbury store in Norwich will now run on the 4th Wednesday of each month.

The full Notices and Proceedings Report can be viewed here.


Monday 27 November 2023

Voluntary Norfolk's Optare Solo

Parked on London Road North in Lowestoft earlier today was Voluntary Norfolk's Optare Solo SO55 BUS. The Norwich-based organisation has been set up to improve the health, wellbeing, connections, skills and employability of thousands of people in Norfolk each year. (Yes, I know, it's pictured in Suffolk!)

My thanks to Syd Eade for the photo which was taken on a rather wet morning!


Friday 24 November 2023

Norwich On Thursday

On Thursday we made one of those rare journeys to Norwich by bus and, whilst the better half started some Christmas Shopping with her sister, I had the luxury of almost a couple of hours to myself observing bus activity in the city.

Arriving at Norwich bus station on First's X1 from the coast, I took my first photo of the day of an Ambassador Travel Caetano Levante III bodied Scania K410EB6 in the form of 307 BV72 XGL. It was laying over prior to heading to Heathrow Airport on the 727

My raison d'etre for visiting was to get some photos of some of the Wrightbus StreetDeck Electroliners and the first was BK73 AFV on Theatre Street destined for the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital on the 21 route.

I then changed my location to Castle Meadow where I spent the remainder of my time and was quick to get a photo of Marrett's Chariots' 405 YK16 STZ, an Indcar bodied Mercedes-Benz 1023L. A second member of the fleet, Volvo B12M/ Jonckheere 506 SIL 6705, was also seen stopping there.

Norwich Pride Bus Wright Eclipse Urban bodied Volvo B7RLE 69543 BF12 KWG was observed on the Sprowston 11 service, normally a Pink Line working.

There are not many dateless registrations in the First Eastern Counties fleet so it was good to see Volvo B9TL / Wright Eclipse Gemini  37532 MXZ 3342 on the Blue Line to Bowthorpe. It was new to First Glasgow as SF08 SMX in August 2008

Some contract workings by Completely Coach Travel and Angies Tours were viewed, as shown by the latter's impressive Volvo B11RT/ Plaxton Interdeck P31 PJO. It was new to City of Oxford in March 2015.

A number of tourist related vehicles were captured on film including Young's Coaches Volvo B12B Van Hool Astromega K3 YCC, new to Berry's of Taunton as WA59 EAW.

At least three of the tourers identified in our Wednesday Tour of Great Yarmouth (Wednesday Tour Dozen - 22nd November 2023) paid a visit during the period I was on Castle Meadow


Thursday 23 November 2023

Unusual Visitor

Seen parked in Lowestoft Bus Station earlier today was First Cornwall Mercedes-Benz Tourismo 24276 BF21 EOL, on a holiday journey to Gunton Hall in the town as shown on the sticker in the windscreen.

Howard Smith apologises for the photo but it was the best he could get due to the position the coach was parked in. Thanks Howard