Wednesday, 28 December 2016

2016 Review ~ Independent Operators

With the new year imminent, every year around this time we look back on the highlights of the previous twelve months and we first look at the independent operators.

Ambassador Travel
March saw Ambassador purchasing two new Higer Touring bodied Scanias for tourist contract work; YN16UAG with Sunrise branding and Grand UK liveried YN16UAF

Ambassador Travel's new Higer Touring bodied Scania
On the debit side, Plaxton Paragon bodied Volvo B12Ms KIG1857 (FN52HRM) and KIG1857 (FN52HRM) were dispatched to PSV Recycling of Hadleigh with the latter subsequently being offered for sale on eBay by Durham based Snowden Coaches.

During the year three buses transferred within the Vistafield Group to sister company Semence with Optare Solos MX54KYB/C and Wright Axcess Floline S350SET heading west.

Operationally, Ambassador secured the tender for the 68 Rackheath to Great Yarmouth Colleges contract although they ceased the Wednesday only 577 Chedgrave to Great Yarmouth service from the end of August.

Angies Tours
During the Spring, Philip Overy trading as Angies Tours disposed of Jonkcheere bodied Scania BLZ7773 to MC Tractors of Ramsey for scrapping

Belle Coaches
Belle's newcomer RX62GDU
There was an influx of minibuses during the year, including Mercedes Benz Sprinters RX62GDU and WU09HBK plus Plaxton bodied Vario SF13FPA

Another Vario left the Suffolk fleet in the form of SJI9076 (AE05MZN). Others departing included Setra NJI9245 to Paynes of Offord Cluny and Caetano bodied Toyota Coaster BV08VBK.

This busy operator returned Alexander Dennis Enviro200 MX12DYO off loan in January following the arrival of similar BB11BUS (ex YX11CSV). Another of the type, YX09HZH, arrived from Ensign during September.

Demonstrator YJ65EPU at BorderBus.  Photo: Tim Miller
Not to be outdone, the double deck fleet also expanded with the arrival of LJ03MJU in June, the first of a trio of  Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvos. The others were ex London General LF52ZPB/C also via Ensign

In the same month, BorderBus was trialling Optare's new MetroDecker YJ65EPU which stayed a fortnight. Another demonstrator arrived three months later in the shape of Wright Streetdeck SL15ZGP

In partnership with Simmonds, BorderBus introduced a new Waveney Line service with the latter providing the 580 Bungay/Beccles to Great Yarmouth section from mid August. An interesting development was the use of a decker on the first service of the day from September. Also taken on was the Beccles Town service from Anglian.

Craske's ORY640 leaves
Craske Coaches
This Catfield operator disposed of their Plaxton Paramont bodied DAF SB ORY640 in late June. It had been owned by the operator since August 2010.

Marret's Chariots
Aylmerton based Marret's Chariots took delivery of a new Mercedes BenZ Tourismo in January bearing the registration BG65VXU.

Our Bus
Our Hire, trading as Our Bus, registered a number of vehicles on eBay as being available for disposal during the year. They included  DAF N482CEG and Alexander bodied Volvo B10BLE VAG608R which was later by destroyed fire.

One of Our Bus intakes during 2016 was this Optare
 Solo MX58AAY
Newcomers were Optare Solos MX58AAY and CN54HFD. The former, with CN05JYP, were noted in July specially labelled up for the seasonal 300 Shoreliner service running between Vauxhall Holiday Park and the Great Yarmouth Seafront.

Three new routes were registered to operate from August. They were 85A Rockland to Loddon, 86 Beccles to Poringland (ex Anglian operated) and the 271 Hemsby Beach to Great Yarmouth. However, the BL1 Roys of Wroxham to Stalham and the 290 Wroxham to Horning routes were abandoned in August and September respectively.

Reynolds of Caister
Dennis Javelin  BIG6773 disposed of
Reynolds purchased a new Mercedes Benz Tourismo GR16REY during the summer and named it Lady Grace Esme in honour of Charles Reynolds' mother who passed away in February this year. More Plaxton bodied coaches arrived during the summer - Dennis Javelin YD05DFY in June and AT55CZH/J during August.

Dennis Javelin BIG8773 was advertised as being available for disposal in September and later in the month Grahame noted it on trade plates ready to leave the Ormesby Road depot.

Following the loss of most of their schools contracts, this Earsham based operator sold six of their vehicles at auction during July resulting in the closure of the business at the end of the month.

The operator officially ceased its Fridays only 561 Southwold to Norwich service from early January; although its last run was in the previous December

Sanders Coaches
Wright Gemini LJ53NHN
This Holt based business acquired a number of buses and coaches during the period under review. These included a trio of ex London DAF Wright Geminis LJ53NHN/P/ and a couple of VDL/Berkhoff coaches YJ12CHK/X.

Wright Cadet YJ03PKY
Other arrivals at Sanders were former Leyland of Fishwick DAF/Wrights YJ60GDX and YJ64FWF. The demise of GHA Coaches also saw Volvo B7RLEs DK09DKD/H, Optare Versa MX58KZF and Volvo B7Rs FN09AMX/PY and DA04GHA arrive in North Norfolk

Optare Solo MX09AOU was acquired in February and took fleet number 203, replacing the previous 203, Wright Cadet YJ03PKY, which went to Mullanys of Watford. Amongst others leaving the fleet were another Wright Cadet HE51BUS and Dennis Javelin/ Plaxton Premiere's P33/55TCC

Smith's Coaches
At the beginning of the year Smith's acquired Volvo B12M from Jonathan Joplin of Tivettshall, trading as Peelings Coaches. The Blofield operator subsequently re-registered it as L8SLT

Two unidentified Dennis Javelin bodied Axial coaches were advertised as being available for disposal on the Route One database during September

Suffolk Norse
Swift Taxis' Dennis Javelin SJI8127
is the last to leave the fleet
Suffolk Norse registered a new 108 route between Lowestoft and the James Paget Hospital (via north Suffolk villages) replacing Anglian's 60J service from late March. It is to surrender its 115/115A Kiurkley to Lowestoft Bus station from February next year

Swift Taxis
Swift Taxis dispensed with its last full sized coach during February. The departure of Neoplan bodied Dennis Javelin SJI8127 brought an end of an era although the business still owns a small fleet of minibuses

Up Next

That completes our look at the independent operators' activities during the year. Coming up next we will look at the big players in our area


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