As I mentioned last week there was an interesting article in last month's 'Buses' on Mid Life Refurbishment at several different main operators. Of course Go-Ahead struck me as the interesting one to have a read about their procedure.
Go Ahead say that they generally run on a 5 year cycle where buses get renovated to bring them back up to standard with the more modern buses every 5 years. The interesting part of this lies in the buses that they feel are 'worth it'. They state that they would renovate the heavy weights such as Scanias and Volvos, much like what was done with the Volvo B7 deckers that Citybus received. Of course this was actually before the Go Ahead takeover had been confirmed but this is likely what would have been seen by Go-Ahead if they had been in charge at that point.
The interesting bit comes when we read further on where Go Ahead state "We don't feel its worth investing in lightweight buses like Darts". This was particularly interesting seeing as the majority of the Plymouth Citybus fleet is the Dennis Dart. Enviro 200s would also likely come under the bracket of 'Dart' as well. So what will be interesting is does that mean the Darts at PCB will simply be left in their present state and not have any renovation work done to them? It seems silly to have to replace an entire fleet of Darts because they don't feel its worth it. Maybe the policy will differ from that at Go North East but in these tough economic times maybe they will stick with this policy at PCB. True though that the Ex-Oxford Darts are going through some renovation at the moment, but who knows how long they have gone without being spruced up a bit.
Having a look at First generally bus older buses receive little care and attension other than a re-paint. Mechanical work is often only done when it is really felt necessary or cost effective. Take Torpoint's Dennis Dart S764 RNE for example. This bus has really only just finished its total transformation from standard Barbie 3. First came the re-paint. Then some new wing mirrors. An electronic blind was later fitted. And now the seats have been re-upholstered. A process that took around 5 years to complete. As for the rest of the FDC fleet other than the odd re-paint of Darts or B6s here and there, and the addition of Ugobus branding very little has changed for the buses over the years. There has never really been any mass renovation to the fleet simply what is needed is done.
An interesting topic brought up and definately something that has got my mind in a muddle.