Plymouth continues to be a good source of interest for the bus enthusiast. Though initially it may seem that Darts is all there is to see (or should I say Volvo B6s these days!), Plymouth always manages to come up with a few interesting things for the enthusiast. Two things were of particular interest on Thursday last week while I was passing through.
Firstly is this Mercedes 709, N284 PDV. It is becoming increasingly rare to see 709s in the city today, you will go days without seeing one out in service, but if you're lucky one will show its face. The usual haunt for them is/was the 45s or 59s across the moor, but amazingly, N284 was being used on core route 42 to Tamerton! The Enviro 200s were bought new to do the 40/1/2 but have found their way onto 5/A competing with First in recent months. This has meant the route largely returned to Step Dart operation, though the influx of the Wright bodied Darts have meant some regular form of low floor has been restored. How N284 had escaped onto here I really don't know, but it was great to see! I found it in time to hopefully get a trip on her, but unfortunately on the driver changeover the driver announced he was going to ring up the depot to ask for another bus! I was disheartened to say the least. Maybe it was simply that he didn't have the correct licence to drive the 709 (though I thought PCB train all their drivers to manual level?). It seemed more to be his worry on capacity issues for the route. It was a real shame as I'm sure it would have easily coped until the evening peak at around 5, and been more economical for day operation too!
Another bus of interest was this beast! Tally Ho's Leyland Tiger G782 YAE. What a gorgeous sounding bus this is. No doubt the bus is today relegated to school contract work, but it was great to see the bus out doing some private hire on Thursday afternoon. She gave plenty of 'clag' on start-up and roared away sounding very tuneful!