So, as has already been demonstrated even on my post from yesterday, the livery certainly seems to be winning few fans. The livery has grown on my slightly since it was first released, most likely because the quality of photos has been better, but seeing it in the flesh has done nothing to win me over. Personally I find the purple slightly garish, which isn't helped by the strange livery pattern which appears a bit muddled and confused on the rear. The large block of purple just doesn't quite work well enough, possibly emphasised further because its linked right in with the white/lilac main body. The very 'blocky' livery doesn't really seem to run with the Enviros body lines very well, with the angles and straight lines contrasting the Enviros modern look. The livery looks far better on the Plaxton President bodied Tridents that I've seen photos of with the livery suiting the lines of these far better than the more modern Enviros and Volvo B9s that the livery has largely been applied to so far. I wouldn't be at all surprised if when adverts are applied it will look even worse. As has been mentioned in comments on yesterday's blog the 'random' light purple lines are actually supposed to be parts of the classic First 'f' symbol, but this really isn't at all obvious, you really have to look closely for it to make any sense, and its got to be from the right angle to be able to see it at all.
The largely purple theme continues on the inside of the bus, with the poles now also being painted in purple, with the various plastic also now colored lilac. This actually appears to look very nice and fresh, and sets a nice relaxing tone within the interior, which I will concede does looks very nice indeed. The problem comes when you look at the seats though - brown! I can't see that being the best of ideas, they really don't look good at all. The standard of the leather seats fitted to these are also far inferior to their predecessors luxurious leather seats. The seats on the 56 reg batch were quite frankly to die for, and they just got more and more comfortable with age as the leather began to loosen up and become more supple. I have never been on a more comfortable vehicle in any respects, not even the Plaxton Elite boded Volvo I've been on could beat the comfort of those seats. You also may have noticed that there are now no TV screens fitted to the buses. I have no idea how well these were used really, but it certainly appears to be a step backwards. I'd presume the stop announcements will also be another thing missing on these Enviros when comparing them to the 56 reg batch. Another loss appears to be the large air conditioning units that were fitted to the 56 reg batch, but not to these. Finally, the headphones sockets are also not fitted to the 12 reg batch, again I'm not sure how well these were used, and I'd presume most people could listen to the radio on their smartphones these days if they so desired, but still, a noticeable 'gadget' lost from the interior of these less well speced vehicles.
Some of the keen eyed among you may also have noticed that the legals on these buses are not for First Devon and Cornwall, but are for 'First Games Transport Ltd' i.e. the division set up for the London 2012 games. This is indeed why the block capitals on the side are for 'Shuttle' and not for Plymouth at this moment in time. Not really sure why they've done this to be quite honest, I've tried to come up with a reason but hopelessly failed. Its not exactly the hardest task to change a few letters and numbers before running them somewhere else, especially seeing as they will be here for around 3 months.
It is a shame also that the 'Cloud' livery for the Park and Ride is being lost. I must admit this has been one of my favorite branded liveries I've come across to date, very fresh, modern as well as allowing the buses to stand out and look attractive. The livery hasn't dated or faded at all over the past 5-6 years these have been in operation. Also a shame that this may be the end for the separate branding for the P&R as a whole, which surely can't be a good thing in attracting growth. It does mean of course that the vehicles will be able to be used on other services if needs be I would presume, although whether this happens we shall have to wait and see.
All photos of the '12' plate Enviro 400s come from Tom Pearce, with many thanks from myself.