Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Swaning around

Saturday saw myself head up to Swansea to have a look at the local bus scene in general, but mainly, to ride on First Group's very last Bristol VR, MOD 571P. Its a long story, but to save you the endless details, after waiting around for 2 hours because of the 'lunch break' in the timetable, the VR failed to turn up, and in its place was a Volvo Olympian. I'll leave it to you to imagine my sheer disappointment in this. I went over to ask the driver why it wasn't out, to which he replied that because it was raining early that morning, he took the Volvo our rather than the Bristol. Its a shame though that someone from the depot couldn't have broken out the Bristol for the afternoon shift, but there we go. To make things worse, the driver in his strong Welsh accent commented "Well at least this one's a nicer drive". That was the nail in the coffin for my patience that day! 400 odd miles, for an R reg Volvo Olympian. God. 

Anyway, the positives. I managed to track down a few of the 'mini' Enviro 200s that had been in use in Plymouth until early this year. I also saw WK56 ABZ, the Ex-Truronian Enviro, which I was particularly keen to see, but sadly, couldn't get a photo from my vantage point on a Dart. A few photos of them playing their trade in Swansea can be seen above. Swansea operates a lot of shorter buses rather than full length ones, so I presume these probably saw off some of the older 'short' Darts, when they arrived in the town. 

Some of Plymouth '56' reg full length Darts were also transferred along with the Enviros, and WA56 FTZ sits here in the bus station before working to Rhossili. I must admit, these I'm certainly not missing! Never liked the Transbus Darts. 

The other big feature of Swansea, is of course, the 'ftr'. Well, I'm not really very convinced. True, they have brought countless priority measures to the city, which really does speed up the services. But the buses themselves really weren't that nice. The seating arrangement on these is incredibly inefficient and seems mainly designed for standees, not particularly ideal considering the sheer size of these buses. At 19 tons these by far outweigh a standard bendi, but really don't appeal. I would imagine these absolute drink fuel as well! 

Anything else about Swansea? No. Its just like any other UK city. Dart after Dart, after Dart.... 

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