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February 2006
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Photo Facts (top to bottom)
A Wallace Arnold Grand Tourer coach and a Shearings Premier Class coach at Gordano services near Bristol in May 2005.   Since the merger of Wallace Arnold and Shearings, a new livery has been adopted and common interchanges are now used.
Two totally different solutions to accessible coaches were developed during 2005.   Wrightbus developed a more conventional solution using the long overhang at the front for storage of a wheelchair.   A dinky little set of stairs leads up to the main saloon behind.   Stagecoach Western took delivery of two for their Stranraer to Dumfries route, of which 21201 (SF55RKA) is seen tucked away at the back of Dumfries depot in December 2005.   On the other hand Plaxton delivered a more radical solution as seen by First Devon and Cornwall 20532 (WA05UNE) at Exeter railway station in September 2005.   This batch of vehicles has a wheelchair lift in the front overhang which when raised is flush with the saloon floor.   Both the Stagecoach and Western vehicles are on Volvo B7R chassis.
Several independent operators were sold such as Tellings Golden Miller, whose Mercedes minibus P703LCF, is seen in Kingston in February 1998; Armchair whose Northern Counties bodied Olympian R420SOY is also seen in Kingston in February 1998; and Blue Bus of Horwich whose Alexander bodied Leopard 160 (CSF160W) is seen in Wigan bus station in March 2005.

Stagecoach initially competed with Citylink independently in the 1980ís, then via the Caledonian Express branding with National Express in the 1990ís, then they worked for them, and then finally against them using Megabus.   Now they own 35% of them and have retained Megabus route numbers such as the M91 as seen on SG03ZBH, a Parks of Hamilton Plaxton bodied Volvo in Perth bus station in December 2005.   Megabus operations continue to thrive during 2005 with the introduction of a batch of Neoplan doubledeck coaches such as CN05FVU seen at Perth park&ride interchange in August 2005.

Stagecoach and First finally buried the hatchet in West Central Scotland in 2005.   Stagecoach surrendered several routes in Glasgow, and later in the year First withdrew its competitive routes in Ayrshire.   Kelvin P754XUS, a UVG bodied Dennis Dart, is seen in Irvine being hotly pursed on a freezing day in December 1997, by a Stagecoach A1-liveried Olympian.

Several major companies were sold such as Bournemouth Transport, whose East Lancs bodied Volvo 113 (HF05HNA) is seen at Bournemouth transport interchange in May 2005; and Southern Vectis, whose Brisol VRT XDL872 and Dennis Dart HW54BUV are seen at Ryde pier in September 2005.

Channel 4 held a poll for the public to nominate the buildings they would most like to see demolished.   In third place came Northampton bus station ,just behind the Imax cinema in Bournemouth and Cumbernauld town shopping centre (which also coincidentally has some bus stops).   First Northampton 66343 (MV02VCW), one of a batch originally delivered to Manchester for the Commonwealth Games, is seen there in July 2005.


This article is based on a summary of bus events for 2005 contained in the Index for Vol.57 of Buses Magazine.
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