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November 2002  
is known for its blue and white deckchairs and its blue rinses, but it also has something else blue –  its bus fleet.   The company – Eastbourne Buses – is partly owned by the local council, and partly by Keolis, one of the major French groups.   In early 2002, a series of swaps occurred involving both vehicles and routes.   Firstly a batch of six Optare Spectra double deckers was exchanged for ten Optare Vectra single deckers from Reading Buses.   Then Stagecoach South transferred four of its routes to Eastbourne Buses as part of a rationalisation of its services.   This veritable Swap Shop of activity is summarised below.
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Both Eastbourne and Reading operate batches of Opatre Spectras.   Above left: 70 (R870MDY) in Eastbourne on the former Stagecoach route 52 in May 2002; above right: Reading Buses 713 (S881BYJ), a former Eastbourne vehicle at the Three Tuns terminus in Reading in February 2002.
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Reading bought a batch of 15 Excels from Cardiff in August 2000.   Less that 18 months later they transferred 10 of them to Eastbourne in exchange for six Spectra double deckers.   Eastbourne 41 (R209DKG) is seen in its new home town in May 2002. Eastbourne added several vehicles to their fleet to cover the routes inherited from Stagecoach such as former Speedlink DAF SB220/Northern Counties 26 (P906PWW) in Golden Jubilee livery in Tunbridge Wells in August 2002. Southdown Stripes
A Mark 1 Leyland National (34 PCD80R) of Southdown operating one of the former routes to Polegate, seen passing Eastbourne railway station in July 1992.
Keolis are one of the three major bus groups in France who also partly own Eastbourne Buses.   The group tends to own small operators such as SAP, whose Setras are seen at their Vence depot in the Cote d’Azur on the public holiday for Pentecost in June 2001.
Swap Shop
Click to enlarge photos.
Eastbourne Buses
Dick Gilbert's Classic Buses - focus on Eastbourne sea front services
Routes transferred from Stagecoach to Eastbourne
No. Route
17 Eastbourne - Polegate
51 Eastbourne - Hailsham
52 Eastbourne - Tunbridge Wells
53 Eastbourne - Heathfield
Vehicles swapped between Reading and Eastbourne
From Reading  Optare Excels To Eastbourne
951-60 R206-15DKG 38-47
From Eastbourne Optare Spectras To Reading
76-81 S876-81BYJ 708-713
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