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Monday, 12 July 2010

Gold Arrow

We are delighted today to announce the reaward on tendering of routes 28, 31 and 328 to First London.

These Westbourne Park routes are famous (as 28 and 31) having been held back from mainstream conversion to opo in the 1980s so they could take part in the trial to convert routes to very high frequency midibus operation.

The experiment was a huge success and the two routes are now three, frequencies still very high, and now operate with double-deckers again.

The experiment gave birth to proper high frequency, better quality midibus operation in London - the MAs used had full-width doors, full blind displays, and interior layouts designed to suit a fast turnover of passengers

Their success soon required the Mercedes-Benz/Alexander midibuses be replaced with Dennis Dart/Wright 'Handibus' vehicles cascading the MAs to more suburban operations.

MA1 still exists. It is seen here hidden at Orpington in 2002 and there are plans afoot for it to be restored by the manufacturers to original condition.

Very high frequency midibus operation in London had its critics. Indeed, interestingly, the team that was criticised for bringing to London the smallest buses in the 1980s later were also criticised from bringing into the capital the very largest some 20 years later......

Another story!

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