|YN08JBX on arrival back at Norwich Bus Station|
As promised, a further report from my visit to London last Wednesday - which saw me travel to and from London by coach and spend the day in the tourist districts.
Two tickets were purchased for the 07:00 Megabus M16 out of Norwich, contracted to be run by Freestones Coaches of Beetley. The journey to London was made by Irizar i6 bodied Scania K3603B6 YT62HZX, an impressive 61 seat beast, complete with space for a wheelchair, the best free wifi I have ever experienced on a bus or coach and front and rear Hanover destination equiptment. The return journey was made by YN08JBX, a slightly older Irizar PB bodied Scania K380EB4, not quite as impressive and lacking the free wifi - but still a pleasant enough journey home and a comfortable vehicle. Journeys take between three hours twenty and three and a half hours when running to schedule, however, an accident on the M11 earlier in the morning seems to block up much of London and the southbound carriageway from Stanstead Airport meaning we just over twenty minutes late arriving at Victoria Coach Station.
|A quadruplet of National Express Levantes readying to depart|
Admittedly, it was my first visit to Victoria Coach Station's main terminal. The largest coach station in London, it was built on its current site in 1932, and between March 2013 and March 2014 reportedly saw around 14 million passengers movements. Impressive from the outside, but far from satisfactory on the inside is Victoria Coach Station. There are, give or take, twenty departure gates - each with around twenty seats designated. Quickly, it becomes crowded and passengers from other gates sit in their neighboring gate's seating area. It's a hot environment, rather smelly with the sheer amount of people and stuffy from this and the heat from the coaches. Granted, the doors to the gates are shut for safety purposes - but some form of ventilation to the outside at the very end of the building, where the M16 back to Norwich departs from, would be an absolute joy. Attendants, however, must be commended for their solid team work with eachother and the drivers to ensure safe and swift departures of coaches. Coach operators from across England and Britain use Victoria Coach Station, including Stagecoach owned Megabus and principal competitor National Express. Eurolines operate into the continent alongside Ouibus and Interbus Kosice. Evans Evans tours operate from the station to UK atrractions also.
|Oxford Bus Company X90OXD outside Selfridges Oxford Street|
Tight competition is in place between Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach between Oxford and London. Go-Ahead owned Oxford Bus Company operate a stunning fleet of Plaxton Elite Interdecks bodied Volvo B11Rs, complete with free wifi, air conditioning, power sockets and on board toilets. Departures from both Oxford and London run up to every ten to twenty minutes from an adjacent street to Victoria Coach Station, with journeys from 04:30 through to 00:30 every day.
Stagecoach's Oxford Tube operates in fierce competition with the X90 with a 24 hour service provided by similar specification VanHool TX Astromengas. These offer cutting edge 4G signal Wifi, the fastest mobile internet currently available in Great Britain. Coaches depart from proceeding stops, with representatives often on hand to point passengers in the right direction.
|SGBC NX11AAA at Green Line coach station|
Seen here outside the Green Line coach station on Bulleid Way is South Gloucester Bus and Coach NX11AAA, a Caetano Levante bodied Volvo B9R. South Gloucester Bus and Coach are considered the principal National Express operator in the South West of England, with a network of eight services; originating from the likes of Bristol, Westward Ho, Frome, Ilfracombe, Gloucester and Bath.
More photographs from my trip to London are currently being uploaded to my Flickr page and over on the Norwich Buses Blog Facebook group.