Yesterday, I visited the City of Oxford. Somewhere I have never been before, and somewhere I must pay a visit back to. To me Oxford appears to be the centre of Go-Ahead investment; it would also seem that this has resulted in the sheer number of passengers using the buses, which would go full circle and raise the money to invest of course. Stagecoach too have an outstanding operation in Oxford, with passenger numbers clearly much higher than here on home turf.
In Oxford, Go-Ahead group have two operations split into many more sub operations. The main is Oxford Bus Company, who's history spans over 130 years. Within this operation you have City, Park&Ride, the airline, X90, and Brookes Bus. I travelled on the day under the City, X90 and Brookes Bus brands - and all were simply outstanding, as you will now read. Also under the Go-Ahead brand is Thames Travel, who's network spans to the more 'out-of-town' areas of Oxford, including Bicester and Didcot.
|An Oxford Bus Company Wright Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B7L|
|Stagecoach Oxford's new Alexander Dennis Enviro400MMCs|
I next travelled on a near enough brand new Wright Streetdeck from Oxford Bus Company. A Streetdeck is an integral double decker, which can be offered either with the traditional Gemini front or the new more angular design. The Streetdeck is powered by a Euro 6 Daimler engine, which feels considerably different to Volvo drivelines - which I still prefer. It feels very different to its Volvo based Gemini 3 counterpart, which I travelled on back in September. The Streetdeck feels a lot less sturdy and a lot cheaper than the Gemini 3. I do not know if a Streetdeck is cheaper than a Gemini 3, but I would hope it is.
|One of a fleet of new Wright Streetdecks from Oxford Bus Company|
My other comparison for the day was between leather and moquette seats on long journeys, and there is a definite winner for me. To get to Oxford, the method of transport was a National Express 490 to London - run by leather seated Caetano Levante bodied Volvo B9R BF63ZSN from the Ambassador Travel fleet. It was rather nice, and the seats were comfortable - especially when I took into account that the journey into London took almost five hours thanks to Mr Boris Johnson choosing to simultaneously dig up almost every road in the capital. I then connected to a Plaxton Elite Interdeck bodied Volvo B11RT from Oxford Bus Company's X90 division. This has cloth seats with leather headrests, and by god were they comfortable. Not once on the hour and forty minute journey did you wiggle about trying to find a new position to stop your bum aching. The interdecks are fully wheelchair accessible, and definitely up there on the list of best coaches I have travelled on. Far from my opinions of the somewhat shaky Caetano Levante I had alighted just ten minutes before.
|One of the stunning Plaxton Elite Interdecks in Oxford City Centre|
|The smart interior of the X90 Plaxton Elite Interdeck coaches|
So there we have it, my comparison of ADL and Wright competitors and leather or moquette seating. I will soon be publishing a second part looking at the excellent investment and key ideas which the local operators have in Oxford.