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Old 23rd January 2017, 17:15   #1
HY_4273
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Default Stagecoach Minibuses now launched in Ashford

This story on the Coach & Bus Week magazine might be of interest to some of you – the latest on Stagecoach's new Mercedes-Benz minibuses: https://cbwmagazine.com/stagecoach-t...ten-minibuses/
Quote:
Stagecoach South East is to unveil its new Mercedes-Benz minibus fleet, branded ‘Little & Often,’ early next month, CBW can reveal.
The 30-strong fleet is to be launched at a special event at the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet Centre, Ashford on Saturday, February 11 – with the vehicles set to enter service the following day.
The order for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter City 45 minibuses, a new type for Stagecoach, was included in the 2016 fleet order, which was announced last April.
Gaz

Last edited by yorkie; 15th February 2017 at 20:26. Reason: added quote to comply with forum rules
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Old 23rd January 2017, 17:25   #2
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Originally Posted by HY_4273 View Post
This story on the Coach & Bus Week magazine might be of interest to some of you – the latest on Stagecoach's new Mercedes-Benz minibuses: https://cbwmagazine.com/stagecoach-t...ten-minibuses/

Gaz
Ah interesting, I did wonder where that order would end up, there was talk of Scotland (I think!) with various others being speculated. It was the part of the order that did seem peculiar when it was announced.
Sam

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Old 23rd January 2017, 17:27   #3
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What's the phrase..."round and round and round we go...."?
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Old 23rd January 2017, 17:34   #4
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Back to the 1980s I would not rule out Scotland gettig some for certain routes.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 18:47   #5
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The advantage of these particular ones is that they are 17 seaters, meaning D1 to drive them rather than D, making the drivers somewhat cheaper, no doubt, than regular bus drivers as they are easier to train, a minibus not being light years different to drive than many large MPVs, 4x4s and the likes. (I've driven a full size 3500kg Sprinter minibus downseated permanently to 9 seats to avoid the need for D1, and it drove not dissimilarly to my present LWB Land Rover Defender).

That said, could the low capacity cause issues? I wonder if some kind of app involving reserved places and app-based payment could be used to mitigate this?
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Old 23rd January 2017, 19:00   #6
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The advantage of these particular ones is that they are 17 seaters, meaning D1 to drive them rather than D, making the drivers somewhat cheaper, no doubt, than regular bus drivers as they are easier to train, a minibus not being light years different to drive than many large MPVs, 4x4s and the likes. (I've driven a full size 3500kg Sprinter minibus downseated permanently to 9 seats to avoid the need for D1, and it drove not dissimilarly to my present LWB Land Rover Defender).

That said, could the low capacity cause issues? I wonder if some kind of app involving reserved places and app-based payment could be used to mitigate this?
I would have hoped that Stagecoach would have looked into the average passenger loading on journey and come to the conclusion that the services that the Sprinters will run won't under normal circumstances exceed the maximum load of the minibus.

Stagecoach using a minibus on routes means that they will hopefully not be culled as a result of not being able to adequately fill the next smallest buses.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 19:01   #7
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So do we know which routes these might be used on yet?
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Old 23rd January 2017, 19:08   #8
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So do we know which routes these might be used on yet?
From their website
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From Sunday 12 February, we’re launching a high-spec minibus service, branded ‘Little & Often’, which will provide buses every 5 or 6 minutes along routes serving the hospital, town centre/rail station, Kennington and Park Farm. At the same time as the new buses hit the road there will be a shake-up of the bus routes and timetables in the town – full details are shown below.
https://www.stagecoachbus.com/servic...7-11:31:55:432
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Old 23rd January 2017, 19:54   #9
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These are in Ashford, Kent.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 20:47   #10
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I would have hoped that Stagecoach would have looked into the average passenger loading on journey and come to the conclusion that the services that the Sprinters will run won't under normal circumstances exceed the maximum load of the minibus.
In the heyday of high frequency minibus operation in the 80s/early 90s, it wasn't unusual to have to wait for the next bus due to a full bus, but that was considered to be a price worth paying for having a frequent service.

This is obviously an interesting development. But this type of operation was abandoned in the mid 90s, so why is it now suddenly a good idea again?

I was an avid follower of the minibus revolution in south Manchester with Bee Line opening up route after route during 1987, followed by retaliation from GM Buses with their "Little Gem" minibuses. Bee Line started running every 5 minutes and every 15 evening and Sunday, like what Stagecoach are about to do. It seemed too good to be true and after a while, headways widened to every 7 then every 10 before the sale to Ribble, which was basically the end.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 20:51   #11
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Just a thought - is there anyone still working at management level in Stagecoach who worked with Harry Bundred in Exeter?
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Old 23rd January 2017, 21:04   #12
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Just a thought - is there anyone still working at management level in Stagecoach who worked with Harry Bundred in Exeter?
Even Transit Holdings were starting to get rid of minibuses before the sale to Stagecoach. In Oxford they had already replaced a lot of their dual-door door minibuses with dual-door Darts before the sale to Stagecoach.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 21:05   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radamfi View Post
In the heyday of high frequency minibus operation in the 80s/early 90s, it wasn't unusual to have to wait for the next bus due to a full bus, but that was considered to be a price worth paying for having a frequent service.

This is obviously an interesting development. But this type of operation was abandoned in the mid 90s, so why is it now suddenly a good idea again?

I was an avid follower of the minibus revolution in south Manchester with Bee Line opening up route after route during 1987, followed by retaliation from GM Buses with their "Little Gem" minibuses. Bee Line started running every 5 minutes and every 15 evening and Sunday, like what Stagecoach are about to do. It seemed too good to be true and after a while, headways widened to every 7 then every 10 before the sale to Ribble, which was basically the end.
Forgive me I seem to have become a little confused, I thought that these were running on rural services not town ones. Nevertheless it is certainly an interesting move by Stagecoach.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 21:14   #14
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Forgive me I seem to have become a little confused, I thought that these were running on rural services not town ones. Nevertheless it is certainly an interesting move by Stagecoach.
What rural services would be viable at a 5/6 minute frequency?! Actually in the 80s/early 90s it was quite normal for town services to be run by minibuses and out of town routes run to be run by full size buses.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 21:18   #15
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What rural services would be viable at a 5/6 minute frequency?! Actually in the 80s/early 90s it was quite normal for town services to be run by minibuses and out of town routes run to be run by full size buses.
No, I meant at a much lower frequency but as I have now realized the amount of minibuses ordered does not stack up for that.
Apologies.
As a side note how many of those routes operated by GM Buses and Bee Line still survive today?
The branding of 'Little Gem' has recently started up again by Go Goodwins as a way to signify divison between their coach and bus fleet.
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