New Diamond Division

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Flange Squeal

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Earlier today it was announced today that Rotala's Hallmark Bus division is to be rebranded under the Diamond brand, as Diamond South East. The Hallmark bus division operates a number of different types of service, including several tendered stage carriage routes for Surrey County Council, the Hotel Hoppa network around Heathrow which was acquired from National Express, and three routes for the Royal Holloway University near Egham. There is also an outstation near Bicester for the Bicester to Oxford 250 (they previously operated the Bicester Village outlet service, but this is now in the hands of Oxford Bus Company).

This evening though, reports from London Fire Brigade are that eight fire engines and 60 firefighters are currently fighting a fire at the depot in "a ground floor kitchen". See https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/incidents/2021/february/fire-at-bus-depot-stanwell/

Hallmark website announcement: https://www.hallmarkbus.com/news/hallmark-changes/

You will notice a few changes over the next few weeks...
Hallmark Bus is still operating in Surrey and Oxford. However, we are very excited to announce that we will soon be changing our name to Diamond Bus. Over the next few weeks you will notice that some of your buses will become blue as our new branding rolls out.

We are very excited to welcome you as Diamond customers and hope you find the below information about the forthcoming changes helpful.

Your Hallmark Route and Timetables
Your routes and timetables will remain the same.

Your Hallmark Tickets and Passes
Your existing Hallmark Bus tickets and passes will be accepted until their expiry date.

Ticket prices will not change and we will continue to offer the same great value tickets as you are used to on your Hallmark services.

Who are Diamond Bus?
Diamond Bus are part of the Rotala Group, the parent company for Hallmark Bus. We have operated services across the West Midlands and Worcestershire for many years, where we are the second largest operator in the area. We also operate Diamond Bus North West in Greater Manchester where we are also one of the major operators in the area. By bringing our smaller sister company Hallmark Bus into the Diamond family, we will be able to offer Surrey and Oxford services stronger support to enable these networks to grow.

Flexible Diamond Bus tickets

  • Contacless Payment, Apple Pay, Google Pay & Cash purchases are still available onboard.
  • M-tickets will also be available on your mobile with the Diamond Bus App.
  • You can continue to use your Hallmark m-tickets in the Hallmark Bus App until they expire.
  • Diamond South East Tickets and passes will soon be added to the Diamond Bus App, when these are available you can simply download and log into the Diamond Bus App using your Hallmark Account details to purchase your next M-ticket!
  • The Hallmark App will continue to be available until 1st April 2021, dont worry if you will not use your ticket before this date get in touch and we can transfer a ticket across to the Diamond App for you.
Clean, Sanitised and Safe buses
We understand at this difficult time, some passengers may worry about changes to their buses service provider, but we would like to reassure you that at Diamond Bus, we’ve been working hard throughout the last year to keep our passengers safe.

  • We’ve introduced extra cleaning onboard our buses
  • We’ve pioneered daily thermo-fogging disinfectant across all our Diamond Bus fleets
  • You will be able to find lots of information on the Diamond website to help you to plan your journey and travel with us confidently.
Newer, Cleaner, Greener buses
We have invested millions of pounds in new vehicles for our depots across the country, with many of our buses now being Micro-Hybrid, Low Emission Certified vehicles, which help to contribute to better air quality for our local towns.

Watch this space!
We’ll be keeping you posted regularly about the changes, so keep an eye on our website and social media announcements over the coming weeks.

As we move forward, information for Diamond South East services will also soon be available at www.diamondbuses.com
 
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Bwsbro

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Sounds like a good choice for them, Hallmark was a poor relations compared to the Diamond brand. The question is how long will the Preston bus brand stay, before Diamond North West takes over
 

busesrusuk

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There are already a couple of Streetlites in service with Hallmark's in the two tone blue livery of Diamond Bus..
 

Bwsbro

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There are already a couple of Streetlites in service with Hallmark's in the two tone blue livery of Diamond Bus..
According to sources within Rotala, most Of the Euro 5 vehicles are now leaving the fleet and are transferring to Preston via Bolton for Repaint. Two Streetlite have transferred South from Birmingham in their place.
 

Flange Squeal

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There are already a couple of Streetlites in service with Hallmark's in the two tone blue livery of Diamond Bus..
Do you know the IDs of the fully liveried two-tone blue Diamond vehicles down there at the moment? I know of 32321 (BD20 ODA).

Also observed over the last week or so are some other Diamond-branded StreetLites, but these have just a vertical strip of diamonds on an otherwise largely "dealer white" body. These are 20176, 20182/3 (BD20 ODT, BX70 GHB/F) and have additional luggage racking. I think these were originally destined for the Hotel Hoppa, but ended up starting their careers operating with Diamond in the Midlands?
 

Bwsbro

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Do you know the IDs of the fully liveried two-tone blue Diamond vehicles down there at the moment? I know of 32321 (BD20 ODA).

Also observed over the last week or so are some other Diamond-branded StreetLites, but these have just a vertical strip of diamonds on an otherwise largely "dealer white" body. These are 20176, 20182/3 (BD20 ODT, BX70 GHB/F) and have additional luggage racking. I think these were originally destined for the Hotel Hoppa, but ended up starting their careers operating with Diamond in the Midlands?

BD20ODM is the second Streetlite to have transferred from Birmingham to Heathrow, they have both been on Central Line Tube Replacement over the weekend.

I believe that the plan still is to introduce the vehicles into the Hopper network once Heathrow is back to normal. Better to have them in service making money than sat at the depot depreciating value.

From recent TFGM tenders announcements Eccles depot are set to loose a number of services to Little Gem, this may give Diamond an opportunity to further standardise their fleet in the north west
 

Flange Squeal

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BD20ODM is the second Streetlite to have transferred from Birmingham to Heathrow, they have both been on Central Line Tube Replacement over the weekend.

I believe that the plan still is to introduce the vehicles into the Hopper network once Heathrow is back to normal. Better to have them in service making money than sat at the depot depreciating value.

From recent TFGM tenders announcements Eccles depot are set to loose a number of services to Little Gem, this may give Diamond an opportunity to further standardise their fleet in the north west
Thanks for that. ODM was operating in Surrey in white with Hallmark branding shortly before Christmas, so must be a nice fresh relivery! The other StreetLites may well be needed - or at least end up spending time on - their originally intended work anyway I suppose, with the LEZ changes next month seeing Heathrow requiring Euro VI vehicles. I can't imagine they've retrofitted the Hoppa Enviros, when a new fleet had been planned?
 

Bwsbro

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Thanks for that. ODM was operating in Surrey in white with Hallmark branding shortly before Christmas, so must be a nice fresh relivery! The other StreetLites may well be needed - or at least end up spending time on - their originally intended work anyway I suppose, with the LEZ changes next month seeing Heathrow requiring Euro VI vehicles. I can't imagine they've retrofitted the Hoppa Enviros, when a new fleet had been planned?
To be honest the former National Express enviros were knackered when acquired. I’ve been unfortunate to have traveled on some of the fleet when deputising on the 555, they weren’t in the best of shape
 

Flange Squeal

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To be honest the former National Express enviros were knackered when acquired. I’ve been unfortunate to have traveled on some of the fleet when deputising on the 555, they weren’t in the best of shape
I travelled on one on the 458 once. The reduced capacity due to the racking made for a rather 'cosy' trip, and the contravision was just the icing on the cake!
 

winston270twm

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Thanks for that. ODM was operating in Surrey in white with Hallmark branding shortly before Christmas, so must be a nice fresh relivery! The other StreetLites may well be needed - or at least end up spending time on - their originally intended work anyway I suppose, with the LEZ changes next month seeing Heathrow requiring Euro VI vehicles. I can't imagine they've retrofitted the Hoppa Enviros, when a new fleet had been planned?
The new Hotel Hoppa fleet has already been delivered to Rotala as 20176-20190, however, they've been diverted to other Rotala subsidiaries for the time being whilst they pandemic continues to rumble on, the current Hotel Hoppa Pvr is down to 4 instead on the previous 23. They will join Hotel Hoppa when required. That said 20176 & 20182/3 have very recently joined the re-branded Hallmark, Heathrow ops but for Surrey CC bus work.
 

cnjb8

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To be honest the former National Express enviros were knackered when acquired. I’ve been unfortunate to have traveled on some of the fleet when deputising on the 555, they weren’t in the best of shape
Most of the ones that have left the fleet have gone straight for scrap
 

Flange Squeal

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Just posted a pic of one of the Streetlites in what could be termed a "hybrid" livery which I caught up with today - didn't see any of the all blue ones in Kingston. Its one of those destined for Hotel Hoppa work (judging by the luggage racks fitted) so presumably can be easy to apply Hoppa decals when needed. Pic here:

Hallmarks 20176 Feb21 | Fairfield Bus Stn, Kingston. Feb 202… | Flickr
The blue ones seem to have spent all week on the 458 so far, although today ODM looks to have been pretty much confined on the Staines/Walton shorts, with ODA enjoying the full run to Kingston. SM19 KKO, from the five that did make it to Hotel Hoppa pre-COVID but since been I believe mainly at Bicester, has also been out on local services 557/evening 461 and the Royal Holloway shuttle this week.
 

Surreyman

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Their depot is on the south side of Heathrow, near to the cargo terminal and Terminal 4, just to the north of Stanwell.
Stanwell is in Surrey but the depot is just inside Greater London so vehicles will need to be Euro 6 compliant by March 1st.
Some of their routes are in Surrey but cross the boundary in order to access the depot and/or the Airport.
I am guessing that some of the Coaches and minibuses are parked up during lockdown?
 

Bwsbro

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Just posted a pic of one of the Streetlites in what could be termed a "hybrid" livery which I caught up with today - didn't see any of the all blue ones in Kingston. Its one of those destined for Hotel Hoppa work (judging by the luggage racks fitted) so presumably can be easy to apply Hoppa decals when needed. Pic here:

Hallmarks 20176 Feb21 | Fairfield Bus Stn, Kingston. Feb 202… | Flickr
The ‘Hybrid’ livery has been applied to a number of vehicles in both Manchester and Birmingham whilst not required at Heathrow. Once the airport will be back to normal these will return and be rebranded once more as Hotel Hoppa
 

Flange Squeal

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I am guessing that some of the Coaches and minibuses are parked up during lockdown?
Apparently some vehicles, including a number of the Hoppa Enviros are parked up next to the M4 by the Holiday Inn. Not sure if that's the actual Holiday Inn car park, or the CCH depot at the old National Express Coach Centre though.
 

Mr Manager

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Their depot is on the south side of Heathrow, near to the cargo terminal and Terminal 4, just to the north of Stanwell.
Stanwell is in Surrey but the depot is just inside Greater London so vehicles will need to be Euro 6 compliant by March 1st.
Some of their routes are in Surrey but cross the boundary in order to access the depot and/or the Airport.
I am guessing that some of the Coaches and minibuses are parked up during lockdown?
Would that be the old Travellers Coaches and Westlink site ?.
 

Flange Squeal

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Would that be the old Travellers Coaches and Westlink site ?.
I think the former Westlink site, and adjacent Travellers yard, is now RATP's London United Hounslow Heath garage, just to the south east of Hatton Cross? The current Hallmark/Diamond premises are further west, just south of Terminal 4 off Bedfont Road, alongside the driveway to the Esso fuel terminal.
 

Mr Manager

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Thanks for the replies. Its been a few years since i worked travellers during the summer and westlink in the winter.
 

Snow1964

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Their depot is on the south side of Heathrow, near to the cargo terminal and Terminal 4, just to the north of Stanwell.
Stanwell is in Surrey but the depot is just inside Greater London so vehicles will need to be Euro 6 compliant by March 1st.
Some of their routes are in Surrey but cross the boundary in order to access the depot and/or the Airport.
I am guessing that some of the Coaches and minibuses are parked up during lockdown?

This is not correct, the TfL boundary and the outer boundary of the LEZ are not exactly same. There are a few roads on the fringes that are excluded to allow big vehicles to access premises and turn around.

Bedfont Road is outside the LEZ, and a non compliant vehicle can drive around the roundabout (where Beacon, Sanctuary Roads are) and return along Bedfont Road. However the Hallmark depot is technically in the zone (but probably isn’t any cameras to monitor it). From memory RATPs Tolworth depot is also located off an excluded road

Another two roads I can remember that affects Surrey bus routes is the A308 Hampton Court Road is excluded (although in Richmond Borough), probably because at the time of planning original LEZ Walton bridge had weight restriction so route from M3 to Hampton Court bridge was needed. A243 Brighton Road in Surbiton is also excluded to allow access to Thames Ditton (Surrey) area without using the height restricted A307 Portsmouth Road which has low railway bridges

You can zoom in on map on this link to see the boundaries
 

Surreyman

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Snow1964 - you are correct v a short stretch of Bedfont road to the roundabout, presumably to allow HGVs access to sites but it doesn't alter the fact that that the depot is inside the zone and the vehicle fleet will be be crossing the boundary in/out of the LEZ.
I take your point about the A308 between Hampton & Hampton Court, as you say I assume this provides a corridor between the M3 at Sunbury and Hampton Court Bridge.
Don't understand your comment about the A243, the LEZ boundary matches the Greater London boundary between Long/Thames Ditton and Surbiton.
Tolworth (West side by the Station) is inside the LEZ, the RATP fleet is already 100% Euro 6 anyway.
As far as I can work out, the only outstanding last minute Euro 6 issues for scheduled bus services in the south west london/Surrey area are First Berkshire getting their fleet updated/upgraded at the last minute (Compliant B7RLES transferring in and upgrading the Volvo Hybrids) and Stagecoach due to swop some of Guildfords E300s with compliant MMC models from other depots for the 715.
Also the RA2, the First operated Guildford- Woking-Heathrow Coach service, normally scheduled for older EURO 5 coaches (Mostly run during Covid with more modern vehicles from the Reading route).
Short term, some Surrey based operators may have to be careful about allocating Euro5/Euro 6 vehicles to the 'right routes'.
 

Flange Squeal

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As far as I can work out, the only outstanding last minute Euro 6 issues for scheduled bus services in the south west london/Surrey area are First Berkshire getting their fleet updated/upgraded at the last minute (Compliant B7RLES transferring in and upgrading the Volvo Hybrids) and Stagecoach due to swop some of Guildfords E300s with compliant MMC models from other depots for the 715.
Also the RA2, the First operated Guildford- Woking-Heathrow Coach service, normally scheduled for older EURO 5 coaches (Mostly run during Covid with more modern vehicles from the Reading route).
Short term, some Surrey based operators may have to be careful about allocating Euro5/Euro 6 vehicles to the 'right routes'.
I've been curious about Reptons Coaches' 513 (Kingston to Downside). Yes their youngest Enviro is an 18 plate, but being a 'classic' style I believe that means it would have still been from Euro V stock? Unless we see a last minute addition appear, I can only presume they have possibly been retrofitting. I know Cardinal Buses come close on a couple of their routes (off the top of my head 661/881 at Hampton Court, 856 around Sunbury and 617 at Banstead, but can't double check as the TfL map is offline overnight for "planned maintenance"!) but don't quite stray over the border. They have however been doing a bit of retrofitting as they often stray over for a lot of their rail replacement work. Bear Buses must be in a similar position having school route venturing into Ashford and Stanwell Moor, but again the map is offline so can't check at the moment.
 

Surreyman

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Flange Squeal, I have been using both the Tfl ULEZ 'vehicle checker' & the Gov 'Clean Air charge checker' (for both sites you have to key in individual registration numbers), however I am not confident that the info is always accurate.
I believe the Tfl site is reliant on operators notifying Tfl of vehicle upgrades and operators probably don't bother if their vehicles aren't ever going into Greater London, presumably some sort of documentary evidence is required of a Euro 6 emissions fitment/upgrade to a vehicle, also I expect that Covid is inevitably causing a slow down in the notification process.
It is safe to assume that all 'Red' fleet Tfl buses are now Euro 6 compliant (as per the recent press release) but some trainers/staff buses/older recently withdrawn stock are not.
LOTS Feb LBM edition states that some school buses may not be Euro 6 either - I don't know how this works - some exclusion in the small print?
The Gov 'Clean Air Charge Checker' is much more reliable for non London based fleets but I suspect (But cannot prove) that it makes the assumption that all vehicles registered new from 2014 (2014 reg onwards) must automatically be Euro 6 which is certainly not the case - as you say many 'classic' Enviro 200s were registered after this date as were Streetlites, Solos, Enviro E400' classics and many coaches.
I am aware that some coach companies outside of Greater London have taken the view that either they will not bid for business inside Greater London or they will incorporate the LEZ daily charge into the price.
Coach company Edward Thomas & sons of West Ewell are an interesting example, located on Chessington road in West Ewell, they are barely half a mile from the GLC boundary in Chessington and only a little further from Tolworth, their more modern coaches are likely Euro 6 but the bulk of the fleet is almost certainly not.

Re Reptons of Bookham; the 18 plate Enviro200 is listed as 'No Charge' in the "Gov Clean Air Charge Checker" with reference to the Bath & Birmingham clean air zones, suggesting that it probably has been upgraded to Euro 6.
The Tfl site also flags it as compliant with the ULEZ.
 
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Snow1964

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The TfL press release referred to core fleet (and there was an asterisk) being euroVI or better

The asterisk stated some training buses, meal relief buses and the schools extra fleet (for the V internal coding extras) might not be.

The schools extras are the social distancing extras, most haven’t run since 18 Dec, although few restarted in Jan, but the closure of schools stopped them again. Many of the school extras (often buses that would have been withdrawn) are stored pending the 22 Feb announcement. Even if needed for 3 weeks to Easter it is obviously cheaper to pay the £100 charge each day than spend £10k+ upgrading them. Some might not even get used for 15 days if other compliant buses are spare.
 

Flange Squeal

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Re Reptons of Bookham; the 18 plate Enviro200 is listed as 'No Charge' in the "Gov Clean Air Charge Checker" with reference to the Bath & Birmingham clean air zones, suggesting that it probably has been upgraded to Euro 6.
The Tfl site also flags it as compliant with the ULEZ.
Interestingly though, some 2016/17 classic Enviros in other fleets also show up on both the CAZ checker and TfL website as being ‘No Charge’, despite those particular examples definitely being Euro V and not retrofitted. I can therefore only assume the system is working off their age. Certainly the TfL website even states “based on your vehicle being new” in the result. Obviously this doesn’t mean Reptons haven’t retrofitted theirs, but it does look like the system can’t be relied on 100% (albeit potentially good news for some operators!).
 

Surreyman

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A likely pointer to vehicles being upgraded to Euro 6 are the various published funding awards, Tfl having had the largest amount.
So for example we know that both Portsmouth & Southampton had public funding for 105 buses(Portsmouth) & 145 buses (Southampton) this is reflected in the fact that Firsts Streetlite fleets in these 2 cities are all Euro 6 (a few of the later models were built as such).
First Southampton also upgraded some B7RLEs which were cascaded, some now recently transferred into Slough for the Heathrow & Uxbridge routes.
However recent declared funding for the "Home' counties around London has been almost non-existent, I think Essex had 20 + 40, exact destination(s) unknown).
Go Ahead Metrobus in Crawley have some Gas buses in the pipeline and Stagecoach Guildford has a small fleet of electric E200s for P&R (some have apparently been seen in Kingston recently on the 715).
Surrey recently announced a £49m scheme, some of which is '"To fund up 80 ultra-low emission buses by 2025" (The funding is for the difference in price between a diesel bus and presumably an electric or Hydrogen powered vehicle).
Public funding seems to work in favour of larger operators, It is presumably much easier for Stagecoach or Go-ahead to fund a small fleet of new buses and associated charging infrastructure, than the likes of Reptons or Falcon.
 

Flange Squeal

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A likely pointer to vehicles being upgraded to Euro 6 are the various published funding awards, Tfl having had the largest amount.
So for example we know that both Portsmouth & Southampton had public funding for 105 buses(Portsmouth) & 145 buses (Southampton) this is reflected in the fact that Firsts Streetlite fleets in these 2 cities are all Euro 6 (a few of the later models were built as such).
First Southampton also upgraded some B7RLEs which were cascaded, some now recently transferred into Slough for the Heathrow & Uxbridge routes.
However recent declared funding for the "Home' counties around London has been almost non-existent, I think Essex had 20 + 40, exact destination(s) unknown).
Go Ahead Metrobus in Crawley have some Gas buses in the pipeline and Stagecoach Guildford has a small fleet of electric E200s for P&R (some have apparently been seen in Kingston recently on the 715).
Surrey recently announced a £49m scheme, some of which is '"To fund up 80 ultra-low emission buses by 2025" (The funding is for the difference in price between a diesel bus and presumably an electric or Hydrogen powered vehicle).
Public funding seems to work in favour of larger operators, It is presumably much easier for Stagecoach or Go-ahead to fund a small fleet of new buses and associated charging infrastructure, than the likes of Reptons or Falcon.
The Guildford Park & Ride buses have indeed made it to Kingston a few times recently, I believe to see how they perform should they need to cover the route, as well as giving them a good run having not been doing a lot. A fleet shuffle is seeing some of Guildford's vehicles swapped with Euro VI diesels from elsewhere to cover the 715 in the longer term (I believe the first part of the swap has seen 37406-8 transfer from Winchester). Use of the Guildford P&R vehicles to help cover is okay Mon-Sat, albeit apparently the limiter isn't great on the A3, however they are slightly too tall for the Sunday routing under the low bridge on Lower Green Road in Esher.

When Falcon swapped the western part of routes 514/5 to the 564 in September last year (delayed from May), I had assumed this was due to the impending LEZ changes. The result was that only two vehicles would need to enter the zone while working the council-contracted 514/5, rather than three. So it was interesting come the latest COVID changes in January this year when both reverted back to their old routings as part of the temporary service changes. Be interesting to see what happens as services increase again!

In terms of electric buses, I guess the other thing with the likes of Falcon and Reptons is the majority (I think all in the case of the latter) of their local bus work is council tenders, so the money could be spent installing infrastructure at an operator's depot with no guarantee the work for it will stay there long term? The council might also then feel tied to that operator going forward. I guess the bigger companies are less likely to be going anywhere, so a safer bet. In terms of the work, while I believe the county council were involved in the funding bid alongside Stagecoach, the routes themselves switched from being council-subsidised (when Stagecoach won them from Arriva and Safeguard in 2013), to being commercially registered from the turn of 2018/19 and electrification, so the investment at Stagecoach's depot can be deemed 'safe'.
 

Surreyman

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In terms of electric buses, I guess the other thing with the likes of Falcon and Reptons is the majority (I think all in the case of the latter) of their local bus work is council tenders, so the money could be spent installing infrastructure at an operator's depot with no guarantee the work for it will stay there long term? The council might also then feel tied to that operator going forward. I guess the bigger companies are less likely to be going anywhere, so a safer bet. In terms of the work, while I believe the county council were involved in the funding bid alongside Stagecoach, the routes themselves switched from being council-subsidised (when Stagecoach won them from Arriva and Safeguard in 2013), to being commercially registered from the turn of 2018/19 and electrification, so the investment at Stagecoach's depot can be deemed 'safe'.
I have been wondering who would/could take up Surrey CCs offer for ULE buses?

The largest operators in Surrey are: -
Stagecoach in Guildford, they have 'form' with the existing P & R operation, although the Peasmarsh depot is pretty basic, also Aldershot just across the county boundary but operating buses in Camberley, Frimley & Ash.
Go-Ahead Metrobus, again just across the line in Crawley - West Sussex but with ops in Reigate/Redhill/Dorking/Epsom/Sutton/Godstone.
Arriva in Guildford with routes to Woking, Camberley & Cranleigh. But question marks about Arrivas future from parent DB, not very keen on capital expenditure even before Covid!
RATP - London United, depot inside greater London but with several routes into Ashford/Staines/Sunbury and around Ewell/Epsom/Leatherhead.

The smaller players are: -
Hallmark - Diamond(Rotala)
First - Berks - only one route in Surrey plus the RA2 coach link now in competition with Nat-Express 925 - Reading buses when running).
Whitebus, expanding.
Falcon, expanding.
Southdown - a few routes in East Surrey.
Safeguard - 2 routes in Guildford.
Courtney (Reading Buses) the 194 comes into Surrey at Camberley for maybe 1 mile max.

Then you have the "London' based companies Arriva, Metroline, Abellio & Go Ahead with a few routes just overlapping into Northern Surrey.

Finally the small fry: -
Compass - outstation in Dunsfold.
Reptons.
Bear buses.
Cardinal.
Carlone minibuses.

Also a few coach companies who run a few 'closed door' school contracts.
 

Flange Squeal

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I could imagine Hallmark/Diamond going for it, as once installed I guess they could also use the infrastructure going forward in their various other revenue streams around Heathrow, or even with the coaching division (which is to remain under the 'Hallmark' name) if they followed the likes of Westway with their Yutongs.

I guess Stagecoach would have a good case to put forward too, as they can say they already have experience of the tech and just need to expand what they already have. The high-frequency University services could also seem an attractive bargaining chip perhaps, as the number of journeys they made outside COVID times would certainly make good publicity for the council, operator and university if converted to electric operation, for commitment to the environment etc. The university were stakeholders in the bidding process for the original P&R vehicle funding too. In terms of Aldershot depot, the Enterprise M3 organisation are developing their 'Gold Grid' scheme which, as well as building on the success of Stagecoach's route 1, also highlights routes 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 17, 18 and 19 as being targets for further development. All of these cross the border into Hampshire at some point, but Surrey County Council are themselves certainly involved with the Gold Grid and Blackwater Valley Quality Bus Corridor schemes all the same (and indeed even subsidise some of the evening/Sunday journeys on the otherwise mainly commercial and cross-border services, plus tendering the 11 which admittedly is mainly in Surrey anyway).

White Bus seem up for giving most things a go, so wouldn't surprise me. I'm guessing they probably lease their new depot, so not sure how such major infrastructure work usually goes with landlords, and whether companies with electric fleets so far are in premises they own or just lease? If it does make a difference, I'm wondering if Falcon/Telling family may actually own their yard. I'm fairly certain I read somewhere that when the original Tellings-Golden Miller Surrey bus business was sold to National Express, that the yard was retained and leased back to National Express (and Abellio later on)? Would certainly explain how they moved back in to one of the sites so soon after Abellio's demise, with Arena Travel spending time in the other before further Falcon expansion saw them return to the second site also. Nothing firm to back that up mind!

Aside from the uncertainty about the parent group, and other issues more locally, Arriva's Guildford site is continually up for relocation, so not sure if any party would want to commit to ploughing loads of money into it? I would point out its history of flooding also, but then it wasn't that long ago that Stagecoach's electrified site at Peasmarsh was underwater and a temporary makeshift yard had to be set up at Artington Park & Ride (and vehicles drafted in from elsewhere as the electrics were off the road due to inability to charge them!).
 
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