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Rate a bus company's fleet from best to worst

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Established Member
5 Nov 2018
Northern England
This thread is a bus equivalent to @mspljd1990's "Rank a TOC's rolling stock from best to worst" in the rolling stock forum. (Sorry for pinching the idea, but I thought it would work well for buses too)

So here's the concept. Take a bus operator somewhere in the country that you are familiar with, and rank each type of vehicle in their fleet in order of preference. Feel free to exclude ones you have not travelled on.

Here's an example (all opinions are my own):

Stagecoach in Cumbria
  1. Wright Gemini 3 open-toppers - nicely designed interior, feel spacious inside, and don't feel at all sluggish or outdated. The Lakesider livery from Best Impressions is also fantastic. Only let down by the very waffly automated announcements and the cheap-feeling Fainsa seats
  2. E400 non-Gold version. Just a bog standard Stagecoach E400. Nothing special, but nothing to hate about them either, apart from being a bit rattly. Not sure if any of these are left in Cumbria or if all have been cascaded.
  3. ALX400 open-toppers. They feel a bit knackered now but other than that they're fine.
  4. E400MMC "The Lakes Connection" - they ride smoothly and feel airy and well designed, but they come so low down on the list because of the awful high-backed E-leather seating. I hate E-leather, and the high backed seating on a bus (which has a lower ceiling than a train or aircraft) is claustrophobic and makes getting a wide angle of view out of the windows difficult.
  5. E400 Gold version. Same issue as the E400MMCs, but the gold interior is dingy and they're more rattly than the MMCs
  6. Optare Solo. They feel cramped and worn out, enough said
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Established Member
15 Apr 2009
Between Edinburgh and Exeter
First Kernow's would have to be:

Enviro 400 MMC - An Excellent choice of vehicle to kickstart the revolution and really felt like someone actually cared for the Kernow fleet at last - after many years of elderly and worn out Capital Darts / Tridents / Olympian's cascaded down there.

Enviro 200 MMC - It's a real shame only 4 of these are left now, but again for the reasons above.

Wright Eclipse Gemini - Particularly the very well cared for ex Hampshire examples. Still a very good looking bus after 16 years of use elsewhere, and suit the FK livery very well.

Plaxton / ADL Pointer Dart. Another vehicle that has stood the test of time and look smart in the FK livery. I'm pleased a few of these still exist within the fleet - they've been good servants to Plymouth and Cornwall.

ELC Tridents - While I've never been much of a fan of the ELC Bodywork (Early Learning Centre comes to mind with some of their stuff), they've held up very well and look smart in "The Lizard" scheme.

Atlantic Coaster Optare Solo - Mid table for these despite being new vehicles. The reason being, they just feel like an oddity within the fleet. To short for some routes, too long for others. I'm surprised they haven't been swapped within FC for another batch of E-MMCs yet or some of the Streetlites.

Now, this is where we really start to drop....

The ALX & Plaxton President bodied Volvos. Tired, Uncomfortable, sluggish, worn out. I'll give FK their dues given the circumstances we are in (duplicating routes, having to make use of any useable vehicle going) but I wasn't very impressed with them when I last had a W-DWX example on the 90 from Truro to Newquay. it certainly struggled very badly up the hills, was late into Newquay and the seats (the very hard / thin type) gave me backache. Why oh Why did First have to spec those nasty things in their early years.

Mousehole Optare Solos - I think we can all agree with this one. They look tired now, and seem to be the least reliable. I know it's a hard choice for FK given the tight corners of Mousehole and the fact they fit, but they've had a good run. Due for replacement I believe?

I've not included the Truro Merc's as they are probably the only FK vehicle I've not actually travelled in yet. Coaches too.


30 Mar 2020
East Angular
Stagecoach East's fleet is as follows, barring the open-top Gemini 3 bodied Volvo's as I haven't been on those.

Enviro400 MMC's, Cambridge Park & Ride
Impressed with these. Not the fastest things in the world but compared to the rest of the fleet they're comfortable, don't rattle and feel well put together.

Gold-Spec Enviro400 bodied Scanias.

Now getting on for eight years old, although the condition of the bodywork would imply they're far older. The Plaxton factory did a terrible job of knocking these together - rattles galore, leaky, and generally had an appalling fit and finish from day one of service. Apart from that the seats are nice enough and they have a decent amount of pace which is definitely needed for the demanding route they work.

Guided Busway Enviro400 bodied Scanias

As above with the Gold spec E400 Scanias.
Bit of a mixed bag of ages, but unfortunately the Busway surface hasn't done the suspension any favours, perhaps the roughest riding buses I've ever travelled on.

Enviro400XLB bodied Volvo B8's

Tidy enough when they were brand new and I haven't been on one since. Found the new Stagecoach spec with gray seats and dark blue panels to be very gloomy inside. Seats weren't that comfortable either and they felt pretty underpowered. Underwhelming when you consider their impressive appearance.

Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7's and B8's

Perhaps the best purchase Stagecoach made for the Busway. Comfy seats, smooth ride at speed and fantastic air-conditioning. The closest you'll get to a car-standard of travel by service bus.

2010 registration ADL Enviro400s

Basic Stagecoach-spec E400s. Looking very shabby and down-at-heel now with plenty of bodywork corrosion and threadbare seats. Still rapid performers if you get a good one which is just as well when they're working long-distance services alongside the Scanias.


Sluggish, jerky gearboxes, hard seats. Awful!

Scania Omnicity 'deckers

Haven't been on one of these since arrival but in their London days I found them very rough-riding indeed. I can't imagine the Cambridge roads have made that any better.


Established Member
26 Feb 2019
TrentBarton and Kinchbus

These are the types I have ridden, but there are many more in the fleet.

Alexander-Dennis Enviro200 MMC:
These buses are smooth and very comfortable with all the standard TrentBarton perks and more. Have a lovely engine noise in my opinion but not everyone is keen on it. Very good for a lightweight. I would say worth the money but TB fares are very expensive.

Optare Tempo:
Not everyones cup of tea. Really struggled with hills and by the end their seats were worn. A few retained their manual blinds until withdrawal too which was good for us enthusiasts but for passengers they weren't the best. In fact TrentBarton wrote an article about their disappointment with them only a year after the 2007 batch arrived, and said they would switch to the Wright Eclipse Urban. Of course now I can't find it, nevermind :rolleyes:

Meanwhile the Optare Tempo SR was a rattly mistake, I feel sorry for the passengers of Ipswich who have headaches from the awful SRs.

Optare Solo:
I think they are quite quirky. The 2002 batch is starting to show its age though. They are very loud and a bit slow. When they used to be used on the express service Zoom (Derby to Long Eaton), they would scream on the A52! However the SR did solve these issues and are great buses. Overall they get the job done whilst deafening anyone who dares to walk past them on the street.

Scania L94UB/Wright Solars:
One of my favourites but like the early Solos are starting to show their age. The batch for the Sixes are really comfy and you can't tell it's a 15 year old bus. They are loud, not as loud as the Solos, and have a very distinctive noise. Very nice sturdy buses, not like the lightweight stuff other cities see.

Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban:
These are my favourite but I don't get to ride or see them often now the indigo batch has mostly been exported to Derby and Langley Mill. Air conditioning has pros and cons but is welcomed in summer. Comfy, sturdy, quiet and smooth, what more could you ask for.

Optare Versa:
Best of the Optare products at TrentBarton. They can cope with the hills of Heanor and Nottingham. The Rapid One examples could easily keep up with the fast pace traffic of the A610. However I am not sure if they will survive well on the Sixes, the Scanias could cope very easily but I'm not so sure about the Versas. Very good buses, but in the lightweight category are beaten by the Enviro200 MMCs.

Mercedes-Benz Citaro
Passenger view, great. Mechanical view, awful. Smooth and comfortable vehicles and well suited to Skylink but they made the service horrifically unreliable, so much that that the C2 variants have been disposed to McGills, some were only introduced at the start of 2018. It made no sense how First South West or McGills could get their Citaros to function properly and Kinchbus could not. Also we had one self combust, I wonder how many Citaro operators have had one example set itself on fire and be scrapped.


Established Member
10 Jun 2010
Atlantic Coaster Optare Solo
As a driver I’d put the Solo Sr well above the MMCs. In my opinion much better gear box- Better delivery of power.
They also feel far superior build quality with none of the rattles of an ADL build.
Admittedly they take a while to adapt to driving due to their unusual driving position, but once I’m settled in they are without doubt my preferred choice of vehicle


Established Member
14 Sep 2018
East Yorkshire's current fleet I would rate as follows

Lovely to drive, no squeaks or rattles on them

ADL Enviro200 MMC
As above but not keen on the Voith gearboxes in them

Wright Eclipse Gemini and Gemini 2
Again, solid buses that are good workhorses. I would say the B9s are better than the B7s in terms of pulling away, the brakes on the 55 and 06 reg B7s are impossible to get smooth braking on though.

Plaxton President
Again have been very good workhorses but old and tired now. Were meant to have gone this year but not happened because Covid.

Wright Eclipse/Volvo B7RLE
Good solid vehicles. Only criticism of the 54 reg ones is there is a delay before the bus will move when the handbrake is released which makes some junctions dangerous, especially the one near the hotel at North Ferriby where you are turning right onto a blind bend.

ADL Enviro 400 old style
Nice to drive but as the E200s quite a few rattles on them now.

ADL Enviro200 old style
Nice to drive just so rattly, even the 65 reg ones.

ADL Enviro 300
Again nice to drive but getting tired now.

ADL Enviro400H ex hybrids
Gutless and before they were converted to diesel very unreliable

MCV Evolution/Volvo B7RLE and B8RLE
Mechanically good to drive but MCV build quality is atrocious

MCV Evoseti/Volvo B5TL
The worst of the fleet. Gutless and the build quality of the bodywork is terrible. I drove one of the 67 plates when it was a fortnight old and there were that many rattles, bangs and squeaks I thought the bus was going to fall apart. Feel like they were thrown together at 6pm on a Friday night. To be fair though the 66 plates aren't as bad, they must have had a good day at the factory then
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Veteran Member
18 Feb 2013
Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
Stagecoach West - passenger perspective

e400mmc Gold
- Superb vehicles with comfortable seats and quite well put together (for ADLs)

e400 Scania Gold - Not bad machines and aside from the odd scuff, not in bad nick. Seem well suited to city and country.

Optare Solo - So often overlooked but real workhorses. Go well and Stagecoach seem to have kept them fairly tidy

Trident/ALX - These are getting on a bit and tend to be hidden on schools and infrequent services but they are good old machines and well put together; better than the comparable e400

e200mmc - Not bad but a few too many rattles for a nearly new bus

e300 Scania - not too many of these in the West fleet which is a shame as they're ok in terms of comfort (in a basic Stagecoach fashion) and seem to have a reasonable turn of speed. Quite nice for a run out to Tewkesbury.

e400 Scania - not as good as their Gold standard counterparts but decent robust machines for an enjoyable trip out through the Forest of Dean etc, just not as comfortable and a few too many squeaks from bodywork trim (oddly more than the comparable Gold version IMO)

e400 ADL - I know they're getting on but these early ones were pretty shoddy from the start with build quality. Looking quite tired internally now too.

e300 ADL - Just very, very average. White bread in bus form.

ADL/Transbus Dart/Pointer - to be fair, these are now quite elderly. Some aren't too bad, others are like a bag of spanners being thrown. Perhaps a bit unfair as they're long in the tooth, and it shows that they are very careworn internally. One trip from Cirencester to Swindon will live long in the memory - my fillings will testify to that.

e200 - Terrible machines. Base level in terms of spec but build quality is appalling. Never ceases to amaze me how they could have the Pointer Dart and the e200mmc, but this was built in the interim. People always complain about the Streetlite - these are worse.

e300 MAN - utter rubbish. These are not comfortable, even with some as Gold spec. However, they are also unreliable - just junk.
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