Sunday, 8 June 2014

Smooth Ride, Not Smooth Conversion

       Another change that happened on Saturday 31st May 2014, was the contract renewal of route E1, which is a very short route linking Greenford and Ealing Broadway via Drayton Green. Despite the route being short, it gets extremely busy at peak times and finding a seat can be very difficult.
       The route passed from Metroline to Abellio, who said they would deploy 8 Enviro 400 Hybrids from Hayes (WS) garage to match a PVR of 7, leaving one spare. Some people think Abellio are mad for putting Hybrid buses on such a short route (2 miles long, to be precise) that uses back streets for most of the way, but it does reduce pollution in the Ealing and Greenford area. The old Enviro Diesels,which were in a common user pool at Greenford (G) garage for routes E1 and E3, will be split between Uxbridge (UX) and Greenford (G) garages for routes U4 and 282 respectively. I was excited about the E1 getting Hybrids, and I hoped that Abellio could run the service properly...............
      ....................As it turned out, they couldn't. On Saturday, there were 17 minute gaps in the service despite the route taking 14 minutes end to end. At one point, there were five buses on stand at Greenford Broadway!! It seemed like the route had caught the first day bunching virus.
2446 departs from the Bordars Road stop on Greenford Avenue.
       I got off my E3, hoping that I didn't have to wait long for my E1 to Ealing Broadway. But before I crossed the road, I saw a terminating E40H coming into Greenford:
2447 reaches it's terminus for the umpteenth time that afternoon.
        I do admire the person who made the blinds for the buses for the E1; they say Greenford Red Lion instead of Greenford Broadway. I don't even know if the Red Lion exists anymore, but if it doesn't it will explain why buses terminating here now have the blinds displaying Greenford Broadway. I remember when the E1's did say Greenford Red Lion, with Trident President's.
The rear of an E40H.
   Luckily, an E1 pulled up at the stop immediately, so I got on and grabbed my favourite seat on a double decker. You probably know where it is by now.
The first in the batch, 2444.

iBus on the new E40H.
     As soon as I got on, I liked the new Enviro's. They were extremely comfortable, and the ride was smooth and quiet. The window was big enough, so you can actually take pictures out of it, and the bus was actually bright inside, unlike the other two Hybrid double deckers that are available at the moment. The buses themselves were smooth, but the conversion was the exact opposite. There were still 17 minute gaps on the Saturday, and I was wondering what the service would be like in the weekday.
2449 is near journey's end.

2445, on Greenford Avenue.
               Odd workings can appear on the route, and one that appears quite frequently is an Alexander ALX400. Here is one on Gordon Road on Friday 6th June. The service wasn't any better in the weekday though, there was a 25 minute gap in the evening peak despite the service being every 7 minutes. Pull your socks up Abellio!

Here is 9767, on the route.
    Before the conversion, some of the Enviro 400's were put out on route 350 to prove themselves. Sadly, I couldn't get pictures of them on that route, but at least I got one of the 350's allocated buses on the E1!
 Upper Deck interior of Abellio 2450, which had a faulty Hybrid system. Luckily, the problem was fixed and the bus was in service by Monday.

Lower deck interior facing the rear of the vehicle.

     I think the buses that have been deployed on route E1 are fantastic, but the service is not up to scratch at the moment. Hopefully the route will be more reliable from now on. Thanks for reading!!