Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

Catch 22 898 on its last day on service 12 - 31 December 2015 - (David Umpleby)
2015 ended with the latest stage of DDA regulations affecting local buses. At the end of 2014 minibuses under 7.5t with a capacity of more than 22 needed to be compliant, now all single deckers do and from end of 2016 all double deckers likewise. These only apply to local bus services - hires, "closed door" contracts (i.e not available to general public), excursions and express services can use non compliant buses. Some limited exemptions of up to 20 days per year also apply.

Blackpool Transport had already withdrawn its last non DDA compliant single deckers in May, but Catch 22 bus marked the occasion by operating step entrance Volvo B10M 898 on service 12 during the Christmas period, culminating in a last duty on New Year's Eve. 898 is now relegated to private hire work. Red Rocket Express ceased after its Christmas operating period on Christmas eve and the two red Darts - 365 and 371 - appeared on service 12 alongside 898, Trident 51 and even ex Blackpool Atlantean 334. Dart 143 is now withdrawn, while ex Arriva 234 is unlikely to enter service here. MPDs 657/8 are under preparation for repaint having operated in blue during 2015.