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Wednesday 4 April 2012

All change Route 493!

Saturday 31st of March was the turn of the Route 493s new contract, which saw it respectively pass from London United to...Go Ahead London...of course!

Go Ahead London LDP292 LX06 EZZ

The Route 493 was introduced on the 23rd of November 2002 to provide the residents of Richmond with a direct link to Wimbledon and Tooting .The route ran between Richmond Manor Road and Tooting St George's Hospital .It was contracted to Mitcham Belle Buses from their Beddington Garage in Croydon using  13 brand new 10.2m Salvador Caetano bodied Dennis Dart Buses. The Route proved a success with a frequent flow of passengers making use of the abundance of previously un-served back roads prior to the introduction of this route. Although the route provides a direct link between Richmond and Wimbledon, a journey that was only ever made direct with the purchasing of n extortionate train ticket, the journey time of up to 90 minutes was simply unjust and the low PVR of 13 did not help much in the peak hours with buses often getting stuck in traffic hotspots such as East Sheen and Wimbledon.

Mitcham Belle Caetano 060 KU52 YBA is seen outside of London General's Merton Garage on the 3rd of December 2002. (c) John Delaney
Midway through the contract on the 27th of August 2004, Mitcham Belle were bought out by the shambles firm Centra Buses, the acquirement included all the assets of Mitcham Belle, including their buses, routes and their garage. The PVR of the route 493 remained the same and the Ceatano bodied Buses were repainted into a much blander red and blue livery which somewhat resembled Metroline's livery. Upon the up-taking of the Route 493 by Centra, there seemed to be many problems such as buses being late and the poor maintenance of the buses was a major issue.TFL were began to become seemingly unhappy with this and on the 20th of May 2006 Centra London became the first ever London Bus Company to loose all the contracts for their routes at one time. Route 127 passed to Metrobus, Route 152 passed to Travel London, Route 200 passed to London General, Route 201 passed to East Thames Buses and Route 493 passed to Armchair/Metroline on a temporary contract...

Centra London 071 HV52 WSK is seen in Wimbledon on the 8th of May 2004. Picture (c) Paul Featherstone
The Route 493 passed to Armchair/Metroline on a temporary contract due to the fact, TFL were still accepting bids from other companies who may have been eligible to run this route. The Route operated from their Brenford Garage (AH) using some spares from the Route E2 and E8 as well as some R Reg Dennis Pointers. Metroline also purchased 6 ex Mitcham Belle Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointers to cope with the increase of the Route's PVR which saw it rise from 13 to 14.

Metroline DLD135 W151 ULR is seen here in Richmond, en route Tooting St Georges Hospital. Metroline operated the 493 on a 9 month emergency contract. Picture (c) Paul Featherstone
The temporary contract lasted little under a year and on the 31st of March 2007, the route was respectively won by NCP Challenger from their Twickenham Base in West London, using some brand new Alexander Dennis E200s.The Route's PVR was raised again from 14 to 17 and 19 Buses were purchased by the firm.However on the 13th of November 2009, the firm was purchased by Transdev London United and once again the route 493 changed operator, although nothing was changed but the branding on the buses used. The buses were also sequenced into the London United numbering sequence.
London United DE72 SK07 DXX is seen on the Route 493 days before the transfer to Go Ahead London
London United seemed to be one of the few companies to actually add some stability to the Route with their punctuality and modern fleet of buses that did seemingly well on the Route. However, this did to reflect through the re-tendering of this route in 2011, when it was announced that the Route 493 would pass from London United to Go Ahead London General. The firm announced that the route would run from their Plough Lane Garage (PL) in Wimbledon using 17 brand new ECWTA Enviro E20Ds. Below are some shots showing London General's takeover of the Route 493.

Key Facts to note about Route 493

  • Introduced on the 23rd of November 2002
  • Has a PVR of 17
  • Has had 4 operators in its 9 1/2 years of running
  • Currently run by London General
  • Has an average journey time of 70 minutes


Tom says:
at: Wednesday, April 04, 2012 9:31:00 pm said...

Their Beddington garage wasn't even in the borough of Croydon, it was in the borough of Sutton.

Rhys says:
at: Saturday, April 07, 2012 1:40:00 am said...

I don't quite think he is going for the borough in which it's in. He is just giving viewers a sense of where Beddington is as many may not know where it's location is

Tom says:
at: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 12:15:00 pm said...

People should be clever enough to know where it is! He could put it is near Ikea.

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