Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sunday Lost Scenes - Sunday 24th June

Firstly, I'd like to apologise to all followers about the lack of posts recently. It has been a very busy period in my life and I have not found the time to write posts. Nevertheless, I've given myself an hour to create posts for the week today. First up, here is a reminder from Plymouth in 2009...

Plymouth Citybus 282 - N282PDV - Plymouth (approaching Brentonside) - 11th August 2009

Last year, Plymouth Citybus, now owned by Go Ahead, removed the last of their Mercedes-Benz 709Ds from front line service. Now there are no more in the fleet. This photo is from August 2009, where there were still a number of the 709Ds on everyday service, looking very smart in this red and white colour scheme. 

Mercedes-Benz minibuses based on van design were once found in pretty much any sizeable town or city. Now, their numbers are dwindling, and the big groups only have a handful left, if any. At First Hants & Dorset, my local "big" company, there are only approximately 5 in service on last count. 

The 709D (and the local Iveco) was the minibus that I grew up on. I remember the extra legroom on the back row near the emergency door, where I regularly used to sit. The FHD examples also had (what I considered) a bright, happy pattern of many different colours on their seats - however, this is now very faded locally. I'm sure followers close to Plymouth will have their own Merc-Mini-memories too. For now, only the Solo (and increasingly the Wright Streetlite) remain for the small bus market, with reducing frequencies, Mini-Pointer Darts, short Enviro200s replacing the majority of existing stock. The golden age of the minibus appears to be well and truly over.

1 comment:

  1. The Plymouth Citybus 709ds were slightly longer than those operated by Western National ( later First Devon and Cornwall). At one time PCB had a large number of 709ds in the fleet with almost every route having seen one in service at some point. These were far better buses than the original PCB minibus the Dodge 56 (city shuttle)