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2004: Arriva takes over 317, starts 349In April 2004 Arriva took over from Metroline the 317, replacing the single-decker DMS Darts with double-decker DLAs from Enfield. The northern end of the 149 was chopped off at Edmonton Green, and an overlapping new route 349 instituted between Ponders End and Stoke Newington Common using DLAs.
2004: Bendi-buses arrive for 149, DLAs go to 137April 2004 saw bendi-bus MAs arrive at Tottenham Marshes for the 149, displacing DLAs from Stamford Hill to South London, to Brixton (BN) or Brixton Tram shed (BS). There they started to displace RML Routemasters from route 137, a process completed in July 2004. Again the official allocation was now Wright-bodied DWs, but DLAs were used aplenty. Six of the displaced DLAs (39-44) went to Thornton Heath from store to see off the L-class Olympians.
Otherwise 2004 was uneventful for the class as a whole. There was a trend southwards of older DLAs, and the unavoidable procession of accident victims through the repair Centre at Enfield.
All-red in 2005In February 2005 repaints into the mandated TfL all-red livery began, leaving the buses bereft of Arriva signifiers apar from the yellow coach-line and the white Arriva fleet-name. The change did not happen overnight, and cow-horns continued to be seen for several years.
One special repaint was DLA125, transferred to Leaside Travel at Edmonton to work the schooldays double-deck journeys on the 212 (Chingford Station - Walthamstow). This lost its advertising frames, its cow-horns, and its black dash. The dash panel became red, and the yellow coach-line became white. Large Leaside Travel fleetnames and white swan motifs adorned the mid-deck panels.
Partial refurbishmentTfL mandated that buses for renewed tender wins should meet their latest standards: seating was revised, with no-tip-up seats and individual seats rather than double bench seats upstairs, extra opening windows, fire suppression kits (following the Citaro fires), no etched windows, headlights always on when running and full repaints inside and out (all-red, no cow-horns). This affected DLA175-189 at Croydon for the 197, which became H43/18D, and DLA231, 232, 234-236, 239-247, 273-289 at Tottenham for the 243, which became H43/19D. The contract renewals were for September 2005, so refurbishments commenced in April. Otherwise redundants Ls were used as cover.
2006: Bendi-buses arrive for 29, DLAs disperse from Wood GreenJanuary 2006 saw bendi-buses take over the 29. Although they were to operate out of Edmonton, they displaced a large number of DLAs from Wood Green. Seventeen went to Enfield, where they displaced low-number DLPs to TOLST at Wandsworth. Five from Wood Green and two from Leaside Travel at Edmonton went to Barking for the schools services (657, 617, 679, 629, 683 and 688), and a couple went to Norwood to displace the last Olympians from the schools services there. One, DLA321, went to Arriva the Shires at Garston, to work ostensibly on the 142 (a red TfL route). Four, DLA 65-68, went short-term to Arriva Southern Counties at Grays, for the 498 (Brentford - Romford).
Clapton closes, 68 lost from Norwood, 468 from Croydon. Liverpool gets seven.Clapton garage closed for operational purposes in April 2006, its DLAs for routes 242 and 253 moving to Stamford Hill.
In April Norwood lost the 68 and Croydon the 468 to Go-Ahead. DLAs from Norwood were to be transferred to Brixton to double-deck route 319 in September, but were temporarily parked at Norwood. Two went to Thornton Heath to create a repaint float. The DLAs redundant at Croydon off the 468 were stood down, then transferred to Arriva Southern Counties into store at Southend. Three of these went to Grays in June to replace the original four there, which went off to Liverpool, where they lost central doorways but received digital displays and Arriva blue livery with cream scoops. Three more went directly from Enfield to Liverpool.
In June Edmonton's DLA125, that had been in Leaside Travel livery, was repainted in pale blue and white for a prolonged nationwide tour advertising the 2012 Olympcs! It did not last long, going back into standard livery in August.
319 goes double-deck with DLAs, Route 60 taken overThe long anticipated conversion of route 319 from DWL Cadets to DLAs was carried out in September, many DLAs having been shuffled around beforehand. The released Cadets started their own cascade, resulting in Darts going to Arriva North-East.
Route 60 was taken over by Arriva London South from Travel London. It was supposed to be DWs from Croydon, but was frequently DLAs.
DLA187 on 60, Croydon, September 2009. DLA223 on 60 to Old Coulsdon, South Croydon, March 2013.
At the end of 2006 there were so many buses under serious repair after mishaps that Norwood loaned eight DLAs to a variety of garages to cover the shortfalls.
2007In March 2007 route 20 was switched to Edmonton. Eleven DLAs were drafted in to operate it in place of Barking's VLWs. However, Edmonton lost to CT-Plus the W13, where a DLA had provided peak-hour assistance.
DLA301 on 20 to Debden, Loughton, September 2007. DLA300 at Edmonton garage beside the river Lea, in company with trainer DWL in Arriva schoolgirl uniform (white blouse, grey skirt), October 2009.
In May the IBUS fitting programme got under way at Tottenham, and DLA137-148 were gathered in to act a float to replace buses being fitted.
DLAs from Enfield became a larger part of the irregular and eclectic mix on route 313, not just the required peak loading schooldays double-decker required.