Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith, This page created 2nd October 2000, updated 13th February 2013.

R&I, MTL London, Metroline London Northern MV 249-253

Westlink VA drawing R&I Coaches ordered five Vectas for the 112 in 1995, and these were delivered in June. MTL London took them over with the company later in the year, and formally incorporated them into the MTL fleet in 1996. The plain dark red livery, with MTL flashes, suited them quite well. The subsequent takeover by Metroline saw the flashes disappear. The plain red seemed lighter too, or had it faded? But blue skirts, applied to some of them, improved their appearance.

In their latter days at Harlesden they became part of the general pool of Dart-a-likes, and appeared on the 46. July 2001 saw them stored at North Wembley, and they were sold in September.

MV253 at Kings Cross Station, January 2001 MV253 at Kings Cross Station, January 2001

MV253 at Kings Cross Station on route 46, January 2001.

Westlink, London United VA1-8 / MV1-8

Westlink VA drawing In 1995 Stanwell Buses, trading as Westlink, was part of the West Midlands group. They bought eight Optare Vectas to complement their Darts on the 371 (Kingston - Richmond). They were painted in Westlinks light red with turquoise and white go-faster stripes, and were numbered VA1-8.

Westlink MV drawing London United took over Westlink a month after the new Vectas arrived, in September 1995. As they already used VA as a class indicator for their Volvo Olympians they changed the Vectas to MV. In 1997 buses on the 371 received route-branding, and new London United style livery (but with Westlink flashes). The flashes disappeared as Westlink was subsumed into London United.
MV3 at Richmond Station, March 2000

London United MV3 at Richmond Station, March 2000.
The Kingston base was abandoned for a new base at Tolworth in December 2001.

Replacement by standard SLF Darts occurred in January 2002, but the Vectas were quickly pressed into service as trainers at Tolworth and Stamford Brook. Most of them lasted over eleven years as trainers, final withdrawal coming in September 2013.

Tillingbourne Valley

Tillingbourne Valley MV drawing Tillingbourne Valley bought an Optare demonstrator in 1997, and quickly bought four more new ones. They were painted in Tillingbourne's standard yellow and blue livery.

All were reregistered with date-concealing Irish registrations: TIL 5404-8.
Tillingbourne went into receivership in April 2001. The ex-demonstrator was sold to Shamrock, Abercynon. The other four Vectas, which belonged to a finance company, were removed for sale, and quickly went to Islwyn Borough.

MV histories. MV photos.

Ian's Bus Stop Dart index. MV text. MM.