Arriva London South DDL1-18The DDLs were Arriva London's first Dart SLFs with Plaxton bodywork. They were 10.1m 26-seater dual-doorway Pointer 2s. DDL1-18 arrived in August 1998 for Brixton's route 319 (Sloane Square - Chelsea - Battersea - Clapham Junction - Brixton Garage).
But in September 2001 the 319 received slightly larger capacity single-deckers in the shape of the Wrightbus Cadet DWLs. The DDLs moved south to Croydon, where they displaced step-entrance Darts.
DDL16-18 moved across the river to Barking in the second half of 2002, to help out the PDLs on the 173, which needed an increase in allocation.
In the spring of 2003 the rest were on the move again, this time up the road to Thornton Heath, where they took over the 255 (Streatham Hill Stn - Pollards Hill).
From spring 2007 they appeared along with other types, including DLA double-deckers, on the 289 (Elmers End Green - West Croydon - Purley Way).
The north-of-the-River trio, DDL16-18 moved from Barking to Edmonton in September 2006, then came back south, to Thornton Heath, in March 2007. DDL18 and 16 moved on again, to Croydon, in September 2008, September 2009 respectively.
DDL10 on the 289 in West Croydon, October 2008.
Training: DDL1-9In spring 2009 most were redundant at Thornton Heath. DDL1-9 were put into store, and ear-marked for conversion to trainers. During the summer they were repainted into white with grey skirts and fitted with appropriate trainer gear. They were allocated to Beddington Farm as trainers, but could go anywhere as the demand arose.
DDL2 passes through Addiscombe on training duty, May 2010. (Photo by Cynthia Smith).
Stansted: Excel/TGM: DDL10-14Five of the buses were bought by Excel Coaches at Stansted in August 2009, and were numbered 0410-0414 in early 2010, just before conversion to single doorway with an extra six seats. As often, bus affairs in this corner of the world were in a fluid condition, and after being used for a while on the 133 between Stansted and Braintree 0411 and 0413 were transferred (in May 2010) to associated Network Colchester. Arriva then did one of its periodic reorganisations, and lumped Network Colchester, Excel at Stansted and the Harlow operations of Arriva the Shires and Essex together as TGM. The five buses were regrouped for service in Harlow, only for 0410 then to be sent off for service in Colchester.
Five more, DDL1-5, were assigned to TGM in September 2010, where they became 0401-0405. 0401/4/5 were repainted yellow and branded for route 10, while 0402/3 were repainted lime green and route branded for route 4. All were repainted into Network Harlow blue/blue in late summer 2011.
DDL4 on the 10 in Harlow, April 2011.
Arriva The Shires: DDL7-9, DDL15-18DDL15 was loaned to Arriva the Shires at Garston as far back as September 2006, to help out with Garston's red TfL routes, and was formally transferred in August 2008, as 3218. DDL17 and 18 followed in December 2008, also for Garston red routes, becoming 3220 and 3221. These remained dual-doorway and red - but without the cow-horn.
In February 2010 DDL16 received the call to Garston, and went to be converted to single doorway and be painted in interurban blue/blue as Hemel Hempstead's 3222. It was followed in April by DDL7-9, which were similarly converted and repainted, becoming 3224, 3223 and 3370 respectively. (They could not receive consecutive numbers as AtS was reusing single-decker numbers from its creaking and over-stuffed numbering scheme, and some were still occupied!)