County Bus SLF, DPP, Arriva London DPP
SLF416-418: 10.8m Wright Crusaders for WareCounty Bus was one of the first users of low-floor Darts, starting to buy them while step-entrance Darts were still arriving from Plaxton. The first were three 10.8m Darts with bodywork by Wrights of Ballymena, who had broken into London bus building with the MW and RW midibuses and then the DW Darts. The three, numbered SLF416-418 by County Bus, arrived in August 1996, wearing County's cream and green livery and Lea Valley fleetnames. They went to Ware for the 395 (Hertford Sele Farm Estate - Ware, Fanham Common).
3417 at Hertford Bus Station off the 331. It has a much deeper cream "scoop" than 3416 below.In 1998 two of them, 417 and 418 were transferred to Southend, also by then under Arriva East Herts & Essex control. They became 017 and 018 in the Southend fleet. They returned to AEH&E at Ware in August 2000 for the 331 and 395 routes, and were renumbered 3417 and 3418, rejoining sister 3416, which had stayed there.
3416 calls at Hertford Bus Station on the 395 to Ware, June 2004. 3417 heads into Harlow along the A414, June 2010.
SLF165, 169, 170 (3435, 3439-3440): 10.2m Wright Crusaders for WareIn August 1997 three shorter, 10.2m Wright Crusaders, arrived. These three too were used on the 395 local service between Hertford and Ware, and the 313 from Hertford to Buntingford. In August 2003 they were transferred to Debden, where they were repainted red for TfL's 549 contract (South Woodford Stn - Roding Valley - Loughton Station). But that did not last long (until February 2005), and they reverted to turquoise and cream, being transfered first to Hatfield in 2005 and then returning to Ware.
At the end of 2008 the 395 contract passed to Golden Boy. All three moved to Harlow. Then in July/August 2010 3439 and 3440 were repainted red and branded for Red Route 1, then transferred to the "new" TGM Group which took over at Harlow at the end of August. 3435 went too, still in Arriva turquoise, for use on Blue Routes 2/3.
3440 enters Hertford Bus Station on the local 395 route, June 2003.
County Bus Dart Pointer, SLF419-431 for GraysIn November 1996 County Bus bought thirteen 10.6m Pointers to replace AN Atlanteans on the 370 and 373 at Grays. The 43-seaters were painted in County's ceam and green, with Thameside fleetnames and bransding for the 370, 373 (Romford - Horbchurch - Upminster - Lakeside - Grays). County became Arriva East Herts & Essex a year later.
Four of them (419, 420, 422 and 430) were transferred to Arriva Colchester in July 1998, and subsequently went to Arriva Kent & Sussex and then Arriva North-West on Merseyside.
The others suffered the multiple reorganisations that befell the Grays operation, coming under various managements. Most gravitated away to Southend as the Grays work dwindled. 3424 was written off after an accident in 2005, and 3429 was transferred away to Arriva Kent & Sussex after an accident in 2008.
DPP416-431: 10.0m Pointers for EdmontonAnother sixteen Pointers followed in November 1997, for route 34(Walthamstow Central - Barnet Church). They too initially wore County's cream and green, albeit with a partially red Lea Valley fleetname. Operation was from County's new Edmonton garage be4side the River Lea at Edmonton Wharf. Fleet numbers reflected registration numbers, but the SLF series already had these numbers, down at Grays, so the DPP prefix was used instead.
But less than a year later, in October 1998, Arriva reorganised the Edmonton garage into Arriva London North. The 34, with the DPP class, moved with it. So the Pointers started to turn red, gradually.
They went to Arriva North-East, 421-426 to Middlesbrough and 427-431 to County Durham.
Arriva North East 1648, ex DPP423, in Guisborough, July 2010. 1649, ex-DPP424 in Stockton, December 2010.