Limebourne (Independent Way) Dart SLFs
BackgroundWhen parent company Q-Drive went into Receivership in October 1998 the Limebourne business was bought by the local management. They had bus routes, a bus garage (Battersea), but very few buses. Nearly all had been promptly repossessed by the leasing company. Nearly all the new Darts went immediately. Other bus companies stepped in to fill the immediate breach, Armchair and London General providing insurance cover under their operating licences. Arriva London North East loaned twelve redundant Volvo single-deckers off the 210. The 156 was suspended briefly, then operated by Metrobus, Nostalgiabus and Metroline for a few weeks. The new company, Limebourne (Independent Way) then managed to buy eleven DT class step-entrance Darts from Metroline, and hire six Marshall Minibuses from London General for the C3. Together with the hired Volvos these twenty-nine vehicles got the new company back in business on its four routes (42, 156, C3 and C10).
New Dart CaetanosNew Dart SLFs, with UVG bodywork (now known as the Caetano Compass) began to arrive in March 1998, allowing the return of the loaned Volvos and Marshall Minibuses. There was still a bus shortfall, as the new company had been awarded a contract for the 344 (Clapham Junction - Battersea - Vauxhall - Elephant&Castle - London Bridge Stn). More Compasses were on order, but Limebourne had to acquire a collection of Metrobuses to work on the 42 and 156, together with some Olympians hired from Selkent.
The new Compasses wore a livery similar to the old one, but with a dark green skirt rather than stone. The dual-doorwayed buses were also named after castles.
The first seventeen arrived during the spring, between March and May 1999, registered T401LGP-T419LGP (minus 405 and 412), with a second batch of seventeen (V421KGF-V437KGF) following in September.
415 was given a blue skirt in place of its green one for operating the Westminster & Chelsea Hospital shuttle service H1, in 2001.
Connex takes overIn July 2001 the company, with its base, routes and vehicles, was taken over by Connex Bus. The Caetano Compasses went on to serve with Connex, and then with Durham Travel Services, East Thames Buses, Centra London, Stansted Transit, MK Metro, LQT & Centrebus, Trustline, HCT plus other non_London area companies.