Red Rose, Aylesbury
East LancsRed Rose of Aylesbury was already well-established by 2001, when they bought their first Dart SLFs, new, to add to a varied single-decker fleet.
These two had 10.9m East Lancs Spryte bodywork. Livery was a crimson red with a pale cream diagonal band, with black skirts. They were put to work on the Watford area local routes R8,R9, R19, W11 and W12 on weekdays, and the 501 on Sundays.
Later the pair have roamed further afield, their Aylesbury-based duties taking them to Milton Keynes, Bletchley and Oxford.
Repaints in 2006 and 2012 have seen them update the company livery, first to red with a yellow diagonal flash and partial black skirt,
and then to red with a yellow front and narrow line with rear upsweep.
Jubilee MPDIn 2002 Red Rose took delivery of an MPD, updating their small bus fleet. What was unusual about the bus was its livery: overall gold with a deep red skirt and rear upflash. It had a special registration: RR02 BUS. It was put to work on the BB1 in Bushey, and Watford area W14 and W19.
It was badly vandalised in July 2003 in a depot raid, having all its windows smashed. It was March 2004 before it returned to service, still in red/gold livery.
It suffered a further indignity in May 2005, being repainted in orange with a broad pink cummerbund as the Chiltern Rambler dedicated bus for the 327.
Then in November 2007 another depot raid saw it scorched beyond repair by a fire in neighbouring buses,
and it was written off by the insurers.
Caetano NimbusesIt was 2006 before Red Rose felt the need for more Dart SLFs. In April it acquired a pair of 8.9m Caetano Nimbuses, which arrived in dealer white, and went into service on the W50 and R21 in white. FJ06URS was another victim of the depot fire in November 2007. FJ06URR survived, and received fleet livery of red, yellow flash and black skirt in March 2008. It worked on a wide variety of routes, both outer urban and very rural. through Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. It weent into the brighter yellow and red livery late in 2011, but was damaged in a road traffic accident in April 2013. It was bought by GHA of Wrecsum, who repaired it for further service.
A secondhand MPD.Also in 2006 Red Rose took on another Plaxton MPD that had been on hire to various operators, including Epsom Buses and Anglian. VU02TPZ too arrived in white, and was used in white from July to October, when it was repainted overall red. Eventually it acquired a Red Rose fleetname on the front. The sides was treated to a series of Super-Side adverts that did not add to its attractiveness. In September 2011 it was treated to a full repaint in the red with yellow front/flash livery.
Shoeboxes from Scarborough.Following the depot fire in November 2007 Red Rose urgently needed replacements. By now its new bus buying policy was in favour of EnviroDarts, but its urgent need was filled by a pair of "shoebox" Pointers that had been with East Yorkshire at Scarborough. P263/4 NRH were 10.6m Pointers, whose maroon and cream EYMS livery was close enough to Red Rose's old livery that they continued to run in it briefly. They took on the red with yellow flash and black skirt early in 2008, and retained it, 263 until its demise in December 2011, and 264 until repainted into the yellow front livery in July 2012. They were maids of all work for the company, appearing on many of the less prestigious routes that needed a large saloon.
Ex-London General shoebox.A shorter shoebox arrived in summer 2011. This 10.0m single doorway SLF had originated with London Central as LDP45. It had gone from there to Merseyside in 2008, working for Aintree Coachlines and Helms of Chester before coming here. It was painted overall red with a yellow flash, but no black skirt, and was normally found on the 352 (Watford - Hemel Hempstead).
Ex-T-GM dual doorway Pointer 2s.In late 2010, then again in mid-2011, Red Rose took advantage of the changing Dart SLF market, as London companies started to re-equip with EnviroDarts to meet new contract requirements. Four were dual-doorway Pointer 2s from Abellio. Already in overall red, Red Rose just applied fleetnames and put them to work, replacing some of their time-served rolling stock. Thus they worked for a couple of years, before suffering a fairly crude conversion to single doorway. They then received the new standard livery for the company, with plenty of yellow on the front plus a side-stripe with upward swoosh at the back.
MPDs from London.Also in summer/autumn 2011 Red Rose bought four 8.8m SLFs from London Central, where they had been on the C10. The four LDPs helped replace the remaining midibuses (MetroRiders, Varios, etc), towards making the fleet uniformly SLF or EnviroDart. These four were also treated to the new red and yellow livery. Winter/spring 2012 saw the process continue, with an ex-London United 10.1m (DPS4), plus two MPDs from Abellio (8005/6).
50519 (ex-8005) at Chesham Broadway on the 353 from/to Amersham, Sunday 2nd August 2015.
Short-term hires.In May and June 2012 Red Rose hired a pair of 10.7m dual-doorway Darts in dealer white, until December.
More ex-Londoners.In July Red Rose bought an ex-Stagecoach 10.8m Alexander-bodied SLF. Perhaps they found it too long for their uses, for it was promptly sold to Red Eagle.
August/September saw four 10.1m Pointer2s come from London United (London Sovereign). At first some were operated in red with their medium grey skirts intact. The standard digital displays soon replaced their roller blinds. There was no hurry to convert them to single doorway, but the skirts were over-painted in red fairly shortly, leaving them in plain red until conversion, when they went into red and yellow. This batch seem to have been used mainly on the Milton Keynes services.
Ex-Stagecoach Alexander.A pair of 8.9m Alexander AL200-bodied came in October 2012, from Catford's 124. One stayed, but the other went immediately to Red Eagle. Y238FJN became the regular bus on route 63 (Oxford-Southmoor).
More ex-Abellio SLFs.In summer 2013 a further two of the 10.1m SLFs from T-GM were acquired from Abellio.