Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,
This page created 13th November 2010.

Universitybus Dart SLFs

Wright Crusaders

Universitybus Crusader drawing Universitybus began its large-scale conversion to low-floor buses with four 10.8m Wright Crusaders on Dart chassis, bought towards the end of 1996. These four were intended for flagship routes 600/602, and wore cant-rail route branding on the mainly white livery. They, P664-668PNM, also had grey skirts and a waistline decoration. Another one, P647SBH, a thirty-eight seater demonstrator with Wrights, was bought in February 1997 to accompany them.

Another batch followed later in the year, starting in September 1997 and completing in January 1998. This comprised R647-654VMJ. These eight were then complemented by YDZ2082, another Wright's demonstrator. They provided low-floor buses on the 600, 601, 602, the 657 and the 330, 340, working alongside the two Mercedes-Benz OH1416s with Wright UrbanRanger bodies.

648 and 652,3,4 were the first to be treated to the new pink and purple livery in September 2004. At first they had no fleetnames, carrying Universitybus boards inside the windows, until the new fleetname of uno was adopted. The rest followed into new livery/names over the following months. Some gained cant-rail route branding for the 603, 634 and 636.

uno664 on 655, St.Albans City Stn uno665 on 602, St.Peters Street

January 2007: 664 sweeps into St.Albans City Station on the 655 to Borehamwood; 665 crawls along the busy St.Peters Street in St.Albans with a 602 to Watford.

uno664 on 655, Holywell Hill uno665 on 602, St.Peters Street

647 whooshes down Holywell Hill on the 655 on a wet Saturday in January 2006; In rather better weather 649 nears the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Welwyn Garden City on a 603, in September 2009. It seems to have lost part of the distinctive Wright W on the front.
Disposals started in mid-2009. 648 was partially burned out in April, and was sent north to Ripley's. 647, 649 and 653-655 were sold to Ripley's in the autumn, with 647 and 653-655 moving on for further service with Tate's of Darton, South Yorkshire.

Medium Plaxtons for the 341

In August 2002 Universitybus bought a pair of 10.1m Pointer2s for use on the 341 (Ware - Hertford - Hatfield Station) and 641. They were registered in September. They were painted white, with a grey skirt, discrete Universitybus fleetnames and a waistline decoration. With the company's normal attention to detail, they were seldom found anywhere else.

The two were repainted pink/mauve in July 2005, and were numbered 101 and 100. They lasted until the 2016 clear-out, when these two were sold to Redline Buses of Aylesbury.

KF52NBN on 341, Hertford Universitybus101 drawing

KF52NBN leaves Hertford Bus Station on the 341, June 2004.
uno101 on 341, Hertford uno101 drawing
Uno101 heads for Ware on the 341, June 2010.
uno100 on 602, St.Albans uno100 on 341, Hatfield Stn
Uno 100 in pink and mauve: on 602 in St.Albans, January 2008; and on 341 at Hatfield Station, September 2009.

More Plaxtons

uno Plaxton drawing Christmas 2002 required the hire of four more Darts, giving Universitybus experience of a number of types: they included an Alexander Pointer and a couple of Sprytes.

March 2003 saw the arrival of two more Pointers, ready for the 615 (Stanmore - Hatfield) in April. KE03TWC and KE03TWA were 10.7m Transbus Pointers.

The September changes required another five: KC03OSE and KC03OSF arrived in August, followed by KE53LMY in September. Secondhand acquisitions were V895,896DNB, that had originated with Duke's Travel.

uno114 on 602, St.Albans uno115 off 602, Hatfield Stn

114 on the 602 in St.Albans, January 2006, and 115 at Hatfield Station, June 2009.
Another four Pointers came in May 2005, initially for route 655. By now, like most companies that had previously used registration numbers for identification, Universitybus had adopted a fleet numbering policy. These four were 118-121. The pink and mauve livery, with uno fleetnames, was adopted during 2005. The numbering scheme was extended to the earlier buses, making the whole Pointer group 111-121. They lasted until the 2016 clear-out.

uno119 on 602, St.Albans uno119 on 656, near London Colney

119 on the 602 in St.Albans in January 2008, and on the 656 near Park Street in January 2006.

uno121 on 357, RMC1476 on 341, St.Albans uno121 on 357, Harpenden

121 on the 357: passing RMC1476 in St.Albans in January 2006; at Harpenden Church in January 2007.
Disposals: 117 was sold to Pat's Coaches of Wrexham in autumn 2009.

Uno Nimbus drawing

Caetano Nimbus

A narrow-bodied Caetano Nimbus demonstrator, HX53ODH, was on loan in December 2003, but it was two of the full width, 10.88m long version that arrived in September 2004. These wore the new pink/mauve livery, but had to wait a while for the new uno fleetnames. They received numbers 151 and 152.

153 and 154 arrived a year later, in September 2005, with two more seats (B38F rather than B36F), digital displays and complete with new fleetnames. They worked the 634/635 north to Stevenage (Lister Hospital) and also the SB1.

uno154 , St.Albans uno152 , St.Albans

Sunday 602 in St.Albans in January 2006: 151 and 152.

uno154 , Stevenage uno153 , Stevenage

Stevenage Bus Station in June 2007: 154 and 153. Note the difficult to read digital displays: these buses are operating Stevenage service SB1 to Poplars.

The St.Albans Darts: Uno Buses Ltd

On 4th March 2008 the St.Albans operations of Centrebus were taken over, with a new company called Uno Buses Ltd holding the licence. The routes and buses were acquired. This included all but one of the ex-Sovereign 10.7m Pointer2s, the two ex-Sovereign MPDs, and two Centrebus MPDs. The fourteen 10.7m buses became 563-565, 567-569, 571-578 (566, at Stevenage, being the one retained by Centrebus). The ex-Sovereign MPDs had been 582 and 583, and now became 104 and 105. The two Centrebus MPDs, which had been 584 and 585, and then 352 and 353, became Uno 103 and 102. The acquired buses wore a medley of liveries: some still wore a modified version of Sovereign white and cream, some had been repainted to Centrebus orange, white and blue, while others sported a range of Super-side or overall adverts. Uno kept the fleet where it was, but promptly set about removing the old liveries in favour of pink and mauve, although it mostly kept the large advertisements in situ for the duration of the contracts.

uno567,102, St.Albans 2009

January 2009 in St.Albans: ex-Sovereign 10.7m uno567 and ex-Centrebus 8.8m uno102 stand in St.Peters Street (with RF308).

uno569 on S1, St.Albans 2009 uno569 on S1, St.Albans 2009

569 wears a full side advert on the nearside only for Hatfield Galleria, while the rear bears an advert for Busy-Bees Nursery: the red clashes horribly with the offside pink! January 2009 in St.Albans.

uno569 on 620, Wheathampstead, September 2009

575 stands at Wheathampstead Church on a short 620 working in September 2009. The offside fleetname is a new, restrained version where it is unlikely to get covered in mud.

ex-Abellio Nimbuses: DC155-161

Late in 2012 uno bought seven Caetano Nimbus-bodied Dart SLFs from Abellio London. These presumably filled some of the gaps created by the establishment of an operation in Northampton, and the move of some buses there. They stayed with uno until early 2016, when they went in the great clear-out of non-DDA singledeckers.

Ian's Bus Stop Dart SLF index. Universitybus SLF. histories. photo refs.