Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,
This page created 29th May 2018.

The Metrobus OmniCity Single-deckers

The first: 513

Metrobus tried out the Scania CN94UB with 11.9m East Lancs-built Scania OmnniCity body from October 2002. It was first exhibited at ExpoCoach at the NEC in Birmingham. It was single-doorway, with a livery of dark blue with a yellow band, black window surrounds and a silvery roof.

It was sent to work from Godstone from January 2003, with school route 664 its staple fare, with 246 infills. It replaced another Scania - 512 which had a Wright Solar body and which had been on hire. It also appeared on Surrey Schools route 310.

GarageRoute noRoute
GD Godstone664New Addington - Biggin Hill
GD Godstone246(Chartwell) - Westerham - Biggin Hill - Keston - Coney Hall - Bromley South - Bromley North

In May 2004 it was supplanted by a double-decker on the 664 and moved to Crawley, for a repaint into silver/blue Fastway livery

Crawley "town" livery followed in 2008, with two shades of blue separated by an off-white swoosh. It was also internally refurbished, with new flooring, handrails, panels and seat trim. It found a home on the 23 (Crawley-Worthing).

A later repaint found the renumbered 6513 in the much more striking town livery with a brilliant yellow swoosh separating two shades of vibrant blue.

The Fastway buses: 531-540

Metrobus must have been happy with 513 after its teething troubles, for ten more were ordered for Crawley, for use on the town's Fastway route 10, starting in August 2003. This route used some bus-dedicated sections, for which the buses were equipped with "training wheels". Although these sections were mainly short, they allowed buses to by-pass other traffic, to cross over the centres of some roundabouts, and had bus-priority traffic lights. The buses were dual-doorwayed, and treated to a new Fastway livery of silver with blue. They had orange handrails. More air-conditioning pods appeared on the roof and more openable windows were fitted. They had digital displays from the outset.

GarageRoute noRoute
CY Crawley10 Gatwick Airport North - Manor Royal - Crawley Bus Stn - Fastway Bridge - Bewbush
531 leaves Crawley centre on Fastway

Fastway bus 513 pulls out from Crawley centre in March 2006, pursued by a "shoebox" Dart SLF on route 2.
In March 2009 a new batch of Fastway buses arrived at Crawley, displacing this first batch.

531-535 were repainted into new bus livery of blue/blue, and worked on as buses until the spring of 2017. Now fourteen years old, they were sold to Mike Nash of Ockley.

536-540 were repainted into red, had training wheels removed, had i-Bus equipment and roller blinds fitted, and were transferred to Croydon to be part of the X26 complement. At TfL's request the dual doorway layout was retained, despite the earlier X26 buses having single doorways. The X26 had been doubled in frequency, and Metrobus had resorted to hiring Citaros (given numbers 501-505) from Quality Line (Epsom Buses).

The X26 was lost at retender in April 2012 to Quality Line, who didn't want their Citaros back. These OmniCitys were returned to store at Crawley. They were then sent to Go-Ahead London for work in association with the Stratford Games, following which they moved to Anglian Bus at Beccles.

But two (536 and 537) were then bought by Grant Palmer of Dunstable for use on the new Luton-Dunstable guided busway. With training wheels and digital displays restored, with a red/white repaint, and new registrations they went to work on line C from September 2013.

The 358 buses: 514-530

From November 2003 Metrobus took delivery of seventeen more, dual-doorway this time - and red - for the long and winding 358 route. They had a new attempt to comply with TfL's 80% red rule while maintaining their blue/yellow tradition: they had a narrow band below the windows, yellow at the front, blue at the back. This little touch of individuality was quickly quashed during 2005.

The buses had their roof-mounted excrescences painted grey, so they didn't stand out against the sky. These bits were later painted white on the 358 buses when they gained white roofs and sky-numbers.

GarageRoute noRoute
MB Green Street Green358Orpington Station - Green Street Green - Farnborough - Locksbottom - Bromley South - Bromley Market - Shortlands - Chinese Garage - Eden Park - Elmers End Green - Beckenham W.M. - Clock House - Penge - Anerley - Crystal Palace

522 alongside GS62 at Orpington Station

522 stands at Orpington Station ready for another trip to Crystal Palace, in June 2004. It still carries its initial livery with the narrow waist-band in yellow and blue. GS62 alongside is heading for Knockholt Pound on a Country Bus Rallies running day.
528 on 358 at Princess Royal Hospital and Farnborough
My wife and I used 528 one day in March 2014 to get to Farnborough for a walk on the London LOOP, catching it at Princess Royal Hospital. It wears the revised red livery with white roof and bumps.
Nearly all the seventeen buses lasted twelve years on the 358, with only occasional forays onto other routes. The 261 seemed to get one fairly frequently for a while. Towards the end reliability dropped, and they had to be supplemented with buses off the 293. But the end came suddenly. New Citaros arrived in September 2015, and almost all the 358 batch were withdrawn and sent to Belvedere for temporary store and removal of equipment before despatch to Ensign Bus at Purfleet. Thirteen of them were purchased by Galleon Travel at Roydon for their Trustybus operations, where they were painted into house colours of red, blue and yellow.

The X26 buses: 541-545

Metrobus took on the X26 contract from April 2005. This, more or less, had been Tellings-Golden Miller's 726, which it superceded. Five new OmniCity's were required to provide an hourly service between West Croydon (NOT Bromley) and Heathrow. Operation was from Godstone garage. The single-doorway OmniCitys were in all-red (still with grey bulges on top), seating just 36, so sporting more luggage space.

The X26 required just four buses each day, so the spare bus began to appear on other Godstone routes, such as the 405 and 466.

When the frequency of the X26 was doubled in November 2008 Metrobus at first hired five of the Citaros that Quality Line (Epsom Buses) had previously used on the 293, and used them until it converted another five Scanias (536-540) from Fastway configuration to TfL specification in March 2009 (see above).

543 at West Croydon on X26

The West Croydon terminus of the X26 was not in the bus station, but it was the pickup point for preserved buses going south or west to running days such as East Grinstead, Sevenoaks, Dorking or Horsham. With only five buses to choose from, it was not unlikely that on several occasions the X256 sitting on the stop was 543, seen here in September 2007 and May 2008.
GarageRoute noRoute
GD GodstoneX26 West Croydon - Wallington Green - Carshalton - Sutton - Cheam Bdy - North Cheam - Worcester Park - New Malden - Kingston - Teddington - Hatton Cross - Heathrow

The X26 was lost at retender (to Quality Line) in April 2012, and these OmniCitys were withdrawn into store. 541, 542 and 543 were loaned to Go-Ahead London to help out during preparation for the Stratford Games. 544 and 545 were transferred to Anglian Bus at Beccles (another Go-Ahead company), and were followed in June by 541,542 and 543.

More Fastway buses: 546-551

July 2005 saw the arrival at Crawley of another six buses for the Fastway network, which now had new route 20 added. They were the same as the earlier Fastway buses.

GarageRoute noRoute
CY Crawley20 Langshott - Horley - Gatwick North - Gatwick South - Three Bridges Stn - Crawley Town Centre - Fastway Bridge - Broadfield Barton

546-549 were refurbished in July 2009 and repainted into "Crawley town" blue/blue.

In August 2011 546-548 were branded for route 400, which provided a fast service between Redhill, Gatwick Airprt and Crawley, with extensions at each end to East Grinstead and Caterham-on-the-Hill. This commenced in September 2011.

547 on 400 at Redhill Bus Stn

547 shows its route 400 branding as it stands at Redhill Bus Station en route to Caterham-on-the-Hill. It is a rare shot that shows the centre plug doors open!

GarageRoute noRoute
CY Crawley400 Stone Quarry - East Grinstead - Felbridge - Copthorne - Three Bridges - Crawley - Gatwick Airport - Horley - Salfords - East Surrey Hospital - Redhill - Godstone - Caterham-on-the-Hill

549 was prominently route-branded for route 7 (Gatwick - Maidenbower) which had been upgraded from a peak service to hourly all day. 549 was shown at Showbus in September. Route 7 was withdrawn by August 2011, and 549 was then given route branding for route 400.

549 at Showbus, Duxford

At Showbus at Duxford in September 2009 Scania 549 showed its route 7 branding on top of its new Crawley town livery of blue/blue.

550 and 551 remained on Fastway work until September 2012, when they were deemed too old for Fastway work. Neverthelss they were retained as spares, and even remained through 2014 when the main Fastway batch were replaced. They were then repainted in blue/blue and used on the long country services, especially the 93 through Horsham to Worthing.

In the autumn of 2016 546-549 were set aside for conversion as trainers, becoming 7546-7549. They were painted white, with Brighton & Hove and Metrobus fleetnames on the front, and prominent recruiting adverts on the sides. They were fitted with extra offside mirrors for the instructors. Some were given names, in the BH&D way.

Crawley Town buses: 552-558

553 on route 1 Crawley's next batch of seven, arriving late in November 2005, was for town service 1, where they displaced the East Lancs Olympians (which went to the 409 and 410, displacing Northern Counties-bodied Olympians, which in turn retired the remaining Leyland Olympians. The new Scanias wore the new town livery of dark blue front, light blue rear, separated by a white crescent, with a pale blue dash.

GarageRoute noRoute
CY Crawley1 Tollgate Hill - Broadfield - Crawley Bus Stn - Crawley Hospital - Gossops Green - Bewbush

553 heads south out of Crawley on route 1 towards Bewbush, when still new in March 2006.
554 on route 1
554 at Crawley Bus Station, still on route 1 towards Broadfield, September 2013.
The whole batch were refurbished by early 2015, with one, 558, re-appearing in a red overall ad for Crawley Football Club.

Two more Fastway buses: 559, 560

A service increase on Fastway 10 required an extra two buses. Shortages had meant that Fastway 20 had surrendered Scanias to route 10, with Darts substituting. 559 and 560 were much like the earlier Fastway buses, but with cleaner engines to the new Euro4 specification, giving a new chassis specification of CN230UB. They arrived in May 2007.

Fastway 100 buses: 624-633

The next ten OmniCitys in February 2008 were shorter: 10.9m long rather than 12.0m, due to tight clearances in the Horley area. They were single doorwayed, seating 33. Light clusters on front and rear were of a different shape and size, resulting in a slight redesign of the front and rear.

They were for the conversion of route 100 to Fastway, so came in Fastway silver and blue. Numbers followed on from the OmniTown buses, in the 6** series.

632 on Fastway 100 at Redhill Bus Stn

632 on Fastway 100 at Redhill Bus Station, September 2013, showing its single doorway.

GarageRoute noRoute
CY Crawley100 Maidenbower - Three Bridges - Crawley Bus Stn - Northgate - Manor Royal - Gatwick Airport - Horley - Salfords - East Surrey Hospital - Redhill Bus Stn

In the winter of 2015-16 they were refurbished and repainted in a new Fastway livery, with a brighter blue front half and silver rear portion, separated by a white crescent. They wore route branding for route 100 on the blue section of the cantrail, and in a lozenge above the cab/door. Handrails were recovered in pale blue in place of orange.

More red buses for the 293: 561-567

Metrobus took over TfL route 293 from the end of August 2008, and took delivery of seven 12.0m Polish-built OmniCitys early that month. They were dual-doorwayed, seating 33. Roof pods, like everything else, were painted red. Blinds were TfL specification yellow on black. One of the buses was delayed, so was reregistered in September.

They were temporarily displaced from the 293 when road-works in Morden could not be safely negotiated by the big buses, resulting in their replacement by Dart SLFs off the 130 and T33. The Scanias spent part of July 2010, until November, on the 405 (West Croydon - Redhill).

562 on 293 to Morden

562 on a 293 to Morden in September 2009. Note that these buses have the roof-pods in red, unlike the grey of the earlier batch.
A few were sent to Green Street Green between July and October 2015 to help out the 358 fleet in their last days with Metrobus. Their place was filled with double-deck workings until their return to the 293.

More Fastway buses: 568-581

Fourteen new 12m single doorway OmniCitys arrived in March 2009, for use on Fastway routes 10 and 20. They were in silver/blue, with a revised rear end treatment similar to the shorter buses. They enabled the relocation of earlier Fastway buses to Crawley town work or (in red) to bolster the X26 at Croydon.

568 on 20 to Broadfield 575 on 10, Crawley Bus Station

568 passes Horley Station on a 20 to Broadfield in September 2013. Note the training wheels for the guided busway. 575 at Crawley Bus Station shows the different rear light clusters used on these later buses. The new bulge on the roof at the rear is also apparent.
After five years of Fastway service this batch was replaced on Fastway duties by eighteen new Volvo B7RLEs. 560 was retained as a spare, alongside the much newer 582. All fourteen of the 568-581 batch were returned off-lease in July 2014, and were all acquired by Halton Borough Transport.

A replacement Fastway bus: 582

A new Scania OmniCity was obtained in September 2012 to allow the retirement from Fastway work of elderly (7 years old!) 550 and 551. But when just under five years old, it suffered an engine fire in June 2017. It was written off and sold for scrap.

Bus Stop Scania index main text. bus histories. photos. <