AV1-22Metroline bought twenty-two dual-doorway Volvo Olympians with Alexander RH bodywork in the autumn of 1996. They had forward staircases. They were finished in Metroline's simple but striking red with deep blue skirt. Many received full rear adverts.
They went to Willesden for route 52 (Victoria - Kensal Rise - Willesden Garage), replacing the Titans that had been introduced to the route by London Coaches. They also operated the N52, plus special Christmas services each year.
AV1 wearing an ex-Routemaster registration, plus an awesome (or awful) rear advertisement, was on display at Cobham Museum's Open Day in April 1999.The 52/N52 was their staple fare until they were in turn displaced by low-floor Volvo B7TLs in March 2001. The AVs took over route 266(Hammersmith - Brent Cross), which was also moved to Harlesden Garage (HR). Harlesden garage was renamed Park Royal (PR) in January 2003.
AV9 and AV14 were on the 266 at Hammersmith in October 2001.
Park Royal garage closed in May 2003, and the first batch were divided up between Harrow Weald (where they were primarily for schools contracts), and Holloway, where they replaced older V-class Olympians on route 4.
The horrific tube/bus bombings of July 2005 required immediate measures to provide a replacement for the tube service, and a sizeable tranche of AVs were loaned from Harrow Weald (where the summer holidays made them spare) and from Holloway, where Vs were reinstated to cover so that AVs could operate extras on the 205.
But Transport for London was pressing for low-floor ramped buses, and the AVs were non-compliant. So in December Metroline withdrew all those still working on the 4 at Holloway, and sold them to Ensign Bus. AV1-3 remained on school's contracts at Harrow Weald.
AV11 was on route 4 in October 2005, heading away from Archway Station.
AV23-38A further sixteen buses were bought in the summer of 1998 for route 16 (Victoria - Cricklewood Garage), replacing Cricklewood's Metrobuses in September. They were not on route 16 for long, before new Tridents replaced them in summer 1999. Then AV23-35 were transferred to Willesden for the 260 (Golders Green Stn - Shepherds Bush Green), where they replaced Metrobuses. Harlesden took over the 260 for a while from October 2002, and the AVs moved with the route, meeting the earlier batch already there for the 266.
AV 36 and 37 were fitted with seatbelts for use on Hertfordshire CC school contracts and private hires, and were thus part of Metrolines contract services fleet.
Dusk falls as AV24 loads in St.Albans for the return to New Barnet Stn on the 84, on Saturday 14th January 2006.The Contract Services buses (AV 36, 37), which had remained at Cricklewood, moved to Harrow Weald and took up duties on the 182 in September 2003. AV36 moved on to Potters Bar in 2004, while AV37 went on to Edgware for a school's contract.
When Park Royal closed in May 2005 the rest of the second batch that were still there moved on to Potters Bar, where they made the 84 their weekday home.
The London Emissions Zone was expected to put a final period to the class in London. It was probably the non-accessibilty factor that finally saw them quit Metroline in 2008, displaced by new Enviro200 Darts.
Ensignbus 124,125,132,136,138,156,159Ensign Bus, to whom many of the buses had been sold, realised that they could straightforwardly meet the LEZ requirements, and took seven into their operational fleet, primarily for rail replacement work. They lost their centre doors and acquired Ensignbus blue and silver livery by October 2008,
AV39In April 2000 Metroline was bought by Singapore-based Delgro. Their Singapore Bus Services sent Metroline one of their 1994 10.5 metre Volvo Olympians with Alexander Royale bodywork, painted in Metroline livery. Metroline replaced the tropical windows and the doors with British standard products, reregistered it, numbered it AV39, and put it to work from Willesden as a spare on the 260 and 52.
It too moved to Harlesden in October 2002. When Park Royal closed in May 2005 it moved to Harrow Weald. It too was an extra on the 205 in July 2005, but by now was recognised as superfluous. It was the first to go to Ensign Bus in September 2005.
AV39 at Cobham Museum Open Day, April 2002