Maidstone Boro'Line 921-934It was November 1989. Maidstone Boro'Line had greatly expanded their London tendered operations from their base at Crayford, and had taken on the 188 (Euston - Greenwich). Unfortunately there was a dearth of both new and secondhand buses at the time. Boro'Line hired a motley collection of Fleetlines from Nottingham, and Atlanteans from Ipswich, until their new buses arrived...
It was March 1990. The new Volvo Citybuses began to arrive from Alexanders. They were Volvo B10M-50s - with mid-chassis engines, and with Alexander H49/29D dual doorway bodies. Boro'Line liveried them in their startling blue/yellow/grey/red.
One glitch in their introduction was when it was found that the registrations on the buses did not match up with those on the documentation in some cases, and there had to be an exchange.
The Volvos worked the 188, from their base at Crayford.
But all was not well at Boro'line.
Deregulation and London tendering had not turned out to be the money-printing exercises that many had hoped.
By February 1992 they were in dire straits. No-one even wanted to buy the company.
But Kentish Bus took over the tendered operations,
and bought some of the buses, including all the Volvos.
Kentish Bus 721-734Kentish Bus stuck new fleetnames on them, renumbered them, and left them on the 188, now operating from Dartford. Their livery was changed to reflect their new ownership: they acquired pale primrose and maroon.
LondonlinksLondon & Country and Kentish Bus joined forces on their inner London tendered activities, forming Londonlinks. As the 188 was one such operation it was perhaps inevitable that most of the Volvos should be transferred to Londonlinks at Walworth during 1996 to replace expiring Titans. It was not a mass transfer: some of the Volvos were busy on other Dartford routes such as the 472. 734 never did get transferred. Some at least of the Volvos received Londonlinks livery.
Kentish Bus (London)In June 1997 the 78 was turned over to operation by Kentish Bus at Cambridge Heath garage, and those Volvos with Londonlinks were returned to Kentish Bus to work the route.
Arriva London North-East: 721, 723-730, 732-3January 1998 saw the Cambridge Heath operation of the 78 transferred to Arriva London North-East at the old Grey-Green base at Stamford Hill. Most of the Volvos transferred, although 722 returned to Dartford. At Stamford Hill they eventually found themselves working the 188 again, from June 1998.
Arriva London North: VA721, 723-730, 732-3Stamford Hill garage closed in March 2000, and its buses, including the Volvos that were there were transferred to Tottenham. There, as part of Arriva London North, they received class letters: VA of course. But they were not going to be there long. Arriva London North got rid of them as soon as it could: most started the long drive to Merseyside the following month.
VA733 however went to work alongside the ex-Grey-Green Volvos on route 24, for three months.
Arriva London North-East, 733/VA733Then, in June 2000, VA733 returned to ALNE, but at Barking, where it was to stay for almost another four years, before sale in March 2004.