This page created 5th April 2012.
Optare Excels: London United
XL1-4,6,7Westlink already operated route 371 (Richmond - Ham - Kingston), using eight Optare Vectas (MV class). Now, in June 1997, six Optare Excels were added. They were the 10.0m single doorway variety, seating 36. They were painted in London United's attractive red, white and grey livery, with Westlink fleetnames. They were also given prominent route branding, in the form of large route numbers on the sides, plus route-related humorous comments. The fleetnames and route branding quietly disappeared during 1999, although the buses satayed on the 371. The buses, with Westlink, were finally subsumed into London United in September 2000. Kingston garage closed, being replaced by a new base at Tolworth.
XL2 on its normal 371 at Kingston Bus Station, October 1999.
XL6 and XL4 on the same day at Kingston.Just after the move to Tolworth the Excels and Vectas were replaced on the 371 by DPS-class Dart SLFs, and the Excels moved to Hounslow in January 2002. There they were allocated to the 110 (Twickenham - Hounslow). This only required four buses, so any spare began to appear on other Hounslow routes as well.
The entire bunch of six Excels were withdrawn at the end of May 2003, displaced by Dart SLFs. They were immediately sold to McKindless of Wishaw.