Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,
This page created 30th November 2005.

MT 1-4

Southall Shuttle MT MT1-5 were bought at the end of 1988 on behalf of the London Borough of Ealing to run a new E5 service between Greenford Broadway and the Havelock Estate. This was to have the distinction of being fully wheelchair-accessible, the buses for the route all being fitted with rear wide doors and tail lifts. The buses used the Mercedes Benz 709D van chassis, with bodywork by Reeve Burgess. This was 7.0m long, 2.2m wide and 2.9 m high (22ft 7in x 7ft 6in x 9ft 7in), about the same size as a GS, but with tiny wheels and a 66kW engine. Capacity was 20 seated + 5 standing + 1 wheelchair. Livery was LT red, but with the addition of a broad white side-band edged in green, with green Southall Shuttle fleetnames and London Buses and London Borough of Ealing logos.

MT1-4 were ready for the start of the E5 in November 1988, but MT5 did not appear until the new year, so that other buses had to borrowed to complete the run-out. Operation was from Hanwell. As well as the E5 they also later appeared on the area's mobility bus services, such as the 976.
In March 1993 they were transferred to the Greenford base (part of the Council site). During that year and 1994 they were displaced from the Southall Shuttle by converted MA class midibuses, which were slightly larger. They began a slightly itinerant existence, going to Victoria Basement, the Battersea midibus base, Stockwell and Catford. They were repainted into Mobility Bus livery, or corporate red with grey skirt and white cant-rail line.

They all moved on to further careers with other operators.

MT 6, MTL6

MT6 MT6 was rather different. It was a stretched Mercedes Benz 811D, with Reeve Burgess bodywork, so qualified as an MT. But there the resemblance ended. It was rather longer (8.4m), had no rear doors, an offside emergency exit, no offside drivers door and a minimal display that was usually setup to display Selkent Travel and a phone number. It was fitted with 33 dual purpose seats and a luggage boot, for private hire use. It also had a courier seat and dual controls, for use as a trainer.

It arrived in February 1989, going to Catford for its dual role. Almost immediately it lost its original registration in favour of ex-Routemaster plate VLT77. Occasionally it deputised for other midibuses, although infrequently as it was not equipped with a fare machine, so a conductor was required! It was transferred to Plumstead in January 1991, and in June 1991 was reclassified as MTL6. It was privatised to Stagecoach Selkent in September 1994 and almost immediately departed to Stagecoach Fife.

MT 7,8

Mobility MT The Southall Shuttle proved popular, and the service was expanded in the summer of 1989. Two of the FS class, redundant from Finchley, filled the breach until the arrival of MT7 and MT8. This pair reverted to the same format as MT1-5: MB709Ds with rear doors and wheelchair lifts. They appeared alongside the earlier buses on the E5 as well as on the Mobility services. They arrived at Hanwell in August 1989, and spent two years there before gong to Uxbridge. They were repainted into Mobility Bus livery. This pair were privatised to Centrewest.

MTL 1-5

MTL1 London Buses also began to acquire a slightly longer Beaver body on the Mercedes Benz 811D chassis. MTL1 was bought in November 1989 for Uxbridge, where the U-Line mostly used Alexander-bodied MA vehicles. At the same time they leased MTL2 to cover a need at Westbourne Park. It was bought early in the New Year, and moved to Victoria Basement.

MTL MTL3-5 followed in December 1990, going initially to Orpington, Victoria and Westbourne Park, then on Catford, Peckham and Victoria. The class were quite itinerant, moving around to fill gaps in the larger midibus fleets. Catford's MTL3 went off to Penzance in March 1991 for a few weeks on a recruitment drive. Then Bexleyheath found a niche for them in July 1991, with MTL1,2 and 4 going there to join the RB class. MTL3 followed in 1992. These four were privatised to London Central in October 1994, and then were sold to Wycombe Bus (part of City of Oxford Motor Services), becoming 701-4 at High Wycombe.

Meanwhile MTL5 rattled around the system, with time at Bexleyheath and Catford. It spent a little while at Potters Bar before going to Greenford and then Alperton. It was privatised to Centrewest, and moved to Swanley in October 1995 to help establish First Orpington.

Although London Buses only had these thirteen MT/Ls, the combination of Mercedes-Benz chassis with Reeve Burgess Beaver bodywork was one that appealed to many of its rising competitors around its deregulated fringes. Of these, more in part two.

Part Two: Beavering round the fringes.

Ian's Bus Stop Midibus index. MT main text. MT histories. MT photos.