|Stagecoach London 12352 represents the old face of the 99.|
At the moment, a 12-minute frequency is provided on the 99, requiring 14 buses in rush hour. The end-to-end journey time is typically around 60 minutes and in general this route is fairly busy, having both some crowded and quiet times. Stagecoach London previously operated the service from Plumstead (PD) garage, using a variety of vehicle types as a result of flexible allocations. Rarer appearances came in the form of Trident ALX400s, Wrightbus Gemini 3 B5LHs and some of the remaining Scania OmniCity vehicles, although the main diet of the 99 consisted of powerful 64-plate ADL Enviro 400Hs, which suited the route nicely. Coincidentally, these exact vehicles are now being used on the 422, which was also won on Saturday 20th January. Many enthusiasts are upset that Arriva have taken over the 99, presumably because Stagecoach operated the route well and with a capable fleet of buses - some of the Wrightbus Gemini 2 DB300s that Arriva currently use have quite a poor reputation for their lack of power and sluggish nature. Nevertheless, the convenient use of a joint bid and a large pool of existing vehicles on behalf of Arriva managed to undercut Stagecoach's attempt at retaining the service and the contract changeover date, Saturday 20th January, came around pretty quickly after the publication of the tendering results.
|Arriva London DW433 is seen at Nuxley Village on route 99.|
|Arriva London DW447 is seen on the 99 to Bexleyheath, Shopping Centre|
|Go-Ahead London E207 is seen on route 401 to Thamesmead, under the old contract.|
|Arriva London DW450 is seen at Nuxley Village on the 401 to Bexleyheath.|
|DW434 represents the curtailment to Belvedere.|
|Stagecoach London 17857 is seen on the 269 to Bexleyheath Shopping Centre, representing the old look of the route.|
|DW423 is seen at Bexleyheath Library. Interestingly, this is one of only two vehicles in this batch with manual blinds.|
|Arriva London DW438 is seen in Bexleyheath on the 269 to Bromley North.|
|Go-Ahead London E238 is seen at Blackheath Royal Standard on the 422 to North Greenwich|
Under the old contract, Go-Ahead London struggled with running the 422, with the service not being brilliant and often filled with large gaps. Like the 401, it used a mixture of double deck vehicles found at the garage and these came in the form of ADL E400s and Wrightbus Gemini B7TLs and B9TLs, with the former type being the most common from my observations. In terms of my opinion on the route in general, I can't make a proper judgement on the 422 as I haven't actually ridden all of it yet, although the Woolwich-North Greenwich section is most enjoyable with some stunning views of London from Charlton, so hopefully the rest of the route lives up to this standard. This change wasn't particularly upsetting for enthusiasts, with Stagecoach looking more promising in terms of their vehicle fleet and the good reputation Plumstead (PD) garage has for running routes well.
|Stagecoach London 12360 is seen at Bexleyheath Shopping Centre, representing the new destination.|
|Stagecoach London 12368 is one of the MMCs that has been blinded for the service.|
|Stagecoach London 10205, one of the transfers from Catford, is seen in Westcombe Park.|
Thanks for reading and stay safe!