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Bexleybus leads London race

14th January 1988
Page 15
Page 15, 14th January 1988 — Bexleybus leads London race
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• London Buses launches its fourth new local area bus operation this Saturday (16 January) trading as Bexleybus and based at the re-opened Bexleyheath garage, to the south east of London. It will serve 17 routes with a fleet of 107 vehicles comprising 28 new Leyland Olympians, 12 new MCW Metrorider midi-buses, 12 exRoundabout Robin Hood Iveco midi-buses, 24 Leyland Nationals and 31 Daimler Fleetlines.

All of the routes were won on tender from London Buses' red buses and Selkent, and the company readily admits that the development is a pre-emptive move to stave off deregulation competitors. London Buses re fuses to disclose how much has been invested at Bexleybus.

A major plank of Bexleybus' defences is low-cost overheads. Selkent general manager Bryan Constable set up the company with what he describes as a "radical set up" with the unions — the 107 Bexley buses will run with only 31 maintenance and 23 supervisory and administration staff.

The 28 new Northern Counties-bodies Leyland Olympians have been acquired on lease from Kirkby to keep costs as low as possible. They have Gardner engines and Leyland epicyclic gearboxes.

Garry Laurence has been made general manager at Bex ley and has 306 staff including 242 drivers, 33 of whom were recruited from Kentish Bus. All of the drivers have been put through a customer care training course. Laurence says that his objective is to win all or most of the routes tendered in the Bexleybus area and make sure the company remains secure in the region after deregulation.

A number of different operators were rumoured to be interested in the Bexley and South East London districts.

The three previous London Buses developments were at Harrow, Middlesex; Potters Bar, Hertfordshire and Kingston-upon-Thames, Sur rey, which suffered from bad industrial relations problems.

According to London Buses: "The last few months have seen Bryan Constable busily ensconsed with the trade union movement trying desperately hard to avoid a repeat of the Kingston crisis."

London's busmen now expect deregulation in the capital to be previewed in the Queen's Speech at the state opening of Parliament this autumn.

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