Shearings bus• LRCC back in the black
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sale continues sale continues
• Disposal of the bus operations of tours giant Shearings continues this month with the sale of its Kent operation to Maidstone & District and the winding up of South Wales local service work.
The sale of the rest of the bus business should be completed by the end of this month, leaving the company to concentrate exclusively on coaching work.
The move follows the Elm sale of Shearings' Barnsley depot, routes and eight Leyland Lynx buses to competitor Yorkshire Traction in the autumn.
Shearings will continue to operate coaches from its Tunbridge Wells depot, but all the contracts and local services, some of which challenged Maidstone & District, have been sold to the competitor. Four Leyland Lynxes are included in the sale and 14 drivers have transferred to the new owners.
Routes in the Swansea area were withdrawn at the end of last year, ending a bus operation that was taken over with the business of Jenkins of Skewen in 1988.
The Skewen depot will continue as the base for Shearings southern coach operations.
The north-western and Telford operations, including 70 buses and three depots, are expected to go to former Shearings Transport director Ian Longworth. • Lincolnshire Road Car Company has put its first new vehicles into service since 1986, confirming that it has ended years of loss making going back to when it was a National Bus Company subsidiary.
The three Optare StarRider SRE midibuses are the first of their type to enter service with a major operator since they were launched last year. A fourth 'standard' StarRider joins the fleet at the end of this month.
Built on a stretched version of the Mercedes 811D chassis, the SRE features the standard Mercedes cowl, not the steeply raked aerodynamic front which has been supplied to most bus operators. The 'economy' version is also £1,700 cheaper. The remainder of the vehicle is unchanged with the distinctive double-width door, 31 seats, soft trim, front discs and an exhaust brake. Power for the 8.4m-long vehicle is provided by a fourcylinder turbocharged Mercedes 0M364A diesel which develops 85kW (114hp) at 2,600rpm and has a peak torque of 380Nm (280lbft) at 1,500rpm.
The 250-vehicle company operates services throughout Lincolnshire, but financial pressures have meant that only 24 new vehicles have been bought in the past 10 years.
Since privatisation in January 1988, when the company was bought by Barnsley-based Yorkshire Traction, fleet renewals have mainly been secondhand vehicles from the parent company.
LRCC currently operates 29 Mercedes minibuses, mainly on the L608D chassis. The new acquisitions will work alongside the smaller 20-seaters and replace smaller vehicles on urban routes.