Cash loss for LT on Fleetline deal?
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BUS DEALER Ensign of Grays, Essex, is now offering for sale a large number of exLondon Transport DMS-type Daimler Fleetline doubledecker buses, writes the Passenger Editor.
Ensign, which is able to offer a large number of vehicles and can guarantee a prospective buyer a continuous supply of the buses, has already started to convert a number of buses to single entrances for West Midlands PTE and to supply others to National Bus subsidiary City of Oxford Motor Services.
London Transport has always claimed that off-thepeg buses do not stand up to London's operating conditions. So more Fleetlines now seem likely to be disposed of in increasing numbers as they become due for recertification and new generation buses are delivered to replace them.
In the past few years London Transport has had to prematurely dispose of large numbers of vehicles. Among them has been a large number of rear-engined AEC Merlin single-deckers, AEC Swift single-deckers and a few Metro-Scania double-deckers.
Operators which have bought the ex-London vehicles have in most cases found them in surprisingly good mechanical condition and some vehicles that were sold as only suitable for spare parts have been economically certified for a further useful lease of life. The need to dispose of large numbers of vehicles at a time has also meant that in most cases it is unlikely that the ex-LT buses have reached -book value" for similar vehicles of that age — a factor that can only contribute to the Executive's bus operating losses.
London Transport has also decided to canibalise and scrap a small number of Scaniapowered Metropolitans built as recently as 1976.
It is almost inconceivable that, unless the vehicles have accident damage serious enough to declare them as "write offs" it can be economic to reduce them to scrap metal at this premature stage when their value is likely to be well in excess of E20,000.
A number of London Transport Daimler Fleetlines under seven years old have already been broken up for scrap after being canibalised for spare parts.
Spare parts have long been a problem for London Transport although at present Scania, which manufacturers the running units and chassis of Metropolitans, knows of no problem with a supply of parts for these buses.
Leyland Vehicles now have a direct computer link to LT's spare parts department, which should guarantee a ready supply of their spares.
In the past delays in the supply of spare parts from London Transport's Chiswick spares department to its operating depots have led to repair delays and the system has since been under review.
London Transport now has on order a large number of new generation MCW Metrobuses and Leyland Titans and the Executive must hope that these buses stand up to the difficult operating conditions in the capital — and if they do not, that it finds out before it buys 2,000 of them.