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Photographer / Copyright
Paul Nicholls
Images should not be reused without permission.

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Date added to site
15/08/2019

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Details: There are a couple of points about this photograph that make it more interesting than it at first seemed. The subject is a Ford Transit Mk7 van of Southern Transit, a small bus operator based near Brighton. They run local services and railway replacements and their fleet carries several London Transport inspired features such as red livery and prefixed fleetnumbers. This photograph however was taken in Wennington in Essex (on 30th July 2019), somewhat remote from Southern Transit's usual haunts. The second point is the registration of the van. V321KGW is clearly not the original registration. V-prefixed registrations were used in 1999/2000, while the Mk7 Transit was introduced in 2006. Southern Transit have a bus registered V301KGW, this being the first Dennis Trident bought by Connex for use on London route 3. Most bus companies booked registration numbers for their buses that matched up with the fleetnumbers, and V301KGW was TA1. The DVLA had decided that certain registration numbers were 'special' and should be held back for sale at inflated prices. At first this included all registrations with recognisable words and/or numbers below 56. This was later extended to cover many more special numbers such as 100, 111, 123 and even numbers that were in use as car model numbers, such as (Peugeot) 206 and (BMW) 525. Bus companies did not want to pay the extra for the special numbers so either took close matches or skipped fleetnumbers. V321KGW was a special number so Connex simply skipped fleetnumber TA21. The change to the registration system in 2001 changed all this, with batches of vehicles now being distinguished by changing letters rather than numbers. Registrations with words or names in them are still held back, but there is no practical way bus companies can match (numerical) fleetnumbers to letter-based registrations.

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