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|Details: As mentioned last month, 'select' registrations in the prefix series became quite popular in the 1990s. A-prefix marks were perhaps the most common, but there were others, particularly when the letter could have 'significance' A good example is this view of the Big Bus Company garage in Wimbledon, taken on 30th June 2006. Two vans are visible inside, the one on the right being registered B16BVS, no doubt to look like 'BIG BUS'. Presumably the even more suitable B16BUS was already in use. The original registration of the van is not known, though it is a Mk5 Ford Transit (as evidenced by the black 'grilles' in the upper rear corners) so must date from after 1994. On the left is N957WJM, a Ford Escort van in the brown livery used by the company. Neither of these vans have (yet) been added to the vehicle database on LTSV, though it is notable that a brown Ford Escort van registered B16BBC had been noted in 2005. It is possible that this later changed (or reverted) to N957WJM.|
The Big Bus Company was a new entrant to the London sightseeing tour market in the early 1990s, though it was owned by the Maybury family who had run tours using that name in the 1980s. With a smart brown and cream livery, the initial fleet was mainly former LT DMS class Daimler Fleetlines converted to open-top. Former LT T class Leyland Titans were added later in the decade, while in the 2000s, 3-axle buses were repatriated from Hong Kong (Dennis Condors, Leyland Olympians and MCW Metrobuses). The last Fleetlines were taken off service in 2006, followed by the first purchase of brand-new vehicles (Volvo B9TLs in 2009 and Chinese-built Anhui Ankais in 2012). In this photo, the bus on the left is a 3-axle Dennis Condor, that on the right a Leyland Titan.
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