Buses in the UK (South East) – Brighton

Brighton is a seaside city located in the south of England (about 1 hour away from London) popularly used by tourists. The main company is Brighton & Hove (operated by the Go-Ahead Group) but Metrobus Crawley, Compass Travel and Stagecoach in the South Downs also seem to have a quite big presence.

The main bus company, Brighton & Hove, currently have 7 Scania OmniLinks (51-57) used on routes 18 and 50/50U (some are occasionally used on the 5B), 20 Mercedes-Benz O530G Citaro G articulated/bendy buses used on route 25 (105-128), 79 Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL used on routes 5/5A/5B, 6, 7, 22, The Regency Routes 28/29 and 49 (401-439, 453-490) (two of them, 550 and 551, being used as smarter charter buses which can be used either as schooltrips, rail replacement buses or spares in case an allocated bus is not available on the route and they have seat belts), 13 Volvo B5LH bodied Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 hybrid buses used on routes 2 and 7 (440-452), 2 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibuses (500 and 511), 4 Scania Irizar coaches (502-505), 60 Scania N94UD OmniDekkas (3 of them are open top City Sightseeing buses, whilst others are used on routes 14, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 46, 48,50) (616, 623, 629-650, 652, 655-660, 662-670 and 901-920) and 18 Scania N230UD OmniDekkas (671-688) used on routes 22, 26 Scania OmniCity DDs (701-713, 718-728, 730 and 731) used on routes 2, 22, 27 and 46, and finally, Wright Streetdecks used on routes 1/1A (801-824), 7 (825-828, more will be delivered soon), Coaster 12 (921-947) and 49 (to be delivered).

22 JUNE 2017

First time ever I filmed buses in Brighton! Although, I only caught the 27 from and to Westdene Park & Ride as I went there with my family to visit the city. I had the branded OmniCity DDs on it – 702 (YP58 UGB) going towards the City and 708 (YP58 UGH) going towards the Park & Ride. And I can say, these buses are absolutely amazing! Apart from the great sound, these buses can cope with the hills in the Westdene area really well! Scania OmniCity DDs are the best ever double deckers in the world and they totally suit the 27

ROUTES I FILMED

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27 (twice)

27 is the best ever Brighton bus route! Reason for this, apart from what I mentioned above, is also that it goes through some really nice areas of Brighton (such as Westdene), and as for the 49, it involves hill climbing and descending, which offers a spectacular panorama! Also, the Scania OmniCity Double Deckers on it are totally amazing and more than 100% suit the route!

WHAT I DID

We caught 702 on the 27 from the Park & Ride to the Clock Tower at North Street. Loads of buses go through North Street and I started, for my first time ever, to get photos of the Brighton buses (so far it was just a video on the 27).

I’ve found out most buses are in the rather nice red & cream livery but some are in special and nice liveries. For example, 420 (BJ11 XHW), a Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL was in the Hop On/Hop Off. It is very nice to see a variety of liveries of Brighton & Hove buses as just one livery for a bus company is very boring in my opinion.

After we had pizza, we went to the Pier. Again, we went via North Street which meant it was a time opportunity to get more photos of buses. In fact, I was able to get a photo of 449 (BF62 UXV), one of the last remaining Volvo B5LH Wright Gemini 2 hybrid buses for the 7 as they are being replaced by Wright Streetdecks. I also managed to get a photo of a route 270 ADL Enviro200, one of the few Metrobus Crawley routes serving Brighton.

After a nice time on the pier, I went to St James’s Street (near the Old Steine pretty much) and once again it was an opportunity to get more photos of buses. So I got photos of all routes that go via the street. In this case: 1, 1A, 2, 7, 18, 37 (Compass Travel), 37B (Compass Travel) and 47 (Compass Travel).

Finally, before we caught 708 back to the Car Park (route 27) we did a walk on Marine Parade. Again, I managed to get more photos of buses (in the case of Marine Parade, routes: Coaster 12/12A/12X, 14, 27 and Metrobus Crawley route 271).

And that’s about it for the day. Also had a very friendly driver on the 27 who gave me a thumbs up after I got a photo of 708 (not shown in the photo I have on Flickr). As a first impression of Brighton (in terms of buses), the buses are amazing! I also really like the route branding and the colour used on many routes (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, Coaster 12, 25, 27, Regency 28/29, 49, 78, 79). Especially the new style of branding (known as BH4), it looks absolutely amazing!

13 JULY 2017

As a bus enthusiast, I’ve been again to Brighton to film more routes as in June I only caught the 27. So I explored and filmed more routes.

ROUTES I FILMED

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27 (twice)

Again, I went on the 27 (27 is the only one that goes to the Park & Ride, but 5/5A also aren’t far), the best ever Brighton bus route!  Reason for this, apart from what I mentioned above, is also that it goes through some really nice areas of Brighton (such as Westdene), and as for the 49, it involves hill climbing and descending, which offers a spectacular panorama! Also, the Scania OmniCity Double Deckers on it are totally amazing and more than 100% suit the route! And for the first time ever, I filmed a plain Scania OmniCity DD (711/YP58 UGL), the best one!

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18

A nice route that goes around the Seven Dials (it was fun when I caught it from Brighton station) to Churchill Square, and then continues via the City Centre to the Queens Park area. Also, as very few people use the 18, the 12m Scania OmniLink single decks are more than perfect for the route!

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25X

Possibly the busiest route you may have known in Brighton is the 25 (which runs from Hove, Palmeria Square to the university in Falmer). And, the ex-London Mercedes-Benz O530G Citaro 18m articulated/bendy buses are totally perfect and ideal for the route! The buses are also wonderful from the outside and inside, though they could have kept the 3rd door knowing the bus packed. When I caught and filmed the route, the bus was less busy than usual, hence why I got a great video! I can also say that I prefer bendy buses to double deckers but the problem about bendy buses is that they’re 18m long and therefore they won’t be able to reduce overcrowding on “tight routes” such as the 27 and 49. But double deckers are still useful, and I personally think that double deckers should be used everywhere in Europe on routes which for example only a 12m single decker can cope and always gets packed (example: R2 bus route in Naples, Italy)

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49

Hmmm…. sounds another interesting bus route in Brighton. Route 49, which runs from East Moulsecoomb to Portslade station via the City Centre. The 49 has some very nice buses, Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL (I prefer the VDL DB300 but the Volvo B9TL is still pretty good) and the branding looks very nice! But, I like it because as for the 27, it involves climbing and descending hills, and they can offer a good panorama.

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1

That is a route that I am not too keen on. Mainly because it has Wright Streetdecks, which I don’t like (I personally think they are too ugly outside and they are very boring and dull). But however, the route still looks pretty interesting as you can see some nice villas between Brighton and Portslade (in the Hove area). I can say, the 1 gets absolutely packed (especially in the City Centre area!). The only good thing I can say about these Streetdecks is that they have two doors unlike other double deckers, which reduces time to wait (personally, many town routes outside of London should have dual door buses not single door – I would rather have single door on “rural/countryside” routes).

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2

2 is an amazing route! The Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B5LH have a really nice branding on the outside! But to be honest, I am very annoyed that these B5LHs got kicked off the 7. First of all, because it is a countryside route (it goes to Steyning) and so countryide routes suit more diesel than hybrid buses. Therefore, I would rather have Scanias than the hybrids. Secondly, they are replacing with Wright Streetdecks on the 7 which are diesel, not hybrid. HYBRID into DIESEL? SERIOUSLY??? Diesel buses emit more pollution than hybrids and replacing hybrids with diesels is totally mental and stupid. Their excuse was to allow the route 2 Scanias to be transferred to Metrobus Crawley so then they could replace their old OmniDekkas. But to be honest, I would rather have E400 MMCs for Metroubs Crawley and keep the OmniCity DDs in Brighton on the 2. So then they can keep the hybrids on the 7, a much more suitable route for hybrids (or even electric buses). Although I have never been on the 7, the 7 is 100% in the city of Brighton & Hove and goes through backroads, so the hybrids were perfect for the route. Luckily, I caught a Scania N94UD/East Lancs OmniDekka on the 2 rather than a hybrid. But other than that, I like the 2 as a route. It is a very useful alternative for bus users between Brighton and Shoreham-by-Sea without having to rely on the Coastliner 700, which is always packed and overcrowded (in fact when I caught the 700, the bus was packed which meant I had to sit upstairs). Plus it goes through some pretty nice houses in the Shoreham area.

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Coastliner 700 (Stagecoach)

The first ever bus route I filmed in Brighton which is not operated by the main bus company (Brighton & Hove) is the Coastliner 700 (operated by Stagecoach). This and the 17 (Horsham to Brighton) are the only Stagecoach routes serving Brighton. The route has some nice ADL Enviro 400s (with Scania N230UD chassis), but it gets really packed and overcrowded (hence why the frequency is every 10 minutes with a PVR of 33 buses). Other than that, it is a very interesting route. Unlike the 2, between Shoreham-by-Sea and Brighton, it goes by the sea (until Hove, Palmeira Square). Hopefully, soon I will explore the Coastliner 700 all the way from Portsmouth to Brighton and get a full route visual on it.

WHAT I DID

I went by car as usual to Westdene Park & Ride where I then caught the usual route (27) to Brighton station. For the first time ever I had a plain Scania OmniCity DD rather than a branded Scania which I had in June. The bus I filmed was 711 (YP58 UGL). And, out of all the OmniCity DDs I’ve been, 711 is the best! Reason for this is that it has great kickdown and a quite loud cooling fan!

I got off 711 at Brighton station (to then catch the 18 to Churchill Square). I had to walk around as I didn’t know where the 18 stopped. I firstly asked the route 6 driver (the one in the BK13 NZV photo) and he told me the 18 stops on the main road. I had no idea where the 18 stopped so I went to have a look. I firstly started off with Queens Road and there was no 18 number. Then I tried Terminus Road and it was only at Terminus where I find the 18 bus stop (the 7 to Hove George Street and the 27 going to Westdene basically stop there). Only then I was able to know where to catch the 18. So I caught the 18 (OmniLink 54 registered as YN58 BCO). It was really fun because it goes around the Seven Dials before going down towards Churchill Square. Plus my mum and I were the only passangers on the bus for nearly the whole journey! Lol!

So I got off the 18 at Churchill Square. Took photos of buses as well as doing some shopping at M&S (Marks & Spencer). After shopping I decided to catch the 25 to film a bendy bus Citaro. Limited stop 25X turned up and I rode Citaro 119 (BL57 OXK) ex-Go-Ahead London (it still has the original interior!) MAL109 once used on route 453.

I got off at Coldean Lane and I walked for about 10-15 minutes to the houses in East Moulsecoomb to then catch the 49 back to the City Centre (getting off at Old Steine). Volvo B9TL Wright Gemini 2 407 (BJ11 XHG) turned up.

So, I got off at the Old Steine and took loads of pictures of buses. I went for an amazing pizza at VIP (Very Italian Pizza). After this amazing pizza I caught the 1 to Portslade to try a Wright Streetdeck.  817 (SK16 GWZ) turned up. The interior is alright but they look rather ugly and dull. But one I thing I like about them is that unlike other buses in Brighton, they have 2 doors, not 1 which is useful for a route that gets really packed!

So after having caught the 1, I did some walking in Portslade. Firstly stopped at ALDI, but I was actually walking to the dual carriageway so then I could catch the 2 to Shoreham-by-Sea. I missed 442 (as seen in the photo) and 657 turned up)

So I got off at Shoreham-by-Sea. Did some walking on the main road and then I came back to Brighton via the Coastliner 700 (Stagecoach). ADL Enviro 400 Scania N230UD 15986 (YN64 XSO) turned up and unfortunately I had to film the bus from upstaris due to the bus being severely packed! In fact, due to loads of passangers staring at me, I filmed on the window until we got to Hove Palmeira Square, where the bus started to be less packed. That was a shame that the 700 was packed but I have learnt a lesson which is that unless I am doing a full route visual, I should film the 700 in a quieter section (Hove Palmeira Square to Old Steine is ideal)

I have plans to go to Brighton again in the beginning of September before I start Sixth Form college and hopefully I will explore and film/photograph more Brighton & Hove routes. Once I’ve done the trip, I will write a guide about the additional routes I’ve filmed in Brighton and what I think about it.

Plus, not next time but another time I will also start to get full route visuals (first ones will be 27 and 6 which I will hopefully do in October)

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