Garston loses out in tendered service awards

Arriva London North has lost the contracts to operate routes 142 (Watford Junction-Brent Cross), 258 (Watford Junction-South Harrow) and 642 (West Hendon-London Academy), which will pass to London Sovereign in early 2018. The losses represent about a third of the TfL work allocated to the company’s Garston garage in Watford.

The 142 was an early example of route tendering and the contract for its operation was awarded to London Country from June 1986 using buses based at Garston. When London Country was split up in September 1986, operation passed to the newly formed London Country (North West), subsequently becoming part of Luton & District in October 1990.

July 1994 saw Luton & District acquired by British Bus which, in turn, was acquired by the Cowie group in 1996. The following year Cowie relaunched itself as Arriva, with operations from Garston forming part of Arriva the Shires. Although contracted to be run with double-deckers, single-deckers have been seen on the route on several recent occasions.

The 258 was won on tendering by Luton & District in January 1991 only to lose the contract to London Buslines from April 1996. Arriva the Shires regained it 10 years later.

In August last year, Transport for London contracted routes operated by Arriva the Shires were reassigned to Arriva London North.

London Sovereign is expected to use Alexander Dennis Enviro400 double-deckers currently on routes 120 (Southall-Hounslow) and 222 (Hounslow-Uxbridge), which have been lost on retendering from later this year. Besides the 142 and 258, these will also work service 642 (West Hendon-London Academy). Four new diesel hybrids will also form part of the allocation on route 258.

Garston is one of four garages profiled in The London Bus Vol.4 now on sale, see p55