Uno Paso Para Uno

That's the best of my Spanish, anyways. One step for Uno, one leap for history in London's buses. We had actual transport companies running London's red buses, then banks (East London Bus Group), then coach companies (OFJ Connections of Heathrow) and this morning was education's turn to attempt running a bus service. 

University of Hertfordshire (or UniversityBus/Uno) was formally welcomed into TfL services this morning on their first London route, the 383. The route runs entirely in the London Borough of Barnet, and operates between Barnet The Spires Shopping Centre and Woodside Park Station in North Finchley. The route runs via Meadway, Potters Road, New Barnet, East Barnet Village, Oakleigh Park, Whetstone and Woodside Park.

The route only runs Monday-Saturday, so if you want to venture out onto the route, public holidays and Sundays are not days to do the route. The route also does not operate late evenings (after 2045) and runs at a frequency of being a 2 bus per hour service. 

The image placed in your head, if you know London Buses well enough, will probably tell you 383 is one of those many random routes that isn't used much, mainly by older passengers and has a lot of Hail & Ride sections around some back streets. You're also correct if you imagined the buses used on this route were single-doored single deckers. 383 is a little route, but it's got a lot of history behind it. Let's roll.

Route 383 traces it's beginnings back in the summer of 1998. It was a new service to replace a withdrawn section of route 326, which on the same day of 383's new contract this year (2015) passed to London Sovereign - that will be in a different post. The route was awarded to London Northern from Potters Bar (PB) garage (which eventually became Metroline's in the near future). Running between Potters Bar Station and New Barnet Station via Kitts End and Hadley Highstone and then the current route from The Spires up to New Barnet Station, 383 was allocated Marshall Capital bodied Dennis Darts. The buses were 8.9m in length.

Only a year later was 383 modified, and in 1999, the route had a round-the-block extension from Potters Bar Station to the garage, and also on the southern end to Woodside Park via the current routing. The peak vehicle requirement was raised from 3 to 5. Woodside Park was in need and many residents had desired for bus links to and from the station. 

By Autumn 2001, route 383 was converted to Low Floor operation using Plaxton Pointers. The PVR decreased to 4.

2003 proved an interesting year for route 383. Independent company Sullivan Buses, who seems to be cherished by many enthusiasts for their outstanding works on Rail Replacement and route 298, had made their debut into TfL service. Just like Uno, their first route was the 383. Taken over on July 26th 2003, 4 new Caetano Slimbuses were ordered and the route was operated from South Mimms (SM) depot.

The new contract bought some route changes along with it - route 383 was cut back to Barnet, The Spires from Potters Bar without any TfL routes replacing it. Routes 84/84A, operated by Metroline, are the main link between Barnet and Potters Bar now. Due to this cutback on the 383, the PVR was decreased to 3.

During these 5 years, route 383 became the most reliable bus route in London according to statistics and figures. The route was said to have only had around 5 curtailments in it's entire contract! That's about one turn a year. The company's pride in delivering the service had also seen customer satisfaction on route 383 soar, although to everybody's astonishment in 2008, the route was awarded to Metroline once again.
© Snappy Pete (Peter Dean)

Metroline had vowed to use near-new Enviro 200s on the new 383 contract. Due to capacity issues on route E6 at Perivale (PA) garage, new longer buses were ordered displacing the LK07-plated buses. Metroline transferred these vehicles to Potters Bar (PB) for use on routes 383 and 384. Sullivan ceased operation on route 383 on the 25th July 2008.

Now, you probably know who Uno are if you have been to Hatfield or seen their pink and purple buses running around in Wembley Park, Enfield or even Stanmore! They entered a bid for route 383 from their only depot, Hatfield (HF) and successfully won the rights to operate the route. 4 brand new Enviro 200s were ordered, numbered 601-604. Uno ordered it to a generic interior, and not to their own (they do have their own interior) and took over 383 on the 25th July 2015 with 603 being their first bus out at 0540.

Uno were having problems using the new TfL equipment, such as iBus - many buses for the first part of the day ran without announcements due to the drivers being inexperienced with this equipment. Controllers at The Spires came on later at the day and finally managed to sort out the problem and turn on the iBus. The new buses have been said to look average, but on the upside are incredibly quick and comfortable!



Here is the fleetlist for route 383 from 2003 onwards!

Sullivan Buses:
CN02 SUL - DN4
DN03 SUL - DN5
DS03 SUL - DN6
LT03 SUL - DN7

LK07 BDO - DES791
LK07 BDU - DES792
LK07 BDV - DES793
LK07 BDX - DES794
LK07 BDY - DES795
LK07 BDZ - DES796
LK07 BEJ - DES797 
LK07 BEO - DES798
LK07 BEU - DES799
LK07 BEY - DES800
LK07 ELJ - DES801
LK07 ELO - DES802

YY15 NKA - AE 601
YY15 NKC - AE 602
YY15 NKD - AE 603
YY15 NKE - AE 604

Can the University of Hertfordshire master running route 383, or will they need to do a bit more revision on how to successfully operate a bus route? Let us know in the comments section below. 


Thanks for reading this post, stay safe and keep on spotting!