Previously I have found the Taunton event quite dull, so I didn't originally plan to go. However, this years event was made special by the opening of First Buses of Somerset's Taunton depot. The public had the opportunity to walk around photographing the vehicles that were in. Thankfully, it wasn't too busy making the walk around easy to photograph and an enjoyable experience. The staff at the depot were most welcoming, allowing us to go inside any vehicle and take photographs. It was a nice chance to photograph some recent additions to the BoS fleet. Here are a selection of pictures from the day below:
So, what about 36300?
|36300 outside of BoS depot|
|The lightweight, cheap and yet comfortable seats on board|
|Downstairs front-back view|
|The comfortable rear seats|
This demonstrator vehicle had a couple of quite cool features; one of these being a double-blind front Mobitec destination display. It consists of a full size, full colour, display on the front, with a single line, full colour display underneath which allows for some very colorful and creative displays, as seen in the photos. The Mobitec was very easy to photograph too!
|Looking down the stairs, with the nice|
Some people have complained about the shallow windows upstairs, which was done by Wrightbus in order to save weight. I personally don't think it's too bad, however it doesn't affect me as I never sit upstairs on buses, favouring the back seats downstairs to hear the engine. I did take a seat briefly upstairs and I had no problem with light or viability, though I guess those who are taller wouldn't share that view.
|Volvo's latest cab design|
36300 BF63HDC seems to be touring various parts of First group, starting out in Manchester. It then moved to Calderdale and Huddersfield before heading south. Who knows where it will end up in three weeks time when it finishes in Taunton...?
Overall, I think it is a fantastic vehicle and I'd like to see First invest in some of these for the South West. Would be great to see them favour Volvo over Alexander Dennis, or Wrightbus' integral products again. I do prefer the Volvo B9TL/Gemini 2, as that for me, is an unbeatable example of a modern decker, however in line for euro6, engines have got smaller and weight has to be cut down, and the Volvo B5TL/Wright Gemini 3 demonstrates that can be done, whilst retaining style and power.
|New versus old...|