Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Konect's New Enviro400s

On Tuesday the 11th of August, Konectbus pressed five brand new Alexander Dennis Enviro400s into service on their express branded route 8 which operates from Toftwood to Norwich via Dereham. Unfortunately, I was away from home so I couldn't see them on their first day of service, but I was out and about the next day so I took the opportunity to go into the city and catch one to Dereham.

My trip started at the end of the route, at Riverside in Norwich as I had just purchased some Norwich City tickets for the recent away trip to Sunderland. I was yet to see one of the new buses in the flesh and so it was with great excitement that I saw 619 SK15HKC approaching me dead on time.

After a brief chat with the friendly driver, I was granted permission to take some interior shots, as the bus was completely empty. The vehicles feature leather headrests and traditional moquette seating in favour of the more modern leather versions due to customer feedback surveys expressing that they were more comfortable, as in the summer months, the leather can become hot and sticky. The buses also have some rather swanky looking wood-effect flooring, free WiFi, and most notably USB charging points.

After the brief excitement of being on a brand new bus for the first time since First's X1 buses entered service, I set about taking my seat at the front of the bus and settling in for the ride. I made use of the USB charging points by plugging in my iPhone and camera, before testing out the WiFi. Unfortunately, it seems the manufacturers still haven't quite mastered the technique as I am still yet to ride a bus where the WiFi works 100%. In this instance, I couldn't log on at all which was quite disappointing seeing as the WiFi at home had also been off for 24 hours due to a 'problem in my area' (according to BT anyway).

Anyway, it's main purpose is ferrying passengers from A to B so I won't dwell too much on the non-existent WiFi. As an Enviro400, it felt like just another bus to me. If I didn't know it was a brand new bus, I dont think I would have noticed. I heard no comments from other passengers like I did with First's X1 buses either but thats probably because the seats aren't as luxurious.

An old number 8 bus found it's way onto the 4 and is seen infront of one of the new ones.
Anyway, enough with the negativity. There is nothing wrong with the vehicles themselves and it's probably unfair to compare them to others of a higher specification. From the outside, they look absolutely fantastic. The new livery stands out and is much brighter than the older one (as can be seen from the photo above). Konect have opted to rebrand the route as the Straight 8, which is a popular decision as it used to be called this before the new express branding started in 2011. 

The inside is also very smart and I was impressed with how clean they were, even though they'd only been in service for a day. My trip was made by the drivers though who were all very friendly and asked lots of questions about the hobby and who answered my questions about buses and the company.

Also noted that day was 8 branded 608 SN61CZY on Costessey Park & Ride duties, however now all the old 8 branded buses now carry branding for the 2 and 2A.

In summary, the new buses are as follows:

617 SK15HKA
618 SK15HKB
619 SK15HKC
620 SK15HKD
621 SK15HKE

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