In 2005 a new batch of Volvo B7RLE/Wrights Eclipse saloons were purchased to promote the 662 The Shuttle service serving Bradford and Keighley via Bingley and Saltaire. The livery used was a white base with flashes of red, blue and chrome this looked fresh and allowed the 662 service to standout, which worked. By 2010 the 662 was again given a new livery using the butterscotch and blue Transdev layout livery, with branding plus successful promotion. The leather seats and bright interiors were retained, along with the addition of Wi-Fi for customers to use while on the bus.
During 2012-2015 Transdev was promoting the 'connect' brand in Harrogate and later Burnley, using red and black for Harrogate and two tone red for Burnley. The connect brand took over from a need for using a local identity, such as the 'Nidderdale Branch' which for your author thought was a pleasant way to promote the Yorkshire Dales and Pateley Bridge.
During the very early stages of 2015 the new MD for Transdev, teased us all with some very interesting shots of 1801 undergoing a overhaul/refurbishment. This naturally got the social media of the bus enthusiasts all taking about what was going on, even your author was looking at the pictures with interest. By late April 2015 1801 had returned to Transdev in Keighley and was hidden away for a big reveal at the open day on Sunday April 26th, which went down very well. The Lord Mayor of Keighley Councilor Mitchell assisted Alex Hornby in an official announcement for the new look to the 662 'The Shuttle' fleet.
On the last day in June 2015, which was for the record glorious, your author decided to have a trip across to Keighley to photograph and try the newly refurbished 'The Shuttle' saloons. After an hour or so of waiting in the centre of Keighley, 1803 arrived and was parked up in the bus station ready for its turn on the 662. Above the saloon is illustrated and as can be its very smart, clean and fresh, with new cloth moquette seats with deep bases. The floor is a grey with red swirls and looks very smart inside the vehicle, grey hand rails and a light grey décor finish off 1803 very well. The seating area is neatly separated from the low floor wheelchair and buggy zones, which both have three flip up seats and a back rest for the wheelchair owner. One of the biggest improvements is the inclusion of 4G Wi-Fi by using cleverly positioned USB ports between each seat, two in each. This again allows customers to be able to connect with work, family and friends while on the bus.
As for the ride quality the bus handled well around the enviros of Keighley, with good swift acceleration and keen brakes, which helps with the constant stop start in Keighley. With the straight sections of the journey 1803 took them in her stride, with no fuss, as the Volvo engine made all the right noises, along with the gearbox. The vehicle was rattle free apart from when the wheels hit some of the less well maintained roads in Keighley. The seats afforded a very pleasant trip and were very comfortable, only lately have Arriva, First and Stagecoach listened to customers about good thicker padding on the seats. Blazefield/Transdev have always offered dual-purpose seats in most of their vehicles over the years. Five CCTV cameras were inside the bus, with two skylights and the similar skyline ceiling to 2706 the ideas in action vehicle. What made the trip very enjoyable was the driver who was friendly and helpful to all customers. Even the drivers on the other vehicles on 662 duty during Tuesday June 30th were friendly and one even gave cheerful wave.
1803 was the 11:40 departure from Keighley and 26 minutes later had reached Nab Wood, via Bingley, Crossflats and Cottingley. Its here your author alighted and then ventured around the route for some photos of both 1802 and 1803 which were the only refurbished vehicle en-route. Above 1802 shows off its new identity with new Eclispe 2 front end and new Irish style plate, yet to receive the external rear and internal branding and info posters for the 662 service. When complete the whole batch 1801-14 should give at least five more years service, unless the West Yorkshire transport authority decide to down what TfL intend to do in 2020, and introduce an Ultra Low Emission Zones in all of West Yorkshire. Even if this happens the batch could be retro-fitted a Euro6 powerpack.
For me (your author) the new fresh look to the 662 is pleasing, as the two tone blue is similar to the new 2010 fresh Yorkshire Coastliner livery. As a complete package it works, no doubt with new suitable timetables and promotional posters this new 662 will continue the good work already started and continuing form 2005.
Here are my personal views on bus activity in my area and beyond