The Original Tour
MCW Metrobus in June 2011
|Service area||Central London|
|Service type||Tourist bus operator|
|Fleet||84 (February 2014)|
The Original Tour is a London bus tour operator using open-top double-decker buses. It also holds the franchise to run City Sightseeing's London tour. It is based in Wandsworth and is a subsidiary of Arriva.
The Original Tour was founded in by June 1951 by the London Transport Executive at the time of The Festival of Britain. In 1986 it was privatised, being sold to London Coaches / Blue Triangle. In December 1997 it was sold to Arriva.
After purchase of a 24-hour ticket, ticket-holders may board any of the tour routes at over 80 different stops without further charge. Services operate daily, with a recorded commentary in English and several other languages which can be listened to with headphones. A river cruise and three walking tours are included in the ticket price.
The Original Tour operates four sightseeing routes, with two connectors from other places linking to them:
T-prefixed Route Numbers
The "T.." route numbers were introduced with the entry into service of the Ayats bodied Volvo B7Ls, which were specified with electronic destination displays. Previously, the routes were only distinguishable by a coloured triangle, propped up on the dash on the bus, although some had a metal holder on the front. Now the triangle (which still exist for the older tour buses) have "T.." printed on them for the appropriate coloured triangle. Also, some buses now have destination display blinds, traditionally removed from these buses, which have the coloured triangle on them with the "T.." route number inside that.
Local fares are available on the sightseeing routes, but the main tickets are valid for 24 hours, which is sometimes extended to 48 hours in Winter to attract custom. Each ticket includes three Walking Tours (Changing of the Guard, London Legends and Jack the Ripper) and a 24-hour River Cruise Pass; tickets can also be used for Choice tickets and certain discounted attractions. Price as of June 2012[update] was £26 for adults, £13 for children, and £91 for a family group of two adults and three children, with a modest discount for Internet purchase.
The Original London visitor centre
At the end of 2007 The Original Tour opened a visitor centre on 17-19 Cockspur Street, off Trafalgar Square. It sells tickets to the major London attractions, out-of-town tours, and tickets for The Original Tour buses. General advice is also given.
Transport for London Route 337
Historically the fleet consisted of former double deck route buses, that after being converted to open top configuration, were given a second life. However in 2005 ten Ayats Bravo City bodied Volvo B7Ls were purchased new.
The fleet as at February 2014 consisted of:
|Number||Type||Fleet numbers||Open-top status||Notes|
|15||Leyland Olympian/Alexander RH||OA315, 317-319, 321-324, 326-332||Some fully open-top, some partial||ex Arriva London between 2003 and 2005|
|33||DAF DB250/Plaxton President||DLP201-216, 240, 244, 246, 250, 252-256, 258, 259, 261-265||Some fully open-top, some partial||ex Arriva London|
|10||Volvo B7L/Ayats Bravo City||VLY601-610||All are fully open-top||New in 2005|
|10||Volvo B9TL/East Lancs Visionaire||VLE611-620||All are partial open-top||New in 2007|
|16||Volvo B9TL/Optare Visionaire||VXE721-736||All are partial open-top||New in 2011|
The Original Tour runs the past fleet. These include -
- AEC Routemasters (1986 - 1995)
- Daimler Fleetlines (part of ownership in Blue Triangle)
- Leyland Titans (transferred from Arriva London in 1999)
- 2-axle MCW Metrobuses (MB) (transferred from Arriva London in 1996 - 1998), withdrawn 2003 - 2007 and sold to San Francisco and Vancouver
- MCW Metroliners (ML)
- 3-axle MCW Metrobuses (EMB763 - EMB785) (bought from New World First Bus, Hong Kong in 2000 - 2006), withdrawn 2011, some sold for scrap others to Malta/Canada/USA
- Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX400s for London Buses route 337
Some of the buses are in the standard City Sightseeing livery, rather than the Original Tour version, for use on route T2, which is branded as City Sightseeing. However, in practice, buses can be mixed up.
Competitors and similar businesses
- The Big Bus Company - Another double-decker London tour
- City Sightseeing
- Gray Line
- London Pride Sightseeing
- Companies House extract company no 2328599 The Original London Sightseeing Tour Limited
- Original Tour Services The Original Tour
- Tickets to be valid for 48 hours The Original Tour
- Original Tour Free River Cruise The Original Tour
- Original Tour Special Offers The Original Tour
- Bus tender results Route 337 Transport for London 2 February 2004
- Bus tender results Route 337 Transport for London 6 September 2010
- New order gives the original tour the first new open top buses in London Arriva 1 June 2005
- Original London Sightseeing The Open Top Bus Site
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Original Tour.|