Centra (bus company)

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Centra logo.png
Centra M82 MYM.jpg
Alexander Royale bodied Volvo Olympian in September 2004
Parent Central Parking Systems
Founded October 2003
Ceased operation August 2006
Service area London
Surrey
Service type Bus operator

Centra[1] was a bus operator in London and Surrey.

History[edit]

In October 2003, Central Parking Systems purchased Thames Bus which operated services in Surrey and around Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

On 27 August 2004, it purchased the assets of Mitcham Belle[2] which included contracts to operate routes 127, 152, 200, 201, 493 and K5 under contract to Transport for London.[3]

In August 2005, the Surrey business was sold to Rotala subsidiary Flights Hallmark. On 19 May 2006, the remaining Transport for London routes ceased[4] and in August 2006 the remaining coach operation was sold to Wiltax.[5]

Operations[edit]

London[edit]

Centra operated two bus garages: Streatham Road, which operated Mitcham Belle coach operations which also passed into Centra's hands until it closed, and the coach operations moved to a new site on the Willow Lane Industrial Estate, Mitcham which was also going to be used as a bus garage to replace the Beddington garage, and Beddington Mitcham Belle bus operations.

Beddington garage held 53 buses, and ran a number of London Buses routes. It was originally opened by Mitcham Belle; the yard was taken over in 2004 by Central Parking Systems under the Centra name following poor performance and a history of poor public relations. A huge overhaul of buses and other issues was undertaken by Centra; however, despite trying its hardest, it was unable to improve the reliability issues. Some of the drivers that had been taken on from Mitcham Belle were notoriously bad. This led to the loss and subsequent early surrender of route 127 contract to Metrobus.

On 21 April 2006 it also lost route 152, although the handover to new operator Travel London was delayed by problems sourcing enough vehicles.[6]

Rumours abound in some circles that Centra were looking to sell off the bus operation to concentrate on their traditional operations of parking and courtesy buses. It was confirmed as the company consulted on redundancies at their Beddington Lane depot.

Centra ceased their London bus operations on 19 May 2006 when its buses ran on routes 200, 201 and 493 routes for the last time, with the routes passing to London General, East Thames Buses and Armchair Passenger Transport respectively. Centra's London based coach operations operated out of the a new on the Willow Lane Industrial Estate,[clarification needed] the coach operation operated for a few more months before being sold to Wiltax in August 2006.

Surrey[edit]

Marshall bodied Dennis Dart in an all white livery but blinded for Surrey route 472 in September 2004

The Surrey operations operated out of a garage in New Haw. It operated Surrey County Council routes 22 (Dorking to Newdigate only), 28 (Sunday only), 38, 71, 72 (school service Brooklands to Old Woking and return and Saturday afternoons), 81, 218 (Sunday only), 400, 442 (Sunday only), 456 (Sunday only), 472, 516, 547, 548, 549, 690, 698, 801, 803, 833, E303, and Jet Coach.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 2492280 Apcoa Parking Services (UK) Limited formerly Central Parking System of UK Limited
  2. ^ Companies House extract company no 1231452 Wimco Group Coaches Limited
  3. ^ Tfl announces new entrant to London bus market Transport for London 27 August 2004
  4. ^ Transport for London Board Papers May 2006 Transport for London
  5. ^ Companies House extract company no 4572824 Randomquick (2007) Limited formerly Wiltax Buses Limited
  6. ^ London bus tenders Route 152 Transport for London 9 February 2006

External links[edit]