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Following a period of operation by Stagecoach Selkent from faraway Catford and Bromley garages, the 194 has now returned to its more logical operator, Arriva London south, operating from South Croydon garage. The route was the first to receive the new Wright Pulsar Gemini buses – Arriva have always been keen on DAFs, the manufacturer of the chassis on this type, and Wright agreed to develop a suitable version of its Gemini ‘twin-deck’ range for the chassis.
Here is DW 10 (LJ03 MVX) sets off from the new terminus at Lower Sydenham Savacentre on 30th August 2003, the first day these buses were in service and the day Arriva London South started operation on the 194.
|Photo © Phillip Deamer.|
The former section of the 194 between Lower Sydenham and Forest Hill was ‘replaced’ the same day by re-structuring route 356, which gained an evening and Sunday service and a slight frequency increase for this purpose. Although this section of the 194 had never been busy the 356 is hardly a true replacement, although it does meet up with the 194 in several places: Lower Sydenham, Penge, Elmers End and Monks Orchard. In between those points, the two route go separate ways! Perhaps this is a record for the number of times two different routes meet up?
Going back further, the 194 traditionally ran to Croydon Airport, and once had A, B and C suffixed variants. The only other difference is that it used to run via Anerley instead of Beckenham: at the end of 1989, restrictions placed on a weak bridge at Elmers End forced its ‘temporary’ diversion, but it was never restored.
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