McColls Balloch - Dublin Bus Glasgow:
McColls is a family run business operating local services in Dumbarton and Balloch, two towns approximately 13.5 and 17.5 miles from the centre of Glasgow respectively. McColls have expanded greatly over the last few years and now operate services into the centre of Glasgow itself. It was as part of this expansion that McColls bought 25 ex Dublin Bus vehicles. Because of this Dublinbusstuff went to sample the McColls operations with some of the more well known Dublin Bus enthusiasts.
McColl's 3033, ex Dublin Bus Alexander R-bodied Volvo Olympian RA206, operating a short 216 service from Clydebank to Argyle Street Glasgow is seen turning onto Stockwell Place on the 13th April 2010. The upper-deck window indicates that the day ticket for unlimited travel on McColl bus services is £2.30. This is great value given the size of their network.
With 25 ex Dublin Bus vehicles its safe to assume that McColls found such withdrawn vehicles to be more than satisfactory, the 25 vehicles being VL2-4, WV4,5, 6, 17 and RA206, 208, 211, 213, 215, 223, 227, 229, 231, 232, 236, 237, 245, 252, 284, 285 and 286. This association with ex Dublin Bus vehicles can no better be described than with an image of Balloch Bus interchange, one of the principle termini on McColls network and right at the Southern end of the Loch Lomond National Park.
Ex-Dublin Bus RA 229, 245, 231, 213 and 208 in Balloch Bus Interchange awaiting departure on the numerous routes on the McColls network on the 13th April 2010.
McColl's 3017, ex-Dublin Bus Alexander R-bodied Olympian RA 223 at the Balloch Bus Interchange having operated a Route 26 departure from Glasgow City Centre on the 13th April 2010. The LED displays had large oscillation rates, hence it was impossible to get a full destination, however it should be possible to read between the lines and see Glasgow 26.
The other main focal point of service within McColls network is the town of Dumbarton. Dumbarton is a former shipbuilding town, but much of the former indigenous industry has long since gone and mostly the community exists as a railway commuter town to Glasgow. The town has services to Glasgow and Balloch and also local services run by McColls, with competition from First Group. Within the town, and a calling point on all McColls buses in the area is St. James' Retail Park, which has an Asda as its main occupier. This retail park is the terminus of a number of routes and provided some good photo opportunities.
McColl's 2020, ex Dublin Bus Wright's bodied Volvo B6BLE WV4, is seen operating a 204 service at its Asda Dumbarton terminus in St. James' Retail Park on the 13th April 2010.
McColl's 3032, ex Dublin Bus Alexander R-bodied Volvo Olympian RA236, is seen operating Dumbarton local route 6 to Westcliff Estate on High Street on the 12th April 2010.
McColls network expansion has saw them operating route services into Glasgow City Centre, in competition with some First Group routes on the main corridors. There are four routes: Route 26 - Glasgow to Balloch, Route 204 - Glasgow to Asda Dumbarton, 215 - Glasgow to Westcliff Estate Dumbarton, and Route 216 which operates as short workings of Route 204 either to/from Clydebank or to/fron High Street Dumbarton. For the most part Route 26 is RA operated throughout the day, with Routes 204 and 215 having WVs, VLs and other single deck buses in use. These four routes provide a 10min frequency on the Glasgow corridor. Local services in the Balloch area such as Routes 7A/B are RA operated, with the 6A/B operating from Balloch to Dumbarton also being RA operated.
McColl's 3034, ex Dublin Bus RA208 is seen operating a Route 26 service from Balloch on Argyle Street Glasgow on the 12th April 2010.
McColl's 2019, ex Dublin Bus Wright bodied Volvo B6BLE WV5, is seen awaiting departure on a 215 to Westcliff Esate Dumbarton on Stockwell Street Glasgow on the 13th April 2010.
It came as some surprise to most Dublin Bus enthusiasts that in the Summer of 2009 McColls acquired 4 ex-Dublin Bus Alexander Ultra bodied Volvo B10Ls, otherwise known as VL2-4. The VL class had a troubled existence with Dublin Bus, and one wonders how long they will last in Scotland. VL4 was the only one to be seen on the 12th and 13th April, in fact it was out both days, however even then only during peak hours.
McColl's 2017, ex Dublin Bus VL4, is seen operating a 215 service from Westcliff Estate Dumbarton to Glasgow City Centre coming out from under the gantry of Glasgow Central Station on the 12th April 2010. Its display indicates its routing via Asda in St. James' Retail Park Dumbarton.
McColl's 2017, ex Dublin Bus VL4 is seen operating a 204 service to St. James' Retail Park on Jamaica Street in Glasgow City Centre on the 13th April 2010. For a picture of VL4 operating in Dublin see Route 3 article.