Photo of the Week - Week 4:
Donnybrook's Alexander Enviro500 bodied Volvo B9TL, VT31, is seen operating an incredibly rare departure on Route 14 on Suffolk Street on the 21st January 2011.
Due to recent capacity issues on the Stillorgan corridor with the implementation of Network Direct, Donnybrook received 15 of the 2007 batch of VTs from Phibsborough/Broadstone. Adding to their original batch of 2005 VTs (VT1-20), VT21-35 were acquired from Phibsborough due to their numerical sequence.
With over 15% of Donnybrook's fleet being of the tri-axle kind, these buses have begun to stray recently. To be strictly allocated to the 46A and 145 (84X) routes, there have been reported observations on some of Donnybrook's other routes.
The 45 often has a VT allocated, the 84 has also been regularly allocated a VT in recent times. Other routes that have had reported VT operation have been the 7 and the 75. Reality is that given that they make up such a large proportion of the allocation of Donnybrook, they are obviously more difficult to restrict than was previously the case. VT1-VT20 were strictly allocated on the basis that most could only display the 46 group of routes, however recently the 145 has been added, though the 84X which is interworked has been overlooked, resulting in some blank displays on the 84X. VT21-35 have not been limited in this way and hence can be allocated to the other routes in Donnybrook.
However the most interesting observation that I have come across was Friday morning's allocation of VT31 on Route 14. Route 14 is one of Donnybrook's more narrower of routes, especially around Orwell and Rathgar Village. However VT31 operated a 0830 outbound departure and a 0950 departure from Dundrum on the 21st January 2011. It was on this inbound departure that the bus was photographed, on a surprisingly empty Suffolk Street.
The second photo of the week comes in the form of VT24 on Route 45, at its Merrion Square terminus, awaiting an outbound service to Oldcourt on the 17th January 2011. Like VT31 on the 14 it will only do a lap of the route before returning to the garage. However, how long will it be before these buses get regularly allocated to all day services on non Stillorgan Corridor routes.
What is interesting, in my eye, is that Donnybrook still keep these newer VTs off the road at the weekends, while Phibsborough use their VTs in service on a Saturday. In fact, yesterday (Sunday 23rd January 2011) VT55 was in service on the 39A, a reasonably unusual occurrence. This leads to a lot of their older buses remaining in service over the weekend, than would appear necessary, with newer AXs and EVs required for the Stillorgan corridor.
Donnybrook's VT24 is seen awaiting its time at the Merrion Square Terminus of Route 45 on the 17th January 2011.