Photo of the Week - Week 14:
This week turned out to be quite a significant one in more ways than one. With Ireland in the midst of a coronavirus lockdown, Dublin Bus has reduced service to a Saturday-extra service on Mondays-Fridays from the 1st April 2010, the extra being some Xpressos, some Monday-Friday routes like the 44B and 116. With the reduction in PVR, this has allowed most garages to implement a dual-door only service, the exception being Broadstone extras and Ringsend (which had at least one EV in service till yesterday (4th April)). A consequence of this has been Summerhill's withdrawal of the final AV-class vehicles, helped by the transfer of SG278-SG280, SG283-SG286 and SG592-SG601. The last day of AV operation in operation was the 31st March, the last departure being the 2215 Route 16 ex Ballinteer to Dublin Airport, pulling back into depot. AV425 had the honours of operating the final departure, though the other remaining AVs (AV420, AV427 and AV429) all saw some service on that final day.
And so the AV class bowed out of service, 448 vehicles delivered over a 5 year period. AV6 was the first to enter service, operating from Ringsend depot, on the 1st September 2000. And so 19.5 years later, on the 31st March 2020, AV425 operated the last departure. This Summerhill batch, AV418-AV429 have long out-lived their time, being stallwarts on the 16s and 41 for many years. This designation, due to their luggage racks, meant they outlived many of their AX counterparts. They would have ceased operation in 2019 only for Wrights Bus going into administration, and this withdrawal on the 1st April was only a week or so premature, with the new SGs finally arriving from Ballymena. For such an important class, it is an ignominous ending, however, the AX-class will continue and there will still be AVs on the Tours services (when they return). So not full out of sight.