Citaro woes.

Vehicle and Fleet discussions for First Midland Red Buses Limited or its predecessor, Midland Red West Limited.
TimBrown
Posts: 498
Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

Citaro woes.

Post by TimBrown » 12:01 Tuesday 30th April 2019

Having ridden on the Woosh 'park and ride' Citaros some years ago in the City and to Redditch on the 350 route, before the operation closed down, I thought the type was a good top quality heavyweight vehicle. However the 17 year old examples recently cascaded to Worcester, despite cosmetic refurbishment, are showing their age with a number of basic undesirable features;

A) Dirty exhaust noted when 64014 pulls away and when accelerating, therefore polluting streets which are already above the safe limit in Worcester City. If only built to Euro III emissions standard then the whole batch including 08 registered buses are infinitely worse than the Streetlites and in need of conversion to Euro 6, which isn't likely to happen unless the City Council voice their disapproval and seek Government grants for the work.

B) When the next batch arrive to replace the Streetlites I can only see Worcester's fuel bill rising by a considerable amount as the Wrightbus product, like them or loathe them, are reportedly extremely frugal with excellent fuel consumption and low, low emissions. Are we heading for a similar outcome at Worcester as happened in March 2013 at Redditch some six months after hordes of ex-London Tridents arrrived, ie sold off to Rotala's Diamond operation?

C) My friend who regularly uses the Warndon buses has been complaining for months about lack of leg room in the Citaros which I took with a pinch of salt as the similar sized 'Salt Way' Volvos are acceptable throughout. However, since the Citaros have been used regularly on my local 37 I have the sore kneecap which proves his point, certain seats are OK but others especially on the nearside mean even a short person has to sit sideways. Therefore it pays to weigh up the legroom before you sit! On top of all that the seat backs (I assume as a result of refurbishment) are held on with a multitude of protruding Philips round head screws and washers just right to snag women's tights and cause bruises if emergency braking is needed.

D) I have noted that some of the Citaros and indeed some of the Volvos have loose ceiling panels which rattle and bang continuously when the bus is on the move, the roof panel of one Citaro has been stuffed with old cigarette packets just behind the cab to try and stop the racket but it still drums against a stanchion upright. Both types suffer from rattling noisy suspensions as well.

E) At least one of the Citaros gives a nasty jerk just as it pulls up at a stop which is not the norm for such vehicles; another bus has been running around for some time with a 15 degree lean to the nearside - this may have been rectified by now though. Yet another bus had a serious water leak which was luckily spotted by the driver, before any major damage was done as there was allegedly no warning light or buzzer of fluid loss.

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AdamH
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Location: Worcester
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Re: Citaro woes.

Post by AdamH » 15:51 Tuesday 30th April 2019

TimBrown wrote:
12:01 Tuesday 30th April 2019
...I can only see Worcester's fuel bill rising by a considerable amount as the Wrightbus product, like them or loathe them, are reportedly extremely frugal with excellent fuel consumption and low, low emissions...
Oh yes, this is very true. Fleet managers love them for this reason, but then they probably never go within a 100 yards of one. It is their only redeeming feature.

TimBrown
Posts: 498
Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

Re: Citaro woes.

Post by TimBrown » 18:08 Wednesday 1st May 2019

AdamH wrote:
15:51 Tuesday 30th April 2019
TimBrown wrote:
12:01 Tuesday 30th April 2019
...I can only see Worcester's fuel bill rising by a considerable amount as the Wrightbus product, like them or loathe them, are reportedly extremely frugal with excellent fuel consumption and low, low emissions...
Oh yes, this is very true. Fleet managers love them for this reason, but then they probably never go within a 100 yards of one. It is their only redeeming feature.
I don't rate the Streetlites or Streetdecks because of the jerky transmissions, harsh brakes and back jarringly hard rear suspension, but there is another redeeming feature - sufficient legroom for six-footers! I wish today's manufacturers would take a ride on the Routemaster RCL at Wythall to sample the smooth suspension and well padded seat cushions, oh and very few irritating rattles. If this level of refinement was possible in 1965 why can't modern buses match it?

MattW
Posts: 691
Joined: 20:42 Sunday 3rd July 2016
Location: Welland

Re: Citaro woes.

Post by MattW » 19:15 Wednesday 1st May 2019

Must be good old-fashioned penny pinching Tim!

943KHA
Posts: 36
Joined: 18:46 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: Citaro woes.

Post by 943KHA » 22:14 Wednesday 1st May 2019

Thank you Tim for the kind words re the Wythall RCL. It, along with many of the rubber suspension equipped BMMO's puts many of today's buses ride quality and handling to shame. The RCL at Wythall is one of the few remaining on its air suspension (rear). When we fished it out of its glass cage in the Power Hall some four years ago to put it back on the road after 7 or 8 years out of use the air suspension refused to do anything but sit on the floor with many failed components and of course non availability thereof but with some ingenuity it all got to work again. Its major drawback is that the compressor has an even harder life keeping up with it. It would have been a shame to convert to coil suspension as per other RMs. But once you've fixed air suspension on a Wulfrunian as I did in my past, this was easy(ish).

TimBrown
Posts: 498
Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

Re: Citaro woes.

Post by TimBrown » 09:28 Friday 10th May 2019

Had a trip on one of the 2002 OIG registered Citaros at lunchtime yesterday and noticed that the seat backs are held on by no less than twelve Phillips head screws plus washers. Earlier in the week on another Citaro I noticed one of the screws sticking out and turned it back in by hand as far as was possible - I guess it will be a major temptation for the vandals who frequent public transport to carry screwdrivers and progressively loosen all the seat backs, provided that road vibrations haven't done the deed first.

The refurbished seats in the green 'Salt Road' Volvos on the other hand have smooth backs to a very different design. Noted too, a distinctly smokey exhaust when the Citaro pulled away from Grange Avenue en route to Green Lane on the 37. The bus smoked for quite a way up the road, so not like the quick puff of smoke seen on other older buses when they first start up when warm in the bus station. I have yet to see visible traces of smoke from any of the the Streetlites, StreetliteMaxes and Streetdecks.

On subject of Streetlites, I was passenger on 47515 (plenty of legroom!) from Crowngate to Worcestershire Royal Hospital and noted that whilst it pulled and accelerated normally the engine had a decided thump and knock at low to medium revs, much noisier than the same type I rode back into town on. Assuming 47515 has engine problems, Is this the result of the automatic gearbox settings which make the engine slog at very low revs in top gear at little more than walking pace to achieve that phenomenal economy?

MattW
Posts: 691
Joined: 20:42 Sunday 3rd July 2016
Location: Welland

Re: Citaro woes.

Post by MattW » 12:29 Saturday 11th May 2019

It wouldn't surprise me Tim. I remember the first time I drove a StreetDeck to Malvern, pulling away uphill from the Halfway House it seemed like the bus was in top gear within its own length!

Brendan
Posts: 12
Joined: 22:29 Tuesday 11th December 2018

Re: Citaro woes.

Post by Brendan » 20:24 Saturday 11th May 2019

TimBrown wrote:
09:28 Friday 10th May 2019
Had a trip on one of the 2002 OIG registered Citaros at lunchtime yesterday and noticed that the seat backs are held on by no less than twelve Phillips head screws plus washers. Earlier in the week on another Citaro I noticed one of the screws sticking out and turned it back in by hand as far as was possible - I guess it will be a major temptation for the vandals who frequent public transport to carry screwdrivers and progressively loosen all the seat backs, provided that road vibrations haven't done the deed first.
I had a ride on the 04 Plate Nimrod a week or 2 ago. I thought the interior was very utilitarian with the seat backs mentioned above. Looked like a short term vandal fix then realised the while bus was like it quite a few of the grab handles on the seat backs were vertical having lost a screw or just plain missing. Based on that experience I would quite like an Enviro or 2 back, even with a grumbling rear axle.

TimBrown
Posts: 498
Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

Re: Citaro woes.

Post by TimBrown » 11:17 Friday 17th May 2019

Brendan wrote:
20:24 Saturday 11th May 2019
TimBrown wrote:
09:28 Friday 10th May 2019
Had a trip on one of the 2002 OIG registered Citaros at lunchtime yesterday and noticed that the seat backs are held on by no less than twelve Phillips head screws plus washers. Earlier in the week on another Citaro I noticed one of the screws sticking out and turned it back in by hand as far as was possible - I guess it will be a major temptation for the vandals who frequent public transport to carry screwdrivers and progressively loosen all the seat backs, provided that road vibrations haven't done the deed first.
I had a ride on the 04 Plate Nimrod a week or 2 ago. I thought the interior was very utilitarian with the seat backs mentioned above. Looked like a short term vandal fix then realised the while bus was like it quite a few of the grab handles on the seat backs were vertical having lost a screw or just plain missing. Based on that experience I would quite like an Enviro or 2 back, even with a grumbling rear axle.
I thought that the 'Smoking Joe' dirty exhaust was confined to 2002 OIG registered Citaros, but followed an 08 registered 'Nimrod' bus working a 35 up Rainbow Hill this morning and had to drop right back because of the choking black exhaust smoke. Another nine polluters for Worcester in exchange for relatively clean Euro 6 buses is definitely not good for local schoolkids and asthma sufferers in our most polluted streets like Lowesmoor is it!

Come on First, if you must get rid of Streetlite Max's to Leicester, please use your influence and set an environmental standard example to other operators, move forward and treat Worcester as an equal with Birmingham and Leicester and work with our City Council to create a CAZ Clean Air Zone and obtain the Government Grants ASAP needed to upgrade these Citaro's to Euro 6 standard because they all really need it now.

Matt
Posts: 30
Joined: 22:17 Tuesday 26th June 2018

Re: Citaro woes.

Post by Matt » 11:57 Friday 17th May 2019

Maybe we should start an online petition to city/county council somewhere/somehow. As i have ommented previously I don't think much of the disparity where it seems that dirty buses get palmed off on areas that haven't got CAZ or similar in place.

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