The Big Green Bus is back on the road, ready to bring its environment message to communities across the country, thanks to some sterling work by a team of dedicated mechanics at Thamesdown Transport.
For nearly two years the converted Thamesdown Transport double-decker has been touring the UK offering advice to individuals, companies and organisations on how to “go green”.
The initiative demonstrates the many ways and life style changes that can be adopted in the ongoing battle to off-set climate change and the irreversible damage to our ecosystems.
But the original 74-seater bus – which in a previous life ferried thousands of Swindon children to and from school – ground to an abrupt halt at the start of the year following a series of mechanical calamities.
However, Thamesdown Transport swiftly stepped in to give the aging vehicle a major and much needed over-haul.
After four weeks of intense work at the Thamesdown Transport depot in Barnfield Road, Swindon, the 1982 Leyland Fleetline bus has now passed its MOT and is fighting fit and ready for action.
As well as a thorough service, the work, which the Swindon based bus company undertook at a special “capped price,” included fitting a new alternator, adding extra rear lighting and furnishing it with a much needed internal heating system.
Environmental campaigner Brigit Strawbridge, who was recently given a Level 2 award by Unltd to develop the Big Green Bus initiative, said: “We’re thrilled to have the bus back and in such good shape.
“Thamesdown Transport has been very good to us. It’s quite an old bus and a lot of mechanical problems have cropped up.
“At one point Thamesdown Transport picked us up from a primary school event near Bath and towed us back to Swindon after the engine blew up. They fitted a lovely reconditioned engine.”
However, several other mechanical faults emerged over the past few months.
“Now our Big Green Bus is looking really good again,” said Brigit. “We’ve even got a heating system which means we won’t have to travel to events with duvets and hot water bottles anymore.”
Brigit added: “Thamesdown Transport didn’t just sell us the bus and wash their hands of it. Whenever anything has gone wrong they’ve been there to sort out the problem, and we’re very grateful.
“We’ve been all over the country but it would be nice to get a booking in Swindon, or an event there, which we haven’t done yet.”
The W-registration vehicle – which has around 420,000 miles on the clock – originally began life serving the public in Bournemouth before Thamesdown Transport bought it largely as a school bus.
Thamesdown Transport workshop supervisor Bob Gillespie said that having sold it to Brigit’s charity, The Big Green Idea, which is based in Worcestershire, the company was keen to put any faults right which may arise.
He said: “It’s a fairly old bus and mechanical problems are bound to appear over the years. As we sold it to them we were pleased to help out and do this job at a special rate.
“We’ve done a lot of work on it and we’ve got it looking and running in good condition.
“Thamesdown Transport fully supports the green ethos of this charity. The main thing is to get the Big Green Bus up and running so it can tour the country raising awareness of important environmental issues.”