|Stagecoach's Unibus is the name for one of
Leamington's most frequent services linking the town with the University of Warwick.
Previously known as the X12, and before that the X14 too, the route demands high capacity
double deckers, making it one of the most heavily used services in the town (at least
during term time). The other frequent services in Leamington are mainly operated using
Optare Solo minibuses.
Between 2000 and 2003 the X12 provided an express link from the University to Leamington using the A46 dual carriageway, whilst the X14 operated one journey an hour to via Kenilworth. The X12 and X14 were timed to provide a bus between Leamington and the University every 10 minutes during the day, every 30 minutes from 6pm until 8.30pm (X12/X14), every 20 minutes on Saturdays (X12/X12/X14), and every hour in the late evening (X14) and on Sundays (X12). Most evening journeys on the X14 were extended to Coventry direct via Kenilworth Road. Outside of term time the frequency varied between every 30-60 minutes, Monday - Saturday only.
X12: Sydenham (Gainsborough Avenue) - Leamington Spa - (Kenilworth) - University of Warwick - (Coventry (Pool Meadow))
For the new term in October 2003 the X12 and X14 were merged under the X12 route number, bringing a new approach to the journeys via Kenilworth. Eventually a pattern was established where the morning journeys to the University operate express for the students, and the return journeys to Leamington via Kenilworth for shoppers and workers. Then in the afternoon the reverse to get everybody home. On Sundays the frequency was doubled to every 30 minutes, and the route extended to Coventry but also diverted to serve parts of the longer X17 route through Kenilworth.
U1: Sydenham (Gainsborough Avenue) - Leamington Spa - (Kenilworth) - University of Warwick - (Coventry (Pool Meadow))
From 26th September 2005 the X12 was renumbered U1, and the buses repainted into a dedicated pink and purple livery with Unibus branding. In addition the buses were fitted with new LED destination displays and FM radios on the top deck which play Mercia FM. The timetable was rearranged to provide extra capacity at the busiest times before and after lectures, meaning a basic 12 minute frequency throughout the day but with two buses on a number of the journeys.
From 19th February 2007 a new U2 number was introduced to distinguish the slower variant of the U1 used on Sundays as a result of combining the X17 with the U1 to provide a better overall frequency.
From 4th October 2010 a number of new variants were introduced to clarify the route being taken, and at the same time a new predominantly red Unibus livery was launched. The U2 became journeys via Kenilworth (Wyandotte) running as far as the University, whilst the rest were renumbered U17 to highlight the commonality with the X17. The U1 journeys serving Kenilworth (Bridge Street) were renumbered U12 (mirroring Travel Coventry's service 12, but previously Stagecoach's X14) leaving only the main express service via the A43 with the U1 number.
Volvo Olympian / Alexander RL Types have been generally used on the route since 1998 when 16614-20 were purchased specifically for it with a capacity of 51 upstairs and 36 downstairs. From time to time other Olympians from the fleet have been used as well, although these occurrences have been vastly reduced since the introduction of the dedicated Unibus livery. The Volvo Olympians still present a modern image with bright, clean interiors and give a very smooth and enjoyable ride.
In the past the occasional single deck and even minibus haven't been unknown, adding a little excitement to the proceedings. Following are some pictures of buses operating the route, starting from the University, going through to Leamington, and then back to the University again.
This is Alexander RL Type 919 (later 16619) at the main loading point at Warwick University on 27th October 2000.
This is 931 (later 16031), a Volvo Olympian with Northern Counties Palatine 1 bodywork about to leave the University Campus on 15th February 2002.
16616 wearing Unibus livery on 15th October 2005. It is seen waiting time at a small temporary bus station in Beaucamp Street which was in use for a number of months whilst the Upper Parade was closed for road improvement works.
This is Leyland Olympian 910 (later 14930) on the Upper Parade in Leamington on 27th June 2001.
Leyland Olympian 926 (later 14516) travels down the Parade on 9th July 2003 on a X14 working.
This is Alexander RL Type 915 (later 16615) opposite the Royal Pump Room on 4th May 2001.
This is Alexander RL Type 919 (later 16619) a little further down by the Parish Church on 4th May 2001.
This is Alexander PS Type 262 (later 20402) on a very usual working of the X12 to the University on 4th May 2001, seen here approaching the Parish Church stop from Sydenham.
This is Alexander RL Type 916 (later 16616) competing with Travel West Midlands MCW Metrobus Mk 2 2634 for passengers, heading for the University from opposite the Parish Church on 4th May 2001.
This is Alexander RL Type 915 (later 16615) just past the main entrance to the University on 9th May 2001.
This is Alexander PS Type 208 (later 20208) passing the University Arts Centre on 31st November 2000 on an odd single deck working of the X14.
The back of 16615 (originally 915) outside the depot in Leamington on Sunday 1st February 2003.
|For the latest information visit the company's official website www.stagecoachbus.com/warwickshire|