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|Service area||Central London|
The Original Tour, or previously The Original London Sightseeing Tour, is an open-top tour run by Arriva in London, England. They also hold the franchise to run City Sightseeing's London tour. It is based in Wandsworth, South West London.
Founded in 1951 at the time of The Festival of Britain, The Original Tour is now the largest single sightseeing operation in the world. The hop-on hop-off service allows customers to board any of its’ tour routes at over 80 different stops. Services operate daily, with a commentary in English or a wide choice of languages. A free river cruise and three walking tours are included with every ticket and the exclusive Kids' Club provides an educational but fun alternative for 5-12 year olds.
The Original Tour operates four sightseeing routes, with two connectors from other places linking to them:
T-prefixed Route NumbersEdit
The "T.." route numbers came with the arrival of the Ayats Volvo B7Ls, which were specified with electronic destination displays. Previously, the routes were only distinguishable by a coloured triangle, propped up on the dash on the bus, although some had a metal holder on the front. Now the triangle (which still exist for the older tour buses) have "T.." printed on them for the appropriate coloured triangle. Also, some buses now have destination display blinds, traditionally removed from these buses, which have the coloured triangle on them with the "T.." route number inside that.
From their Wandsworth bus garage, The Original Tour also operate London Buses route 337 (Clapham Junction - Richmond), under contract to Transport for London's London Buses using 14 Volvo B7TLs with Alexander Dennis ALX400 bodywork.
Local fares are available on the sightseeing routes, but the main tickets are valid for 24 hours, which is sometimes extended to 48 hours in Winter to attract custom. Each ticket includes three free Walking Tours (Changing of the Guard, London Legends and Jack the Ripper) and a free 24-hours River Cruise Pass; tickets can also be used for Choice tickets and certain discounted attractions. Standard London Buses fares are charged on route 337.
The Original London visitor centreEdit
At the end of 2007, The Original Tour opened a new visitor centre on 17-19 Cockspur Street, off Trafalgar Square. It sells tickets to the major London attractions, out of town tours and tickets for The Original Tour buses. General advice is also given.
In November 2006, an order was made for 10 Volvo B9TL/East Lancs Visionaires, worth £1.6 million. They have Euro IV engines. The first of these were delivered in May 2007 and all were in operation by the beginning of 2008. Following the delivery of these buses, 45% of the fleet is now low floor and wheelchair accessible.
The company operates a number of vehicle types:
|Number||Type||Fleet numbers||Open-top status||Notes|
|20||MCW Metrobus||MB895, EMB763-765, 767-773, 775-781, 783/784||Some fully open-top, some partial||From New World First Bus or City Sightseeing Australia in 2001/2004.|
|14||DAF DB250/Plaxton President||DLP201-214||All partial open-top||From Arriva London and converted to open top after they were replaced by Mercedes-Benz Citaros|
|38||Leyland Olympian/Alexander RH||OA315-352||Some fully open-top, some partial||From Arriva London from 2003–2005 and conveted to open top.|
|14||Volvo B7TL/TransBus ALX400||VLA56-69||All closed top||Operated on London Buses route 337, new in 2004.|
|10||Volvo B9TL/East Lancs Visionaire||VLE611-620||All are partial open-top||New in 2007.|
|10||Volvo B7L/Ayats Bravo City||VLY601-610||All are fully open-top||New in 2005.|
|1||MCW Metrobus||MB1152||Driver training vehicle.|
Some of the buses are in the standard City Sightseeing livery, rather than the Original Tour version, for use on route T2, which is branded as City Sightseeing. However, in practice, buses can be mixed up. The standard buses for normal London Buses route 337 stay on that route.
- The Big Bus Company - The main competitor of the tour
- London Pride Sightseeing
- Open top buses in the United Kingdom
- Original Tour Website
- Original Tour Promotional Video
- Original Tour Map
- Arriva (Parent Company) Website