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No sooner had I update the 697 page to include a picture with new operator London United – it took four years to source a suitable photo, illustrating the difficulty of photographing school routes, given the limited and inconvenient times that they run – than the old Volvos that had been in use were phased out and replaced by Scania Omnicities! Nominally these are supposed to be early model buses, but in practice the different batches at Hounslow get mixed up – indeed there are scheduled cross-links between the 697 and 81 and H32. Indeed SP165 (YT10 UWA) is one of the newer ones meant for route 111. It was photographed on 13 June 2013 on one of the afternoon runs.
|Photo © Anthony Moore.|
The route was created in 1997 as an offshoot of the existing 698, which ran from West Drayton via Shepiston Lane, Hayes, Hayes End and Long Lane to Ickenham and Ruislip. Certain journeys were diverted to run instead from Kingshill Avenue and Yeading Lane as route 697, and these have since been back-projected to run along Lansbury Drive, thus practically doubling back on themselves at the junction with Uxbridge Road. At the other end buses now run only as far as Ickenham Coach & Horses, which is where the last school the route serves is. Actually, three schools are served, which can cause some problems when their term dates do not match up! Abbotsfield School is there, with Douay Martyrs School a little farther back, and Swakeleys School nearer the south end of Long Lane.
Parts of Long Lane have no regular bus service, being "served" only by the 697 and 698 school routes, though the Uxbridge local routes U2 and U10 serve parts.
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