|The four buses wait at Harwich for the ship to Hawaii. Photo by the London Bus Preservation Group.|
The buses were used daily all year round on a free narrated tour service to transport tourists from the main hotel district of Waikiki. They visited the Kings Alley, Mission Houses Museum (downtown) and the museum ship Falls of Clyde (a four mast sailing ship). They finished at the Bishop Museum (also with a planetarium and heritage theatre), a little way out of the city to the south. Conductors did not collect fares, the service being free to those holding tickets for the attractions.
The RLHs were also sometimes used for community and charity work, and on one occasion in the annual Aloha Day parade (bedecked in fresh tropical flowers). One bus was used in a Hawaii Five-O television series episode, where it was used as the getaway.
Note that the buses all seem to have had the H removed from the fleet number on both the bonnet plate and the cabside, making them 'RL's!
In Hawaii the licence plates are issued permanently being updated yearly with a decal, the plate number is only changed if the original is lost, damaged or stolen.
A report from a passenger in the later years suggests they were poorly maintained by this time; for instance RLH 33 was said to have a bad engine knock, rough transmission, oil leak and poor suspension. The bodywork also started showing signs of corrosion, a particular problem in Hawaii due to the high humidity.
In November 1982, RLH 47 was crushed by a falling (Banyan?) tree bough and withdrawn. Termites are a problem in the islands and this may have been the cause.
It is believed that RLH 36 was used as a source of spare parts in addition to RLH 47, to keep the final two running a little longer.
By 1984 the remains of all the RLHs was sold for scrap (to John Webbers Kailua Auto Wrecker).
Sources of information and photographs: