Bus Destination Blinds

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by LS-Colin, 7 Apr 2015.

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  1. LS-Colin

    LS-Colin Member

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    I was told some years ago that TfL bus routes must continue to show their destinations on blinds rather than dot-matrix as used by almost all other bus operators around the country. Apparently this is a requirement set by the Metropolitan Traffic Police - but what is the reason for it? Can any fellow member offer an answer? That said, I am a great fan of the traditional bus blinds, and am pleased that they are still used. They just seem a lot more clearer/easier to read - especially from a distance and in sunlight.
     
  2. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    The requirement is TfL's and it's purely because they believe they are clearer and easier to read, I believe.
     
  3. mph1977

    mph1977 Member

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    it is also pertient to note that the traditional requirements for Blind content in London are considerably in excess of that required by others
     
  4. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    Maybe during the day, at night roller, blinds are hard to read, then again LEDs-Dot Matrix are hard to read in sunlight, faded Dot Matrix blinds are hard to read anytime. Interesting that TFL have gone back to White on Black blinds from Yellow on Black.

    Lothian is the only other main UK operator that uses mainly roller blinds, however some Lothian vehicles have LEDs.
     
  5. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    No longer so, I am afraid. Route number and destination only are the requirements.

    TfL's position on roller blinds may well change once Peter Hendy and Leon Griffiths retire and others not so well-versed in London bus culture come to the fore.
     
  6. LateThanNever

    LateThanNever Established Member

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    Which surely is fair enough. The route number is after all supposed to indicate the route! And as London information is available at most/?all bus stops that is where you have time to read it!
     
  7. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    Has Leon Daniels moved on then ?
     
  8. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    I do find the blinds with yellow lettering easier to read than the white ones.

    Does anyone know why there is a mixture - seems that everything was yellow a few years ago and is being replaced by white which seems a backwards step to me.
     
  9. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    Not these days just the number & terminus.

    Also LEDs are easier to reprogramme when the vehicle moves to a different depot, but apparently LEDs are quite costly, i read on another forum about 6K per unit.
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Seems expensive given that even the smallest, least profitable operators are fitting them. Perhaps there are cheaper ones?
     
  11. moogal

    moogal Member

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    As the blinds are replaced (to add new routes, for example) yellow ones are being replaced by white. As this happens infrequently, there will likely be a mixture for some time.
     
  12. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Temporary aberration - Daniels is the right Leon!
     
  13. dgl

    dgl Member

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    What about using the flip led displays like that used on the desiros.
     
  14. Via Bank

    Via Bank Member

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    Because Leon Daniels prefers white-on-black blinds, so that is the new policy. (Yeah, I know.)

    It's been trialled before, as early as the 80s, and not with great success in London.

    Of course, LED display technology is improving all the time. The Citaro-K demonstrator that went around a few operators some while ago had a high-resolution LED destination blind which could display the destination in white, and in New Johnston. Within a couple of years the cost/benefit ratio could be good enough that we'd have suitably readable LED screens that would be a more attractive proposition than roller blinds.

    (A double bonus, then, would be that the blindset could be connected to the iBus system, so the driver only has one place to set the destination. But that's a way off yet.)
     
  15. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I have hoped this would happen for some time. It's the best of both worlds then.

    Or perhaps some operators can source second hand ones, like Uno bus. They have some pretty new buses with screens that have faded displays, or have corrupt graphics/dead pixels. If they were buying brand new displays, you'd assume they'd have some form of warranty that would see the panels replaced.

    Seems like a false economy as eventually they're going to need to change them for working screens - assuming the county council ever started to take such things seriously. (It seems of late they might be though).
     
  16. Mutant Lemming

    Mutant Lemming Established Member

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    I prefer the white on black destination blinds to the yellow - they have a more classic look and are every bit as easy to read. As for LEDs - they are not always so easy to make out (especially in strong sunlight) and quite often don't show up on photographs.
     
  17. MCR247

    MCR247 Established Member

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  18. Be3G

    Be3G Established Member

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    I'd say the change in specification regarding blind details (or lack thereof) has almost gone too far the other way: even the terminus names can be ridiculously vague. For example, ‘Enfield’ on the 317 – err, Enfield is a whole borough! A local will understand that ‘Enfield’ is often colloquially used to mean the town in the centre of the borough, but that's derived from context and someone travelling from further afield probably wouldn't be aware of it.
     
  19. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I think high definition LED displays with clear text that can change (unlike a blnind) is the way forward and hope TfL will one day consider it.

    Of course, there's the issue of what happens when a screen fails but I guess if a blind breaks, the bus doesn't run. And they should be pretty easy to build to last years maintenance free anyway.
     
  20. GaryMcEwan

    GaryMcEwan Member

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    The LED displays that Lothian are now using on their newer fleet seems to be quite clearly laid out and easy enough to read.

    Outside of the TFL area, who else uses blinds these days?
     
  21. Mutant Lemming

    Mutant Lemming Established Member

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    So that just accounts for half of the total passenger journeys in England then.
     
  22. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    London routes are regulated and less likely to change for 5-7 years. Outside TfL the de-regulated environment results in operators needing to act quickly and be far more flexible.
     
  23. SpacePhoenix

    SpacePhoenix Established Member

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    I find that the orange LED matrix blinds are way clearer then old-style blinds, which can't always be seen from very far off, so you end up having to flag a bus down only to find that it's not the one that you want
     
  24. Daz28

    Daz28 Member

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    Are they not already linked?

    The blinds on the London buses near me all seem automated with both the front and side blinds changing in unison at the destination. Is the "Smart Blind" system standard or is it operator dependent?
     
  25. causton

    causton Established Member

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    Operator dependent, some places round here from Arriva's Garston garage the buses all have manual blinds!

    Even with Smart Blinds I believe it is not connected to the iBus system. So you change it on the Smart Blind panel then on the iBus separately. I am friends with a manager of a London bus company who has recently bought some TfL spec vehicles with smart blinds so will ask!


    Edit: Can confirm not linked :)
     
    Last edited: 14 Apr 2015
  26. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    Changed by driver.
     
  27. Tom B

    Tom B Established Member

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    The major difference between London and not-London is the likelihood of change. An operator in London can buy a set of blinds for his company (probably even his garage!) with the current routes on it, and include any which are likely to come up for tender in the next few years that he wants to bid for, and any destinations for proposed extensions or new termini. (Metroline, for example, seem to have different blinds for different depots and a lot of the newer buses at PB were already fitted with "HIGHBURY BARN").

    Outwith London it is common for routes to start, stop and alter with much greater frequency. They are re-numbered and re-routed on a regular basis. LEDs therefore give operators flexibility as the only thing required is to have somebody go around the fleet the day before the service changes and upload a new file to each blind.

    (First Mainline inherited some ancient ex-London Darts, probably about 10 years ago now - they had some London style blinds made up for the routes they intended to use them on. Of course, they ended up on any and all routes. You would occasionally be waiting in the town centre for your bus and one would turn up - the driver would go up and down the blind looking for the destination required, then go into the saloon, pull an advert out of the holder, scribble the service number and destination on the back and throw it in the windscreen!)
     
  28. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I wish councils outside London would stop letting bus operators use displays to advertise 'weekly tickets' or 'follow us on Twitter'. It's ridiculous to have a bus approaching a stop showing nonsense like this, when you want to see the number at the very least!

    I've now seen more than one operator doing this in Hertfordshire, and should really get on to the council to ask (note in diary!) how this is in any way acceptable.
     
  29. Be3G

    Be3G Established Member

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    Ugh, agreed. I live not far from the Herts border as you know so have had several occasions when I've caught a route Weekly Pass For £8 to its destination of Buy From Driver. It's infuriating.
     
  30. Mutant Lemming

    Mutant Lemming Established Member

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    Outside of London you will find far more 'branded' routes painted in colours for a particular route - hardly ideal for that flexibility of moving to other routes. I would imagine changing a blind is far easier than repainting a vehicle.
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2015
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