End of Routemaster multiple door operation

WatcherZero

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TfL has conducted a trial of only using the front door for passengers and the middle door for wheelchair access on the number 8 route. They found that fare evasion was twice as high on buses when multiple doors were in use compared to one with £3.6m in fare evasion across the Routemaster fleet being directly attributable to the doors. Meanwhile passenger loading times didn't change. So today they've announced that from 26th January only the front doors will be in use on all Routemasters.

The Irony is the Routemasters were bought in part because of an argument over fare evasion on the bendy buses but that fare evasion was measured at only £1.9m a year in 2006, half as much!!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-51062969
Passengers using London's New Routemaster buses will only be able to board them using the front door in future, transport bosses have said.

The vehicles were originally designed to allow people to enter through doors in the rear, middle or at the front.

But a Transport for London (TfL) pilot on one route showed fare evasion rates were twice as high on New Routemasters compared to other buses.

The change will be introduced on the first buses on 25 January.

A test carried out by TfL last year where passengers could only board New Routemasters on route 8 using the front door led to evasion rates being more than halved.

As a result, the transport body estimates more than £3.6m is lost each year through people not paying fares on New Routemasters, compared to other front-boarding only buses....
 
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Bletchleyite

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TfL has conducted a trial of only using the front door for passengers and the middle door for wheelchair access on the number 8 route. They found that fare evasion was twice as high on buses when multiple doors were in use compared to one with £3.6m in fare evasion across the Routemaster fleet being directly attributable to the doors. Meanwhile passenger loading times didn't change. So today they've announced that from 26th January only the front doors will be in use on all Routemasters.
I think you've got a part-story there.

I understand the change is to bring the Bozza buses into line with other London buses in that boarding will only be at the front except for those with wheelchairs/prams. The other two doors will remain in use for alighting only.

So what is ending is not multiple-door operation but open boarding.
 

Southern Dvr

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It amazes me people go to such lengths to dodge a £1.50 fare.
If you were making 2 bus journeys a day (1 to and 1 from work) that’s £3. If you’re working a 5 day week that’s £15 a week. If you work say 45 weeks out of 52 in a year that’s about £675 a year in lost revenue.
 

carlberry

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The Irony is the Routemasters were bought in part because of an argument over fare evasion on the bendy buses but that fare evasion was measured at only £1.9m a year in 2006, half as much!!
The Boris buses were brought in on the back of a load of spin that the bendy buses were causing the fare evasion, dispute having the same number of doors.
 

AlbertBeale

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Boris, spin? No... :)
When the "New Routemasters" were introduced with staffed open back platforms, there almost certainly was a cut in fare dodging compared with the 60-foot bendy buses with just a driver. (And there were other reasons for being rid of the bendy buses anyway - but that's a different topic!) I wonder how the cost of the staff member compares with the different in fare-paying as between NRs and other (two-door-only) buses? And of course the open back platform saved lots of passenger time - often 30% in the centre - but bus passengers' time is not seen as being worth anything.
 

Bletchleyite

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When the "New Routemasters" were introduced with staffed open back platforms, there almost certainly was a cut in fare dodging
That person didn't have anything to do with revenue, though some might have casually said "oi mate, you haven't tapped in". Conductors certainly would reduce fare dodging pretty much to zero, but they weren't conductors, partly because that would have left the platform unsupervised, and partly because you can't crush load if the conductor needs to get round - anyone remember the Routemaster (or Blackpool tram) days of having to let several buses past because they were "full" i.e. about 5 standees?

On the other hand, "on at the front, off at the back" works quite well particularly with two staircases as per Berlin deckers. This means nowhere in the bus will there be a two-way flow of people at any time, unlike a regular two-door bus with a front and centre door. So it might actually be the case, counterintuitively, that this actually speeds things up.
 

FOH

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One of my routes is split between new routemasters and standard buses. When the next came around the corner (standard bus) i overheard a group of girls behind me exclaim "oh no, I was hoping it'd be a free bus".

Shame, as I love them, but yes, it seems you cannot trust the passengers and they've spoilt it for everyone else.
 

Mikey C

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That person didn't have anything to do with revenue, though some might have casually said "oi mate, you haven't tapped in". Conductors certainly would reduce fare dodging pretty much to zero, but they weren't conductors, partly because that would have left the platform unsupervised, and partly because you can't crush load if the conductor needs to get round - anyone remember the Routemaster (or Blackpool tram) days of having to let several buses past because they were "full" i.e. about 5 standees?

On the other hand, "on at the front, off at the back" works quite well particularly with two staircases as per Berlin deckers. This means nowhere in the bus will there be a two-way flow of people at any time, unlike a regular two-door bus with a front and centre door. So it might actually be the case, counterintuitively, that this actually speeds things up.
But the the staircases weren't designed to be like that, as the front one is a "modern" straight staircase, whereas the rear one is the RM style curved one, and presumably trickier for people who are a bit "wobblier"

A shame as I always liked getting on at the back
 

Snow1964

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TfL has conducted a trial of only using the front door for passengers and the middle door for wheelchair access on the number 8 route. They found that fare evasion was twice as high on buses when multiple doors were in use compared to one with £3.6m in fare evasion across the Routemaster fleet being directly attributable to the doors. Meanwhile passenger loading times didn't change. So today they've announced that from 26th January only the front doors will be in use on all Routemasters.

The Irony is the Routemasters were bought in part because of an argument over fare evasion on the bendy buses but that fare evasion was measured at only £1.9m a year in 2006, half as much!!
This isn't quite right, they are only converting the 55 and 267 (and night N55) on 25th January
The 55 is Stagecoach operated (like route 8), the 267 Abellio (and only new routemaster based at TF Twickenham)

The Board papers (I think it is audit committee or Finance committee papers) state TfL issued a contract to modify all 1000 buses to be completed by early December 2019 as door switches were not originally designed to allow driver just to open front door only. Unfortunately the contract was issued to Wrightbus (who went bust), presumably because they built the buses. I suspect they didn't do any due diligence on Wrightbus last year before awarding this.

The plan was to convert all routes in January, but due to the delay in getting the door controls modified, other routes will convert later. It remains to be seen if this achieved in Feb or early March, or if it will drag into the run up to mayoral election in London (which could see it deferred)
 

PeterC

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But the the staircases weren't designed to be like that, as the front one is a "modern" straight staircase, whereas the rear one is the RM style curved one, and presumably trickier for people who are a bit "wobblier"

A shame as I always liked getting on at the back
Curiously I have always found curved rear staircases easier than straight ones.
 

AlbertBeale

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Curiously I have always found curved rear staircases easier than straight ones.
Not curious. The shape - and the placing of handrails - makes the rear staircase on those buses feel easier and safer to navigate than any other staircases on recent buses that I know of. At least that's how it feels to me and to some older people I know.

And re Bletchleyite ("That person didn't have anything to do with revenue...") - well, not as such (being allegedly needed for H&S), but since they were there on the back platform, few people went past them without using the Oyster machine; they didn't need to do anything, their presence had that effect.
 

Busaholic

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Curiously I have always found curved rear staircases easier than straight ones.
As someone who walks wonkily with a stick because of MS I can't contemplate going up and down stairs on modern buses while they're in motion, but I believe I could with a curved staircase like on the RM, and, believe me, it's the coming down which is the trickier and more dangerous.
 

Wolfie

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TfL has conducted a trial of only using the front door for passengers and the middle door for wheelchair access on the number 8 route. They found that fare evasion was twice as high on buses when multiple doors were in use compared to one with £3.6m in fare evasion across the Routemaster fleet being directly attributable to the doors. Meanwhile passenger loading times didn't change. So today they've announced that from 26th January only the front doors will be in use on all Routemasters.

The Irony is the Routemasters were bought in part because of an argument over fare evasion on the bendy buses but that fare evasion was measured at only £1.9m a year in 2006, half as much!!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-51062969
Another Boris triumph ...
 

edwin_m

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And re Bletchleyite ("That person didn't have anything to do with revenue...") - well, not as such (being allegedly needed for H&S), but since they were there on the back platform, few people went past them without using the Oyster machine; they didn't need to do anything, their presence had that effect.
I don't know specifically about these buses but fare dodging typically costs 2-5% of revenue to PT operators. Even if an extra person on the bus increases revenue by 10% it wouldn't offset a near-doubling of staff costs.
 

ajrm

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Not curious. The shape - and the placing of handrails - makes the rear staircase on those buses feel easier and safer to navigate than any other staircases on recent buses that I know of. At least that's how it feels to me and to some older people I know.

And re Bletchleyite ("That person didn't have anything to do with revenue...") - well, not as such (being allegedly needed for H&S).
It's a legal requirement, and always has been, that to run a bus with an open platform in public service you need a second member of staff to supervise the platform and give the driver a starting signal. You can justify the wages when that member of staff is collecting revenue, but the big problem with the LTs was always that Oyster made that part of the role redundant, so you're paying someone just to give a starting signal.
 

PeterC

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As someone who walks wonkily with a stick because of MS I can't contemplate going up and down stairs on modern buses while they're in motion, but I believe I could with a curved staircase like on the RM, and, believe me, it's the coming down which is the trickier and more dangerous.
On a straight staircase as the bus slows down the forces are in the direction of the stair, on an RM or RT forces were against the wall.
 

edwin_m

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It's a legal requirement, and always has been, that to run a bus with an open platform in public service you need a second member of staff to supervise the platform and give the driver a starting signal. You can justify the wages when that member of staff is collecting revenue, but the big problem with the LTs was always that Oyster made that part of the role redundant, so you're paying someone just to give a starting signal.
They would have to at least double the revenue to justify their own wages.
 

AlbertBeale

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They would have to at least double the revenue to justify their own wages.
That calculation would be true if the total cost of running a bus was the staff time on the bus - so two staff needs double revenue. But the payment of the staff on the bus is very far from being the only cost! Hence the percentage of extra revenue needed to justify the extra person in those terms is much less.

But there are other financial grounds besides that, anyway. By allowing the back platform to be open, their presence enables many passengers to cut a significant amount off of their journey time; so the business case for them in that sense would be quite strong ... if only bus passengers' time was valued like train passengers' time is.
 

Busaholic

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On a straight staircase as the bus slows down the forces are in the direction of the stair, on an RM or RT forces were against the wall.
As someone always absolutely useless at physics, are you saying that my gut feeling that I'm far more at risk of falling right down the stairs on a straight staircase bus than an RM or RT is correct i.e. I might get some nasty bruising from the latter but less likely to break my neck?
 

AlbertBeale

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As someone always absolutely useless at physics, are you saying that my gut feeling that I'm far more at risk of falling right down the stairs on a straight staircase bus than an RM or RT is correct i.e. I might get some nasty bruising from the latter but less likely to break my neck?
As a one-time physics teacher (though replying from my own experience rather than from having done any sums!!), I'd say it's definitely the case that the rear staircase on the "new RMs" both feels and is safer than a straight staircase.
 

edwin_m

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That calculation would be true if the total cost of running a bus was the staff time on the bus - so two staff needs double revenue. But the payment of the staff on the bus is very far from being the only cost! Hence the percentage of extra revenue needed to justify the extra person in those terms is much less.
But London buses are famously subsidized, so the cost of running the bus will be greater than the farebox receipts.
 

matt_world2004

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But London buses are famously subsidized, so the cost of running the bus will be greater than the farebox receipts.
Something like 60 bus routes in London ha e greater revenue return than it costs to run them . Most central London ones certainly will.
 

jon0844

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The Boris buses were brought in on the back of a load of spin that the bendy buses were causing the fare evasion, dispute having the same number of doors.
For all the arguments against the Boris buses, the fare evasion was terrible on bendy buses. With so little revenue enforcement, I have no idea how anyone could accurately measure it, but I'm sure all Londoners and visitors/commuters could see how bad it was with their own eyes.

Yes, I suppose we can argue that people may all have seasons and not need to tap in or show a ticket, but I think we can also be more realistic. TfL has been more proactive of late, and as the TV series showed, the problem is bad enough to, well, prompt this change.

Only issue is people will still board through the other doors and figure no driver will just stand down and get out the newspaper, so how much of a difference it makes is going to be one to see once it happens.
 

PeterC

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As a one-time physics teacher (though replying from my own experience rather than from having done any sums!!), I'd say it's definitely the case that the rear staircase on the "new RMs" both feels and is safer than a straight staircase.
Don't know about the NB4L but on a REAL Routemaster or a RT I could walk down before the bus stopped holding one rail. On a modern bus I have to hold both sides.
 

Busaholic

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Don't know about the NB4L but on a REAL Routemaster or a RT I could walk down before the bus stopped holding one rail. On a modern bus I have to hold both sides.
Exactly - and only one of my hands functions in more than a perfunctory fashion now, so top deck travel is unfortunately a no-no, but I've still got the lower deck, so no reason to moan.
 

Mikey C

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Don't know about the NB4L but on a REAL Routemaster or a RT I could walk down before the bus stopped holding one rail. On a modern bus I have to hold both sides.
On a real Routemaster etc, if you fell while going down the stairs you could end up falling out of the bus completely...o_O
 

JonathanH

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There is quite a bit of fare evasion even with front entrance past the driver. Some people 'encourage' the driver to let them on without payment and the driver, behind a screen, is pretty much powerless to stop them.
 

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