New London Routemaster buses

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A0wen

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Anyone been on one yet? Are the worth the price or is it just an expensive white elephant?
Far too soon to establish if it's a white elephant.

If you looked at the original RM you could easily have claimed that was a white elephant. It didn't sell outside London, was front-engined and 2 manned at the time the industry was moving to rear-engine OMO vehicles. Yet few would claim they were anything other than successful.

Compare and contrast with the Daimler Fleetline.

LT bought over 2,500 of these yet started withdrawing them when they were as little as 8 years old. However they saw long service in other areas like the West Mids for over 25 years. So you could say from LT's point of view they were white elephants, yet wider evidence doesn't support that.

The new London bus's success will depend on a few points:

- passenger reaction
- reliability in service
- uptake by other operators

and, more difficult to identify, whether it moves bus design forward.

It's got alot of technology which could easily be seen in mainstream vehicles in years to come.
 

Ivo

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Is there any way of knowing which journeys will be run by Borismasters? I will be in London on Thursday and would like to at least see the new vehicle in action...
 

Anon Mouse

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Routemasters are rostered on the 'heritage' routes and a number of the open top tours....oh hang on, you are refering to the Borismobile! :)
 

EM2

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At the moment, it's only route 38 Victoria - Clapton.

Personally, I think they're a colossal waste of money, there was nothing wrong with the artics, and even if you think there was, over 90 standard hybrid buses could be bought for the £11m that this fleet of eight have cost.
 

Anon Mouse

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At the moment, it's only route 38 Victoria - Clapton.

Personally, I think they're a colossal waste of money, there was nothing wrong with the artics, and even if you think there was, over 90 standard hybrid buses could be bought for the £11m that this fleet of eight have cost.
Not that I'm complaining, those artics are well suited to Go North East's number 58 ;)
 

Ivo

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I know it's only on the 38 - but if there is only one currently operational, the odds of using are pretty slim! Is it on one specific duty or is it likely to change?

The ex-London Citaro artics suit the Bristol 904 Park & Ride well too ;)
 

A0wen

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The Routemaster did sell outside of London

Northern General had a sizeable fleet of front loading Routemasters, and at least one is preserved.......... http://www.flickr.com/photos/emdjt42/3447003757/

(I think the guy who's Flickr this is off is on here so I hope he doesnt mind!)
Sorry - should have put 'barely' sold outside London.

If Wikipedia is to be believed Northern General bought 50 new plus one prototype.

Compared to other buses of the same generation, the RM had a production run of 2876 - virtually all of which went to LT (or London Country).

The Bristol Lodekka sold over 5,200 to various operators - it would probably have been more if Bristol hadn't been prevented from selling in the open market.

The later Bristol VR sold over 4,500.

The Atlantean came in at over 15,000.

None of these three sold to LT in any volumes - the Atlantean was rejected in favour of the Fleetline. I don't think LT ever took Bristol double-deckers post war ?
 

WillPS

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At the moment, it's only route 38 Victoria - Clapton.

Personally, I think they're a colossal waste of money, there was nothing wrong with the artics, and even if you think there was, over 90 standard hybrid buses could be bought for the £11m that this fleet of eight have cost.
That £11m for a fleet of 8 contains a significant amount of development money - a burden most operators don't carry and will become decreasingly significant as the fleet size increases. By the time you have a fleet of 90 (still a drop in the ocean for London) the difference will be far less galling.

It's all rather more important than that anyway, it will (hopefully) be a much better bus for London and will certainly become iconic for the city in a way that I'm not sure anything has been since the Millennium attractions.
 

bb21

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That £11m for a fleet of 8 contains a significant amount of development money - a burden most operators don't carry and will become decreasingly significant as the fleet size increases. By the time you have a fleet of 90 (still a drop in the ocean for London) the difference will be far less galling.

It's all rather more important than that anyway, it will (hopefully) be a much better bus for London and will certainly become iconic for the city in a way that I'm not sure anything has been since the Millennium attractions.
I agree that talk of how expensive development costs really are cannot be started yet just for now as we await the next batch of orders.

The only thing I don't really understand is that it is still a good few million spent on designing something that does not really offer that much extra. Much of the technology can be incorporated into existing vehicle design anyway. In an age where local councils are forced to cut large chunks off their budgets, is this really such a good way of spending that sort of money?

I still see it as Boris's spin. I'm not convinced.
 

WatcherZero

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That £11m for a fleet of 8 contains a significant amount of development money - a burden most operators don't carry and will become decreasingly significant as the fleet size increases. By the time you have a fleet of 90 (still a drop in the ocean for London) the difference will be far less galling.

It's all rather more important than that anyway, it will (hopefully) be a much better bus for London and will certainly become iconic for the city in a way that I'm not sure anything has been since the Millennium attractions.
They wasted £1m on the visual design competition, choosing a design that was impossible to manufacture and bears little resemblence to the actual production design. From a technical perspective they basically started again from scratch when the contract was awarded.
 

Deerfold

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There is currently 1 NBfL in operation M-F.

The second is due to start 12/03/2012.
The third is due to start 19/03/2012.
On 24/03/2012 they will start running on weekends.
The fourth is due to start 07/04/2012.

To begin with they are "shadowing" existing trips.

That should stop them getting overful...
 

Deerfold

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The introductory timetable is at

http://www.londonbusroutes.net/times/038X.pdf

Bus 38 already runs every 1-2 minutes in peak hours, and has a PVR of 68, so even if this bus replaced an existing journey there wouldn't be much impact on the route as a whole.
That was *supposed* to be the initial timetable but there's only one bus in service at the moment. I suspect half these trips will run. I believe the first run was the 1221 from Hackney yesterday.

All of them are likely to run from 12/03/2012.
 

Schnellzug

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Having looked at it again (in Buses magazine, not in the flesh), I don't think it looks too bad now, actually, apart from that silly "sash" over the nearside headlight. I don't know when I might get the chance to get up there to try one out, mind, but if i do get the chance I shall of course be the first to know.
 

tbtc

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Far too soon to establish if it's a white elephant.

If you looked at the original RM you could easily have claimed that was a white elephant. It didn't sell outside London, was front-engined and 2 manned at the time the industry was moving to rear-engine OMO vehicles. Yet few would claim they were anything other than successful.

Compare and contrast with the Daimler Fleetline.

LT bought over 2,500 of these yet started withdrawing them when they were as little as 8 years old. However they saw long service in other areas like the West Mids for over 25 years. So you could say from LT's point of view they were white elephants, yet wider evidence doesn't support that.

The new London bus's success will depend on a few points:

- passenger reaction
- reliability in service
- uptake by other operators

and, more difficult to identify, whether it moves bus design forward.

It's got alot of technology which could easily be seen in mainstream vehicles in years to come.
Sorry - should have put 'barely' sold outside London.

If Wikipedia is to be believed Northern General bought 50 new plus one prototype.

Compared to other buses of the same generation, the RM had a production run of 2876 - virtually all of which went to LT (or London Country).

The Bristol Lodekka sold over 5,200 to various operators - it would probably have been more if Bristol hadn't been prevented from selling in the open market.

The later Bristol VR sold over 4,500.

The Atlantean came in at over 15,000.

None of these three sold to LT in any volumes - the Atlantean was rejected in favour of the Fleetline. I don't think LT ever took Bristol double-deckers post war ?
I agree with what you are saying about Routemasters, the problem here is that "image" will count for a lot more with the Boris buses than facts do.

As far as I'm concerned, if London wants to waste lots of its money on conceptual vehicles (rather than practically addressing how to move large numbers of people) then that's fair enough. However its obvious that most London buses tend to get too old for the capital half way through their fifteen/twenty year life, and are therefore dumped on the rest of the country.

Thats fair enough when you are talking about a standard Denis Trident (like the ones First are introducing in Sheffield, after their tour of duty in London - all you need to do is board up the "rear" door), but quite a pain when you have a non-standard vehicle - how are places like Gateshead/ Rotherham going to deal with a bus with two staircases?

The new bus has inherant problems that will reduce its life expectancy and will cost more than two "conventional" double deckers, but its more about hype/spin than such practical concerns (sadly!)
 

Schnellzug

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I agree with what you are saying about Routemasters, the problem here is that "image" will count for a lot more with the Boris buses than facts do.

As far as I'm concerned, if London wants to waste lots of its money on conceptual vehicles (rather than practically addressing how to move large numbers of people) then that's fair enough. However its obvious that most London buses tend to get too old for the capital half way through their fifteen/twenty year life, and are therefore dumped on the rest of the country.

Thats fair enough when you are talking about a standard Denis Trident (like the ones First are introducing in Sheffield, after their tour of duty in London - all you need to do is board up the "rear" door), but quite a pain when you have a non-standard vehicle - how are places like Gateshead/ Rotherham going to deal with a bus with two staircases?!)
Well, i don't think that's what they're thinking about. What they seem to be planning on is keeping them in London for all their design life, like the RT and RM, and not cascading them, which is why they specified their own specification rather than allowing operators to put their own in.
What are these inherant problems that will reduce its life expectancy?
 

Statto

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The Routemaster was developed & built in partnership with LT, & until the 70s most operators specified there own designs., so a bit unfair to call the Routemaster a White Elephant, as they were specifically designed for London.
 

tbtc

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Well, i don't think that's what they're thinking about. What they seem to be planning on is keeping them in London for all their design life, like the RT and RM, and not cascading them, which is why they specified their own specification rather than allowing operators to put their own in.
What are these inherant problems that will reduce its life expectancy?
At the moment this is what they are saying, yes, but will that really be the case once they start getting old?

I can't honestly see them staying on frontline routes in Central London all of their natural life.
 

A0wen

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The Routemaster was developed & built in partnership with LT, & until the 70s most operators specified there own designs., so a bit unfair to call the Routemaster a White Elephant, as they were specifically designed for London.
Partly true - operators did have alot of input into the vehicle design, but nothing like to the same extent as London Transport did with the RM. However, the Bristol Lodekka - a product of the same generation as the RM was pretty standard to all customers.

In the 60s most companies were moving towards OMO buses - which were invariably on standard chassis - be it Bristol RE, AEC Reliance, AEC Swift, Leyland Panther, Leyland Atlantean, Daimler Fleetline. The bodies tended to be more specific, usually because they were sourced from the local coachbuilder, but the chassis were very standard.
 

jopsuk

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One good point with respect to sale elsewhere is that they can only be sold to right-hand-drive markets. Almost all modern buses have modular doors, cabs, stairwells and a centrally located engine. The stairs of the NBL have meant the engine is to one side. To make a right and drive version wouldn't be impossible, but would require careful redesign to mirror it.

(Alexander Dennis, for example, export quite a lot of Enviro 500s- the three axle version of the 400)
 

Oracle

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Don't forget that the Lodeka begat the Dennis Loline as well...arguably a better licence-built version.

In the past British half-deckers have been sold in lhd markets, with left-hand cabs and even right-hand cabs (e.g. for Madrid) but right-side platforms!
 

deltic1989

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Don't forget that the Lodeka begat the Dennis Loline as well...arguably a better licence-built version.

In the past British half-deckers have been sold in lhd markets, with left-hand cabs and even right-hand cabs (e.g. for Madrid) but right-side platforms!
And in New York (USA) I was fortunate enough to take an open topped bus tour on a right hand drive bristol VR (or it may have been an atlantean i was 12) they just kept the front doors on the left hand side and fitted a new set in the centre on the right hand side.
 

DarkestDreams

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I travelled on one today and I've got to say, I loved it. I wasn't a fan of the design from renders and so on, but when it pulls up it looks very majestic and the interior is wonderful; it actually feels well designed, rather than most busses. The development costs weren't actually that high, and I'm getting sick of the media quoting that figure. Once there's 100 of the things, it won't matter.
 
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