Old buses & accessibility on public services.

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by jon0844, 8 Apr 2015.

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  1. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Uno bus has hired in some old (N-reg) double deck buses which are of a very old design. A high step to board (no kneeling) and steps inside. No area for buggies/wheelchairs, although they couldn't get on anyway.

    I asked the driver yesterday if they were allowed to be used (be he thought I was a ****!), and the driver said 'only on this route'. This got me wondering.. how does it have some sort of exemption for a certain route.

    In this case, they operate the 600/650 shuttles from the train station to the business park, but they're still ordinary buses that anyone can board. And even though the business park is private property, surely that doesn't exempt them from providing a service that's accessible?

    I have to assume Uno has the law on its side, but I do think it's still somewhat poor to be using them anyway. If they hired them in, why not hire in buses that are fully compliant?

    They do at least have displays at the front and side, but there's no screen at the back as there's not even a place for one to be given the old design!
     
  2. OwlMan

    OwlMan Established Member

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    The Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) requires that all single-decker buses be accessible by 2016 and all double-deckers by 2017.
     
  3. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    As already said, they are perfectly legal.

    However, they've probably had to hire in at short notice and hence that's what's available. Also, the fact that they've been placed on a specific route makes a lot of sense, and not surprisingly, it's likely to be one with fewer pensioners or buggies.
     
  4. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Buggies and pensioners, yes, but wheelchairs? There are wheelchair users on the business park, but perhaps they now have alternative travel arrangements.

    I assumed they had to be legal, but I do remember when I moved to Hatfield back in 2003 that when we got our local bus service (supported by HCC) the requirement (then) was for a fully accessible bus and even that the buses could not be older than three years!!

    Clearly the requirements from HCC must have changed quite soon after, as the buses now in use are sometimes even older than the new buses they got in at the time. It did seem rather crazy when I am not even sure London buses had to be that new - but that's what had been stated.

    It's rather funny to now see Uno getting in buses that are from the mid 1990s and have interiors that remind me of when I was a kid. This bus was like going back in time, with the horrid seating from the 80s and squeaks and rattles that actually makes me quite impressed that the bus is still actually going!!
     
  5. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    Driver is winding you up. Step entrance deckers are perfectly legal until 31/12/16 - and will then continue to be legal on many school runs, 'closed contracts' etc.
     
  6. skyhigh

    skyhigh Member

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    They're definitely not just on the 600/650 either - I've seen them used on the 647 as well.
     
  7. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    They can't be that temporary, as they've got Uno Bus and the depot address on the window near the doors.

    Mind you, they don't have a proper ticket machine and presumably can't be tracked by HCC's real time system.

    Finally, I don't think the driver was winding me up. That's probably what he was told, as we had a laugh about how old they were and he mentioned how he remembered them as a kid (and not having fond memories of them).

    2015-04-07 07.44.13.jpg 2015-04-07 07.44.01.jpg

    (They do also have CCTV fitted, although at least one dome I noticed had no camera inside it!)
     
    Last edited: 8 Apr 2015
  8. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    That is the legal lettering that they are legally obliged to carry.

    As for my earlier line, I did say that they had chosen services where there were fewer buggies and pensioners. The same may well apply for wheelchair users or anyone of impeded mobility in that they've established that it's probably the service with the least impact for the travelling public of all descriptions.

    Despite my aged status, I do think that the compulsion to low floor and DDA is the right thing to do. However, I do have a chuckle when I see pensioners and buggy pushers (the latter in particular) complaining about step floor machine like an Olympian.....and then I remember a childhood of Bristol RELHs, Bristol LHs and Leyland Leopards all being on bus services. The expectations of the travelling public have certainly grown since the 1970s!!
     
  9. MCR247

    MCR247 Established Member

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    I think having the address is a legal requirement for any bus operating in service
     
  10. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    Whether DDA is good or bad is highly debatable, yes it sounds good in principle but only one wheelchair can be accommodated and that is subject to buggies not already occupying the space and lets not forget that the wheelchair/buggy bay means fewer seats.
     
  11. Mugby

    Mugby Established Member

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    The irony of the DDA regulations on wheelchair space is that with the massive increase in the popularity of electrically powered mobility buggies now, use of the old style hand propelled wheelchair seems to have diminished sharply.
     
  12. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    I doubt that anyone can seriously suggest that DDA is 'bad'. The whole point of the legislation is to ensure that, as far as is practical, people who suffer from any of a range of disabilities should be treated no differently to those who are more able. Operators have had 15 years to get ready !
     
  13. mph1977

    mph1977 Member

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    a lot of mobility scooters are purchased for convenience / 'want' rather than becasue they have an objective need and the only 'assessment' of the need of the user is undertaken by the salesman rather than the process for supply of wheelchairs through the NHS either direct or on the voucher scheme where a proper assessment by an OT is done ...
     
  14. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    Well it has partially solved one problem whilst creating a whole host of other problems
     
  15. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    I can think of a few problems that may be caused by the DDA regs, but not very many. What are your 'whole host of other problems' ?

    We shouldn't forget that a largely unintended benefit of the need for things like lower floors, ramps, wheelchair space etc is that the 'buggy brigade' also now use buses more than they might otherwise.
     
  16. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    The most obvious problem is fewer seats and more people forced to stand at busy times including (ironically!) disabled people the vast majority of whom are not in wheelchairs. Any wheelchair user has to take pot luck as to whether they'll get on or be left to wait for the next bus. As for buggies, well those with babies in is one thing but children who are quite capable of walking?
     
  17. mph1977

    mph1977 Member

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    never mind the average 'buggy' thse days is bigger than a silver cross coachbuilt push chair ...

    i remember the original maclaren buggies which folded up propery to the point you could stick a good few in a over the wheel arch luggage tray or in the under the staris luggage space ...
     
  18. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    I take it you've not got children? There's a difference in children who can walk but can't manage to walk round half the day! Anyone who's had a 3 year old will know ;)

    To be honest, bus companies have got themselves in a pickle in initially marketing these as buggy buses. Where people used to fold pushchairs up (and I take the point, they're a lot bigger and more complex than those of 30 years ago), now it's almost a human right. Except it isn't.

    DDA has compelled vehicles to be easy access, and that benefits all. No more B10Ms on city services and that sort of practice. Yes, it's not perfect but is it the right thing? In the round, yeah.

    And let's not kid ourselves... bus companies have long tried to work with the optimal (smallest) vehicles that they can for financial reasons. Even before DDA, Leyland Nationals were being replaced by Dennis Darts with 10 fewer seats - not really fair to lay all the blame at the feet of the legislation.
     
  19. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    You take it wrong, I have got children and grandchildren.

    It just niggles me a bit when people talk about DDA as some major breakthrough whilst trying to sweep the down side of it under the carpet.

    I was bus driving when low floor buses first hit the streets of London and the main complaint from the elderly and infirm was the reduced seating particularly at the front of the bus, but who cares what they think?
     
  20. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    In which case, you should know better ;) Have you forgotten about the 3 year old who can walk but gets knackered and you then end up carrying or pushing?

    There's no dispute (from me at least) that DDA legislation has caused problems and downsides. However, on the whole, is it the right thing to do? On balance, I think it is.
     
  21. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    Of course I know but it doesn't change the practicalities of buggies on buses.

    Whether DDA is a good or bad thing is very much a matter of opinion.
     
  22. mbonwick

    mbonwick Established Member

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    Agree with this, but where it does cause problems is for the larger vehicle sizes (ironically)...49 seats has long been a contract standard for single decks, but you just can't get that capacity in similar sized DDA compliant vehicles - they languish around 41/42 seats.
    Same thing goes for Olympians - H51/36F gives a huge 87 seats but the only way you get near that these days is by ordering stretched Scania based E400s, or even moving up to E500s!

    I know most instances where capacity like this is an issue are DDA-exempt due to being closed contracts, but that's not necessarily the end of the matter. Take Fife Council for example - they have a 15 year age limit on their school tenders, which presents a problem when they want 80+ seat capacity as you just cannot find that really on post-2000 built vehicles.
     
  23. South Westerly

    South Westerly Member

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    ...but of course you had low floor without DDA. You could argue that an early low floor single decker, with no wheelchair bay was the best outcome for the vast majority of passengers - no loss of seats and step free entry.

    DDA required the wheelchair bay for the very few, forcing those who aren't wheelchair users to walk further down the bus to find a seat and reducing overall seating capacity, and heralding those awful flip down/up seats. The majority of people who benefit from step free buses are those, generally more senior passengers, who have limited mobility but do walk. They gained from low floor introduction, but then DDA forced them to walk further down the bus to find a seat!
     
  24. Stompehh

    Stompehh Member

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    Presumably most passengers have to walk more than 3m to get to/from the bus stop, so I'm not sure why the extra few paces on board the bus is considered a massive issue.
     
  25. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    In London and the few other cities where dual door buses are commonplace this is a particular problem, especially on double deckers. The first batches of low floor deckers in London were not well thought-out at all in relation to the staircase/door position but this improved later. As an 'ope' who now has to think twice about ascending bus stairs when the bus is moving, it is a slight problem but far better that we have wheelchair provision than not.
     
  26. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    Again, perhaps a legacy of the early days when marketing aimed squarely at buggy pushers, and a lack of urgency to inform passengers and train drivers as to how to manage such issues.

    We may agree to differ but I don't think it's the legislation per se that is wrong but the way the industry generally approached it.
     
  27. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    Very well summed up, easier to board but it's further down the bus to the seats and there are fewer of them.
     
  28. Hophead

    Hophead Member

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    How many Olympians and the like ever offered 87 seats? I'd say the average on a rear-engined double-decker used to be around 72-75 seats and the average on a low-floor double-decker these days is around 72-75 seats. If buses in London have fewer seats, its because TfL specify it.
     
  29. mbonwick

    mbonwick Established Member

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    A significant minority of Olympian production was the longer, 87 seat version (easily identifiable if Alexander bodied by the extra half bay window in the middle). I can't put a number to it, but it's probably easily above 500.

    If we want to compare the shorter versions of the Olympian (but let's not forget that the lengths offered by Volvo were 9.6m and 10.3m - so already smaller than modern equivilents) then a typical capacity was H47/32F, so 79 seats.
    Typical capacity on todays vehicles - H47/28F or even H45/28F, giving at best 75 seats, probably less.

    It's also worth pointing out that a significantly higher number of the longer Olympians have survived up until now simply because of their capacity.
     
  30. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    Operators like Nottingham and Brighton & Hove took long Scanias with East Lancs bodies to ensure high capacity vehicles.
     
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