Sadiq Kahn cancels NB4L/New Routemaster contract with Wrightbus

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by fredk, 2 Jan 2017.

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  1. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    So much has changed since I did that unexalted job that I wouldn't presume to know the answer, but I will just say that when I went up to Preston to see my in-laws at the time when I was doing the job I used to marvel at the positioning of bus stops, both Preston Corporation and Ribble, but particularly the former. Preston was beginning to replace crew deckers with opo single deckers, mostly 33 ft, but seemed to have no regard to how this might affect the stops, both from a driver's and a passenger's point of view, and there was definitely a huge cultural difference between London and Preston. Preston used to position bus stops immediately before traffic lights, mere feet away, which would never have been allowed in London, and I have to say the efficacy never outweighed the dangers to my way of thinking. Red light jumping by buses was something I'd rarely seen before, and I was shocked!
     
  2. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'm genuinely surprised. Placing stops by or at traffic lights is the norm in Germany, and is for reasons I outlined very effective to the point I think it should be near-always the preferred option - yet I don't think I ever saw a red light jumped by a bus driver over there.

    I guess these are "ding ding and away" type incidents?
     
  3. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Given London bus drivers must be monitored every which way, I am amazed how many jump red lights. Given how long some buses are, it's even more amazing because it's far more noticeable than a car doing the same.

    Not that either are any more right or wrong than each other, but buses do seem to like flooring it towards changing lights and hitting the line just as they go red. Don't buses have forward facing cameras? And that's besides the traffic cameras all over town?

    I have to assume there's a blind eye being turned, and perhaps drivers are even encouraged to make progress at any cost to keep to time (yet, clearly being left out in the cold to suffer if anything went wrong).
     
  4. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    I don't think I'm looking through rose-tinted spectacles when I say it hardly ever used to happen prior to the 1980s. London Transport operated all the buses themselves, of course, and trained all drivers, even if they'd already passed a PSV test. The role of the TGWU probably helped in that any unofficial pressure for drivers to 'make up time' or whatever would be resisted. A bad driver, though, would not be protected by the union.

    Believe it or not, many bus drivers would almost always stop on a yellow light, which you can't imagine now. I believe TfL should take a proactive role in training bus drivers, and I think this will come. I hope it doesn't take a nasty well-publicised accident to set this in motion.
     
  5. fredk

    fredk Member

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    In London I have noticed a huge difference between different operators. Arriva drivers seem to be the most slow and steady, stop for the amber when they could have gone anyway, while Metroline has a few drivers who don't mind thrashing the bus at 75mph then jumping the lights. Of course there are some exceptions, this is just what I have observed on average.
     
  6. urpert

    urpert Member

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    Similar distinction in my area between Stagecoach (very careful) and Abellio (less so).
     
  7. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Long standing contracting policy of Tfl, buses over 5 years not to be submitted for use on new tender apart from some heritage services. Leads to the average of London bus fleet being 6 (up on pre NB4L days) compared with around 8 excluding London and operators having to cascade buses too old for London to the regions reducing demand for new.
     
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2017
  8. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    There is no such limit.

    If the average age of a London bus is 6 years that would suggest that they're used for about 12 years.
     
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2017
  9. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    As long as the oldest buses are accessible, surely it doesn't matter the age as long as they're well maintained? I never see London buses that are falling to bits with engine management warnings on the dash (okay, often I can't see but I do try and glance).

    Compare to local buses with door, handbrake or gear problems. Yet still in service every day.
     
  10. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    Sorry, that just doesn't make sense. Where do you think those 5-year old buses go to ?
     
  11. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    Going back to the original comment, yes, no more Borismasters will be bought, but then with 1200 of them, that's more then the number of Routemasters in service before the final withdrawals started

    They won't be withdrawn, as apart from anything else, they're TfL's bus, a lot of the spec in them is what they insisted on not Boris. As shown by the new generation of "normal" double deckers for London which are a Borismaster lookalike from Wright (on a normal Volvo hybrid chassis) and the Enviro 400City, both of which to a layman (especially the former) look like variants of the Borismaster! A Wright prototype is operating on the 13 at the moment.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Interesting. I'm not in London often enough to form my own judgment on this, but, when I am, I tend to use Arriva buses quite a lot and I've certainly never had a major issue with the driving standards there. Abellio, on the other hand.... Don't often get to go on Metroline, other than perhaps a short trip along Oxford Street.
     
  13. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    There wont be 1200 of them.
     
  14. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    And the 13 route (which, incidentally, operated Routemasters for a longer continuous period than any other) is now to be withdrawn by TfL! (Ignore that the 82 might get a re-numbering to 13 just to confuse people)
     
  15. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

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    Look like they were designed for Thomas The Tank Engine. An idiotic looking machine with pointless design features.
     
  16. fredk

    fredk Member

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    This is not true at all. I still see some 01 and 02 plate ALX400s around so it's clearly not true.
     
  17. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

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    Indeed. Metroline are still using plenty of 55 plate buses, and Arriva only just shipped their 52 plate buses up this neck of the woods (and refitted them for their premium MAX services!).
     
  18. carlberry

    carlberry Member

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    I really dont understand the comparision! Theres more of them than there were Routemasters, after enough of the 2760 Routemasters were withdrawn for the number to be lower than the number of Borisbuses that were built!

    They wont be withdrawn because TfL are stuck with them and it's unlikely that they'll be able to get rid of them in the way that London has traditionally dealt with it's stupidity (Bendis (Political), DMS(Arrogant engineers)), SMS(Rushed design)).
     
  19. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    Except there weren't any 01-regs.....
     
  20. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    It was 51, which was (Sep) 2001 so I think the mention of 01 and 02 were the years, not the plates.
     
  21. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    My point was that it there would always be a finite number of 3 door Borismasters built, around the 1000ish mark for busy central London routes. I expect to see them stay on these routes, maybe fully electric buses will replace them in the future?

    Hendy likes having extra doors and open access on busy routes, the Borises combine that aspect of the Bendis with a double decker design.
     
  22. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    Peter Hendy left to go to Network Rail about 18 months ago

    The most likely outcome.... They'll have to run them in London for the next 10 years. They own them so they're stuck with them. No one else will want them so sale is unlikely. Parking them up on airfields for the next 10 years will be politically toxic.

    Let them work for the next 10 years, make do and manage, and then gradually start to withdraw them. The most pragmatic political thing to do
     
  23. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Fare evaders must love the extra doors, and knowing the driver isn't going to be asking you to come forward to present your ticket.

    Has TfL employed more revenue inspectors?
     
  24. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    BJ dodged the question when he was specifically asked how replacing the bendies (three doors) with NBFLs (three doors) was going to reduce fare evading..
     
  25. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    That doesn't seem like something our Boris would do!

    [emoji6]
     
  26. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Like my grandfather, selectively deaf!
     
  27. fredk

    fredk Member

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    To be fair the borismaster was meant to have an on board conductor to watch people board so this would have put people off fare dodging. However a conductor on bendy buses would probably have solved the fare dodging issue.

    But for me the fare dodging issue is irrelevant - bendy buses were dangerous in London.

    • They are involved in 2.62 collisions with cyclists per million miles, compared with 0.97 for other buses. And they have 153 accidents per million miles, compared with only 87 per million on non-bendy routes.
    • Bendy buses were involved in 1,751 accidents over the year - 75 per cent more than other buses, the figures reveal.

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/bendy-buses-the-fatal-facts-6588794.html
     
  28. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    And unlike the other "London rejected classes" they haven't exactly been snapped up by other UK operators either...
     
  29. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    Now, now.... let's not treat statistics selectively. Channel 4 fact checked the Boris claims (remember - the Standard was the most vociferous pro-Boris organ) and they reveal it's much more nuanced

    The actual number of incidents is small in all cases, but there's still a pretty big difference between the two types of bus: pedestrians and cyclists are both more than twice as likely to get into trouble on a bendy bus route.

    But this doesn't necessarily prove that the bendy bus is to blame. What about other factors, such as the roads the buses are using? Is it possible there are just more accidents on certain routes, regardless of the type of bus in operation?

    Figures released in January to the London Assembly paint a more moderate picture than the overall totals to which Boris refers. This breakdown compared collisions on all 12 bendy bus routes to collisions on 15 selected non-bendy routes.

    These selected routes tended to cover busy inner-city areas rather than the quieter suburbs. The number 41, for example, which goes from London Bridge, through Holborn, to Wood Green, or the number 8, which goes from Bow in the East End, along Oxford Street to Victoria.

    It's not necessarily a scientific study, but it would seem to be a more accurate representation of the kind of routes bendy buses serve.

    According to this breakdown, bendy bus routes threw up 5.6 collisions with pedestrians in 2006/07; non-bendy bus routes 5.17.

    Collisions with cyclists were 2.62 on bendy buses; but 2.78 on non-bendy routes.

    Damning evidence that bendy buses are, well, not much different from other buses?

    "The incidents that take place are both random, to do with the road networks themselves, and to do with weather conditions," David Brown, TFL's head of surface transport, said when presenting the figures to the Assembly. "They are not related to the type of vehicle that is operated on those roads."

    Overall, there were more bendy bus collisions - which could be to do with anything from a pedestrian, cyclist or vehicle to a lamppost, building, street sign or tree.

    There were 153 per million miles, compared with 117 for non-bendy buses. But cyclists and people made up a small proportion of these. Luckily, it's far more likely to be an inanimate object that gets over friendly with the bus.

    How do bendy buses score in contrast to accidents involving the old Routemaster?

    Changes in routes mean that data isn't directly comparable, but according to other figures TFL gave FactCheck, between January 1994 and September 2007 there were 0.05 fatalities per million km operated by bendy buses and 0.08 fatalities per million km operated by Routemasters.


    So, taken in isolation, Boris is right but when you put the figures in context, bendis were comparable in terms of accident rates with other vehicles.

    As for the redeployment question.... at least some bendis were reused by provincial operators. Who knows the likely redeployment of NB4Ls in the provinces if any withdrawals were made?
     
  30. carlberry

    carlberry Member

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    As the routes that have the passenger numbers (and flows) where they'd be viable are mostly in London then this is hardly a surprise!
     
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