Friday, 4 July 2008

Boris proposing giant buses?

Boris Johnson has launched his A New Bus For London competition. There are two elements - a "just for fun" public competition and a more serious competition for designers, which includes outline specifications.

The bus is required to be a double decker and articulation is specifically banned. It'll have an open-rear platform plus at least one other door, each with Oyster readers. There's no stated requirement for either of them to be supervised, making it potentially as much of a free-for-all as bendy buses. However, a second crew member is a requirement of the design.

The big surprise is the maximum length allowed - 13.5m, roughly the same as the giant Skyliner coaches used by The Oxford Tube and National Express. A Routemaster is about 8 metres, an ordinary modern double decker 10 metres and a bendy bus 18 metres.

In contrast, the minimum passenger capacity is only 72 (including standees), about the same as a normal double decker. A Skyliner has 81 seats, and a bendy bus can carry well over a hundred.


Ian Bartlett said...

So it's true...the Boris Bike Basher is a real possibility.

Surely a bendy bus, which flexes in the middle so makes its two 'halves' shorter than the BBB is a better bet. I predict this whole idea will be ditched once cost implications and practicalities come into the equation.

Ricolas said...

There is a requirement for an extra member of staff for the bus in the design spec. Disingenuous to claim otherwise.

Equally, the fact that the bus could be 13.5 m long doesn't mean that it will be.

A madly pro-bendy bus stance is as wrong headed as a mindessly anti-bendy bus position. If the result is a better vehicle designed with London's streets and needs in mind, then that will be brilliant, rather than the compromise creations we have now.

Although I am inclined to agree that it will never happen due to cost implications!

Andrew said...

The most important feature of any new bus should be a mechanism to require all passengers to have a valid ticket; otherwise, it'll be another "free bus", with no seats available because it's full of freeloaders.

I suspect that a lot of the problems with the bendy bus come down to the fact that patronage is much higher than it would be if only fare-paying customers were aboard.

Mr Thant (Editor) said...

Sorry ricolas, I'd missed the mention of the second crew member as it's only in the terms and not the specification. I've modified the post accordingly.

I still think it's notable that the doors aren't required to be supervised.

Anonymous said... could compromise and introduce bendy double-deckers.

Innocent Abroad said...

Erm, why not just add a clippie to the double-deckers we've already got and take the doors off?

Or have I missed something?

Dazz285 said...

Found this...

Dazz285 said...

Web site didn't type out.. trying again..

You never know this might happen

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see which carries passengers first - this 'BJbus' or the innovatively-funded Oxford-Cambridge east/west rail scheme being promoted by 17+ local authorities.

Or perhaps neither? In my lifetime, that is.

Anonymous said...

What a load of rot. This guy clearly doesn't even understand how the contracting system in London works, the individual operators need to be able to buy more than just the one model.

It is about time people just get over the Routemaster and look to the future, not the past. Any spec with an open platform is a backwards step.

Antonio said...

Can't wait to be the poor sod at the back of the bus, standing by the open platform in winter. Or when it's windy and pissing it down.

What muppetry.

James said...

Oh, and it can have air cooling, and a huge hole in the back - that's efficent...

JPB said...

It only suggests air con for the upper deck. You could also have some kind of screen between the open deck area and the interior to aid the air con.

@Innocent Abroad
I wouldn't want to be on a packed double decker by the open door as it goes around a corner!

I wonder if you could display the Oyster cards in the proximity of a reader that haven't been bleeped?! Probably not with the current technology.

My other idea is fold down seats that cannot be put down during busy times - to maximise standing room.

Ross said...

I am sorry but the Bendy-buses really are too dangerous and far too cumbersome for tight corners - A suitable fixed body double decked bus, whether Routemaster or not is far safer and practical to all transport and road users. To my mind, the possibility of electronic rear wheel steer has not been touched upon, despite the reliabilty record within various vehicle systems for the past 20 years!!!