Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Comparing the New Double deck bus types

Below is a table that I have produced to compare the different bus types that the manufacturers provide.  The buses listed on the table are conventional buses except for the New Routemaster because it’s specifically designed.

I haven’t included the cost for each individual bus type because it’s not available. The cost for the Wrightbus 'New Routemaster' is however available on this link.

Alexander Dennis
Enviro400 MMC (Major Model Change)
Gemini 3 B5TL
Gemini 2 or 3 B5LH
New Routemaster
Diesel or Hybrid
1 or 2
1 or 2
1 or 2
1 or 2
1 or 2
3 doors
Cummins lSB6.7 six cylinder
Mercedes-Benz OM934LA  four cylinder
Daimler 4 cylinder  OM934
Volvo D5K 4 cylinder
Volvo D5K 240 4 cylinder
Cummins 4 cylinder iSBe
45 seated on upper Deck & 25 seated on lower deck. No mention of standees.
41 seated on upper deck
22 seated on lower deck  & 36
Standees to TFL Spec
63 seated, 36 standees, maximum capacity 99 to TfL spec
63 seated, 36 standees, maximum capacity 99 to TfL spec
63 seated,
36 standees,
maximum capacity 99 to TfL spec
62 seated,
25 standees,
maximum capacity 87
Voith D854.6 W53 4 speed or ZF 6HP1203B six-speed
ZF Ecolife 6AP 10000B 6 speed
Voith D854.6 four speed or ZF 6AP1000B six speed
ZF Ecolife Transverse 6AP1003B
12 speed I-Shift automatic
Transmission, I-SAM 600 volt ac permanent magnet water cooled electric motor
Siemens ELFA® II electric drive system
10300 mm
10500 mm
10500 mm
2550 mm
2500 mm
4300 mm
4310 mm
Other notes
Option of hybrid, quick release glass
window replacement
from three hours to three minutes.
ULW  Only 9980kg which increases capacity to over 100 passengers.
Option of Window on staircase based from New Routemaster
Unladen weight reduction of approx 1000kg (12-14 additional passengers)

Dual mode operation with 3 door entrance/egress or two door and a hop on hop off platform, Two staircases and no window opening except for drivers cab.


The Alexander Dennis 'Enviro400 MMC' has undergone Major Changes for its existing bus model. It features new styling with innovative features which include lightweight materials and new technology such as the air cooling system, which is a combination of heat and cooling to Circa 17-18°C.

I would like to point out the differences between the other bus types that I've listed:

  • The bus manufacturers say that it's fuel efficient, but for commercial and confidential reasons they never release the fuel consumption figures except for the New Routemaster. One manufacturer, Volvo, speaking about the B5LH bus said “operators are able to save up to 30% on fuel costs” because of their parallel hybrid system. 
  •  The average length for the Wrightbus and Optare bus type models is 10500 mm. The shortest is the Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC which is 10300 mm in length. The Longest is the New Routemaster which is 11232mm long and it takes up more road space because of the extra features of a rear door and an extra staircase.
  •  The width for a double deck bus type is on average 2520mm and this is what the Wrightbus manufacturer provides for their products. The Alexander Dennis 'Enviro400 MMC' has the longest width which is 2550 mm, and the manufacturer that has the shortest width for a Double Decker bus is the Optare 'Metrodecker', which measures at 2500 mm.
  • The average height for a new double decker bus is 4395mm. The Wrightbus 'Gemini 3' and 'Streetdeck' being examples of this. The Alexander Dennis 'Enviro400 MMC' has the smallest height for a double decker bus measuring just 4300 mm. The Optare 'Metrodeck' is the second smallest with a height of 4310 mm. The highest double decker bus is the Wrightbus New Routemaster which is 4420mm. This is because of the styling of the top deck. The manufacturer that has the highest double deck bus types is the Wrightbus products.
  • The conventional bus types, except the New Routemaster, can carry more passengers than the New Routemaster because of the lightweight materials they use.

The New Routemaster is the largest bus type due to the design and extra features such as the rear door and extra staircase.

I think that overall the best bus type is the Alexander Dennis 'Enviro400' because of the lightweight design and extra features which include the 'quick release glass replacement' system, down from 3 hours to 3 minutes, benefiting the operators by enabling the bus to be back in service much quicker. Alexander Dennis is the only manufacturer that has provided a promotional video for their new double deck model and it is available to view on this link.

I think that what Wrightbus needs to do with the New Routemaster is to design one without the rear staircase and rear door and just have one or two doors which would make it smaller and much easier for bus operators to test and purchase. In my opinion the three door New Routemaster is not 'fit for service' around Britain because it requires a conductor due to passengers boarding by any of the 3 doors. They also need a 'smartcard' system with increased revenue protection to ensure that passengers validate their smartcard fare. I may be wrong because First Group in West Yorkshire is trialling a New Routemaster in West Yorkshire under a project titled 'New Bus for West Yorkshire.' It's an alternative to the NGT (New Generation Transport) Trolleybus which Leeds Council is planning to have, more information here.

Optare needs to have a larger window at the rear of the Metrodeck so passengers can see if their next bus is behind them which makes it easier for passengers to exit the bus and then jump on the bus behind without waiting for the next bus.

If you think that I've missed anything out in my article, or if you have an opinion on which bus type is best for operators, or your city, then please let me know in the comment section below my article.

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