Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Open boarding returns on Route 453 in form of New Routemasters

New Routemaster overtaking the Enviro400 for the 453

Route 453, which is an 11 year old London Bus Route will have an open boarding service for the first time in 3 years. The New Routemaster buses are due to have 3 doors and 2 staircases. The route runs from Deptford bridge DLR station in South London to Marylebone station via Westminster Bridge and Oxford Circus.
Brief History of the route

Bendy bus 453 under Stagecoach operation

The route was first formed on the 15th of February 2003 by using double deck vehicles because the Mercedes-Benz Citaro O530G Artics were not available until the 15th March 2003. The route was operated by Stagecoach Selkent from Plumstead (PD) Garage. It was the second former Bendy Bus route that operated outside Zone 1.
From 15th January 2005 the frequency was reduced from 6 minutes to 8 minutes because it needs to free up five bendy buses in order to increase PVR and frequency for Route 25.

Bendy bus under London General operation
Creative Commons Image by Arriva436

The route was re-tendered on 16th February 2008 because the route contract was passed to Go Ahead London General with a new fleet of Mercedes-Benz O530G Citaro Artics operating from Mandela Way (MW) Garage. Passengers liked the bendy buses because of the capacity they had, but they were hated by traffic users and non-bendy bus riders.

The bendy buses were withdrawn on 24th September 2011 in favour of the Alexander Dennis Enviro400s as part of Boris Johnson’s political promise to remove the bendy buses because he thought they were ‘unsafe’, ‘unreliable’ and encouraged ‘fare evasion’ because of their 'open boarding' . The peak vehicle requirement increased from 23 to 35 buses on weekdays.

The New Routemasters are due to operate on Route 453 on the 4th October 2014. This will be the second route that will have Open Boarding New Routemasters. The first route that converted was route 38 on the 10th May 2014. But Route 38 had prototypes phased in which started from late February 2012.

There are no plans to have 2nd crew members on the route, so this will be the 3rd route to use the New Routemasters without 2nd crew members, so the rear door will operate as a normal door.  I estimate the cost of converting route 453 to the New Routemaster would be nearly £12,500,000 (from PVR of 35 buses for day operation at a cost of £354,500 per bus). 

If you think a high capacity of up to 149 passengers on the Mercedes-Benz Citaro artics was ideal for the route or a double deck with a capacity of at least/minimum 87 passengers is ideal, or even the Alexander Dennis Enviro500 tri-axle hybrids which have a capacity of up to 116 passengers, please discuss it in the comments below.

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