Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Route 453 conversion to New Routemaster finally announced by TFL

London Bus route 453 has been experiencing delays in converting the route to New Routemaster operation. TFL released a press statement (on 2nd October 2014) regarding the fuel consumption, which I have previously published.

Transport for London (TfL) has today announced that the next bus route to be served entirely by New Routemaster buses will be the 453.

From 18 October there will be phased conversion of the route, which is operated by London General, and runs 24-hours a day between Deptford Broadway and Marylebone station, via Baker Street, Oxford Circus, Trafalgar Square (Charing Cross), Westminster, Lambeth North, Elephant & Castle and New Cross Gate. The route will be running entirely with New Routemaster buses by mid November.

This means that the New Routemaster buses will be 'phased in' rather than changing the fleet completely which is what happened with the previous routes which were converted to New Routemasters. They should have phased it in earlier than later.

During peaks hours, 35 of these state of the art buses will be in passenger service to carry the 28,000 people who travel on the route each week day.

The 2010 peak vehicle requirement for route 453 was 23 buses, all of which used Mercedes-Benz Citaro Artics. They had peak vehicle requirement due to having high capacity (up to 150 passengers) open boarding to make boardings faster and allowed the frequency for route 453 to be every 7 to 8 minutes on weekdays.

Route 453 will operate with the rear platform closed when the bus is moving, with large numbers of passengers able to quickly board and alight using all three sets of doors and two staircases at bus stops. Every London bus route is different and as these buses are rolled out across the capital TfL will consider the best possible operating arrangements on a route by route basis. As the Mayor has previously made clear, there will not be a requirement to have a conductor on every bus at all times2. New Routemasters already operate without a conductor on routes 8 and 148.

I found a typo in the paragraph which said “times2”. 
But anyway, it will be the third route not to have 2nd crew members on route 453, also, it does not mention that it’s the second former Bendy Bus route to have New Routemasters. The first former bendy bus route which now has the New Routemasters is Route 38 which started out with prototypes on 27th February 2012 and full conversion started on 10th May 2014. Not all routes served by the New Routemasters would need 2nd crew members because the rear door would make the costs more flexible, but at least they can board and alight at any door again just like they could on the bendy buses.

To date, eight bus routes in London are being served by around 260 New Routemasters, and with the conversion of route 453 we will be halfway to delivering 600 of these new buses on London's streets by 2016, reducing CO2 emissions in the capital by around 20,600 tonnes a year.

So far, routes 8, 9, 10, 11, 24, 38, 148 and 390 are served by New Routemasters where you can board and alight at any door. However, what TFL forgot to mention is that on routes 507 and 521 which are 'Red Arrow' routes, you can board at any door. Since the two routes were served by Mercedes-Benz Citaro Artics, London Buses rolled out 12 metre long Mercedes-Benz Citaro modified versions with less seats to increase capacity equivalent to a double deck bus.

Also, TFL forgot to mention on their press release that route 137 is 80 years old and it will be served by New Routemasters in mid November, as confirmed by the London Omnibus Traction Society (LOTS).


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