Wednesday, 19 August 2015

More New Routemasters for Route 88 and 16, plus more news…

Image from 'Get Reading' article
Yes, you see the new rear door layout, it's no longer a 'hop on, hop off' bus.
I have a lot to cover on the New Routemaster in this article, so here we go…
News on London Buses Route 88 and 16 and more route conversions
LOTS (London Omnibus Traction Society) have issued a report detailing their latest news:
Deliveries of new LTs (batches 478-487 and 501-516) to London General for route 88 (pvr 24) are now well under way and entry of the first few into service is imminent.  The LTs (batch 543-563) for Metroline route 16 (pvr 18) should not be far behind for service during September. Next after that, to take us up to December, would be the large batches for  Arriva 149 (pvr 38) and Abellio 159 (pvr 34) 
Route 16? The double deck battery powered electric buses are due to operate on Route 16 from October. It will be interesting to see New Routemasters competing against the electric buses on Route 16 if it happens, keeping in mind that the New Routemasters still emit diesel emissions.
Now Route 88, ‘London Bus Routes‘ website mentioned that the expected date for conversion is ‘September 2015’, so as the New Routemasters are being delivered to Stockwell (SW) Garage, we may see the newer fleet of New Routemasters entering service early.
LOTS haven’t said anything about the conversion of route 168 to New Routemasters, but on paragraph 3.7 of 15th July 2015 Managing Directors report, it says “We recently awarded contracts to convert routes 149 and 168 to New Routemasters, and will confirm dates for the conversions later this year.”
On London Bus Routes website, they talk about about Route 168 on their service changes page, it says “Route 168, Contract awarded to Metroline with 21 doubledeckersExpected date: 26th September 2015.”
Other routes that are due to convert to New Routemasters are route 149 which is expected on 17th October 2015, route 159 starting on 12th December 2015 under new contract to Abellio and route 91 which commences on 6th February 2016.
New Routemasters currently operate on London Buses routes 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 24, 38, 55, 73, 137, 148, 390 & 453.
Update with Reading Buses demonstrating the New Routemaster
LOTS have reported:
Reading Buses has LT 586 on loan for two weeks for use on route 17 in the town. It is due to begin on Monday 17th August running between approx 8am-10am and 2pm-6pm.
The Local newspaper ‘Get Reading’ then reported:
Reading's new Routemaster bus has hit the streets for its two-week trial.
The Routemaster, with its 87 passenger capacity and electric hybrid engine, starts today on the flagship purple 17 route between the Three Tuns on the Wokingham Road and the Water Tower at Tilehurst.
It is one of a number of buses being trialled over the summer.
Reading Buses marketing and communications manager Jake Osman said: “We are extremely excited to welcome the iconic Routemaster to Reading. It’s already attracting lots of attention.
“The main reason for its arrival is to help us as part of our summer bus trials. We are looking to our customers and employees to help shape our future buses.
“We want to know what customers think of the look of the bus both inside and out as well as the comfort of the seats and ride.
“We would appreciate people telling us whether they like the positioning of the seats and hand poles, the flooring, buggy space and stairways. And of course whether the Routemaster is easy to use.
“Really, we want our customers to tell us anything they like or don’t like to help be a part of the future for our company.
“For this, and other summer bus trials, customers can email us by using the email address or by filling in a form on the bus and handing it in to one of our employees at the Reading bus shop in the Broad Street Mall.”
Reading Buses is not the first council owned bus company to show interest in the New Routemaster bus. Back in November 2013, Ipswich Buses, a council owned bus operator also began looking at the New Routemaster bus as they trialled it on their free shuttle service route 38 which went from Endeavour House to Ipswich town centre.
Some bad news about the New Routemaster
Taking a look at London Vehicle Finder, I entered the command ‘accident’ in to the search box and it brought up a list of buses that are out of action. I have counted that 11 New Routemasters are out of service.
Below is the quick list I made
last seen at 07:20 08-08-2015
last seen at 11:57 23-05-2015
last seen at 16:40 10-08-2015
last seen at 12:54 22-09-2013
Coca Cola
last seen at 07:44 04-07-2015
last seen at 07:41 14-07-2015
last seen at 12:21 23-05-2015
last seen at 11:00 16-07-2015
last seen at 10:31 16-07-2015
last seen at 20:01 11-08-2015
last seen at 19:53 11-08-2015

The abbreviations for the bus operator codes are:
AL Arriva London
GAL Go Ahead London
LU London United
ML Metroline
SLN Stagecoach London
Taking a look at my previous article, I stated that the Estimated Final Cost figure for the New Routemaster is at £285.6 million which makes it quite controversial and interesting. Not to mention that the New Routemasters are owned by TFL so they lease it to private operating companies to operate.
We are yet still waiting for the TFL board papers from 24th September 2015 to be released, so I can point out and report on some of the issues from those board papers.
As always, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, TumblrPinterest and Google Plus which is @Clondoner92

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