Monday, 3 August 2015

TfL’s Green Bond, so more New Routemasters?

Taking a look at the 1st July TFLs Commissioners report, I can reveal that TFL has issued a £400 million Green Bond fund on 17th April 2015.
Green Bond
On 17 April we successfully issued £400m Green Bond for 10 years following a series of meetings with investors. The proceeds of the Green Bond will be allocated to projects from five different programmes with various environmental benefits, such as reduced carbon emissions, improved air quality, noise mitigation and others. The project categories include capacity improvements and station upgrades on Rail and Underground, New Routemaster buses
and cycling infrastructure. The yield on the bond, which compares favourably to the equivalent fixed rate for 10 years borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board, provides a saving of £13m over the 10-year term of the bond.
So basically TFL raised £400 million from a series of meetings with investors, so TFL will use it for their different programmes with various environmental benefits. That means TFL will try to reduce carbon emissions, improving air quality and noise mitigation etc.
The Green Bond budget will also be used for various TFL projects such as capacity improvements for the system, station upgrades on TFLs railway and London Underground system, New Routemaster buses and cycling infrastructure.
So will a slice of the budget be used to buy more New Routemaster buses?
Well during mid July 2015, the estimated £286 million New Routemaster buses had some bad press because of the faults with the battery system which causes the carbon emissions to be worse than a Euro 3 diesel bus, because the diesel generator is constantly on in order to power the electric motor on the bus.
Looking at the Surface Transport Panel, their board paper titled Managing Directors report’ which their meeting was held on 15th July 2015, it says:
New Routemaster
3.6 The next route to be served entirely by New Routemaster buses will be route 73 which runs between Victoria and Stoke Newington. This will be the fourteenth route to convert to the vehicles. The phased conversion, which includes the N73 night bus service, will be complete in July 2015. During peak hours, 53 of these hybrid diesel-electric vehicles will be in passenger service, carrying 35,000 people each weekday.
3.7 This introduction will increase the number of New Routemasters in London to 500 out of a planned 800 by 2016. We recently awarded contracts to convert routes 149 and 168 to New Routemasters, and will confirm dates for the conversions later this year.
3.8 A customer satisfaction survey, conducted in November 2014, revealed customers are more satisfied on New Routemasters than standard double deck buses, scoring 87 compared to 84 points respectively.
Hybrid Buses Programme
3.9 The proportion of the bus fleet served by low-carbon emission and quieter diesel electric buses is now at 14 per cent. There are currently 1,280 hybrids in the fleet. This total will now grow to 1,700 hybrids (including a revised target for 800 New Routemasters) by the middle of 2016 when they will represent around 20 per cent of the fleet.
See also another board paper titled Bus Customer Satisfaction which says more about the New Routemaster:
6.5 Bus ambience and design was improved throughout the 2000s, including by reducing the age of the bus fleet and setting standards of quality in operational contracts. More recently, the roll-out of the iconic New Routemaster bus has driven further improvements in satisfaction. Customers on New Routemasters score their journey on average three points higher than standard buses for overall satisfactionfour points higher for satisfaction with the vehicle and five points higher for cleanliness.
There's not really much difference compared to the conventional buses, hopefully the customer satisfaction for the zero emission electric bus should have a similar rating to the New Routemaster.
Going back to the TFL board meeting which was held on 1st July 2015, according to the paper titled Operational and Financial Performance and Investment Programme Reports  Fourth Quarter, 2014/15 the Estimated Final Cost figure for the New Routemaster is at £285.6 million. The authority cost for the New Routemaster has gone up to £302.5 million.
Also another reminder of the upcoming conversions to the New Routemaster which are:
Date commencing
6th   February 2016
17th   October 2015
12th   December 2015
26th   September 2015

In other news, LOTS (London Omnibus Traction Society) has reported new tender awards from London Buses.
Wednesday 29 July
1) The following TfL contracts have been announced today:
Tranche 510
162 - re-awarded to Metrobus with new Euro 6 flywheel and existing Euro 5 diesel single deck retrofitted with flywheel. PVR 11, start date 19 March 2016.
367 - awarded to Abellio London (currently Metrobus) with new Euro 6 diesel single deck, PVR 9, start date 19 March 2016
484 - awarded to Abellio London with existing Euro 5 single deck, PVR 9. Start date 19 March 2016.
Tranche 512
H32 - re-awarded to London United with existing Euro 4 double deck, PVR 13. Start date 5 March 2016
H91 - re-awarded to London United with existing Euro 5 diesel double deck. PVR 14, start date 5 March 2016.
You can see all the new tender awards above which will still have the continuation of the existing diesel buses whilst some routes will have the new Euro 6 diesel buses.
If you think TFL should be investing in more zero emission electric buses, then feel free to comment below.
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See Also

Image attribution
"Stagecoach London LT241 on Route 15, Blackwall (16200306373)" by Aubrey Morandarte from Guildford or Coventry, England - Stagecoach London LT241 on Route 15, Blackwall. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -,_Blackwall_(16200306373).jpg#/media/File:Stagecoach_London_LT241_on_Route_15,_Blackwall_(16200306373).jpg


  1. Route 168 isn't due New Routemasters for a while because of problems with it's Hampstead Heath bus stand. Also source from Londonbusroutes "Contract awarded to Metroline with 21 double decker", compared to route 91's "Contract retained by Metroline with 21 new New Bus for London hybrid double deckers"..

  2. Route 88 has also began receiving it's batch of NRM for conversion.


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