Recently I received an email from TFL Consultations regarding Route 15H frequency change.
The purpose of the consultation is to change the frequency of the service from 15 to 20 minutes to maintain the services reliability. 85 stakeholders (including me) took part on the consultation.
Taken from ‘Response to the main issues raised’:
TfL's response to main issues raised
There was opposition to the proposal to reduce the frequency of the Heritage Routemaster 15.
This included the following:
Opposition to reduced frequency
The regular fully-accessible service on route 15 provides sufficient capacity. The reduction in frequency of the heritage service will increase its reliability without the need for additional financial support, by allowing buses more time to complete their journeys. When buses keep more closely to the advertised timetable this can reduce waiting times for intending passengers.
TfL should be increasing the number of Heritage Routemasters vehicles in order to maintain or increase the frequency
TfL makes every effort to maximise value for money and public benefit from every pound which it spends providing services. The proposed service is considered sufficient for the purpose of allowing our customers to experience travel by traditional Routemaster. A high frequency service of modern fully accessible buses operates on the parallel route 15.
The Heritage Routemaster should be should be retained so that tourists and visitors have an opportunity to experience them. The proposal is the beginning of the end
The Heritage Routemasters will still be available for customers to experience and see in operation in London. A new contract has been let to secure the continued operation of the service.
There should be an enhanced level of publicity/communication/advertising for the Heritage Routemaster service
The 15 Heritage Routemaster will continue to be publicised through the wide variety of media used to publicise the London Bus Network.
A quick look at the ‘Consultation report’ showed they mention one of their stakeholders.
As a representative of the Routemaster Association, Andrew Morgan opposed the frequency change. He said “Routemaster vehicles are available and the service should be maintained at the original frequency for the benefit of Londoners and visitors to London alike. We should not allow the sole remaining Heritage service to be reduced so that it becomes acceptable to provide a worse service to potential travellers; it should be a flagship bus service to show not only bus travellers in London but also across the world how a bus route should operate, and reducing it to provide a reduced service will not do this.
Additionally, maintaining the frequency, the Routemaster operation provides a useful addition over this section of the network and vehicles are regularly full when other parallel services are at capacity. If the service is reduced, this additional capacity will be lost.”
Scrolling down towards ‘Appendix B – Summary of key issues’, one person suggested cancelling the route 15H service.
As I remember, I took part in the consultation to help bring more publicity to the Route 15H service. I had a quick look at the TFL website and there’s a reference on the Central London Bus Map where it lists bus routes; under Route 15 it says “Some journeys between Trafalgar Square and Tower of London use heritage Routemaster buses (0930-1830 daily).”
Also, on the their New Routemaster page it says “Due to great popular public support, heavily-refurbished and re-engined examples are kept and used - with conductors - on part of bus route 15 in central London.”
TFL won’t be doing much to publicise the route 15H service so I hope my article will help give it some publicity. London Bus Routes have a timetable for the service alongside the main route 15 service. Also, if you have internet access on your smartphone you can check out the Routemaster buses from the London Vehicle Finder website.
Since its 10 years of the Heritage Route (as it officially started on 14th November 2005), I will be doing an article commemorating the anniversary of the service. Route 9 used to have a heritage service between Kensington High Street to Trafalgar Square but it lead to removal because of increased patronage for the main route 9 which is served by Wright New Routemaster buses.
So despite the opposition, the changes are still going ahead. So the service will be every 20 minutes from 14th November 2015.
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Multimedia relating to route 15H
"Routemaster London bus route 15 to Tower Hill" by Kevin.B - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Routemaster_London_bus_route_15_to_Tower_Hill.JPG#/media/File:Routemaster_London_bus_route_15_to_Tower_Hill.JPG