Monday, 26 October 2015

October 2015 Bus News update

I haven’t written any articles over the past week as I've been busy filming London Transport services for my Dailymotion channel.

Here is the news from LOTS (London Omnibus Traction Society)

·         The New Addington service changes duly began as planned on Saturday 24th as described in TLB613 page 12, with frequency increases on the 64, 130 and 359, route extensions on 64, 353 and 359, withdrawal of T31/T32 and renumbering of T33 to 433.

·         The first two Metroline BYD electric double-decks were out in the past week, one at the Busworld exhibition at Kortrijk in Belgium and the other at an event in London on the 21st to coincide with the State Visit of the Chinese President.
·         The three Enviro400-VE  (virtual electric) double-decks are due in London in the next week or so.  Rather than going to Stagecoach as had been planned initially, they will be delivered direct to Tower Transit at LI Garage (fleet nos DH 38501/2/3), who will trial them soon.
·         Harlow operators Townlink, Road Runner and Olympus are due to attend a Traffic Commissioner’s Public Inquiry on 3rd November. Recent route withdrawals have left them with the 19/20/21 (Harlow- Epping- Ongar- Warley), 524/A (Harlow- Hertford) and T15 (Potter Street local).
·         Galleon Travel (Trustybus) is acquiring eight Scania OmniCity single-decks formerly in the Metrobus fleet on  TfL route 358.  The company is due to expand its network with routes 419/420 (Harlow- Epping- Ongar) registered from 16th November.

Interesting to see that the world’s first battery/electric double deck bus has been demonstrated at the exhibition in Belgium, (We are still waiting for those zero emission buses to enter service though.) I believe it may operate on Route 98 according to this image.

Regarding the Alexander Dennis Enviro400 Virtual Electric buses, Tower Transit is going to be the first to operate them due to them winning the contract to operate Route 69 which commences by 30th April 2016.

Townlink, Road Runner and Olympus, the Harlow bus operating companies, have to attend a Traffic Commissioner’s Public Inquiry on 3rd November, according to the report I found from the ‘Notices and proceedings for the east of England’ page. For those of you interested in attending, the venue for the public enquiry is to be held at The Court Room, Eastern Traffic Area, Eastbrook, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge, CB2 8BF.

Also, LOTS talk about the new tender awards below.

Thursday 22 October

The following TfL contracts have been announced:
Tranche 523
344 (24 hour) re-awarded to Abellio London with double deck, type to be confirmed, PVR 25. Start date 20 August 2016
417 re-awarded to Arriva London South with existing Euro V  diesel double deck, PVR 12. Start date 20 August 2016

Tranche 524
64 awarded to Arriva London South (currently Metrobus) with existing Euro V diesel double deck, PVR 21 Start date 27 August 2016.
146 awarded to Stagecoach Selkent (currently Metrobus) with new Euro VI diesel single deck, PVR 1. Start date 20 August 2016
336 awarded to Stagecoach Selkent (currenty Metrobus) with new Euro VI diesel single deck, PVR 10 with frequency increase (current PVR 7). Start date 20 August 2016

Tranche 536A
618 (new school route) awarded to London Sovereign with existing Euro III and SCRT diesel double deck, PVR 2. Start date 2 November
619 (new school route) awarded to London Sovereign with existing Euro III and SCRT diesel double deck, PVR 1. Start date 2 November

All using diesel buses which is not much of an improvement except for routes 146 and 336 which will have Euro VI diesel single decker buses. The double deck type for route 344 is still yet to be confirmed, it could be new or existing bus types from other routes.

Looking at the board papers for the October 22nd 2015 Surface Transport panel meeting.

There is one paper which talks about bus services for Christmas day.

3.1 The bus network in London operates throughout the year except Christmas Day. Services finish at around midnight on Christmas Eve and start again at normal Sunday times on Boxing Day.

3.2 Other cities in England and Wales also have no or very limited services on Christmas day. Many of them also have very reduced service on Boxing Day whereas in London a full Sunday service operates. This has been built up from a much more limited service in recent years, responding to the growth in shopping and other activities. Patronage on Boxing Day is around 3.2 million passengers, or about 80 per cent of typical Sunday usage.

3.3 Internationally, a number of cities operate a Christmas Day service reflecting higher levels of activity generally in many of them. Twelve of the 14 members of the International Bus Benchmarking Group run either a Sunday service or a special schedule which includes New York, Paris and Barcelona.

According to my research, back in 1999, Metroline operated special services in Central London which occurred on the 25th December.

Their bus services in 1999 on Christmas Day were:

Route 714 from Earls Court Station via Gloucester Road, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Strand, Aldwych, Holborn to Russell Square.
Route 716 from Willesden Bus Garage via Cricklewood, Kilburn, Paddington, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus to Trafalgar Square.

The operator did not accept any London Transport ticketing as they were running a service commercially.

So presently, many people are used to cash free London buses and it would cause massive confusion if bus operating companies started their own commercial service for Christmas day.

Looking at the ‘Actions List’ board paper, at the bottom it says: “Following the meeting, Charles Belcher requested that Panel Members also be sent information on New Routemaster batteries (attached a Appendix 2).”

So we may see more about the batteries for the New Routemaster bus soon.

Going back to the Townlink bus operator, I have recorded footage of their Route 21 service which I travelled on from Brentwood to Epping, which goes via Ongar.

Route 21 Brentwood to Harlow via Epping Station, Essex
Operated by Townlink Buses from Burnt Mill, Harlow depot
Dennis Dart SLF Alexander ALX200 Y293FJN
Former Stagecoach London 34293 for London Buses
Filmed on 5th October 2015

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