Thursday, 7 April 2016

New Routemaster, Enviro400H City & Volvo SRM comparison

New Routemaster, Enviro400H City and Volvo SRM

I enjoy comparing different bus types so this time I will compare the New Routemaster (NRM) with the Enviro400H City and the new Volvo SRM.

The New Routemaster first entered service on Route 38 and since 2012 we have watched the fleet expand; it now serves over 20 routes in Central London. The Enviro400H City buses are serving route 78 and soon they will enter on route 26 under a new contract with CT Plus.

Back in the middle of March 2016, Wrightbus and TfL unveiled the Volvo SRM which is a two-door New Routemaster bus, a design that enables bus companies to buy.

Below is chart detailing the differences between the three bus types:
Bus type
New Routemaster
Enviro400H City
Volvo B5LH SRM
Alexander Dennis
Designed by
Thomas Heatherwick
Alexander Dennis
Cummins 4 cylinder iSBe
Cummins ISB4.5E6 4 cylinder
Volvo D5K 240 4cyl 5.1 litre Euro 6 engine
Hybrid driveline
Siemens ELFA® II electric drive system
BAE Systems HybriDrive
I-SAM 600 volt ac permanent magnet water cooled electric motor mounted between engine and gearbox.
Overall length
Overall width
Overall height
Passenger Capacity
40 upstairs
22 lower deck
25 standees*
41 upstairs
25 lower deck
Unknown standees
Is said to have 4 more seats than the NRM.*
*Depends on the laden weight of the vehicle which reduces capacity.

Since the Son of Routemaster (SRM) was only recently unveiled, on the 16th March 2016, I do not have any more information on this specific bus type, but hopefully we may see more on the Wrightbus website soon.

Here is the technical layout of the NRM and Enviro400H City.

What are the advantages?

New Routemaster
·         Has three doors and two staircases
·         Small number of routes which have the open platform with conductor
·         Hybrid system which has start/stop engine technology
·         Extra iBus display at the lower rear deck of the bus.
·         wrap-round driver’s windscreen
·         Very eye catching as its designed by Heatherwick Studios.
·         Brought by TFL which enables route conversions to commence fast.
·         Number plate registrations based from Northern Ireland to match the fleet number. (example LTZ1056 is LT56.)
Enviro400H City
·         Have window openings
·         Parts of the design is based on the Enviro200 MMC like the wrapover sky view window at the top rear deck.
·         Two doors for a standard boarding like with any average London bus.
·         Wrap-round driver’s windscreen
Volvo SRM
·         Retains majority of the features based on the New Routemaster bus.
·         Wrap-round driver’s windscreen

All the buses I’ve mentioned have an iconic roundel at the front instead of a bus operating company logo.

What are the disadvantages?

New Routemaster
·         Open boarding (3 doors 2 staircases) can cause fare evasion as we saw with the bendy buses.
·         Various routes have no rear platform and no conductor
·         No window openings
·         Reports of air cooling issues during the summer
·         The front seat of the lower deck faces to the rear.
Enviro400H City
·         There are no disadvantages of this bus in my view.
Volvo SRM
·         No rear window at the lower deck of the bus, compared to other bus types with Volvo B5LH chassis.
·         No window openings
Rear ends of the New Routemaster, Volvo SRM and Enviro400H City

What routes are they on?

New Routemaster
They currently operate on the following routes
·         3 - Crystal Palace to Conduit Street
·         8 - Oxford Circus to Bow Church
·         9 - Hammersmith to Aldwych
·         10 - Hammersmith bus station to King's Cross St. Pancras
·         11 - Liverpool Street station to Fulham Broadway
·         12 - Dulwich to Oxford Circus
·         15 - Trafalgar Square to Blackwall DLR
·         16 - Victoria station to Longley Way
·         24 - Hampstead Heath to Pimlico
·         38 - Victoria to Clapton Pond
·         55 - Oxford Circus to Leyton
·         59 - Streatham Hill to King’s Cross
·         68 - West Noorwood to Euston Bus Station
·         73 - Victoria to Stoke Newington
·         88 - Camden to Clapham
·         137 - Oxford Circus to Streatham Hill
·         148 - Camberwell Green to White City bus station
·         149 - Edmonton Green bus station to London Bridge station
·         159 - Streatham station to Marble Arch
·         168 - Old Kent Road to Hampstead Heath
·         390 - Notting Hill Gate to Archway
·         453 - Marylebone station to Deptford Bridge

The next route's to be converted to New Routemasters are:
·         91 - expected to enter late in late April 2016
·         189 - expected to enter service in July 2016
·         211 - expected to enter service in June 2016

I do not have any more information regarding further route conversions. TFL is expecting to have 1,000 New Routemasters by the Summer of 2017. A shortened variant of the New Routemaster was built and unveiled in December 2015 but there are no news updates about the specific type.

With the Enviro400H City, they are currently operating on route 78 which runs from Shoreditch to Nunhead. Arriva London owns 19 of the Enviro400H city buses. The next route to convert to the Enviro400H City is route 26; they are bought by CT Plus and are expecting to enter service on 25th June 2016.

With the Volvo SRM, they will be introduced on to route 13 and a fleet of 6 have been purchased by RATP-Dev. They are expecting to enter service in September 2016.

The reason why the New Routemaster was bought by TFL was because it increases savings for the bus operating companies as the value decreases over the years. Plus, the bus operators would have problems selling these buses on to the provincial bus services around Britain. As TFL leases the New Routemasters to operating companies, the operators have to pay a lease rental of £1 per bus, per year, for their contracted route.

With the Enviro400H City and the Volvo SRM, they are bought by bus operating companies; the two doors and 1 staircase layout enables the bus to operate outside of London. Also, the bus operating company can convert their bus to single door which is widely used around Britain. The problem is it will take a while for a new route tender to come up, then when the bus operator wins/retains the route it's their decision to order the bus type required for their contract. Compared to the New Routemaster, both the Enviro400H City and the Volvo SRM have recieved little publicity in the mainstream media. This is because the New Routemaster has always been controversial.

Since the successor to the New Routemaster has been designed and built, I hope that as time progresses we will be able to have a battery-electric double deck with SRM or Enviro400H City bodywork. This shows that London Bus designs are evolving as we see many new bus designs operating in London. I do like competing bus designs because it makes bus observations interesting for enthusiasts. The reasons why we should be moving onto zero emission buses is because the diesel emissions contribute to pollution and Climate Change. The technology is out there so we should take advantage of it.

What do you think of the New Routemaster, Enviro400H City and the Volvo SRM? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Please share this article because the two door design of the New Routemaster (Volvo SRM) deserves more publicity, the same goes for the Enviro400H City.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Google Plus for all the latest transport news and updates. @CLondoner92

London Buses Route 11
Operated by Go Ahead London (SW Garage)
Wrightbus New Routemaster LT63 LTZ1063
filmed on 23rd October 2015

London Buses Route 78
Operated by Arriva London (AE Garage)
Alexander Dennis Enviro400H City
Filmed on 19th January 2016 

Link to product pages:
Volvo B5LH (for SRM)

Related articles

Previous articles on New Routemaster project:

Articles on Enviro400H City


  1. I love all 3 buses. I would love to see the SRM bus on my local route, the 264 route. I love the designs and I love to go on the New Routemaster bus. I wish more of these buses were in Croydon.

  2. The 1000 routemasters best thing since original crew srm welcome as improvement on anything else.Enviro 400 city ..not bad but no need for any more


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