Wednesday, 11 May 2016

'One hour bus transfers' finally comes to London Buses

News just in, the new London Mayor will be launching a one hour ‘hopper’ transfer fare which will enable passengers to transfer to other buses in under 1 hour.

One hour 'Hopper' fare

Fare to launch in September, helping to save millions of passengers money every year
·         People on low incomes to benefit the most
·         The new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that millions of Londoners are set for cheaper and more convenient bus journeys. 

Sadiq Khan, who used the bus on his way to City Hall for his first day as Mayor of London, confirmed today (10 May) that he will meet his manifesto commitment to introduce a one hour ‘Hopper’ fare, and that it will be introduced in September.

The Hopper fare will automatically be given to anyone who uses pay as you go with Oyster cards or contactless payments, and will allow passengers to make an additional bus journey for free within one hour of touching in on the first bus. For the vast majority of passengers this will mean an end to having to pay two bus fares when changing bus routes, and it is expected particularly to benefit Londoners on lower incomes who often rely on the bus network to get around.

Unlimited bus transfers within one hour are not currently possible due to limits on the technology used by Transport for London. However their ticketing technology will be upgraded next year, enabling TfL to deliver unlimited journeys within an hour by the end of 2018, but with an aim of doing so sooner.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "My dad drove the number 44 bus and transport in London has always been a big part of my life.  The cost of a fare in London has risen for eight years in a row and now that I’m Mayor I am determined to prevent the cost of travel from becoming a barrier to work.

"The ‘Hopper’ fare will make life cheaper and easier for millions of Londoners, and will help ensure that everyone will be able to afford to travel around the city. It is just the start of my plan to ensure that travelling around London is affordable for everyone, a commitment that includes a freeze on TfL fares for four years – benefiting millions of people.”

In 2015 there were an estimated two and a half billion bus journeys in the capital including 600 million pay-as-you-go journeys. Of these bus journeys, an estimated 86 million went on to make another bus journey within one hour.

London’s Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown, said: “This new option will benefit a huge number of our passengers. For many people catching more than one bus is the only way they can get from A to B. This fare will enable us to better meet the needs of those Londoners who live or work in areas which aren’t as well served by Tube or rail services.”

Hopefully this may discourage fare evasion on the 3 door 2 staircase New Routemaster buses which provide boarding at all 3 doors. This type of transfer system is available in San Francisco, United States with their transport service called 'Muni'.

This could be a good challenge; how many buses you can take in under an hour with the ‘hopper’ fare scheme? For those who've registered thier Oyster or Contactless Payment cards with TFL you can track your journeys.

Also, I’ve tweeted TFL asking if it will affect the daily price cap of £4.50 and I received this response from one of their twitter feeds which said:-

In other news, Go Ahead London is to increase their hybrid bus fleet to 600 by the end of this year.

Hybrid to play key role in London ahead of electrics

The operation of 300 pure-electric buses by 2020 is a realistic aim by Transport for London (TfL), given electricity mains supply issues, as Go-Ahead prepares for the transition from hybrids.

That’s the view of Go-Ahead London Engineering Director Richard Harrington, as he readies the business for Europe’s first large-scale pure-electric fleet later this year.

He made his comments during a handover of the first five in an order for 74 Enviro400 hybrid double-decks delivered into Go-Ahead London.

All are new-generation Alexander Dennis Limited MMC models and will be introduced progressively between now and the end of the year.

They will operate from Camberwell garage on route 35 (Clapham Junction-Shoreditch) and route 40 (Aldgate-Dulwich).

They form part of a strategy that will see Go-Ahead London increase its hybrid fleet to 600 by the end of this year, representing 26% of its 2,300 vehicles in the capital.

Says Mr Harrington: “This is a big year for us and these latest deliveries represent another quantum leap in terms of staying at the forefront of the drive towards ultra low-emission vehicles.

“We will take that effort a stage further later this year when we introduce Europe’s first large-scale fleet of 51 pure electric buses.”

ADL will again be involved in this project as part of a joint initiative with Chinese bus manufacturer BYD (routeONE, News, 5 August 2015).

Asked about the anticipated speed of transition from hybrid to pure electric, Richard struck a cautionary note: “The important issue at this stage is being prepared to participate in new technology initiatives.

“At Go-Ahead London we have always been ready to play our part in working with TfL and manufacturers to develop and trial the technology advancements that may ultimately become the norm.

“We will learn a great deal from the pure electric project, as will others, but it remains clear that hybrid will also play a big part in the short to medium-term.

“TfL’s aim is to have 300 electric buses in operation by 2020, which is a realistic objective in light of the energy supply issues that would surround a whole-scale transition.

“So, the message is clear: We need to keep working on improvements to the technology that is tried and proven – and capable of doing an 18-hour shift day after day – while also keeping one eye on the future.”

Commenting on the order for 74 Enviro400H MMCs, Martin Brailey, ADL’s Sales Director for London and the South East, says: “This is another positive step in our well-established relationship with the Go-Ahead Group.

It takes our total hybrid sales in the UK to beyond the 1,000 mark with around 500 for London and a further 500 operating across the country in places such as Reading, Oxford, Essex, Lincoln, Yorkshire, Manchester, Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Lothian, Perth and Dundee.

“That sort of geographical coverage is testimony to the performance of our hybrids and their wide-spread acceptance by operators and transport authorities.”

Compare that to the 3 door 2 staircase hybrid bus called the New Routemaster; bus companies in London are buying hybrid buses of differing designs and technology. At the moment, I am still waiting on the Alexander Dennis Enviro400H City's for route 26 which are bought and paid for by CT Plus and are expected to enter service on 25th June 2016.

With the two door Volvo SRM (Son of Routemaster,) six of these have been purchased by RATP-Dev for route 13 and are expected to enter service around September.

Why did I mention the two bus types? Because the Enviro400H City has designs based on the New Routemaster, where as the Volvo SRM has the majority of its design based on the New Routemaster. What they both have in common is they have fewer features compared to the main model, such as the less expensive flooring.
The New Routemaster bus is designed by Heatherwick Studios.

So what is important to you? A cheap and efficient transport service which includes lower fares and stylish bus designs like the 3 door 2 staircase New Routemaster or more zero emission buses to combat diesel emissions? Let me know in the comments section below.

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