While I was away, the Evening Same Old Low Standard picked up on the imminent debendifications of the 507 and 521 documented here over the past few months, after the 31 spare vehicles were put up for sale. Keith Ludeman of Go-Ahead, the large bus conglomerate which runs the London General company is also quoted a few weeks earlier saying that they’re expecting to write down a large amount of their investment in the buses (which are actually seven year old Euro 3 compliant models and therefore less attractive to potential buyers anyway, but I digress). Strangely, I’m not sure the Standard paid much attention to Unite making noises about pay cuts for bendy drivers, again something I wondered about a while back, since bendy drivers get paid a premium which presumably the employers would look to end on debendification (or at least not pay it to the extra drivers recruited). Actually, looking at Unite, they also suggest that TfL have been on the end of industrial action over Dial-A-Ride employment terms recently, which is also something I hadn’t seen picked up, not least because TfL appear not to have announced it on their press release page.
Anyway the big news, judging by londonbusroutes.net, the dates have slipped again. The new concessions for the 507 and 521 officially started yesterday, on the 1st June, but both routes are still as far as I know Citaro G operated. londonbusroutes is a historically reliable source and is giving dates of last week in July for the 15 new buses on the 507 and September for the 521, or 8 and 13 weeks late respectively. Given the relatively small initial number of replacements (15 for the 507 followed by 32 for the 521 plus some floats is about 52) one does wonder where they’re held up. Mercedes are building a large order for Dubai, so possibly we have to wait our turn. Interestingly I can’t find any reference to an order of 12m single deck buses for London anywhere. You’d think someone would notice.
A final thought, prompted by a comment from Patrick on the London Reconnections post. If the 507 and 521 end up being run by rigid single deck Citaros, there’ll be another route in the same area, the RV1, also operated by rigid single-deck Citaros. The difference, of course, is that on the RV1 you won’t be allowed to board at the back door. I wonder if a passenger education campaign will be on the cards?
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