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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3 Responses to Bendy Update – The Idiocy Continues

  1. Helen says:

    For Polish readers, an article on page 13 of Cooltura magazine: http://www.e-pages.dk/saraint/57/

  2. Hamish says:

    What i think is funniest – or perhaps most depressing, depending on your choice of word – about this whole debendification fiasco is the fact that the bendies are being replaced with single decker Citaros. This is ridiculously stupid on two levels; firstly, because a single decker bus has a vastly reduced capacity than a bendy, and secondly because it is effectively a bendy with the rear chopped off. In the sense that it still suffers from all the same design defects. It goes to show that Boris’ bendy bus stance has nothing at all to do with genuinely improving bus travel for the people who use the buses. Its superficial. As far as passengers are concerned, the problems with bendies lie in their lack of comfortable seats. This is essentially the same bus minus capacity. Thanks Boris, great improvement. Great use of money.

  3. Tom says:

    “In the sense that it still suffers from all the same design defects”

    Yes, indeed. The 507/521 are the most suitable bendy routes because they’re short crowd-shifting routes, for which speed of boarding rather than seating capacity is the ruling criterion. You’re perfectly right to point out that the interior will be much the same – ‘miserable socialist’ as Boris put it, just with the bend taken out, which is the most interesting place to stand anyway, and the cost increased. There’s another point, which is that it’s damaged the bus companies finances during a recession, which isn’t necessarily a great thing for the passenger, although their scope for passing on the damage is reduced thanks to, er, the regulated nature of the London bus network.

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