We sent two spies to the Euro Bus Expo 2012 in Birmingham today, in the form of Helen and, er, my mother, who likes buses.

Helen infiltrated the cab of the New Bus for London and succeeded in photographing the mysterious capacity placard:

This proves that not only is the official capacity figure of 87 bollocks but the response to the FoI I put into TfL:

They currently have a slightly lower capacity of around 83 passengers

also contains inaccurate information.  I’ll take that a bit further, I think.

The figure of 78 suggests that the bus is indeed designed to EU Whole Vehicle Type Approval and ECE 107 (which produces a figure per passenger of 68kg) – this is confirmed by the Wrightbus blurb next to the bus, helpfully photographed by our spy and sent by carrier pigeon:

Finally another MQT answer touching on the CO2 claims in last month’s post:

Stephen Knight AM (LD):

Please list the average PM10 emissions (g/km) from your new bus for London. How does this compare with existing double decker hybrids such as ADL Enviro400s and Volvo vehicles?


The New Bus for London is the most environmentally friendly bus of its kind. Compared to an ordinary Euro IV diesel bus, it will emit around 50 per cent less NOx and CO2. A standard hybrid bus emits about 30 per cent less CO2 and 20 per cent less NOx than an average Euro IV diesel bus.

Which is complete nonsense and doesn’t answer the question – we’re a long way from Euro IV; Euro VI is coming along soon and of course we have hundreds of normal hybrids around the capital now which is *what Stephen Knight was asking about*.   Why does Boris not want to tell us how the LardBus compares with those?  With this and the capacity failure there’s more evasion going on here than with fares on an open boarding bus.



13 Responses to New Bus for London – An Upsurge In Evasion

  1. Helen says:

    “Lightweight” is used as a selling point for every other new model of vehicle at Bus Expo 2012 for, as we know, decreased weight = increased fuel economy. Maybe why a couple of overseas visitors were just laughing at the “New Bus For London” and several groups of industry professionals from outside London who were viewing the bus for the first time were loudly slagging it off.

  2. […] Tom reports, I paid a visit to Bus Expo 2012 yesterday. Every bus I’ve ever travelled on in London […]

  3. Chris says:

    …although the blurb from Wrightbus does mention the 87 figure…so can it take 87 and has just been down rated by TfL?

  4. Helen says:

    87 was the capacity stipulated in the contract to produce the prototype but WrightBus have been unable to meet the brief as the vehicle would exceed its permitted axle weight. Heatherwick were the design collaborators forced on WrightBus by TfL (or Daniel Moylan, to be precise)and they have used non-standard materials which obviously contribute to the vehicle being overweight – lightness, strength and durability being favoured by manufacturers of PSVs, rather than faux-retro aesthetics and quirkiness.

  5. Chris says:

    “…87 was the capacity stipulated in the contract to produce the prototype but WrightBus have been unable to meet the brief…”

    But there own publicity/sales material indicates it can. Would Wrightbus really give duff info at a trade show to potential other customers? The fact Wrightbus state (as evidenced in the image used in your article) it can take 87 would, as I mentioned above, possibly indicate others (TfL) have downrated this…

    Besides following up the FOI, perhaps a comment from Wrightbus as well?

  6. Helen says:

    The WrightBus staffer told me that they were working to reduce the weight of the vehicle to achieve the passenger capacity required. If they don’t achieve it, Londoners will have shelled out £11m-odd for R&D of a vehicle which carries fewer passengers than current hybrids in use in London. As it is, the New Bus For London takes up more road space due to being around 1m longer than other current hybrids and its technology will have been superseded by the time it goes into production.

  7. greg says:

    Helen, If you are so worried about the boris bus being 1m longer you should be rejoicing that Boris banished the 18m long bendy bus.

  8. Helen says:

    Ah, but articulated buses carry many more passengers – the New Bus For London is much longer than existing hybrids yet carries fewer passengers. The efficient movement of the maximum number of passengers is what I’m concerned with.

    I’ve just been on a Scania OmniCity (10.3m long) which bore the following information, on a very large sign, at eye-level, just to the right of the driver’s cab:

    “Carrying Capacity

    Upper saloon seated 41

    Lower saloon seated 22

    Standing 23


    Wheelchair 01″

    The New Bus For London is nearly a metre longer (so takes up more road space) yet carries 8 fewer passengers.

  9. greg says:

    Looks like the only difference is in standing capacity. i see no difference in floor space so i can only presume that the ‘standing’ capacity was reduced from 23 to 15. probably a good thing.

  10. Tom says:

    “Looks like the only difference is in standing capacity.”

    Yes, otherwise you’d have had to take the seats out. I’m not sure it’s a good thing, though, the design says 87 passengers, bus route PVRs are based on IIRC 85 passengers per double decker (120 for a bendy, note) so if it can’t reach that you’ll need more of them. This means more £££ which in the context of likely pressure on bus subsidies is not a good place for TfL to be forced into.

  11. greg says:

    As it has basically the same floorspace as other buses mentioned then theoretically there is nothing preventing them from allowing 23 standing. Hey presto 87 capacity. I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

  12. DePiffle says:

    The issue isn’t floor space. It is the weight of the bus. The law allows two axle vehicles to weigh up to 18 tonnes laden. The fancy new bus weighs 12.65 tonnes unladen. The maximum load is therefore 5.35 tonnes which is 77 passengers. Any more than that and it will break the maximum weight limit for a two axle vehicle on the public highway. That’s why it can carry fewer people than a normal bus. That’s what the fuss is about.

  13. […] it’s officially 77 now?  The placard, if you recall, once Helen found the damn thing […]

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