What you won’t read.  Quick maths to see how much capacity the 24 will lose when shiny new Borismasters take over in June:


  • PVR 27 (buses on the road at peak time)
  • Current mix of buses:
    • 5: H39/21D Volvo B5L / Wrightbus Gemini 2 hybrid double deckers (VWH’s)
    • 24: H39/23D Volvo B9TL / Wrightbus Gemini 2 double deckers
  • Assuming all 5 lower capacity hybrids are in use along with 22 diesels that’s
    • 39*27  = 1053 top deck seats
    • 21*5 + 23*22 = 611 lower deck seats
    • All of these can carry up to 87 passengers* as they come in 100kg under the 12,000kg mark, so that’s 27*5 for the hybrids and 25*22 for the diesels = 685 standees
  • Future 27 NB4Ls:
    • 40*27 = 1080 top deck seats
    • 22*27 = 594 lower deck seats
    • 18*27 = 486 standees

Summing up we go from:

  • Top deck: 1053 to 1080, increase of 2.5%
  • Lower deck seats: 611 to 594, decrease of 2.8%
  • Standees: 685 to 486, decrease of 29.1%
  • Lower deck total: 1296 to 1080, decrease of 16.7%
  • Total capacity: 2349 to 2160, decrease of 8.0%

I’ve no idea how crowded the route is at present, but losing 16%+ of your lower deck capacity overnight would hurt most inner London routes where people don’t always check upstairs.

* Wrightbus actually claim 91 as a maximum with 29 standees on the two door B9TL, but I’ve gone with the TfL specification of 87.


22 Responses to NB4L Means Capacity Cuts On The 24

  1. Helen says:

    Passengers are becoming more and more reluctant to travel on the upper deck and prefer to stand dowstairs, even when there are free seats on the lower deck, blocking the aisle and exits. This, of course, increases dwell time as free passage through the vehicle is impeded. Free passage by dint of “forgetting” to touch in at the middle door, however, is another matter….

  2. Jon B says:

    Surely one of the functions of the “second operator” is to shoo people upstairs to empty seats?

  3. Helen says:

    Nope. Standing on a Routemaster was only permitted if all the seats were occupied – this isn’t a Routemaster.

  4. DePiffle says:

    To add insult to injury, the 24 recently had its frequency reduced, from 12 buses per hour to 10. So 12 x 87 passengers per hour (1,044) reduced to 10 x 87 (870), reduced again to 10 x 80 (800). That’s nearly a quarter of the capacity removed.

    Why was the frequency cut? To make the route more reliable without spending any more money on it, by spreading out the existing resources. Why was the route unreliable? Traffic congestion. Does that say something about the success or otherwise of Boris Johnson’s “smoothing traffic flow” policy?

  5. Jim says:

    Another dipshit decision by fat bumbling cuntflap Boris

  6. The question that springs to mind is who will be monitoring how many people are on the bus to ensure that it doesn’t become overloaded? Is there a device in the cab that tells the driver how much weight is on board or do they and/or the “bus assistant” have to keep track of how many people get on and off the bus? That is going to be a bit difficult with three doors.

    As it was designed for 87 but only allowed to take 80 one can see that there will be a certain amount of misunderstanding when staff inform passengers wishing to board that they are full when there are obviously spaces., the only blessing is as Helen says people seem reluctant to go upstairs these days and congregate around the doors, there might not be any room downstairs for passengers to get through to fill the top deck.

  7. Stratford says:


    People are reluctant to go upstairs as they fear the ‘trouble’ that may occur. This is becaus ever since they removed conductors – upstairs on the bus is like a trap – relying on the driver to check his cameras and take action.
    I’m a 38 year old man – so I don’t have this fear – but I can fully understand why some people do – you only need some boisterous kids and it sounds like war is breaking out (usually with foul language)

    Of course a conductor is no guarantee of a peaceful bus – but as ‘on the buses’ taught us – the combination of the two can be hillarious and very powerful ;)

    Anyway – it’s just more ‘unintended consequences’ of letting the bean counters dictate how to run a public service.

  8. Calamity Jane says:


    Boris’s efforts to imporve traffic flow was to cut the time pedestrians have to cross – much to my amusement as I witness at least 5 a day nearly getting run over as they can’t understand why the green man stays for less time than they have to cross!

    Cheap and Gimmicky – that’s what you get with Boris.

    A reflection on those who voted for him (and what impresses them)

  9. Reverend Trevor says:

    Won’t it be great if Boris is given the ability to tax and spend London’s wealth – as he is so desperate to do.
    if this is a sign of the quality of his spending – then we’re best off letting the incompetent Government do it!

    I suspect this has more to do with ‘filling financial black holes’ he has created – rather than anything to do with improving London.

  10. Andrew W1 says:

    People do prefer to stand downstairs. Unfortunately, Boris has got rid of the high capacity single deck buses which allowed this – the much maligned bendybus.
    I use the 24 a lot and am not looking forward to the new buses on this route.

  11. Dave H says:

    The removal of Citaro Artics was the most politically engineered bit of London Buses decision-making imaginable. All but the very earliest Citaros came equipped with rear facing external cameras ahead of the doors on the rear section. capturing images of the very area(s) around which the contention of causing a risk to cyclists revolved.

    Therefore, instead of debating qualitative contention that there were risks and incidents, a quantitative measure, using DIR to pick-out footage where a cyclist form or pedestrian form was recorded within say 1.2 metres of the bus, and perhaps also when the bus cam close to other fixed or moving objects. A clear record of any incidents and potentially the locations where such events occurred would have delivered a rational policy, identifying routes which could easily be operated safely by artics, and locations or routes where road layout had to be addressed, or the route closed to artic use.

    Give it a few years and the new mayor might reconsider.

  12. Geoff says:

    I wouldn’t piss on Boris if he was on fire. And I wish he was!

  13. Helen says:

    From the June edition of Buses magazine:

    “When the buses enter service much interest will be focused on their unladen weight. That of the prototypes was higher than hoped for at 12,650kg, which reduced total capacity to 77 passengers, 10 below TfL’s desired level. Production models are expected to carry a full 87 passengers” – not without another axle, they won’t…

  14. PW says:

    Dave H – I’m afraid artics were simply not passenger friendly at all and unsuitable for long distance services in London. Virtually no seats and crammed full of standing passengers – putting them on routes like the 25, 38 and 73 was a mistake. Triaxle double-deckers would have offered a far better solution on most of the trunk routes that were converted, but TfL didn’t and still don’t appear to be interested in these.

  15. Greg Tingey says:

    Can’t find it on the “ES” website, but there was a piece in their printed edition, suggesting that route 11 will soon be equpped with new buses too …..

    Meanwhile, on another planet:

  16. Greg Tingey says:

    Oops – it was “Metro:
    see also …

  17. Minstral says:


    People are reluctant to go onto top deck of buses – err why, I love it up there and as they are often relatively full I guess I am not the only one. As for rowdyness it is very rare on my regular routes but I do understand one or two routes this may not be the case – Route 24 rowdy, don’t think so

    And the bendy buses were a disaster – not only dangerous for anyone crossing the road or even cyclists but inside the lack of seats, standing daily all the way from Dalston to London Bridge on a 149 was not good public transport experience of mine

    I am pleased Boris is doing something to get an identifiable bus for London back on our streets, the Borismaster may not be perfect but at least it has the chance to become iconic. It will also get better as the engineers learn more in operation, this is always the case with new technologies – Boeing 787?

    Can’t wait to catch one on my daily route 11.

  18. Greg Tingey says:

    @minstral – Piss off you dribbling Boris apologist. Bendy buses were no threat to anyone and their scrapping was a pointless sop to half wits like you. I hope your mum makes no money tonight when she’s on the game.

  19. Minstral says:

    @gregtingey – oh dear. Agree or disagree with me as you choose. I didn’t vote for Boris and never will. However there are some things that he has done right and I won’t let Dogma get in the way. The Borismaster’s are great and an icon for London.

    Argue from points of strength not meaningless insults. Take your tablets and think before you post again

  20. Shaun Griffin says:

    The bendy bus was a nightmare. On the route I use 6 times a day we’ve had steaming gangs, fights , dug dealing and massive fare evasion. It was worth a try but on several routes the roads and social behaviour made the journey a stressful one to say the least.
    There was too much haste in getting rid of the Routemaster which is still the best means of swift bus travel in a cramped congested city.
    It shows that technology does not always make things better.

    The new bus is not bad,better than many types in London although the Wrightbuses are about the best of the bunch.
    They are building the new LT types as well.
    I’ve ridden on a few on the 38 but it’s going on the 24 which is a moderately busy route and TfLs favourite test route.
    They do bring an air of quality and pride to bus travel which was lost with the demise of the Routemaster and make bus travel something that does not brand passengers as second class citizens.
    It’s up to citizens to respect and behave accordingly, which is altogether another issue.

  21. Chooper says:


    No matter what your opinion on bendy buses – it does not remove the fact that your mayor – who claimed that Ken Livingstone ‘wasted money’ – has spent MORE money on bringing in LESS bus making your journey WORSE.

    We shall see how much you praise Boris when you’re standing all the journey anyway – and having to pay MORE for the pleasure as the cost per passenger is greater!

    My how some people will fill themselves with any old bullshit just to avoid facing the fact they have been taken for a mug.

  22. minstral says:

    More expensive for less bus.

    I’m a bit of a bus geek so I love the nbfl.

    Most buses drive round London at max 75% full or less. I am on a number 11 currently and there are 8 of us on the bus. So losing a few stained spaces isn’t end of the world stuff.

    The image of London this new bus will create because it is different and potentially iconic will be worth a fortune to tourism for London

    It costs more to be iconic but I hope it will be worth it.

    Paying for a conductor doesn’t worry me either as that means more jobs and less unemployment benefits

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