No case for scrapping bendy buses, says watchdog on 03/10/2008
London TravelWatch has said there is no case for scrapping articulated (bendy) buses on routes 521 (between Waterloo and London Bridge via Holborn), 507 (between Waterloo and Victoria via Westminster) and 38 (between Victoria and Clapton Pond via the West End and Islington).
Transport for London (TfL) has consulted on the future of these bus routes, including extra weekend journeys on route 507, increased frequency on the night route N38, and replacing the bendy buses used now to single and double-decker buses.
Janet Cooke, Chief Executive, London TravelWatch, said: “London TravelWatch believes that the use of articulated buses on routes with a high volume of passengers has overwhelming advantages, in terms of accessibility, manoeuvrability in limited road space and loading and dwell times. They are particularly suitable for use on routes which serve mainline railway termini, where numerous passengers arrive at stops in short spaces of time. We see no reason to scrap these buses.”
London TravelWatch believes that scrapping the bendy buses on these routes represents poor value for money for bus users.
Janet Cooke continued: “The costs of using conventional buses on these routes may be significantly higher than using bendy buses. We have estimated, and TfL has not disputed the figure, that additional costs on these three routes alone could be in the region of £12/13 million pounds per annum.”
London TravelWatch also raised concerns about the potential impact of the extra buses that would be needed on these routes, on already congested roads and at bus stops.
Janet Cooke continued: “The 38, for example, serves an area of Islington and Hackney not served by the tube, and when double deckers were used previously, passengers often couldn’t board the first bus, a situation which we believe rarely occurs now. Feedback we have received suggests that the many people favour the retention of bendy buses on these routes, and we would like TfL to undertake (and publish) some attitudinal research into the preferences of people who actually use these routes before any changes take place.
London TravelWatch has seen no evidence that points to the need to replace bendy buses on these routes, and unless TfL can provide evidence to the contrary, we will continue to argue that it is a backwards step for transport users in terms of accessibility, capacity and congestion, and does not appear to represent value for money.”
You can read London TravelWatch’s paper setting out recommendations for the future of these routes, as well as background paper written for London TravelWatch’s board.
For more information, please contact Jo deBank in the London TravelWatch press office on 020 7726 9953 or out of hours on 07734 055494
The voice of London's transport users
3 October 2008