London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, has made good another of his promises, seeing the large ‘bendy buses’ removed from the city’s public transport system. Whilst removing larger vehicles with greater capacity may seem counter-intuitive, an article on TreeHugger discusses the pros and cons of removing the buses:
On the plus side
- They are faster to board, having three sets of wide doorways.
- Time at each stop is reduced because of the easy access.
- They are very accessible for special needs and wheelchairs.
- They carry more people and are cheaper to build.
- They hold 120 people; however there are fewer seats and more people have to stand. Double deckers hold around 85 passengers.
- They are very efficient on busy routes during rush hour and on routes which are poorly served by other public transport.
On the minus side
- Whilst they were full during rush hour, for the rest of the day they clogged up the streets as they seemed to travel in convoys and were always empty.
- They do not work well in cities with narrow, winding roads as they can’t make tight turns.
- It’s easier to avoid paying fares because there is only one driver and no one to check up.
- Where there are lots of pedestrians there are many accidents; estimates put their involvement in pedestrian accidents at over five times more than other buses.
It will be interesting to see if the removal of the buses (and replacement with a new fleet of iconic red double-deckers) will be as dramatic a success as the introduction of the Boris Bikes. Time will tell!