Thursday 3 June 2010

Boris's Bendibus Blunder

So Boris doesn't like Bendibuses and they are all to be withdrawn from the streets of London. In Britain we don't seem to be able to get used to these excellent movers of mass people; whereas in Europe they are commonplace. Boris says they are dangerous... but are they?

On 3rd September 1979, and under special dispensation from the Ministry of Transport, five bendibuses started work on the free "City Clipper" service in Sheffield. They were immediately a huge success with the favourite ride being on the turntable section where the vehicle was articulated. Not the best place for a passenger subject to the rigours of travel sickness! Fat bus bloke was one of many who rushed for that spot to enjoy the twists, turns and undulations of the bendi-ride!

Because these vehicles had a steering rear axle, they were actually more manoeuverable than the ordinary City buses - effectively they had a shorter wheelbase and much better turning circle.

Sadly Sheffield's "bendis" eventually fell out of favour and fat bus bloke photographed the rotting remains of one round the back of Winchester bus station in the mid 80s.

Even the much publicised "ftr" routes in York, Leeds and Swansea are not proving the riotous success that was originally suggested.   In York the evening and Sunday service is now provided by "ordinary" buses because the costs for bendis are "too high"!

So, perhaps the best place for such superb vehicles is on very busy high frequency urban services where large numbers can be conveyed in a very cost-effective manner.

Sounds ideal for Central London, Boris!

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