Monday 14 February 2022

Future Bus - Again

Design Repeats With Standard Seats

The top deck of a London bus in 1931 looked like the above. In 1935 the top deck of a London trolleybus looked much the same.
The ubiquitous and standard RT ...
... of which there were farzons, looked much the same, perhsps with a slight look of extra qualitty.
When the "revolutionary" routemaster appeared on the front cover of Meccano Magazine ...
... and inside The Eagle ...
... its seats were not at all revolutionary!
Then Boris announced the "New Bus For London" ...
... with conductors, open rear platforms and two staircases, but the seats looked very much like they always had done.
Now we are told that there will be no more Borismasters, a decision greeted with glee by London bus managers and chief engineers.
Furthermore, Mayor Khan is saying that the Borismasters will have to go - as he cannot afford to pay for their mid-life refurbishment.

Their affinity with the "traditional" London bus has been eroded over recent years. "Conductors" have gone, the open back platform is now always closed and these behemoths of expensive design and operating costs now run as very normal one man London buses.

But now we have the "Future Bus" project packed with stunning innovations, like charging points ...
... and glass in the roof ...
... plus snazzy coloured video screens to boot! But the most dramatic feature of the new all-electric buses run by Abellio on route 63 is ...
... bright red seats with headrests!


OK, parts of the UK beyond the M25 have had top quality buses for some considerable time, e.g. Trandev's "Sky" class ...
... with ARM RESTS!

So with the buses on the 63, London is beginning to catch up - but no need to rush, Mr Mayor.
Oh, sorry - wrong London Mayor!

But, amidst management and financial meltdown, Transport for London has been trumpeting this "Future Bus" fleet as it arrives bit by bit on Route 63.
The sad fact is that innovative buses with stunning liveries are no guarantee of success in winning extra passengers. A few blogs back, fbb referred to buses between Exeter and Exmouth, rebranded "Gold" ...
... and running every 15 minutes (as was the frequency before gilding!) - now back to boring Brian's pasty paint-job and running every 30 minutes. Gold branding and posh(er) buses has done nothing for the Exmouth route!

Before moving on; it looks like Mayor Khan is proposing to close down the Travelcard "deal". fbb can buy a day's travel in London for a relatively small add-on to his day return from Axminster. An oyster blogger writes ...

The headline proposal is that TfL will withdraw from the Travelcard scheme.  It’s not clear exactly what this will mean, but it’s likely that travelcards from places outside the zones will no longer be available.  This will mean that people will have to use Oyster or contactless PAYG when they arrive in London.  This is clever because it means that the burden of this change will largely fall on people from outside Greater London, many of whom have conservative MPs.  Discontinuing travelcards within the TfL zones would be painful for Londoners, although it appears that daily and weekly caps on Oyster and Contactlerss will remain so a renewed push towards PAYG will limit the effect.

The Puzzle Picture
fbb remembered this time!
It is Euston, taken when it was unusually empty.

And Another Puzzle
Although NOT related directly to Public Transport;
what might the above contrivance be used for?

Weirdness At Wells
It was this modern poster that started fbb off ...
fbb (aged 8) visited Wells in 1953 whilst on a summer holiday at Sheringham. His enduring memory is of a plaque on a wall, high up on a wall, showing the height to which the North Sea flood came at Wells the previous January. 


But he cannot remember anything like the above. There it is on a modern poster ...
... and on an old postcard.
And here is the building today.
It is called "The Granary" and is now converted into private flats. Just along from The Granary a good load of passengers is waiting for the No 36 bus ...
... successors to the Norfolk Green Coasthopper service, now split in two.

More from London tomorrow

 Next 63 blog : Tuesday 15th February 


  1. Sad news at Wells:

  2. The report about the replacement for the railway at Wells contains this gem:-

    "The land is owned by the Holkham Estate, which has just announced the replacement as a fully electric bus – the first of its kind in the UK."

    The first? Really?

    1. The reports I have seen indicate it will be the first of the newly launched Mellor Sigma into service, not the first fully electric bus though as with many press reports it could be worded better.

  3. I wondered that. But I think the clue is that it's the first "of its kind" ... plus a 1951 Leyland Tiger in the peaks!