Happy Birthday, New Bus For London

A year ago today, the New Bus for London rolled onto the streets of Hackney and travelled a farcical maiden route to Victoria. We were on board for the ride.

Fast forward a year, and have the buses changed transport in London? Not really. We’re still limited to the original eight prototype vehicles, all of them serving the 38 route. Yet they have been warmly received by most Londoners, and in the absence of a more appropriate nickname have earned the fond sobriquet, ‘Boris bus’. We’ll be seeing a lot more of them: the Mayor has promised that 600 will be in service by 2016, and later this year the 24 route between Pimlico and Hampstead Heath will be entirely served by the new vehicle.

Critics, and there have been a few, have kvetched about the cost of building them, the wastefulness of sending hundreds of bendy buses to an early retirement, and the strange role of the ‘conductor’ on the rear platform, whose job seems to involve little more than running health and safety spot-checks as passengers disembark. Intriguingly Metroline, who operate the 24 route, are currently advertising for “customer assistants” to work on New Bus for London. “Games maker qualities are essential!” reads the ad, although the job description makes it clear that duties will be limited to offering people travel advice and helping them board.

Was the bus a good idea? Or is it another costly Boris vanity project that has boosted his profile whilst bringing little of use to everyday Londoners?

Photo / zefrog

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  • james

    I hate this bus. I get the 38 from victoria every morning and will always wait for the next one if it is one of these. The seating is just really uncomfortable, I am only 5’11” but still can not find a seat where my knees are awkwardly bent to sit down. The seats at the back bottom deck are weirdly close so you are face to face with another commuter or weirdly looking into the underneath of the stairs or off the back of the bus. Look cool from the outside, horrible to use.

    • thetransporthub

      i am 5’11” and i find them hugely comfortable and never have leg issues and my legs are quite long!
      i love these buses and cannot wait for the 600 of them hopefully more will come south of the river

  • rob22t

    I think the bus looks great!
    Shame they didn’t think more about its potential re-sale abroad a bit more.

  • slabman

    Option 2: it’s another costly Boris vanity project that has boosted his profile whilst bringing little of use to everyday Londoners

  • Southbound27

    Better than most modern busses, but rubbish compared to the original RM!

    • Velocity

      You say ‘Rubbish’ compared to the original RM, but the original RM didn’t have wheelchair access, it also guzzled diesel, and it really need replacing after fifty years > Welcome the New Bus for London, (with wheelchair access) three sets of doors for very fast ‘dwell time’ at bus stops, plus the beloved rear platform is back, and the Hybrid drivetrain is very frugal in its consumption of diesel, ergo poisonous emissions are much less! Boris needs to deal with pollution in London, and 600 NBFLs replacing ordinary smoke spewing buses can only but help improve the air quality . . . . .
      Its a fine machine, its easy on the eye, its unique to London, its smooth to travel on, (unlike some very ‘jerky’ double deckers in London), its made in the UK too which is good for jobs. I love travelling on it, as do most people I speak to on Route 38.

  • John

    I think it’s bona!. Traveled on one last Friday for the first time and loved it. Great design and conjures up the romance of the old, sorely missed, Route Master. Admittedly, there’s not much leg room. Lucky I have short legs. Aesthetically pleasing and please don’t call it the “Boris Bus”… I call it the “Geoff Bus” because my brother Geoffrey and his workmates are building them in N. Ireland and hopefully they will be kept in work for a few more years due to the orders coming in. All good.

  • kuelap

    I think they are great – the modern hybrid drive means the ride is really smooth with no rumbling engine and vibrations to put up with. The design makes people smile and point. I think the unique shape and style gives a new image/brand/icon for London which is impossible to price but I think well worth the money. I am very happy for my taxes to be spent on this rather than sinking into some other government project which never produces any tangible result. Plus they are designed and built in the UK so the money is supporting skilled jobs and training.

  • @FPK_commuter

    Grade Customer Services Assistant
    Reports to Operations Support Manager
    Department Operations
    Location Holloway

    Job summary

    Travelling on Route 24 between West Hampstead and Pimlico responsible for customer safety and satisfaction. Main Responsibilities

    · To be present at the open platform for the majority of the time except when other duties are being carried out;

    · Manage passenger incidents as a crew rather than as a lone member of staff;

    · Understands the safety and security of operating in crew mode i.e. keep a look out for passengers boarding/alighting from the rear platform along with the driving colleague;

    · Signal to the driver when boarding and alighting is complete ensuring the rear platform is clear before removing the platform interlock;

    · Undertake the daily actions and checks in conjunction with the driver;

    · Assist driver with the conversion of the bus to and from crew mode;

    · Undertakes routine ‘patrols’ and have a visible presence to upper deck and lower deck customers;

    · Understands the unique characteristics of the bus (i.e. Hybrid/2 staircases/3 doors).

    · Have a sound knowledge regarding technical and environmental aspects of a bus (i.e. start-stop hybrid etc);

    · Be aware of 3 door/open boarding and alighting procedures

    · Provides any necessary support to older/disabled passengers when boarding or alighting the bus and also to those with children/buggies/luggage/shopping etc;

    · Provide general passenger assistance on routes, travel, fares and tourist information as and when required with a particular focus on the needs of older/disabled passengers;

    · Acts as a deterrent to fare evasion and implement routine fare validation activities.

    · Has an awareness of security/anti social behaviour and in conjunction with driver knows when/how to escalate matters using the various channels available;

    · Report all incidents and near misses using the appropriate reporting procedure;

    · Compile defect, quality and incident reports.Essential Criteria for application· Must have means of travelling to Holloway Bus Garage London N7 at times when there is no public transport available, earliest start time 4am.

    · Dresses smartly at all times, ensure uniform is immaculate and takes pride in appearance.

    · Excellent knowledge of the top attractions and tourist sites with a good understanding of the public transport network and London in general.

    · Flexible to work various shift patterns including unsociable hours.Competencies & Skills · Ability to operate as a team player

    · Exceptional customer service skills with a natural flair of providing support and guidance and going ‘the extra mile’

    · Candidate is required to have a positive attitude and remain resilient at all times

    · Excellent communication skills with the ability to interact with large groups of people

    · Ability to use initiative and identify solutions when a problem or difficult situation arises

    · Ability to deal with confrontations/difficult situations in a calm manner

  • Malc

    “Plus they are designed and built in the UK so the money is supporting skilled jobs and training.”

    The same could be said of the Enviro400 double-deckers, which are probably now the most common double-deck bus in London. There are over 1,000 with normal diesel engines, plus a couple of hundred hybrids.

  • Rodionsmith

    These Buses are very useful for encouraged the Transportation in the London city .

    http://www.prlog.org/12094678-wayfair-promo-code-big-savings-act-now.html

  • Chria

    I can understand why someone with little knowledge of the bus industry thinks that something shiny and new, and not articulated, is ‘better’ just it’s just a vanity project – the rear doors are a pointless and wasteful, and will people still be so enthusiastic about them in 30 years? Nowhere else wants them, leaving them and their out of date technology rolling around London.