The 149 Bus: Bendy No More

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 99 months ago
The 149 Bus: Bendy No More

The double-decker 149 on Kingsland Road this morning
London's great de-bendification programme continued over the weekend, as the 149 bus followed routes 38, 507 and 521 in having its bendy buses replaced. This Monday morning is the first time the fleet of 35 new double-decker buses will come under heavy, rush-hour use.

A laudatory email from TfL champions the removal of the articulated "monoliths" from London's roads. Says Boris Johnson: "they were never appropriate for the narrow streets of London". Actually, in the 149's case, they were quite appropriate. Those "narrow streets" basically meant the A10, which the route plys from London Bridge to Edmonton. It's ideal for the bendy bus: a more-or-less straight major road, with few Tube connections and high passenger volume, was a good fit for a three-door, high density vehicle. The East London line now covers some of the route, but it'll be interesting to see whether passengers are still as well-served.

In terms of numbers, the PVR, or 'peak vehicle requirement', increases to 36 per hour, to accommodate the reduced number of passengers that each vehicle can hold. TfL are also claiming that the change in vehicles will reduce crime — the 149 has one of the highest rates of criminal incident on London buses — and work out cheaper, as they will save around half a million quid per year from the fare-dodgers who used the bendy bus (a figure based on the drop in fare evasion on the 38). Does the saving justify the cost of the new vehicles, not to mention the money being invested in the New Bus For London?

If you're a regular 149 user, or you happen to find yourself taking the bus today, drop us a line in the comments and let us know how it goes.

Last Updated 18 October 2010