Debendified Bus Route Will Have Less Capacity

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 80 months ago
Debendified Bus Route Will Have Less Capacity

The antepenultimate bendy bus route goes out of service today - that's the 436 from Lewisham to Paddington - and the double deckers coming into service on Saturday will have the effect of reducing capacity.

Whereas earlier debendifications have resulted in more buses, the 436 timetable isn't changing. Bendies have a capacity of 120, double deckers around 85, and the London Lib Dems have calculated that this will result in 180 fewer places per hour during morning rush hour, 145 fewer places per hour during evening rush hour, and 280 fewer places per hour for off-peak weekday services. The 453, debendified in September, is also experiencing a reduction in capacity.

Caroline Pidgeon put this to the Mayor on Wednesday, and Boris Johnson conceded that the 436 would have less room - and also that capacity has fallen on some other routes. Which is bizarre surely: the DLR is having capacity added, tube upgrade work has the specific aim of increasing capacity. Why the chuff are bus routes OK to cut back?

Photo by steve_w from the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 17 November 2011

Dave H

It's fine. With the eradication of the "free bus", demand will also drop somewhat, as some of the previous fare evaders will doubtless decide that they don't want to use a paid bus service.

Or maybe not. I dunno. Either way, while it may invoncenience some bus users, the removal of bendy buses is jolly good news for cyclists and pedestrians.


In the case of the 453, there are other buses along the bulk of its South London route - and it appears that there has been a shift of non-fare payers onto other routes (basically people aren't waiting at bus stops until the 45free arrives - they are getting on the first available bus). This is one of the reasons why they have reduced capacity - because it was phantom use in the first place. I think some of the other bendy routes have seen a similar shift in behaviour too (although I'm not sure it makes sense for the 436).


I liked the bendy buses, they were fun to be on and I never saw any problems with them on the road.

I suppose some of London's Streets were not best suited to them, but reducing capacity seems like a major backwards step.

Visited the transport museum the other day and saw the new proposed route master or Boris bus. i can tell you i was skeptical but i can tell you that it looks good and i think it will be a good edition to London's transport fleet. that is if it ever gets off the ground.

kate from

Jason Paris

Can someone tell me where the bendies are going?  Did another city buy them?  Thanks in advance!  (writing from Toronto here).


I don't accept the capacity figures at face value.  They seem to be based dividing the volume of the bus by the volume of a person and then assuming that persons can be moulded into any shape and stacked.

When it comes to space that is actually usable without severe pain, I think that the figure for bendy buses is greatly exaggerated.

There are similar problems on LU and National Rail where there are less seats in recent trains, but the space formerly taken up by two seats becomes a space where only one person can stand, due to obstructions at shoulder height.  The shape of the human body never seems to be taken into account.

Lawrence Weetman

I think your capacity figures for the bendies are out. It's well over 140 people. I'm pretty sure that some of them are 149. The new Routemasters will be 89. That's a 60 person shortfall per bus. On the 207 route they're going to be changing the timetable from "every 6-7 minutes" to "every 6 minutes". That doesn't make up for a 33% reduction in capacity, does it?