False start? New Boris Bus breaks down in Kentish Town

BNX_UBMCEAApRwJ.jpg largeWE are all supposed to be delighted that the bendy buses are gone and a big red vehicle based on the old Routemasters is hitting London’s roads on Boris Johnson’s orders. The 24 route heading to Hampstead Heath is one of the first places it will run. But ask the people stuck in a pretty lengthy jam on Kentish Town Road this afternoon what they think of the new design and they might not quite be in the mood for positive feedback. An abandoned new ‘Routemaster’ – doors left wide open – helped clog up NW5 by coming to a halt on its first day at the traffic lights marking the junction with Prince of Wales Road. The road was already full of buses from a Northern Line replacement service and at one stage the street looked like a sleeping depot of back to back double deckers at a standstill. Not a pretty sight.

For background, here’s The Telegraph cheerful guide to the new bus: it’s big, it’s red and it’s made in Britain.

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7 Comments on False start? New Boris Bus breaks down in Kentish Town

  1. The “New Bus For London” (not Routemaster!) costs £354,000 each. They create redundant employment (is that possible??) by carrying in the rush-hours a totally useless “clipees” that don’t even take money.

    Although Boris claims they are the cleanest buses Europe (if not the known universe) they’re not. What about the TfL fleet passing GLA House of truly green hydrogen buses, or the two new electric buses TfL has bought from China? And because they are so heavy their diesel fuel consumption at nearly 10mpg can’t get close to the REAL Routemaster’s fuel economy of 17mpg.

    And, sorry to disappoint, but they don’t yet serve Kentish Town, except to bog up Richard O on his way to working his night shift at the Indy. The New Buses run to and from the 24 terminus at South End Green, which is the start of the 24 route – which began with the new buses today.

    So the pathetic sad sight of one at Prince of Wales Road was just clogging up Kentish Town “dead-heading” – or in this instance DEAD embarrassing! And going nowhere.

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    • “And because they are so heavy their diesel fuel consumption at nearly 10mpg ”

      Not even close, TfL will only say 6.74mpg in ‘recent weeks’ on the 38, suggesting before that it was lower. Average double decker hybrids across multiple routes for both main types is 7.2mpg, so they’ll have to improve a lot to get there. I don’t believe the RM did 17mpg, 8 would be more like it, although it’s hard to get adequate figures – certainly the old bus is much, much lighter, but has 50s engine technology and no hybrid drive to regenerate energy from braking.

      Kentish Town is on the route from depot to Hampstead for buses entering service, so this example didn’t even make it to the start of the route before sitting down. I’m aware of two definite and one probable breakdowns of new buses elsewhere on the 24 since Saturday morning, which fits with other reports that they only just got enough new buses into London in time to convert the route and haven’t shaken them down properly yet.

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  2. I actually saw this as I was going past on a 214. And it made me think “Boris, you’re even more of a cnt than I already thought”.

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  3. Just a comment on diesel vs hydrogen vs battery power. For hydrogen, currently more emissions are made creating the fuel than is actually saved. Unless we have green energy sources, battery powered buses just moves the emissions to a different place, with no all-round benefit. At least with a hybrid bus you use a smaller engine than a standard bus, needing less fuel and emitting less CO2. The new bus is an innovative design just as the original routemaster was, and is just having early teething troubles. I am sure it will give many years of service to the capital just like its predecessor.
    The original routemaster had its driveline change in the 1990s to a more modern design, improving fuel economy and emissions, but 17mpg is a bit over optimisitic

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    • Dieselman:
      I take your what you say about HOW the electricity or hydrogen is made. But the vital point to Londoners is pollutants – small black carbon carcinogenic particulates and NO2 – both of which are caused by ALL diesel engines, including the New Bus For London. At least when the hydrogen buses ply the south bank through London Bridge they aren’t emitting those – though they are still giving off brake and tyre particulates.

      As to my report of 18mpg: That’s the figure given to me by the proud owner/driver (not Sir Peter Hendy) of a pristine Routemaster that lives near Gravesend and often obliges wedding parties in Town and who I chatted to at a wedding in Camden Town Hall.

      Of course you may know better….

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      • The New Bus For London meets Euro 5 emissions which equates to a 95% reduction in emissions of particulates and oxides of nitrogen since legislation began in the early 1990s. Given NBFL also uses a smaller engine than most buses, it is very clean. Bus companies run their vehicles for up to 15 years, so it is the older ones that need to be upgraded or taken out of service. We need more vehicles like NBfL to help improve air quality.
        The original Routemaster was a low weight design and will get excellent fuel economy when used for trips like wedding parties, where it spends quite a lot of time with no load or light loads. The stop-start nature of buses in service in London when fully loaded means that this figure will be 50% or less in day to day service.

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        • Chris Knight // June 27, 2013 at 2:13 pm // Reply

          I also very much doubt the 18mpg claims being made here, naturally any vehicle which is not under load will use far less fuel and lets not forget it will empty on the way to the wedding and empty on its way back + the fact the fuel consumption is driven by the stop start routine which Peters bus is not, and its all hear say and no facts anyway.

          It has been my experiance that the hybrid versions of vehicles always use far less fuel, or whats the point.

          Ok lets get down to the nuts and bolts, 3 doors, 2 stairways, fully DDA compliant, have a conductor on board and the passengers I have spoken with love the new bus as do the drivers. This added to the excellent work of the Mayors London Electric Partnership which is composed of all major motor manufacturers, battery and charge point manufacturers (1500 charge points now acrross London) and a promise from the Mayor to have 600 new buses in service by 2016 shows his commitment.

          Time to stop Boris bashing Braithers and face up to fact that Boris is doing a top job for London.

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