London Transport and Routemaster thoughts

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by student_trap, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. student_trap macrumors 68000

    student_trap

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    #1
    Hey there,
    i'm not sure how this will fair, bening an international forum, but i thought it was worth a shot...

    The 'Routmaster', one of london's greatest icons, has been removed from service for a while now. However, I went to a question time with the Mayor of London (ol' Ken) and the London Assembly, and there was a slight idea that they may be brought back (presumably in some updated form).

    I was just wondering what you folks thought about them. Personally, I loved them, despite them being a little unreliable in recent years!

    As an interesting side note, for all those from other countries that have visited London, do you find our transport that bad?

    more info on the routemaster can be found here:http://www.savetheroutemaster.com/index.php?id=whatsaroutemaster
     

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  2. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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  3. student_trap thread starter macrumors 68000

    student_trap

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    #3
    yeah they are, you still see them from time to time, but they are very rare. Its a shame they're gone, they were soooo useful on oxford street, or the kings road etc for hopping on and off
     
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #4
  5. iGav macrumors G3

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    #5
    I can't imagine them retro fitting the existing fleet to accomodate the needs of wheelchair users, which is essentially the only reason they were decommissioned in the first place.

    A fresh design solution would we cool though, the design itself is fundamentally very good for accessibility, much better than modern buses.
     
  6. student_trap thread starter macrumors 68000

    student_trap

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    #6
    i hate to say it but they seem to be disapearing too!!!! check out the differences:
     

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  7. UKnjb macrumors 6502a

    UKnjb

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    #7
    Hi
    Me, I loved the Routemasters; comfortable, warm, clean and ---- I feel a bit embarrassed to say this, but going around London, sat on the upper deck in the front seats gave me a real thrill. I don't understand why they got rid of them ---- change for change sakes? Especially with the introduction of those continenal-style long single-decker 'accordion' buses; they don't seem to fit in with our narrow and congested London streets.
    But, yup, bring back the Routemasters.
     
  8. student_trap thread starter macrumors 68000

    student_trap

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    #8
    "introduction of those continenal-style long single-decker 'accordion' buses"

    at the question time thing Ken said that the 'bendy-buses' were still in a 'trial' phase, hopefully he'll do whats best for helping london's congestion (that is one of his main aims as mayor let us not forget...cough cough...congestion charge) and get rid of them!
     
  9. iGav macrumors G3

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    Mar 9, 2002
    #9
    The biggest concern was that wheelchair users couldn't use them, and hence they were being unfairly discriminated against, though I do recall that environmental and maintenance concerns being considered as well.

    I remember seeing an interview with a wheelchair activist on one of the news channels at the time, and she essentially said that is wasn't fair that they couldn't use them, and as such if they couldn't use them... then no one else should be able to. :rolleyes:

    I can understand both sides of the argument though, they were massively convenient in Central London for the ability to hop on and off whenever they were stationary, but it's also unfair that a section of society couldn't use them, though now, no one can.

    Hopefully if they were to design a contemporary Routemaster, those two issues could be suitably addressed and resolved in a single design.
     
  10. student_trap thread starter macrumors 68000

    student_trap

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    #10
    there is also the bizarre issue of how much the 'bendy buses' cost...i.e, i'm sure there could have been some sort of exclusive, wheelchair only service (for free) to accommodate for the vast minority of bus users, for a fraction of the cost.

    Also, there are many disabled people who don't need a wheelchair, for them, a seat is what they need, and this is something that newer buses seem to be ever increasingly leaving out.
     
  11. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    #11
    One of the things that annoys proponents is that a low floor variation on the design has been around since the 1970s but never built. That may be the updated version mentioned in the first post.

    The whole idea of a bus with a conductor is going to seem bizarrre in just about any other place, so I imagine it would be tough to find a manufacturer willing to build such a specialized beast these days.
     
  12. UKnjb macrumors 6502a

    UKnjb

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    #12
    Um ---- being a resident of this country, can I help the criticism along by saying that I think our public transport, not just buses, is ----- pretty much the worst in the world? Unreliable, expensive and, more often these days, dangerous --- rant rant rant rant.

    And can wheelchair users get on to the bendy buses and other current buses easier than they can the Routemasters?

    You don't think that the are getting rid of the classic telephone booths so that they can put wheels on them, tow them behind buses and use them as sightseeing 'booths' do you? That might be neat and could explain why they are disappearing. Hmmmm. Never know what Ken is going to do next.
     
  13. Lau Guest

    #13
    Definitely - although I loved the old Routemasters, it doesn't surprise me that they were taken off. But there must be a way to take the reasons why they were great and use them in a new design. Why not take the oppurtunity to design something equally iconic, rather than bloody bendy buses?
     
  14. iGav macrumors G3

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    #14
    The bendy buses (and double deckers) can lower themselves to make it easy to roll onto one, they also have wider access and space provisions for the wheelchairs themselves.

    Though there's no reason that such features couldn't be accommodated in a new design that maintains the hop on hope off flexibility of the Routemaster though.
     
  15. toontra macrumors 6502

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    London UK
    #15
    Bendy buses cause huge problems in terms of blocking junctions and lanes when maneuvering in busy traffic (i.e. London). As a cyclist they are also a bloody menace. I've been cut up badly by these bastards three times in as many months - do they realise how dangerous that is?

    Whoever's idea these things were in central London needs shooting. I have it on fairly reliable authority that a lot of sweeteners were and jollies were enjoyed by TfL staff courtesy of the suppliers.

    Personally I'm making it my duty to try and get these pieces of s**t off London's streets ASAP by lobbying MPs, requesting CCTV footage of incidents and generally voicing my opinion where appropriate. :p
     
  16. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #16
    Bendy buses are dreadful. They block roads - they cause chaos at bus-stops when other buses arrive behind them. There are fewer seats on them and those without Travelcards get away without paying much more easily. It's also a usability disaster for tourists - since on some buses (bendy ones) you can get on any door... but on the others (double deckers), you can't and the driver will shout abuse at you.

    I loved the hop on/off of the Routemasters but in our 'nanny state', I wonder whether they were becoming liabilities in terms of people falling off them etc. They also cost more since you have a driver and a conductor as opposed to just a driver. Perhaps having more 'empowered' drivers would help - since they could officially allow you off when in a traffic jam, even if not at a bus stop. I can't tell you how many times I've missed a train since the jobsworth bus driver wouldn't open the doors until we got to the stop (even if that took 5 minutes)

    So far as disabled passengers and those with pushchairs/luggage go, the Routemasters weren't handy. Having said that, we've had bendy buses/accessible buses on most routes for many months now, but I'm not sure how much disabled use of buses has increased. I know I've only seen one wheelchair user on a bus in the past few years - and I get on several a day. Does that mean that it wasn't just accessibility that was stopping wheelchair users using buses?

    I used to wonder (since the Routermasters were on the most frequent routes for the most part) whether they couldn't have just scheduled every other bus as a Routemaster - which will have kept the hop on/off brigade and the accessible brigade happy. Waiting an extra 3-5 minutes for the bus of your choice wouldn't have been a complete nightmare.

    I do quite like the new double deckers going around with the big windows and 'smiley' fronts. They seem to manage to be accessible and not take up the entire road even if they do it with slightly less style than the Routemasters did.
     
  17. iGary Guest

    iGary

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  18. iGav macrumors G3

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    #18
    Go stand in the corner 'spider, common sense has no place in todays world.
     
  19. kiwi-in-uk macrumors 6502a

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    AU
    #19
    Hmmm. I've NEVER seen a wheelchair on a bus, since 1959 (can't remember before then!)

    EDIT: croak, groan, getting old
     
  20. Lau Guest

    #20
    For the year I lived in London, I only saw one guy on his own in a wheelchair on a bus. I think I'd seen a couple of people who had someone with them. This was between Tooting and Wandsworth, where getting on the buses at that time in the morning was pretty much a fist fight. This guy had to get himself in a wheelchair to the rear doors of the double decker, when everyone else was trying to get to the front doors to get on and everyone was getting off at the rear door, press the wee blue button, get out of the way of the doors again while a ramp came down, all the time beeping as the ramp came down, and wheel himself on, get through all the people to the wheelchair spot, who pretty much couldn't move even if they'd wanted to (which most of them didn't) and the ramp had to retract itself, again beeping away. Obviously to then get off, this had to be all done again.

    After that I kind of realised why I hadn't seen many people in wheelchairs on buses!

    Having said that, at least he could get on the bus - I'm not sure how many other cities in the UK have buses that are even slightly accessible to an unaccompanied wheelchair user.
     
  21. Queso macrumors G4

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #21
    Get rid of those damn bendy things.

    I live just off Fitzroy Square in Central London where a lot of the routes that use bendy-busses congregate. Whoever thought these were a good idea needs to seriously think about changing their career.

    Firstly, the bus stops in the middle of town were designed for Routemaster length busses. At the top of Tottenham Court Road, where several bus routes meet, one bendy bus will now take up the entire bus stop that used to hold three Routemasters. The obligatory second bendy bus will then block the pedestrian junction and crossroads, leaving tailbacks down both Tottenham Court Road and via Grafton Way onto Gower St, two of the main arteries through the West End. If a third bendy bus is present, the entire Euston area grinds to a halt for up to five minutes. Furthermore, the bus stand on Grafton Way now only holds two waiting busses rather than five as it used to.

    As a motorcyclist, I also get to see how other traffic users are forced to avoid the new busses, which are not only longer than the Routemasters, but much wider. I have seen cyclists and bikers knocked down by car drivers who are simply trying to get out of the way of the bendy bus, which then drives off oblivious to the carnage and tailback it's mere presence has caused.

    Add to all this disruption and injury the facts that they can't get over high speedhumps or round tight corners, regularly burst into flames, and allow fare-dodgers to travel everywhere for free, and the case for getting rid of these utterly stupid vehicles is pretty much watertight.

    Routemasters were designed for London, not some New World city with a nice tidy grid pattern and wide streets. Bring back the Routemasters, but with the ability to lower the rear platform for wheelchair access and everyone is happy.
     
  22. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

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    #22
    They refreshed the black cab design a few years back, a remodelled Routemaster for the 21st Century would be a pretty cool idea.

    And don't worry student_trap – the classic phonebox is still surviving – although many have been taken out of service and replaced, a large number are still in use in 'sensitive' areas where modern boxes would be an eyesore. Of course, here in Hull we're famous for our unique cream phoneboxes – none of those garish red ones for us! :D
     

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  23. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    Jul 4, 2004
    #23
    I like the bendy buses and despise the Routemasters...

    Why? Just do. So there.
     
  24. Kernow macrumors 65816

    Kernow

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    #24
    And they had the unfortunate habit of spontaneously bursting into flames when they were first introduced. I believe that this has now been rectified, but I'm still a little suspicious of the bendy buses.

    I really liked the Routemaster too, but can understand why they were phased out. The accessibility issue did not just apply to people with wheelchairs (like others, I don't think I have ever seen a person in a wheelchair on a bus), but also to mothers with pushchairs, people with luggage etc
     
  25. iGav macrumors G3

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    #25
    the lack of accessibility does have it's bonuses.
     

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