London Buses route 507
Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro on route 507
Mandela Way (MW)
|Vehicle||Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro 12.0m|
|Peak vehicle requirement||15|
|Night-time||No night service|
|Via||St Thomas's Hospital
|Length||2.5 miles (4 km)|
|Frequency||About every 3-4 minutes|
|Journey time||12-20 minutes|
|Operates||06:30 until 00:30|
Red Arrow route 507 was first introduced on the 7 September 1968 as part of a network of flat fare bus routes aimed at commuters in Central London linking some of the capital's main Railway termini. Service 507 is one of two Red Arrow routes, the other being route 521, that survived into 2009.
Routes 507 and 521 were the first bus routes in London to be converted to articulated buses, also known as bendy buses. From 2 June 2002, a new fleet of 18m articulated Mercedes-Benz Citaro G entered service on the route, replacing the ageing Leyland National single deckers. Being commuter routes, and so little used outside peak times, these routes were suitable to test the bendy buses on, rather than a major trunk route.
During late 2003, early 2004, a series of onboard fires on newly delivered Mercedes-Benz Citaros led to withdrawal of the entire fleet, while Mercedes-Benz made some modifications. During this period limited services operated using a variety of different buses on route 507 and 521, including double-deckers on route 507.
The RA garage code was first introduced when the Red Arrow buses were based at Walworth garage before Waterloo Garage was opened in 1981. There were fears that the artics would be unable to use the cramped Waterloo site, and Camberwell, just across the road from Walworth, was considered for a time. However, these problems were resolved in time for operation to start at Waterloo. An evening service was introduced in April 2007.
Being the first of the routes to be converted to bendy bus operation, the 507 (along with the 521) was the first route which had its bendy bus allocation withdrawn in July 2009, as part of the move to replace London's articulated buses. The articulated Citaros have been replaced by new 12 metre rigid versions.
A new weekend service, running every 12 minutes, was added from Saturday 25 July 2009, which was the first day in service for the new Citaros. Only just enough buses arrived in time to operate the weekend service, which has a reduced peak vehicle requirement compared to the weekday service. The first full day of rigid operation was Monday 27 July, where again only just enough buses were delivered in time to run the service. Many entered service without fleetnumbers, and the buses skipped the whole queue pf buses waiting to be fitted with iBus.
The peak vehicle requirement has been increased from 9 to 15 to cope with the increased frequency, now at every 3-4 minutes. One criticism on articulated buses was high levels of fare evasion, yet the new Citaros retain open boarding, to help move commuters quickly from the busy rail termini. This has drawn further criticism, as the "Red Arrow" name was dropped on conversion, so there is nothing to distinguish the buses from normal services, with fears passengers may start boarding normal buses through the centre doors.
Another criticism of bendy buses was the low number of seats, with only 49 per vehicle. A standard rigid Citaro has 44 seats, however the new ones for route 507 and 521 have just 21, with room supposedly for up to 76 standees, leading to criticism the new buses were "cattle trucks" and even more crowded than the buses they replaced. Despite the increase in frequency, the total number of seats has dropped.
- Waterloo Station Cab Road
- York Road
- Addington Street
- Lambeth Palace Road
- St Thomas' Hospital
- Lambeth Bridge
- Horseferry Road
- Greycoat Place
- Artillery Row
- Victoria Street
- Buckingham Palace Road
- Terminus Place
- Victoria Station Bus Station
Articulated Mercedes-Benz Citaro on route 507
- Day, John (1973). The Story of the London Bus. London Regional Transport. ISBN 9780853290377.
- "Bendy-buses withdrawn after fires". BBC. 2004-03-24. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- "The beginning of the end for the bendy bus". Greater London Authority press release. 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- "Passengers call for the return of the bendy bus". The London Paper. 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
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