New Bus for London
|New Bus for London|
|Body and chassis|
|Floor type||Low floor|
|Engine||Cummins ISBe powering a hybrid drive system|
|Capacity||80 (lower: 22 seats, 1 wheelchair space, 18 standing; upper deck: 40 seats)|
|Length||11.23 m (36 ft 10 in)|
|Width||2.52 m (8 ft 3 in)|
|Height||4.39 m (14 ft 5 in)|
|Curb weight||12.65 tonnes (12.45 long tons; 13.94 short tons)|
The New Bus for London, sometimes referred to as NB4L, and colloquially as the New Routemaster, Borisbus or Borismaster (a portmanteau on the Mayor of London Boris Johnson who drove their introduction, and the AEC Routemaster that it was designed to replace), is a bus operated in London. Designed by Heatherwick Studio, it is manufactured by Wrightbus, and features the 'hop-on hop-off' rear open platform of the AEC Routemaster, but meets the requirements for modern buses to be fully accessible. The first bus entered service on 27 February 2012.
The original AEC Routemaster was a standard London bus type with a rear open platform and crewed by both a driver and conductor. It was withdrawn from service (except for two Heritage Routes) at the end of 2005 by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, in favour of a fully accessible one-person-operated modern fleet, none of which featured a rear open platform. The withdrawal of the Routemaster became an issue of the 2008 London mayoral election, and Boris Johnson was subsequently elected Mayor, with one of his campaign pledges being to introduce a new Routemaster. Following an open design competition in 2008, Wrightbus was awarded the contract to build the bus at the end of 2009, and the final design was announced in May 2010.
The design for the new bus features three doors and two staircases to allow accessible boarding. Unlike the original Routemaster, the new bus has a conventional full front end and a rear platform that can be closed when not needed, rather than the protruding, bonneted 'half cab' design and permanently open platform. The layout of the new bus allows it to be operated by one person at off-peak times. The cost of each bus will be £354,500 over the four year procurement period , which is higher than the price of £326,000 for a standard bus.
- 1 Configuration
- 2 Background
- 3 Design
- 4 Production
- 5 Overseas demonstrations
- 6 Operation
- 7 Ownership
- 8 Media
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The final design has doors at the front, centre and rear. The front and rear doors lead to staircases to the upper deck. The rear entrance has a platform and pole similar to the Routemaster, which is open for hop-on, hop-off operation when a conductor is present. Oyster card readers are provided at each of the three boarding points but other types of ticket and cash must be presented to the driver as the conductor will not handle fares or check tickets.
There is a new pattern of moquette for the seating. The internal lighting is provided by LED clusters and there is a climate-controlled ventilation system. Travel information, such as details of the next stop, is provided by an audio-visual system, which includes the T-loop output.
The bus is driven by an electric motor powered by a battery pack. This is recharged by a diesel generator and regenerative braking. The diesel engine runs only when the battery needs charging and so the bus will have lower pollution and better fuel consumption than earlier buses in this class.
Original Routemaster in London
Designed for and largely operated in London, over 2,800 AEC Routemasters were built between 1956 and 1968, following a design effort started in 1947. So robust was the design that the Routemaster outlived newer buses intended to replace it, into the deregulated era. It was not withdrawn from regular London passenger service until December 2005.
From 31 December 2000 it had become mandatory for all new buses delivered in the UK to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, leading to the development of the wheelchair accessible low-floor bus. Through the TfL contract renewal process, after 2000, the Routemaster began to be isolated as the most common example of a non-wheelchair accessible bus type used on TfL routes.
The inaugural London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, had shown support for the Routemaster during his first term, indicating the type would be retained in a limited capacity on contract renewals as before. In 2004, after election as Mayor for a second term, Livingstone changed the policy on the Routemaster, preferring to convert the entire London fleet to modern bus types.
While older buses were exempt from the disability discrimination requirements until 2017, after the 2004 election TfL adopted an internal policy aim of requiring all of its bus routes to be operated by low-floor buses, thereby requiring the withdrawal of the Routemaster from London. Contributory factors to the withdrawal were said to be the risk of litigation over accidents arising from using the rear platform, the cost savings of one-person operation, and that passengers preferred the comfort levels of modern buses to the vintage Routemaster.
The Routemaster continues in operation on heritage routes 9 and 15 awarded as tendered routes by TfL, but they do not contravene the TfL accessible public transport policy requirement as they are paralleled over their full length by low-floor vehicles with the same route number.
FRM & XRM
An attempt to design a rear-engined front-entrance version of the Routemaster in 1964/65 led to the construction of FRM1 (Front-entrance Route Master) in 1966. This prototype shared approximately 60% of its components with a standard Routemaster, and was the first integrally-constructed rear-engined double-decker built in Britain. Because of its single door (a serious drawback for a high-capacity bus) and continued mechanical problems associated with its unique design, the FRM was considered a "dead end", although it did provide "proof of concept".
In 1968 London Transport went back to the drawing board for another replacement of the Routemaster, with an anticipated introduction date of 1985. The initial result was a four-axle low-floor design that would have been suitable for automatic fare collection. By 1975 the project was well in hand and had been named XRM (Experimental Route Master). Features of the new design included a side-mounted engine for maximum flexibility in door and seating layout, and hydraulic drive to four small-wheeled axles for the lowest possible floor. Experiments in the mid-1970s yielded disappointing results, and in 1978 the XRM morphed into a more-conventional-looking vehicle, albeit with the rear door located behind the rear axle. Other proposed features were LPG fuel and hydraulic suspension to lower the floor at stops. XRM design work was cancelled in September 1980, as it was calculated that it would cost £153m to build 2,500 new XRMs but only £13.5m to overhaul 2,700 Routemasters.
A decade later London Transport once again looked for another replacement. In 1989 designs were solicited from Dennis Bus, Alexander and Northern Counties. Somewhat surprisingly, the style specified was a rear-entrance half-cab layout identical to the original Routemaster, but by now considered obsolete elsewhere in Britain.
In 1999 London Transport received an unsolicited design from Colin Curtis, its former vehicle engineering manager who had overseen the design of the Routemaster. Dubbed the Q Master it found little favour within London Transport nor when Curtis approached manufacturers. When Transport for London announced that the Routemaster would be retained until 2010 in September 2000 it indicated it would look at developing a Routemaster replacement, however this project was confirmed as dead in June 2003.
Initial Capoco proposal
On 3 September 2007 the Conservative Mayoral candidate for London, Boris Johnson, announced that he was contemplating introducing a modern-day Routemaster. In December 2007, the UK automotive magazine Autocar commissioned the bus designer Capoco, designer of the innovative Optare Solo, to come up with detailed proposals for a new-generation Routemaster. Their design, dubbed the RMXL, was a hybrid technology low-floor bus with a lightweight aluminium space frame, with four more seats and twice the standing capacity of the old Routemaster, and operated by a driver and conductor.
The design incorporated disabled access through a closing front door behind the front wheels, while retaining open-platform rear access, with the staircase still at the rear. The hybrid drivetrain had a front-mounted continuous-revving hydrogenised petrol engine; this charged front-mounted batteries, which powered the rear wheels through rear-mounted electric motors. This arrangement, through not requiring a mechanical transmission, allowed for a low floor and a step-free entrance into the lower deck from the rear platform.
Hydrogen storage tanks would be located under the rear staircase. The design was covered by the national press but attracted criticism from Livingstone as being too costly to justify and still not safe, despite proposals to monitor the rear platform with cameras.
New Bus For London competition
|The two joint winners for the "whole bus" detailed design category.|
Johnson backed the Autocar / Capoco design in principle and suggested that he would hold a formal design competition to develop a new Routemaster if he was elected London mayor in May 2008. After winning, on 4 July 2008 Johnson announced the New Bus For London competition.
An initiative of Transport for London, the competition invited anybody, both companies and members of the public, to submit ideas for consideration. The competition had two categories, an Imagine category for general ideas and concepts, and a Design category, for more detailed proposals. In both categories, entries could be either "whole bus" submissions, or proposals for parts of the bus.
The Imagine category called for the submission of imaginative ideas for a red double-decker bus with a rear open platform, and one other entrance/exit with doors. The Design category called for detailed designs of a low floor red double-decker bus with at least one internal staircase, a rear open platform, and one other entrance/exit with doors, to be crewed by a driver and conductor, and suitable for carrying 72 passengers seated and standing. The designs were required to satisfy a table of mandatory and suggested design specifications, and "be practical and economic and capable of being put into mass production". The competition offered cash prizes for entrants, with £25,000 for the winner, and smaller awards for good ideas.
One initial set of proposals gained media attention after being unveiled during October 2008, for a "smiley bus" known as the H4 (designed by the H4 Group). Future Systems offered a "space age" alternative powered by hydrogen. Foster and Partners submitted a glass-roofed design. The winners were announced on 19 December 2008. There were 225 entries in the Design category, and 475 entries in the Imagine category
The £25,000 prize for winning the whole bus Design category was shared between two entries, one from Capoco Design, a bus, coach and truck design firm, and one from a joint submission made by architects Foster and Partners and automotive company Aston Martin
Tendering process & final design
The winning and other merited entrants in both the Imagine and Design categories for both 'whole bus' submission and part submissions were passed by TfL to bus manufacturers, for them to draw up detailed final designs meeting all relevant legislation, and later presented to TfL for consideration on a competitive-tender basis. By April 2009, a formal invitation to express interest in the project was published in the Official Journal of the European Union
In May 2009, six manufacturers were invited to negotiate for the contract to design and build the new bus. They were Alexander Dennis, EvoBus (which includes Mercedes-Benz), Hispano Carrocera, Optare, Scania and Wrightbus, having all met TfL's criteria for pre-qualification for tendering, which included demonstrating they had a manufacturing capacity of building 600 buses over three years. Volvo declined to enter the bidding process. Transport for London set a deadline of 14 August for the submission of detailed tenders, and Scania and Evobus pulled out before this deadline. Scania did not believe the timeline for introduction of the first prototype was feasible for them, while Evobus had concerns over their lack of a double-decker in the current line-up.
On 23 December 2009, Northern Ireland-based vehicle manufacturer Wrightbus was awarded the contract to build the Future Routemaster. The contract called for a bus with a capacity for at least 87 passengers, two staircases, three doors, and an open rear platform able to be closed off when not required, such as at night. The bus would be a hybrid, utilising technology to make it 40% more fuel efficient than conventional diesel buses, and 15% more fuel efficient than London hybrid buses already in operation, reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by 40% and particulate matter by 33% compared with conventional diesel buses.
On 17 May 2010, the final design was unveiled by Wrightbus, featuring asymmetric glass swoops as its signature "futuristic" styling feature. Transport for London and Wrightbus worked with Heatherwick Studio to produce the styling for Wrightbus' final design. As it is an iconic bus for London, TfL has applied to the Intellectual Property Office for Registered Design Protection for the exterior design.
The bodywork features two diagonal glass windows from top to bottom decks, one curving around the rear, the other on the right-hand side towards the front, which illuminate the interiors of both staircases with natural light. The rear staircase is in the same position as the original Routemaster, curving around the rear section, while the front staircase is straight, ascending on the right-hand side of the chassis over the driver's cab, opening out in the front of the upper deck.
The bus is certified to EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval and ECE Regulation 107, according to the manufacturers.
A static mock-up was unveiled at Acton depot on 11 November 2010: the first engineering prototype was driven by Boris Johnson at a public demonstration on 27 May 2011. The first working prototype was unveiled in December 2011 and driven from City Hall to Trafalgar Square. Within days of its unveiling, the first prototype was reported to have broken down on the M1 north of London however this was due to human error - a lack of diesel. The first new bus (fleet number LT 2) entered service with Arriva London on 27 February 2012, on route 38. During the 2012 London Mayoral Election, former Mayor of London and Labour Candidate Ken Livingstone said that, if elected, he would buy no more New Buses for London because of the price. However, Boris Johnson won the election and in September 2012 approved the order for 600 of the new buses. It will cost about £160 million for the production bus from taxpayers' money. The prototypes remain in service on route 38.
The first production batch entered service on 22 June 2013 on route 24 followed by route 11 on 21 September 2013,, route 9 on 26 October 2013 and route 390 on 7 December 2013. Route 148 is scheduled for conversion on 15 February 2014. The rest of the 600 production buses are due to enter service by 2016 as part of the Mayor's election promise.
In May 2013 two of the prototypes were loaned to the UK government to take part in a global trade mission that will cover 16 countries in four continents over 12 months. In October 2013 a third was sent on a demonstration tour to Hong Kong.
The design is intended to aid speedier and smoother boarding. The rear door is not used at quieter times. The use of three doors and two staircases is not new to London: London Transport evaluated a prototype bus in the 1980s as part of the Alternative Vehicle Evaluation programme, a specially modified Volvo Ailsa B55 having two staircases. The cost of employing conductors will be about £62,000 per bus. For the total of the buses will be about £37 million by 2016.
The NBfL is currently running on the following routes.
|Route||Start||End||Operator||Garage||Peak Vehicle Requirement|
|9||Hammersmith||Aldwych||London United||Stamford Brook (V)||22|
|11||Liverpool Street||Fulham Broadway||London General||Stockwell (SW)||25|
|24||Pimlico||Hampstead Heath||Metroline||Holloway (HT)||27|
|38||Victoria Station||Clapton Pond||Arriva London||Ash Grove (AE)||5 (Prototypes)|
|390||Archway||Notting Hill Gate||Metroline||Holloway (HT)||22|
Under the bus contract tendering system for London, routes are often updated with new buses every seven years, with new buses owned or leased by the operator, whether the route operator changes or not. Redundant buses, if not used on other London contracts or sold to other London operators, often go on to further use outside London, either cascaded within the fleets of the large national operators who own several of the London operating companies, or sold to other regional companies.
The London transport commissioner Peter Hendy acknowledged in 2008 that there were economic challenges in requiring current private London bus operators to tender for routes if they required the outright purchase of the new bus for London. He acknowledged this could lead to higher bids overall, due to the fact a rear platform bus was unlikely to appeal to operators outside London, and with the questionable utility of hybrid technology to more rural operations.Buses Magazine issue 641 August 2008</ref>
An independent review of London buses by KPMG for TfL's London Buses division, which oversees the day-to-day network and route-tendering system, but does not own or operate buses, found that in the current credit climate London bus operators were reluctant to take on the residual value risk posed by the New Bus for London route contracts, while TfL would not be able to own the bus fleet due to capital restrictions. It therefore recommended that to allow use of the new buses either route contracts be extended to the expected life of the buses, or use of a leasing company to own the whole fleet, or to otherwise guarantee in some way that the residual risk to operators could be reduced.
The launch of the design for the New Bus for London led to BBC One's The One Show airing a segment on 18 May 2010 reviewing the 100-year history of the London standard double-decker, with John Sergeant reviewing the history of, and riding preserved examples of, the 1910 LGOC B-type, the RT and the original Routemaster.
Because of the close connection between British car magazine Autocar and New Bus for London, it was the subject of a road test in December 2011. The magazine said it was "the best in public transport", and referring to the vehicle's hybrid drivetrain, "brilliant economy and an interior to die for".
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to New Bus for London.|
- A New Bus for London Greater London Authority May 2010
- NB4L on Wrightbus website
- A New Bus for London Transport for London, 15 May 2010
- Winning design
- Exclusive preview of new £8m London bus BBC News video preview of new bus with mock-up, 16 September 2010
- New Routemaster winners announced, BBC News, 7 May 2008
- New look for Routemaster bus BBC News video featuring three proposals, 3 November 2008
- Entry for design competition Capoco Design Limited
- Entry for design competition Foster + Partners and Aston Martin, 19 December 2008
- The bus with a 'smile': New design for Routemaster aims to cheer up London commuters Daily Mail article on the H4 Group and Foster + Partners designs
FRM & XRM