I know this is tantamount to heresy, but I really like the new 453 bendy buses. Yes I know they're run by Stagecoach scum, but they're quick (in speed and because they don't take cash - which is surely the way all buses should be soon), clean and spacious. And I noticed a clever trick the other evening: the engine cut out because there were too many people on it, so passengers had to get off until it was light enough to go again. I am nervous for cyclists on the inside lane though - especially when the buses turn corners.
Don't get me wrong, I think the 453 buses are excellent. Its just a shame that the 63 always terminates at Elephant, despite the fact that most people on this bus route want to go north of Blackfriars bridge. Only about 1 in 10 of the drivers seem to run this full route which is definitely not serving the majority of the customers' requirements.
Seb, does it really? Interesting. TfL should charge more then if you're a bit of a biffa.
I had heard that TfL are thinking about adopting an 'honesty' system similar to cities like Amsterdam, whereby you can hop on at any door without anyone to check your ticket. I can't really see that working here in Blighty!
Tony, it is already the case that you can board at any of the 3 doors on the bendy bus, UNLESS you have a saver ticket, in which case you have to get on at the front, so that you can give the tear-off bit to the driver. See http://www.transportforlondon.gov.uk/buses/ini_207.shtml
Tony, I don't think that will do any good. Unless I am mistaken the bus operators are merely providing a specified service to TfL under a fee-based contract. If I am right about this, it is a matter of complete indifference to the contractor (Stagecoach, in the case in point) whether or not the buses carry any passengers or whether any of them pay their fare. The fare revenue goes straight to TfL so if you don't pay your fare you are only defrauding TfL and indirectly the taxpayer. There is no "revenue risk" in these franchises, a completely different kind of arrangement from what the railway companies for example have with the Strategic Rail Authority.
Paul gets to the heart of the whole Thatcherite/New Labour charade. Whether you are talking about bus contracts, pfi tubes, foundation hospitals, schools, etc., you have one (p-ss poor) piece of private sector competition when the contract is handed out, and then X years of private monopoly. It is quite quite bizarre that we have a party that still has the word "socialist" -very large- on the back of its membership card, that is effectively championing the merits of cartels. If anyone who is now a member of the New Labour party could be bothered to research the history of their own party, they would find that opposition to cartels was a significant part of the party's development from the 1930s onwards. God only knows why they have bought into this recent fashion for replacing public service monopolies with saddling the rest of us with private sector cartels for the next 20/30 years. I hear that Frank Dobson is beginning to organise a rebellion against the muppets who currently hang on to the levers of cabinet power. I look forward to witnessing the domestic blood-bath that will be the second reading of the Foundation Hospital Bill. Whenever that may be. Its supposed to be 10 days after the first reading, but I can't think why they are delaying it. Blame it on the war, darling.