Hi all. This is the last Christmas of the traditional (and beloved) Routemaster bus in London. The 36 (my local - passing through Vauxhall) will change to new buses on 29th January 2005, and the 159 (passing through Waterloo) will be going next year. I understand the accessibility issues, but it's such a shame that these icons can'e be retained operating alongside accessible buses.
Ive seen lots of wheelcairs on busses - though it can be quite a performance getting on and off, as the ramps often dont seem to work properly.
I must admit that I like the routemasters for all sorts of reasons, and I will miss the opportunity to cheekily hop on and off between stops. But we really should have busses that are as accessible as possible to everybody. I will remind you of your comments, Mapmaker, if I should still know you when become decrepit and disabled yourself one day.
With some (probably bundles) of loot it would be possible to design a new routemaster. It could still have an open back that would save people some precious London rush hour minutes, and at the same time accomodate the disabled - probably by a near-front entrance that could be opened on demand into a mainly standing space akin to that on the bendy buses.
It would probably be a need bit broader at the shoulders and a little longer, but could overall look like a "proper" london bus.
Aside from the cash, there would also be the expediency - it would take a good few years to get developed. But that said, again, cash would solve. Use whatever as a stop gap then sell it off. At the end of it you get the most appropriate road transport London needs.
(next you'll get me ranting about Concorde. An entirely different kettle of kerosine, but did we look up? We sure did.)
they do infact carry more poeple (there is no standing upstairs on a double decker), there are three entrances/exits, so less time spent at bus stops, they don't need to worry about low bridges or overhanging trees as much, the driver does not check tickets, so again less time at stops and they are probably more fuel efficient as well. A better bus for the bus users and bus companies, but because it's longer, not such a good bus for other traffic/rush hour.
I think the drivers of buses tell wheelchair users that the ramp is broken...so they cant get on ..I know a young lady who has to use a wheelchair..her reply is swift and to the point ..why is your bus on the road when it's not fully operational..
Mapmaker there are various schemes enabling people with w/chairs etc., to get around, some boroughs give very few journeys per year, southwark is one of the better boroughs in its treatment of wheelchair users and gives 144 journeys a year. and if you have to go to work every day that allocation does not get you there and back, so if you are completely and utterly wheelchair bound, unable to stand you cant even call a minicab...so a bus would be the only choice for someone who has exceeded their trips... I have seen several on the 188 bus when I was fit enough to hop on and off!
Agree with the access issues, but would just like to point out that one could easily design a bus that was accessible whilst being somewhat smaller than a whale.
At certain times of the day, big bendy buses may well be full enough to make them worthwhile. However, I only usually travel at peak times and I still see more empty bendy buses (and even convoys of them, at times) than full ones. This would suggest to me that there's a time and a place for smaller buses.