Riding the New Bus for London
I finally caught up with the New Bus for London this afternoon. As I got to my stop to go to Islington, it was going the other way towards Hackney, so I got on the next 38 and asked the driver to ‘Follow that bus!’ Which of course he did, as all 38s go the same way. If there had been a bit of congestion and he’d manage to overtake my intended ride, I’d have just hopped-off one bus and hopped-on the other.
But we were held up and so a couple of stops before the turn around at Hackney Central, I disembarked and crossed the road to the Victoria-bound stop. Twenty minutes later and LT2 arrived.
I immediately went upstairs and the first thing you notice is how light and airy the inside is.
Colours are best described as classy and more subtle than most other buses, but light is good with LED downlighters everywhere. The windows are wide and aligned with the seats, as this view shows.
Lincolns Inn Fields can be seen through the windows. Note too, the generous leg-room, compared to some other buses.
As we progressed towards Victoria I took a lot of pictures from the right hand side, with my elbow resting on the window frame, just like the gent in the previous picture is doing.
I wonder what Sir Hugh would have thought of it all.
Whatever the bus may be it is a superb place to film central London. I don’t think that the tours will be pleased as routes like the 38, will offer a similar experience for the price of a normal bus fare. How long before someone starts offering a smart phone app, that provides a running commentary, based on GPS. Or could the app tap into a signal from the bus to keep everything in sync?
At on point, the bus was fairly clear and I was able to look at the seats.
They are comfortable and shaped to give good lumbar support. As I have said the legroom is good and you don’t feel crushed in because of the large windows and the ability to rest your arm on the window sill. You could also put a small bag underneath a lot of the seats. Compare this seat with that on the standard Wright product, that is very common in London.
The New Bus for London certainly has a better seat, with better support and if you’re on the window side, you have somewhere to rest one arm.
After a time I was able to move up-front.
The view is again good and there is the usual grab rail beloved of kids of all ages. Strangely, I suspect that you might get better pictures from the side of the bus, due to the wide and deep windows.
As we progressed through London, the most astounding thing, was that everybody was looking at the bus.
Quite a few of the crowds on Eros were photographing the bus. As I think was this lady.
But we were outside Fortnums, so she might have been photographing the shop. At Victoria the cameras were out again.
It’s when you see it here, you realise that the bus is only marginally bigger than the standard buses. Although, on the roads, the curves make it look bigger.
Soon we were off again and i took this picture of a visiting Pole in the back seat of the top deck.
On the old Routemasters and the RT’s before them, this seat was always popular for a cuddle. I suspect that it will get used for the same purpose on this bus.
I should say, that as someone, who is a bit weak down the left hand side, I didn’t find the stairs too difficult. In fact because there are two staircases, you use the one most convenient to where you are sitting. So I suspect on a crowded bus, you’d probably get off quicker and a lot easier. They are certainly no more difficult to use than those on the standard London buses. The picture shows the front staircase.
I think they might be a bit wider too. This picture was taken from the window seat just behind the staircase, which I think could be one of the best seats to take pictures from the bus.
So how do people like the bus?
I did talk to a few people and they were generally enthusiastic. Many too, were taking pictures on their phones or like me, had cameras with them.
Finally, I got off the bus and walked the short distance home.
But this couple were in a hurry and hopped on the bus, whilst it was stuck at the traffic lights.
So will the hop-on/hop-off facility work? It seems to be what Londoners want. It will help me, as often when I walk round the corner to get a 38 to Islington, one is stuck at the traffic lights, so it might save me a couple of minutes waiting for the next one.
To summarise, I think that the designers have generally got it right. The bus is light and airey, the windows give good visibility out, the staircases are easy, the open platform appears to be working and the driver I spoke to liked the bus, which is surely important.
Quite a few men, seemed to be interested in the technical details like the hybrid power system, which gives the bus very good fuel consumption. When did you last discuss how your bus or train worked with someone?
Only one lady thought there might not be enough spaces for buggies, but she did like the seats and the big windows!
Another passenger didn’t like the new smell, as I didn’t on the journey to Victoria, but that will go away in a couple of weeks.
I think my biggest conclusion about the bus is summed up in a quote by David Hockney.
Art has to move you and design does not, unless it’s a good design for a bus.
There would even be space on the top deck for a dachshund under the seat.