Friday, October 28, 2005

End of the road

Yet another nail in the coffin of London life as we know it, as one more route gives up the Routemaster bus. Again to be replaced with the Mercedes Bendy Busses. We all get sentimental about the Routemaster, and with good reason. It's a great bus and was built with the tight streets of London in mind. It works, people can hop on and hop off and most of the time you can get a seat. It also has a comfy ride. I've only ridden on the new single level busses once. Needless to say it was standing room only, as they have less seats than the Routemaster, the ride was bone shaking and you had to fight to get off the thing. The other problem is that the have a large turning circle. As they were built originally for the streets of Berlin. Now there is a large difference between the centre of Berlin and that of London. In London the street lay out hasn't much changed since the days of horses and carts. While Berlin has basically been rebuilt since reunification, their streets are wide and flowing and the busses have no trouble getting through. It is also worth pointing out that they run a longer version in Berlin which has more seats. In London the bendy bus has to mount the pavement to take what seem to me quite open corners, outside Holborn they even took some of the railing away to give the busses more chance of hitting pedestrians.
Of course the Routemaster couldn't last forever. It's original projected life span just ten years and we've had it for fifty. But a more logical replacement is the new Volvo built double decker. The type of bus that we have out here in Essex, which has more seats than the bendy bus and the Routemaster, has a comfy ride, and can cope with tight twisty roads and the A12 with ease. It also has one other advantage over the bendy bus. It can run on LPG which means it doesn't use as much diesel. All in all another bad day for London, as we get the second best option because it's cheep.

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