please empty your brain below

I particularly like the air cooling/heating system which of, course, has necessitated non-opening windows to ensure maximum efficiency - whilst the bus has a bloody great hole in the back.

there will be a video ... (just as soon - as you say - i can actually find the bloody thing en route)

I fear your link to the timetable might be out of date - this one assumes there will be two buses in service (the plan for starting last Monday), but I believe there will be only one - and it starts around lunch time today.

I remember the very first day that the "real Routemasters" came into service, at that time I never imagined that when I was older I would end up driving them for twenty years.

So, you build a bus with THREE exits and TWO staircases - is there any room left for seats?

And then you have a "Rear Platform Operative" (aka the conductor) who CANNOT collect any fares. So make sure you get on at the front door if you haven't got an Oyster card - oh, but then if you're in a wheelchair you'll have to get on via the middle door and make your way to the front to pay the driver against the tide of oncoming able-bodied passengers who've got on at the front.

And woe betide any cyclist who attempts to overtake the bus on the inside because someone's sure to hop off the bus right in front of them.

I seem to remember the original spec included a handy enclave at the back of the top deck, formed by the stairwell: perfect for that impromptu teenage mobile disco/snogathon/kebab supper.

I thought it wasn't the platforms and staircases taking up the space - it was Boris' ego.

Only ten seats which face backwards? I demand MORE!

Are the RPOs really not allowed to collect tickets? That's idiocy beyond belief!

@allotmentqueen: To be fair, current centre-entrance buses suffer from exactly the same problem.

Hold up - a politican delivers on a manifesto pledge and you complain ...? Seriously no pleasing some people.

@swirlythingy - "idiocy beyond belief" it is, but it's true. When I first read it in a newspaper I was so amazed that I headed to the TfL website to see if it was true. Can't remember whereabouts I found it, but it's there.

@Jordan D - maybe if he actually delivered on a manifesto pledge that has some use, people would be less critical. Boris's record on actually delivering on manifesto pledges isn't exactly anywhere near like amazing. Still, he did deliver an alcohol ban on the tube and I think we can all agree that that's been a rip-roaring success.

Well, of course Boris is the personifcation of all evil and therefore all his works shall be cast out into the outer darkness and condemned for all time.

I like the bus, but I'm concerned wht TFL don't seem to want there new (not)conductor not inspect peoples Oyster cards. Is that they now consider ticker ticket inspection too dangerous without full police backup, or the protection of the drivers cabin?

@Bowden Boris has delivered on a lot of his pledges or at least tried. Ken seemed to mostly lie about his fares policy.

If they don't want 'conductors' to handle cash, can't they give them debit/credit card readers? Ideal way to buy a travelcard or top up an oyster card.

@Rational Plan - we could probably write a thesis on Boris's manifesto pledges and I won't here. But I did go through his Transport Manifesto about two months ago (which, like all of his manifestos, were actually taken offline as soon as he became mayor and are only online now thanks to the perseverance of the Guardian) and it was a very sorry sight for poor eyes. A few "showcase" schemes delivered (noisily), and a hell of a lot not.

You'll find the full set of manifestos on the Guardian website. Read them from beginning to end and see if you still come to the same conclusion.

"in line with current journalistic best practice, I'll simply cut and paste from..."

Hah, hah, hah. Cheered me up no end that!

Mainfesto pledge or not, negative carping and political point-scoring or not yadda... I am genuinely excited about everything I've seen so far about a bus that has been custom-built for London's needs.

Yes, like DG, I will reserve full judgement until I get on the thing, but until then my default mode is set to positive, rather than cynical.

Bring back the trolley buses I say!

One thing is for sure these new buses will go down well with tourists. The bendy bus was not the iconic, bus that they were expecting.
I must say I like the look of them.

I don't think wheelchairs users not having to pass the driver is a problem - don't they all have free passes anyway?

If you want to know the timnetable for the lone bus supposed to be operating today (leaving Hackney at 1201) it's posted on the LOTS (London Omnibus Transport Society) site. Note that today's schedule is different from that for the rest of the week.

I wold hazard a guess that they are holding off registering any more until the new registration marks come out on Thursday - "LO12" perhaps? Or maybe the DVLA will allow ZO12 !

Let's not mix up riddance of the bendy horrors with introduction of a new bus. All that was necessary was to get rid of the bendy monstrosities. When it comes to this new bus, I will reserve judgement until I try it but they should probably have all entrance at the back with the oyster reader there and a middle entrance only opened by the driver or conductor for disabled access, and also with its own Oyster card reader. It sounds a bit of a dog's dinner the way you describe it.

BBC reports
that it's now in service, but a "software glitch" means that the rear door has had to remain closed.

How much software do you need to open a door - probably one of the simplest machines ever invented?

Hearing tell that the new bus broke down at Angel on its first run. Ahahahahaha.

My understanding is there are oyster card readers adjacent to both the middle and rear entrances, so there will be no need to enter via the front door to validate oyster cards.

Also, I was under the impression that when no "conductor" is present, the rear entrance will not be "closed with a perspex cover" but remain in use, with a door operated by the driver.

For those interested (from here, thanks)

Timetable for Tue-Fri this week
depart Hackney: 0800, 1041, 1321, 1600, 1835
depart Victoria: 0919, 1158, 1438, 1709, 1950
(no service Saturday or Sunday)

So, the bus is in service, but its most-trumpeted feature - the hop-off rear platform - turned out to be a fiction. Wasn't that basically what we were all expecting anyway?

TfL has been very unfriendly towards the idea of giving people choice for some decades now, and there's no way they'll allow an open-platformed bus on their roads. They'll find some excuse to permanently seal it, sooner or later - it may not even take a year.

To take one example: When I first travelled on the Central line, all the doors were passenger-operated, and you had to push the open button to get on - a godsend at a terminus in freezing weather. This practice was abolished some time ago, and now all doors open at once, whether necessary or not.

The idea of voluntarily extending passengers' rights - especially since, as in this case, the old Routemaster platforms used to have quite an impressive death toll - is so uncharacteristic I'm having trouble believing it. They're obviously under enormous political pressure right now, but you'll have all noticed that they cannily got into the planning at an early stage, and insisted that the buses had a mode of operation with no conductor and the platform sealed off. Ostensibly, this was for use at quiet times only, but it'll be extended, and extended, until suddenly it seems very difficult to find an open platform at all.

The obvious parallel to draw here is the stealth withdrawal of all ticket offices. They keep saying they're not doing it, but you have to try really hard to find a booking hall with any staff in it these days. The platform's only nominally open. Events are simply moving slightly faster in TfL's favour than they'd choreographed.

London's new (non)Routemaster bus - Boris' gift to DG - should do wonders to the The Count!

Am I the first of your commentators who was a passenger on the bus today? Caught it in Graham Road in Hackney. It was packed with white men in their 40s and 50s many of them with cameras. A slightly different demographic than the usual passengers. Lots of people on the street were taking photographs. It was quite exciting (and it was built in my home town).

.....and I notice that the smooth lines of the bus are now interrupted by a tree guard to protect the fancy but impractical wrap-round upper windscreen.

"in twenty years you'll be begging us to keep it in service?" If it lasts as long as the bendies did (first introduced on Golden Jubilee weekend, all gone less than ten years later) I'll be surprised.

Oh, and as for the paucity of downstairs seating because of the space required by three entrances, and two staircases, much of the rest is taken up by the wheelchair area -yes - you only get a seat if you bring your own!
Now, there's an idea!

'I would have one long staircase just leading up,
Another even longer going down
and one more leading nowhere, just for show'....
If I were a Boris

Back in the day I remember being ticked off by an Inspector for jumping on an RT (yes, I am that old) at traffic lights. He threatened me with prosecution for breach of by-laws. I guess Boris has deregulated those stuffy old ordinances.

"Arriva's first Rear Platform Operative"

Seriously? Rear platform operative? Idiots.

@swirlythingy I think you're probably right and the open platform will be a rarity or even be phased out completely. The fundamental thing is the cost of having two members of staff. I guess if these "rear platform operatives" have a very specific, rather limited role, they can take on new staff at much lower wages, but nevertheless it will still be quite a cost to bear, won't it? (especially as they apparently have no remit to reduce fare evasion; actually, if they did, might they not pay for themselves by clawing back otherwise lost revenue?)

The one thing that I wonder about with this is why TfL's brand new bus still uses the old destination blinds rather than the LED/LCD screens that pretty much every bus company in the UK use - even small out-of-the-way companies in rural areas...

TfL don't like electronic destination boards. They mandate blinds for all buses. Much easier to read IMHO.

And there I was thinking RPO meant "revenue protection officer". Too many TLAs.

Loving all the comments from Boris's little helpers on this thread

And three years later they still running and there are more of them ...will any of them still be on London streets in 47 years time? Watch this space!
TfL recently committed to buying even more of the things. No doubt a stitch up job for the next Mayor

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