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  March 2012
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Long Gone
   The final day of Bendybus operation in London
The Chosen Few
The final day of London bendybus operation took place on the 9th December 2011 on route 207 from White City to Hayes By-Pass.   The last bus left White City at just after midnight with a half-load of enthusiasts on board.   There was no outpouring of emotion as had been the case at the final Routemaster day exactly six years previously to the day.   As with the Routemaster day, it had been glorious weather.   Unlike that day is had not been the end of a glorious career.

Polished From History
The decision to replace the bendybuses was purely political - a manifesto pledge by the London Mayor in conjunction with a high profile media campaign.   Like the Merlin and the DMS before, the bendybus was not to the liking of Londoners.
Doomed to failure

 Fare Evasion
Bendybuses were brilliant at hoovering up passengers such as at Waterloo station where there were three queues per bus.   However the downside was there was alot of reported fare evasion.

 Safety Concerns
It was stated that cyclists were at more danger from bendybuses.   Additionally two caught fire during the early operating months in London which received significant media coverage.

 Not A Routemaster
Possibly the most significant reason for failure - a bendybus wasn't a Routemaster.   Perceived as replacements for them (although they weren't) they didn't have a staircase or an open platform.
Click to enlarge photos and play clips.
Life after London
As well as exporting a large batch of bendys to Malta, Arriva has put some in service in the Liverpool area.

  Norwich P&R
Konnectbus, a subsidiary of the Go-Ahead group, is using former London bendys on Park & Ride services in Norwich.

  Metro Centre
Go-Ahead themselves are using gold branded bendys on the X66 service from Gateshead to the Metro Centre.

  Brighton & Hove
One of the first new homes for bendys was Brighton who initially took four.   Another larger batch is due imminently.

  Arriva clip
An Arriva bendybus at Liverpool South Parkway.



Photo Facts (Top to Bottom)
  • Main feature
    • First EA11040 (LK54FKX), a Mercedes Citaro artic, prepares to leave White City on the final bendybus journey to Hayes By-Pass in December 2011.
    • First 11061 (LK05FDA) at West Ealing in December 2011
    • First EA11042 (LK05FDD) at Ealing Common heading for Hayes By-Pass in December 2011
    • First EA11053 9LK05FCO) at Hanwell in December 2011
    • Enthusiasts photograph the final bendybus - First EA11040 (LK54FKX) at White City in December 2011
    • First replaced the bendybuses on the 207 with a fleet of Scania Omnicity double deckers, seen here at Hayes depot waiting entry into service
    • Clip: First 11061 (LK05FDA) at West Ealing
    • Clip: First EA11040 (LK54FKX) leaving White City on the final bendybus journey
  • Doomed to failure
    • A Red Arrow bendybus at Waterloo station in September 2007.   This route was perfect for this type of vehicle.
    • The London Mayor has introduced these blue rental bikes to the streets of London
    • Routemasters at Cobham open day in 2007
  • Life after London
    • The London Mayor hoped to banish bendybuses to Scandinavian airports.   Arriva had other ideas and have deployed some of them slightly closer to home at John Lennon Airport in Liverpool.   6010 (BX04MYH) is seen at Liverpool South Parkway in December 2011
    • The Go-Ahead group has scattered their former bendybuses far and wide.   Their recently acquired subsidiary Konnectbus has several for Park & Ride services such as BD57WCY seen in Norwich bus station in November 2011
    • Go-Ahead themselves now operate them on the X66 service from Gateshead Interchange to the Metrocentre.   5339 (BL57OXJ) is seen arriving at the Metrocentre in January 2012.
    • Another Go-Ahead group company - Brighton & Hove - was one of the first to take bendybuses such as 103 (BX02YZP) seen at a rain soaked Showbus rally in September 2010
    • Clip: Arriva 6010 (BX04MYH) at Liverpool South Parkway




xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Like the above ?
Then these may be of interest ..

Photo-Transport has been publishing themed articles about Public Transport for over 10 years.

If you enjoyed the above article you may be interested in these articles which were first published in April 2006 and July 2003.

  Routemaster Farewell
The final day of Routemaster operation
London Congestion Charging
The start of the bendybus story in London




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