Shown right is Alexander-bodied Volvo Olympian 238 in the Capital Citybus fleet, one of a batch bought for route 91 - our first real foray into Central London.
I had long hoped we could find a way to restore good destination blind information having seen it depleted over the years since single-person operation was introduced. (Don't forget that this is in the days before comprehensive route information was provided at stops on an individual basis).
We did put complete KM and NN blind boxes in the back of DMSs in 1986 but these manual units were difficult to access and it was difficult for drivers to know whether fitted or not. We made 'lazy' blinds for them but they were not entirely successful. We did manage to keep manual side blinds with ultimate destinations reasonably well observed but when our fleet had fewer ex-London vehicles in it these became more difficult to provide.
What was really needed were electrically-driven, electronically-tracked, proper blinds and Alexanders made this for us on the last of the route 91 Olympians. This was the mid 1990s and this equipment was, in the UK at least, in its infancy. McKennas helped us enourmously and made these special blind sets which relied on bar codes to be set correctly.
Today electrically-driven blinds are standard equipment on London buses and the co-ordination of multiple units is commonplace, including side and one rear unit on artics. Of course the technnology has come along leaps and bounds - the electric units are more reliable for sure.
The concept of ensuring consisent and properly set information, as often provided overseas, had been proven.
Someone will want to re-open the debate about the value of 'via' points on bus blinds. It is debated almost continuously on the internet so I am not doing so here. What we did was prove the concept of electrically setting the appropriate information on three sides - ahem, 15 years ago!!