You will I am sure periodically click the link on this page and read RouteONE Magazine which is featured here. If you did this week you will get a bit of deja-vu as half of page 7 is devoted to the content of my blog from a couple of weeks ago. Well you read it here first but it is now being read by the entire circulation of that noted trade journal which has found an important place in our industry - which I should add is almost certainly the most crowded for trade journals. I don't think any other country has as many devoted to buses and coaches.
I know therefore they won't mind if I summarise another story which they are carrying this week which I know will be of interest to those of my readers who don't get RouteONE. That is the new London double-decker from MCV which was launched this week and is soon to enter service with Go-Ahead in East London.
It is a 63-seat vehicle built on the Volvo B9TL to the latest TfL specification. This new addition to the Volvo chassis range started life when Volvo lost ground in the capital being unable to live within the prevailing weight limits at the commencement of Euro 4. A London prototype was delivered in 2010 which was still too heavy - that vehicle was subsequently reworked and was the one which appeared at the NEC Show last Autumn now in one-door configuration and in the colours of Wessex Connet, which is where it has entered service.
You will recall I was critical of the finish of that vehicle at the show even taking into account the conversion work.
Now a much better vehicle, numbered VM1, and also built in Egypt has been unveiled and this time meets all the requirements. It is built to the latest EC Regulations which makes mandatory better seat pitch, suspension driver's seat and allows on two-door buses, the elimination of the lower deck offside emergency door. It is currently below TfL's 87 passenger requirement due to the new regulations' higher specification of nominal passenger weight but this is expected to be resolved from further weight-saving during the development of the design. A further design improvement incorporated removes the intrusion of the air-cooling unit at the top of the stairs.
I am looking forward to seeing and sampling this latest addition to the range of vehicles suitable for the London market. The features all seem very good and I have every reason to believe that the build quality is far superior to the vehicle shown at Birmingham last year.
VM1 on show at Volvo. For Mike Morgan's full article with photographs (including this one) click on the RouteONE link just over on the right.