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Friday, 25 January 2013

New Bus for London - first route

When we ran LT1 on route 23A at Imber we had no idea this was
going to be spookily 
close to the route number of the
first full conversion in 2013
We are today announcing that we have chosen Metroline as the first operator to commence full-scale operation of the New Bus for London, when we convert route 24 in the first half of this year. This route, which just celebrated its own centenary, has run largely unchanged between Pimlico and Hampstead Heath in that time.

In order to ensure that the passenger and air quality benefits of NBfL are brought to London at the earliest opportunity we are converting two routes this year. Since production won't be up to full speed until 2014, the conversion of a larger route would take until later in 2013 to accumulate enough vehicles for an overnight conversion. Therefore it is two smaller routes this year which means we can start operations by June.

As currently on route 38, buses will run in crew operation mode during the day and with only the driver in the evenings. The existing prototype vehicles will continue to operate on route 38.

Route 24 was recently taken over by Metroline and this conversion also allows us to reallocate the current vehicles and displace an equal number of older ones again in order to maximise the benefits in particular to improve air quality across the Capital.

There are increasing numbers of NBfL vehicles now completed at the Wrights factory in Ballymena and they will be progressively delivered to London over the next few months at what will be an ever-increasing rate. They incorporate some improvements as a result of operational experience and take advantage of the long-term production run.

Tonight I am at the Metroline Long Service Awards dinner - an annual celebration for their staff who have dedicated themselves to the company and our passengers. I have no doubt it will be a major talking point! Meanwhile the Mayor is announcing it to world leaders in Davos!



  1. Metroline is the best! :) Since you are going to the dinner, can you ask Metroline if any new buses will arrive at Harrow Weald?

  2. Possibly some of the Geminis recently placed into service on the 24 may end up at Harrow Weald.

  3. Not to mention that the route 24 had it's own running day on November 25th 2012 which marks the 100th anniversary of the route.

    Like what the 38 had in June 2012 when they had their running day on the 100 years anniversary.

    So does it mean that the NB4L's will be running on the oldest London Bus routes?

    Another question, will the 8 prototypes still be running on the 38 while the Route 24 gets converted to NB4L's?

  4. Dont think it will be all the oldest routes, but certainly the Central London routes.

    Think they have been tested on the 11 as well, so possibly this may be the second full conversion.

    As noted in the main text, the original 8 are staying on the 38 (at present)

    1. how many routes will the 608 buses take? Like i remember in early 2000's The majority of Buses in Central London were Routemasters which have a traditional open platform. I dont want TFL to convert the entire route 38 with NB4L's because the PVR for them is very high. But it will be less routes converted. im happy waiting half hour for the NB4L to turn up whilst the normal OPO buses take the service to keep the flow of the commuters going.

      The last of the official routemaster routes were 6, 7, 8, 9. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 22, 23, 36, 38, 73, 94, 98, 137, 159 and 390. So will TFL place them buses onto the former routes like what they done with the 38? The total PVR of the routes were 585. So i predict it might make the majority of the Central London routes full of NB4L's.

      But is TFL going to increase the NB4L fleet or stay as 608 buses for a long while?

  5. Metroline have been saying the NBLS will be used for the 113 or 24

  6. Not quite sure which person at Metroline told you that Thomas Fluskey.

  7. Hi Leon. I am one of the existing route 38 NBfL drivers and have read your blog and you have stated that the original prototypes will remain on the route 38. However we have been told by Arriva that TFL are taking the buses back (also heard Arriva dont want to pay the salary of a driver and conductor). Would you know if the buses will operate on the 38 but under another company? Or if Arriva are to continue to operate the 38X? Thank you

    1. Ollie - we are not taking the buses back. The LTs will stay on route 38 under Arriva. There is no question about Arriva not wanting to pay anyone. We give them the money so is all covered. Leon

  8. Thank you. That has taken a big weight off our shoulders.

  9. Hi leon I was just wondering when will the recruitment for the conductors start ? Or would existing staff cover the roles ? And how would I apply through tfl or metroline would be a great help if you could let me know would love to work as one thanks .

  10. MAYBE IT IS TOO DANGEROUS TO PUT RMs on the 24s...At pimlico there is a very tight turn and they cannot get round it...the council have been asked to cahnge the traffic lights and they have not...a rm can only get round that corner by reversing then going forward...drivers will refuse this as it is not allowed to reverse a bus with passengers on it. You will have to curtail buses at victoria.