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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!