The Anonymous Widower

Should London Allow All Doors Entry To Buses?

London is unique in the United Kingdom, in that nearly all of the buses have at least two doors.

The standard London buses have a front entrance and a middle exit, which gives the advantage of separating those getting on the bus and those getting off. In addition as the wheelchair ramp is under the middle door, loading and unloading wheelchair-bound passengers is a much less disruptive and much more efficient process.

Last football season in Reading, the bus had to be unloaded to get a wheelchair and its passenger on-board. It delayed the bus by about five minutes. Some fans were getting angry and started a chorus of “Why Are We Waiting”

In contrast in London, I saw an incident, where a passenger in a wheelchair needed to get on and the wheelchair space was full of babies in buggies. The ramp was put down, three buggies were immediately unloaded with no fuss, the wheelchair was pushed in and then two of the buggies were slotted in. The third was folded and carried on. It was all very civilised and in total contrast to the Reading incident. Effectively, the ramp and the pavement creates a very large lobby, which makes it easy for the wheelchair space to be rearranged. In my many trips on London buses, I’ve never seen a problem around the wheelchair bay.

But the biggest argument for a separate entrance and exit bus, was put to me by a bus driver and union rep, I met on a bus in Manchester. He said that because London buses separate entrance and exit, this pushed the low-life away from the driver and they don’t try and steal his money. London buses now don’t accept money and other drivers from places like Scotland and Liverpool have told me they want cashless buses as it cuts attacks on staff.

Additionally in London, we have the three-door Routemasters with an extra door at the rear. All doors have places to touch in with your contactless card, with one each side of the middle door.

Rarely do passengers get in at the two rear doors and not touch-in. If they do, they are often reminded by other passengers, with a knowing look.

Recently, I was at Kings Cross and two buses that get me near my house turned up at the same time; a two-door 476 and a three-door Routemaster running on route 73.

The 476 was in front and empty, but I took the 73, as I felt because it loads and unloads more quickly, it would get me home sooner.

It did! Perfectly illustrating the principle that more doors make a bus go faster.

There is probably an equal split of the type of the bus I can get home from the Angel and I feel that I’m not alone in choosing a New Routemaster if one is following a standard two-door bus. Baby buggy pushers also seem to wait, as it must be much easier to get in the middle door of a new Routemaster.

|As we are well-educated on how to use the buses here in Hackney, I wonder what would happen, if London’s two-door buses allowed entry through the middle door, by putting ticket readers at the door.

Having watched the behaviour of passengers on New Routemasters for quite a few years now, I think it would be worthwhile to try it as an experiment in certain areas of the capital.

We might find it increased the capacity and speed of London’s buses.

 

July 12, 2015 - Posted by | Transport | , ,

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