There is a bit of a debate going on about the future of bendy buses, with the media mainly doing them down. The urban designers over at the ADG have written a thoughtful article in defence of bendy buses (thanks Chris for flagging). It includes their redesign of the Routemaster (see photo). There is also an excellent ‘bus spotter’ article at wikipedia here that weighs up the strengths and weaknesses.
As a cyclist who has cycle commuted for over ten years I have mixed views – when the bendybus came in i hated them – they were unpredictable and sterilised a huge amount of road space. But as the drivers got better and i got used to them they have simply become another part of the road furniture – predictable and often stately. The golden rule is not to get inside them – just as for any articulated lorry though no one is proposing banning them from London. They are nowhere near as bad as skip carrying lorries – the rear overhangs of these swing around extra quick and wide and are made of solid steel, nor dustbinbin lorries where the lorry and attendant crew of three move very unpredictably. And don’t get me started on white vans.
Roads are about sharing for vehicles and giving way to pedestrians. I despair of some cyclists who shove themselves into dangerous gaps and target pavements like Amsterdam’ infamous ‘silent death’.
As a bus passenger bendybuses are far better than Routemasters – more room and much much quicker to get large numbers on and off the bus. Although standing on the turning plate at the bend still freaks me out a bit. The 73 route has improved enormously – moving from the 1950s into the modern age.
There will no doubt be views on this one comments welcome……