About the withdrawal of AEC Routemasters from TfL services

Ryan Holloway made this Freedom of Information request to Transport for London

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was successful.

Hello TfL Freedom of Information department

This is a follow-up to a previous FOI request (TfL Ref: FOI-2533-2021) made by someone in relation to the withdrawal of AEC Routemaster buses used for route 15H.

Here's the questions for my FOI request:

1, Why TfL refurbished the AEC Routemasters for route 15H before withdrawal?

2, How much did TfL pay to refurbish the AEC Routemasters for route 15H?

3, At the time, why the conductor's Oyster card reader did not accept contactless bank cards?

4, Can you explain why there were a reduction of passengers using the route 15H?

5, Why TfL didn't launch a campaign to increase passenger usage for route 15H?

6, Why TfL discontinue heritage buses for route 9H in July 2014?

7, Did TfL sell the AEC Routemasters used for route 9H?

8, Did TfL sell the AEC Routemasters used for route 15H?

9, Can you confirm the withdrawal of AEC Routemasters is permanent and TfL will not reinstate them for heritage services in Central London, if yes can you provide full information please?

10, Why did TfL launched the AEC Routemasters on heritage routes 9 & 15 in 2005 and what was the purpose?

Yours faithfully,

Ryan Holloway

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Holloway,

TfL Ref: 0088-2021

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 9 April 2021. Please accept my apologies for the considerable delay in acknowledging your correspondence.

The Government has announced a series of measures to tackle the Coronavirus. It is essential for London, and in particular for all critical workers, that we continue to provide a safe transport network that enables them to make the journeys they need to.

Please think carefully about whether the request is essential at this current time, as answering FOI requests will require the use of limited resources and the attention of staff who could be supporting other essential activity. Where requests are made, please note that our response time may be impacted by the current situation and so you may wish to reconsider the timing of this request. Please notify us as soon as possible if you would like to withdraw your request at the current time.

I would also like to advise that because the following questions are seeking an explanation rather than asking for recorded information as required by the Act, these have been brought to the attention of our Customer Services team, which shall be responding separately to you.

1, Why TfL refurbished the AEC Routemasters for route 15H before withdrawal?

3, At the time, why the conductor's Oyster card reader did not accept contactless bank cards?

4, Can you explain why there were a reduction of passengers using the route 15H?

5, Why TfL didn't launch a campaign to increase passenger usage for route 15H?

6, Why TfL discontinue heritage buses for route 9H in July 2014?

Should you wish to proceed with the remainder of your correspondence, we will aim to issue a response by 7 May 2021 in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy.

We publish a substantial range of information on our website on subjects including operational performance, contracts, expenditure, journey data, governance and our financial performance. This includes data which is frequently asked for in FOI requests or other public queries. Please check http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar... to see if this helps you.

We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the www.tfl.gov.uk website. We will not publish your name and we will send a copy of the response to you before it is published on our website.

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Jasmine Howard
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London
 

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FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Holloway

 

TfL Ref: 0088-2022

 

Thank you for your request received by us on 9 April 2021 asking for
information about the withdrawal of AEC Routemasters from Transport for
London (TfL) services.

 

Some of your request has been considered in accordance with the
requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access
policy.  I can confirm that we hold the information you require. You
asked:

 

The following question have been answered under the FOIA -

 

2, How much did TfL pay to refurbish the AEC Routemasters for route 15H?

 

TfL spent approximately £200k on fleet refurbishment in 2016, which has
now been almost fully written down as per normal accounting processes.

 

7, Did TfL sell the AEC Routemasters used for route 9H?

 

Yes.

 

8, Did TfL sell the AEC Routemasters used for route 15H?

 

We are currently reviewing the options available and will make a decision
in due course.

 

9, Can you confirm the withdrawal of AEC Routemasters is permanent and TfL
will not reinstate them for heritage services in Central London, if yes
can you provide full information please?

 

We currently do not plan on introducing a regular heritage service as part
of the London bus network. However, we will continue to support the work
of the London Transport Museum in bringing to life London’s transport
heritage, as well as working with bus operators and leading preservation
groups to enable heritage running days. A number of private companies do
offer heritage buses for hire, and we expect they will continue to be seen
on London’s streets for some time to come.

 

If you are considering submitting a further FOI request please think
carefully about whether the request is essential at this current time, as
answering FOI requests will require the use of limited resources and the
attention of staff who could be supporting other essential activity. Where
requests are made, please note that our response time may be impacted by
the current situation.

 

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would
like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

 

The remainder of your queries do not fall within the remit of the FOIA as
they require an explanation rather than recorded information, however we
are able to advise the following -

 

1, Why TfL refurbished the AEC Routemasters for route 15H before
withdrawal?

 

We can advise that AEC Routemasters were refurbished as part of our normal
cycle of asset management, since at the time they were expected to remain
in service for at least five years.

 

3, At the time, why the conductor's Oyster card reader did not accept
contactless bank cards?

 

You will receive a response directly from Customer Services regarding this
query.

 

4, Can you explain why there were a reduction of passengers using the
route 15H?

 

We can advise that this service has had a gradual decrease in demand over
the last few years, which is why we reduced the service initially to
summer weekends where demand had been highest.

 

5, Why TfL didn't launch a campaign to increase passenger usage for route
15H?

 

As mentioned in response to ref: 2533-2021, we would like to reiterate
that the route was served by buses with a high step up to the rear
platform, which cannot be accessed by wheelchair users and is also
difficult for those with limited mobility.  The heritage service on this
route is also not required for capacity purposes and does not provide any
unique links.  We have no evidence that a marketing campaign would have
paid back financially.  The cost recovery is low compared to the network
average.  In short, we do not believe such a campaign would have offered
value for money. 

 

6, Why TfL discontinue heritage buses for route 9H in July 2014?

 

We can confirm that demand on heritage buses for route 9 was lower than
route 15, and so the decision was taken to withdraw the former whilst
retaining route 15.

 

 

10, Why did TfL launched the AEC Routemasters on heritage routes 9 & 15 in
2005 and what was the purpose?

 

We can state that they were introduced when Routemasters were withdrawn
from front line service across London in 2005 as part of our move to make
the entire London bus network accessible. We retained the heritage
services to enable those who wanted to continue to travel on these buses.
Such services were initially relatively well used, but demand has fallen
and as outlined above, we have reduced the services allowing the savings
to be invested elsewhere on the network.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Jasmine Howard

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

 

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Larry Bryant left an annotation ()

From the GLA's 'Questions to the Mayor':

Reference: 2019/4026

Route 15H is currently subsidised by around £9 per customer, compared to 23p per customer across the rest of the bus network.

I’m committed to ensuring that London’s transport network operates in a sustainable way and do not believe it is appropriate for Transport for London to continue to heavily fund a service that is not accessible for all Londoners and contributes to air pollution in our city.

https://www.london.gov.uk/questions/2019...

Reference: 2019/4027

Transport for London (TfL) has not spent the budget on specifically marketing the route 15 heritage bus service since 2016. TfL are also not aware of any specific marketing spend in the years leading up to 2016.

https://www.london.gov.uk/questions/2019...

Reference: 2019/4028

Reducing the frequency of the 15H will ensure that the Routemaster remains a visible icon of London’s transport heritage, while at the same time ensuring that public funds are invested prudently in transport services that benefit everyone that lives, works or visits London. It will also will also contribute to helping tackle London’s lethal air and safeguarding the health of Londonders.

https://www.london.gov.uk/questions/2019...

Reference: 2019/4029

Question:
Despite the immense growth in the use of contactless payment please explain why TfL has not introduced contactless payment on the Route 15 heritage service.

Answer:
The current portable payment device used by conductors on the Route 15 heritage service cannot be modified to accept contactless payments and would be prohibitively expensive to replace given the relatively low patronage. Transport for London has therefore decided not to pursue this option.

https://www.london.gov.uk/questions/2019...

Reference: 2019/4030

Transport for London (TfL) has not developed plans to retrofit these heritage vehicles as a bespoke solution would need to be developed. TfL anticipates that both this process and the solution itself would be costly. Given the small number of vehicles affected, this would not offer value-for-money to Londoners. TfL therefore can not provide a cost estimate. Instead, TfL has encouraged the development of cleaner exhaust systems that can be retrofitted to more modern buses en masse, which is far more cost-effective and will help clean London’s air faster.

Historic vehicles built more than 40 years ago, including those used on heritage route 15H, are exempt from vehicle tax and from the Ultra-Low Emission Zone.

https://www.london.gov.uk/questions/2019...

Customerservice, Transport for London

 

[1]Transport for London
Transport
for London
Ref: 15628967

16 June 2021

Dear Mr Holloway

Our FOI team have asked us to respond to you regarding question (3) of
your email on 9 April:

‘ At the time, why the conductor's Oyster card reader did not accept
contactless bank cards?’

I can advise that it wasn’t possible to upgrade the current Conductor
machines (PTIDs) used on the Routemasters, as there was an extra device
required to be able to read contactless cards (CPCs).

There wasn’t enough room in the PTID to be able to fit this extra piece of
hardware. Consequently, we would have had to procure a completely
different device and modified it to accept two different types of
payments, as these can’t just be bought off the shelf.

Therefore, the cost to do this was vastly uneconomic and couldn’t be
justified for the limited traditional Routemaster operation.

I trust the above information is useful to you, and I'm sorry you had to
wait so long to receive it.

If there is anything else we can help you with, please reply to this
email. Alternatively, you can call us on 0343 222 1234 and we'll be happy
to help you.

Kind regards

Alison Hayes
Customer Service Adviser
Transport for London Customer Services

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