Brighton gets 14 more refurbed ex-London bendies

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The first bendy entered service with B&H in April 2010. An example is seen here at the 75th anniversary gala
The first bendy entered service with B&H in April 2010. An example is seen here at the 75th anniversary gala

Brighton & Hove Bus (B&H) has announced it will add 14 Mercedes- Benz Citaro bendy buses to its stock by the summer and thus double capacity on the routes serving the city’s universities.

Route 25 currently has four bendy buses and the extra vehicles will begin to enter service from April.

Managing director Roger French said the service will also run every three minutes – up from every five minutes – at peak times and acknowledging the vehicles were controversial in London, described them as “hugely popular” with students in Brighton and Hove.

The vehicle can carry up to 140 passengers while double deckers can only carry about 80.

“We are investing in routes along that corridor,” said French. “We are trying to get more people travelling by bus and by bringing in more bendy buses we double capacity once these changes are implemented.

“This is an absolutely fantastic service. We are definitely seeing a growth in the use of buses by students.”

He said the new buses will also increase capacity for passengers using the park-and-ride service on Brighton and Hove Albion home matches.

Next month the new smart cards will be introduced on all B & H routes after a trial on the university service.

The new service announcements come after Hove MP Mike Weatherley said he supported a student campaign for more bus competition in Brighton and Hove.

Students from the University of Sussex’s conservative society have launched a petition calling on the Competition Commission (CC) to change the rules governing bus services and help smaller operators run routes.

In December the Big Lemon bus company, founded in 2007 and run on waste cooking oil, announced it was cancelling its university route 42. At the time MD Tom Druitt said the decision was a result of strategic fare cuts by competitors on the same route.

Weatherley said: “It is no secret that B&H have a monopoly in our city. I urge residents to stand up to this transport giant by supporting this campaign to help smaller providers like the Big Lemon.

“Predatory practices which force out competitors are damaging to everyone in the long-run. I hope the CC will review this case.”

A CC spokeswoman said: “We will now take the formal steps to introduce an order ensuring equal access to bus stations and look to the Department for Transport, Scottish and Welsh governments and the OFT to take forward its other recommendations.”