Isle of Man bendybus report delayed

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The Isle of Man first trialled an ex Arriva artic in 2009. This example is seen at Park Lane while still in frontline service in London on route 73
The Isle of Man first trialled an ex Arriva artic in 2009. This example is seen at Park Lane while still in frontline service in London on route 73

An independent report looking at the suitability of using bendy buses on the Isle of Man’s roads has been delayed pending results of technical assessments.

Results of the trial are being considered by an independent working group which includes TravelWatch Chairman Brendan O’Friel and representatives of the DoI and the Department of Education. Its report was expected last month.

The assessments are investigating whether any changes would need to be made to roads to allow the buses to operate.

Bus Vannin claims bendy buses, if introduced, will save £300,000 in staffing and fuel costs, plus £3m of capital costs saved in replacing older buses. A month-long trial was carried out earlier this year. Although it was marred with a series of breakdowns, O’Friel claimed this was a red herring.

O’Friel said: “Until we get all the technical assessments there’s no clear emerging conclusion. It should be quite a straight forward conclusion – the balance of advantage will fall one way or another.”

He added: “To be honest, much of the criticism over bendy buses has been pretty unfounded. We’ve tried to get away from personal views and seek out the evidence.

“The vehicles had been standing around possibly without sufficient maintenance. If bendy buses were to be bought a lot of work would be done to make sure they didn’t break down.

“The failure of the bendy buses particularly on the Peel and Ramsey routes where they caused mayhem has inevitably skewed peoples’ perception of them.”