TfL’s New Routemaster to be converted to front door entry only

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CBW has seen a Freedom of Information Act (FoI) request from Isaac Davis in regards to the proposal by Transport for London (TfL) to convert 1,000 Wrightbus New Routemasters (NRM) three-door double-deckers to front door entry only, to reduce fare evasion.

The sender of the FoI asked a number of questions in relation to this. TfL released the response using its Information Access Policy.

Asked what the purpose of changing the boarding of the NRM was, TfL responded: “We are changing to front-door boarding to reduce the likelihood of customers coming on board without paying and reduce customer complaints about this issue. This will help reduce fare evasion which is currently more than double the rate on New Routemasters than elsewhere and is taking away revenue we need to invest in improving transport for everyone. There will also be accessibility benefits as wheelchairs will still be able to use the middle doors and will find it easier to access the priority space onboard. Our last estimates for fare evasion on NRMs indicated around £3.6 million is lost each year.”

A trial of front door only boarding was carried on route 8; TfL commented that: “Early indications are that fare evasion has fallen sharply on route 8 and the night route N8.”

In a separate document attached to the FoI, a ‘Contract Change Note’, it specified that the solution to fare evasion was for Wrightbus to carry out the following: “All 1,000 NRM buses are modified to enable front door open signal to be independently controlled from the mid and rear door open signal. This shall be achieved by installing an additional cab-mounted door button, thus enabling the front door open signal to be decoupled from mid and rear door opening signal.”

The cost for carrying out this work had been redacted. The original time frame to complete this work should have been by 06/12/19, but TfL is now in talks with the new owner of Wrightbus, Bamford Bus Company, to complete this work early in 2020.

The FoI and the full response can be seen at: www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/front_door_only_boarding_on_new