Thursday, 22 March 2007

7 July 2005 Attack on a Double-Decker Bus

9:47 a.m.- An explosion square in a No.30 double-decker bus operated by Stagecoach London, which was making its daily route from Marble Arch to Hackney Wick. The bus passed through the Kings Cross area earlier, as it travelled from Hackney Wick to Marble Arch and started its journey at Marble Arch, where the bus turned around to start the return route from Marble Arch to Hackney Wick. Reports suggest that the bus left Marble Arch at 9 a.m. sharp and arrived at Euston station at 9.35 a.m., where a huge crowd of people had been evacuated from the Tube and were hurrying to board the buses. The bus took a different route than usual because of a road closure at the Kings Cross area, due to the earlier underground bombings. The moment when the attack happened, the bus was travelling through Travistock Square at the point where it joins Upper Woburn Place. However, it is still unclear when and where the bomber boarded the bus.

The explosion ripped off the roof of the bus and at the same time destroyed the back part of the bus. A witness reported seeing "half a bus flying through the air". Moreover, BBC Radio 5 and The Sun reported later that two injured bus passengers saw a man bombing the bus. News reports then identified that the person who carried a bomb with him was Hassib Hussain.

The bomb in the bu
s exploded towards the rear of the vehicle's top deck, totally destroying it; however the front part was left untouched. Passengers sitting in the top deck survived as well as those on the front of the lower deck, including the driver, but those near the top and the lower rear of bus were unlucky to take the explosion.

It was a heartbreaking day for London. 52 people were killed on the spot, extreme physical damage was caused to the victims, and there were delays announcing the deaths while the police tried to examine how many bodies were present and whether the bomber wa
s one of them. Surrounding buildings were also damaged.

The bombs exploded while UK was hosting the first full day of the 31st G8 Summit, a day after London was chosen to host the 2012 Summer Olympics and on the exact fourth anniversary of the racially-motivated Bradford Riot.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

The Grande Change!

"It’s time to wave goodbye to the capital’s traditional red double deckers but, there’s no room for sentimentality – London General and Central Buses is en route to the future..." insisted John Trayner to Anna Edwards

The Red London Bus, the grande symbol of London and a major tourist attraction was discommisioned last year in June f
rom London General and London Central Buses'. Undoubtedly this decision saddened many people but according to John Trayner "the Routemaster really had come to the end of its line." There were many reasons why "The Red London Buses" changed; firstly, the routmaster didn't meet the requirements of a disable persons (the Disability Discrimination Act) as you couldn't get a wheelchair on board. Secondly, the open platform door caused many injuries to passengers- they would fall off the back or not get on properly,which led to many serious injuries and fatalities.

Moreover, there are more important factors to consider such as, it is difficult to pair a driver and a conductor when only one person, the driver, can do both jobs at a time as is the case nowadays. A huge problem were the supply of the parts of the buses as they were 40 years old and the original suppliers went out of business years ago, but as John Trayner describes "these vehicles have served the Capital well and have lasted way beyond anyone’s expectations." However, the only advantage about the Routemasters run on environmentally friendly low-sulphur fuel.

The Red London Buses were replaced by artculated bendibuses manufactured by Mercedes in Germany. The public accepted them happily and were suprised by how comfortable and manoeuvrable these 18 metre buses were. The Mercedes Citaro 18 metre long single decker bendibuses have the capacity to carry 150 people. "They are suitable for moving large numbers of people around in open areas where there’s good manoeuvrability,” Trayner explained. The Bendibuses are userfriendly when it comes to a large crowd and the journey needs to be fast. You can board the bus using one of the three doors and an open board policy- where the bus driver takes no money and if you to board the bus the ticket has to be prepaid or bought in advanced from the roadside machine, which helps speed.

Finally, the advertisement for the London bus "getting you where you want when you want" shows that buses may not be as fast as the tube but it drops the passenger closer to its destination. “On 23 April 2004 we carried six million passengers – that’s more than the Tube and the whole of the UK overground rail network put together" argues Trayner.

Monday, 19 March 2007

A Brief History of Red London Buses

London's public transport was brought together in 1933 by the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB), which served Greater London, Central London as well as the areas of many of the adjacent counties.

In Greater London ‘the bus network was complemented by tram and trolleybus systems’. The year when the trams were abandoned was1952 and the trolleybuses a decade later, in 1962, as they were replaced by the bus service.

From 1970 to 1984, London Transport (LT) was under the control of the Greater London Council and the area for which LT was responsible, was reduced to 1,580 sq km which is equal to 610 sq miles.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

The Traditional Red Double-Decker Bus.

A traditional Red London double-decker bus is a bus that has two levels to it, upper level and a lower level. Double-decker long distance coaches are common around the world, but double- decker city buses are less common. These are popular usually in former British Colonies as William Gladstone observed, "the way to see London is from the top of the 'bus'."