Complaints regarding heat on New Routemaster buses (1)

Meeting: 
MQT on 2014-09-17
Session date: 
September 17, 2014
Reference: 
2014/3082
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor
Category: 

Question

What do you propose to do to address the excessive heat experienced by passengers on New Routemaster buses, given that more than 150 complaints were logged with TfL, and many more on social media, through June and July?

Answer

Answer for Complaints regarding heat on New Routemaster buses (1)

Answer for Complaints regarding heat on New Routemaster buses (1)

Answered By: 
The Mayor

London experienced especially high temperatures of up to 31C in July which made many forms of travel, even short journeys by foot, uncomfortable. I have asked TfL to look at ways of making bus journeys more comfortable but not at the expense of degrading air quality in London.

TfL checked the performance of air cooling systems on a total of 300 journeys across a range of the New Routemaster's routes in July and August. Of those, 292 (97.33%) were working as designed in the upper saloon in relation to passenger loads and providing cooled air. The New Routemaster's air cooling system was also benchmarked and came out at least as well as the air cooling systems of the most prevalent types of double deck buses in the fleet.

TfL has since reconfigured software on New Routemasters operating on the 148 to activate air cooling at full capacity at a lower thermostatic level. Initial monitoring suggests this is achieving lower temperatures in the upper saloon. TfL continues to work with manufacturers to find more advanced solutions to air cooling as heat is a network-wide issue. It is currently exploring whether insulation can be improved around areas like the engine bay, if air flow can be enhanced and whether new software can be harnessed to remotely monitor saloon temperatures.