Floppy bus

Utrecht’s 25 metre buses — 7m longer than London’s — are so bendy they’re floppy.

Boris Johnson is half way through the fourth year of his term as mayor of London, approaching an election, and his great achievement in office has been to phase out the city’s bendy buses. A big justification for the policy is that the long vehicles are dangerous, especially for cyclists.

More than a third of journeys in Utrecht are made by bicycle. The big bendy buses don’t seem to be a problem. Why might that be?

Perhaps it’s something to do with having a city government that designs streets in a way that doesn’t put cyclists under large vehicles.

5 thoughts on “Floppy bus”

    1. I don’t think either of those things are true. The recently replaced 453 ran from Oxford Street down Regent Street, Haymarket, Whitehall, Westminster Bridge, Elephant and Castle, and Old Kent Road — if there are any medieval roots to those streets, they’re not reflected in their current size, which is four or more traffic lanes for almost the entire bus route. The street shown in the pictures is probably a similar width, property boundary to property boundary, as Regent Street and Haymarket — even narrower in places, on quite tight corners, something like Charing Cross Road. The only difference is in the allocation of the space.

      Central Utrecht (and Amsterdam, and Nijmegen, and Groningen…) is full of tiny cobbled side streets that it’s impossible to fit a bus down, just as London is. In all of those cities, the buses mostly run on similar sized 19th and 20th century roads.

  1. This IS a mideaval street, but it was widened in the 1920s for… traffic. It is by far the widest street in the historic city center. It used to be a main arterial road. In the 1970s it had two lanes for each direction and all east-west traffic in the city used it (see picture). In the early 1990s all private motorised vehicles were banned from this street, like the rest of the center. Traffic goes well around the center now.

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