The London Bus Page In Exile

Sunday 11 February 2007

Blinding

Filed under: Companies, Equipment, Uncategorized, Vehicles — londonbuspageinexile @ 3:06 pm

Travel London Dennis Dart SLF DP 703 (R503 SJM) at Walton-on-Thames, Saturday 10th February 2007 Over the past few weeks, my local bus operator Travel London (West) – formerly known as Tellings-Golden Miller – has been re-equipping its Byfleet-based fleet of Dennis Dart SLFs with LED blinds. DP 703 (R503 SJM) is just the latest example, and it’s sure to kick off a debate in these pages that I hope will be as involved as that set off by my mention of Metroline a few posts back.
Most operators around the country have adopted LED blinds as standard, especially since the technology has improved considerably from the first generation of vulnerable and error-prone flip-dot displays, via dot-matrix panels that were subject to the same vulnerabilities, to today’s versatile units that seem to be programmable with just about anything, and which, most importantly for the photographer, don’t just reproduce as two unintelligible single lines. It’s not just the enthusiast who found this a nuisance – think of publicity photographs for operators and the manufacturers, who would be looking pretty daft with their products showing themselves up this way. The previous generation of LED panels would not show at shutter speeds above 1/60, which ruled out pictures in any level of sunshine! Even so, I’ve always kept my camera on burst mode, so that out of a round of five shot off, one would work. This picture shows that the blinds displaying satisfactorily were the least of my worries (despite the fogged glass panel) – there was a lot more traffic than you’d expect for a Saturday morning and I had to shoot through it.
Transport for London, of course, have a different way of going about things. They don’t, and don’t intend to, adopt LED blind technology on their contractors’ vehicles. Given that the standard of blind display since the secretive and highly intransigent ‘BBC’ (Bus Blinds Committee) have come into being is totally inadequate to the point of negligence, with no via points allowed and just a destination (without the benefit of any qualifiers) expected to offer passengers what they need to find out, this is inexplicable. I may be something of a traditionalist, but I’ll declare myself a big fan of the latest LED panels – TfL don’t know what they’re missing and are mad to write off the possibilities this technology offers. For instance, even though this 461 just displays ‘Kingston’, other boards for the 218 in the same region display ‘Kingston’, with ‘via Esher, Walton-on-Thames, Shepperton and Laleham’ scrolling by leisurely underneath. It’s all legible, and from a considerably greater distance (especially at night) – and since I’ve had lousy eyesight since I was born, surely I have a better claim on what is legible and what isn’t.
There’s great potential in this. With GPS technology already coming into play for the successor to Countdown (known as iBus), is that once the bus crosses a point on the route the system can knock out the appropriate via point from the display, thus nullifying one of the objections to via points. Buses can also display them in the opposite direction, without the need for expenditure on linen (or Tyvec); since operators never seem to trust drivers to change the blinds anyway (and the unions reluctant to let them without a little something in return), all this doesn’t even need to be done at the push of a button. You can even have different colours for route numbers, like the panels on buses in Reading.
So give it a try, TfL. I have a feeling that in ten years or so all London buses will have LED displays.

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63 Comments »

  1. I don’t think London buses EVER will have LED displays…….If they were going to, they’d have had them long since. That’s not to say I(as a driver) don’t like them, I do! I think the argument for/against basically hinges on with a “paper-blind” you can always put “something” up in an emergency(albeit, not completely correct). With LED, if it fails…………it’s “black screen” time, or bus off the road!

    Comment by I'm The Daddy Now.... — Sunday 11 February 2007 @ 9:20 pm

  2. I’m old enough to be regarded as a traditionalist and I expect it’s now too late to change, and yet I’m totally in favour of a change from blinds to LED.

    What I will never accept, though, is the fudged solution to the things which I believe are called descenders. Just look at that abomination in the middle of ‘Kingston’. Is it just a question of restricted space? Whatever. It certainly doesn’t make the display any easier to read!

    Comment by Peter Kennedy — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 2:54 am

  3. This can’t be right, is TfL going to let Travel London put these buses onto TfL route, LED screens are not TfL Speck, why are we having all these changes all the time, alsoback to the buses as well, there should be one type of double decker & one type of single decker in london, one body maker & one chassis maker, then the london bus fleet will look better.

    Comment by Richard — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  4. I think LED Displays would like quite smart in on London Buses. I particularly like (whilst on my travels) the LED displays seen that have the ultimate destination at the top, with the via points scrolling along at the bottom. O course if TfL were to ever do this, a totally reliable system would have to be in place – perhaps when Ibus comes in, the programming of the radio/wayfarer would set the LED blind too? Who knows.

    Comment by Russell — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 3:30 pm

  5. Ok, i’ll start again as I made so many mistakes!

    I think LED Displays would look quite smart on London Buses. I particularly like (whilst on my travels at rallies etc..) the LED displays seen that have the ultimate destination at the top, with the via points scrolling along at the bottom. Of course if TfL were to ever do this, a totally reliable system would have to be in place – perhaps when the Ibus system comes in, the programming of the radio/wayfarer would set the LED blind too (if that’s not what they do already!)

    Comment by Russell — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 3:35 pm

  6. If TFL don’t like Blinds other than the type seem on most London Buses, how does the “Spirt of London” on Route 30 get away with have what I assume is a LED display?.

    Also agree 100% about the current blinds, if you want to travel to say Locksbottom from Hayes and are not local how would you know that a bus to Ramsden Estate is the right one for you?

    Comment by Bob — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 4:10 pm

  7. #3, the buses will be used on Travel London’s Surrey routes. Though I don’t know why a over all red bus has them, as buses on the Surrey routes are red with a white skirt

    Comment by Arriva436 — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 4:23 pm

  8. Sorry, WHITE with a RED skirt

    Comment by Arriva436 — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 4:24 pm

  9. Right, now I’ve explanied the Travel London bus with LED blinds to no3. (in 2 posts) I can say my views:

    *Firstly, I prefer LEDs to normal blinds. However, although they are easier to see at night (the bulbs behind most Arriva buses in Guildford don’t work – so you cant see anything at night until the bus had gone past and you see the back), in strong sunlight they are difficult to see.

    *Secondly, any bus with Dot-Matrix displays should have them shot uout and burned. They don’t work, and look disgusting.

    *There are some disadvantages with LEDs scrolling. On route 426 and 446 in Woking, Surrey Connect’s buses take about 30 seconds to scroll throght the via points, i.e.

    STAINES 446
    via Sheerwater, West Byfleet, New Haw, Ottershaw……

    so you can only see all the points when the bus is at a major stop.

    *In Woking, Arriva have fitted some of thier darts with LEDs, and to get over the above problem the buses show:

    Bagshot, Lightwater 34
    WOKING

    and then the next two points are shown at the top, and so on and so on…

    *LEDs can malfunction. Countryliners two new primos have LEDs and one says:

    Chobham 73

    and changes to

    via horsell 73

    where as the other says:

    73

    and changes to

    via horsell 73

    (sorry if aligment in blinds is out)

    Comment by Arriva436 — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 4:37 pm

  10. One more point and I’ll shut up, at some point in time I’m sure buses will begin to have computer screens showing power point presentations (or similar) will be used.

    P.S. regarding my post above the broken LED display said (Blank) 73, via Horsell 73

    Comment by Arriva436 — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 5:25 pm

  11. I should have mentioned that DP 503 is a bit of an anomaly – the rest of the Travel London fleet (ie the TfL-contracted routes operating out of Fulwell (TF) is going red, but Byfleet is going red and white. How this one came to be red I’m not sure, as it’s been at Byfleet for over a decade, but it adds to the variety (occasionally a silver Dart or even a Solo gets out on the 451/461 pair).
    I think I’d rather have the vias flash up every two seconds, in enough time that you see them all before the bus approaches you. But yes, the display of ‘Kingston’ squashed into the one height is unsatisfactory. That’s why I tried to distinguish it from the 218’s panels, which appear of a newer build or program (anybody who knows how these things are actually operated, please elaborate!).
    As for East London 18500, it is to be fitted with roller blinds when it goes in for full repaint (shortly if not already).

    Comment by londonbuspageinexile — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 6:15 pm

  12. Acording to Hanover’s (one ‘N’) website: http://www.hanoverdisplays.com/english/products/helen.html they are controlled with a windows-based programme, Helen.

    I ‘spose that roller blinds could ‘knock off’ via points from the top of the blinds, if the driver moves it down a bit!

    My powerpoint thorey works, by the way, I just did all the different types!

    Comment by Arriva436 — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 6:57 pm

  13. First in Hampshire have retro fitted some nice new LED on some of their buses in Southampton. I must admit I’m a big fan as they’re really easy to read and provide a lot of useful ‘via’ information – much more than the traditional blinds. They are also really bright and easy to read in the dark/mist etc.

    Comment by Soton Jon — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 8:45 pm

  14. East London’s ADL {TRIDENT} – Enviro 400 was the first ever of it’s type made, a prototype as Stagecoach has a major share in Alexander Dennis since TransBus went under, as you know it was a direct replacemenr for Trident ALX400 which was attacked in the 7/7 london bombings, since Stagecoach sold there london bus operations the bus had it lower deck re-sprayed and the old East London Logos added, also this bus as been on loan at bromley and catford, for driver training for when they gain new tender wins like they did with the 61’s. with 18500 from east london, this was on the 257 last week.

    Comment by Mark Matthews — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 9:26 pm

  15. Although I am not a fan of the new LED blinds, they are a great improvement over the minimalist TfL blinds. I agree with #6: how many people know that Ramsden Estate is just past Orpington?
    The via points are very helpful – who knows how the C10 gets to Victoria from Canary Wharf. As a relatively new route, how will it attract passengers?
    Also, at Chislehurst, you could catch a 61 to Bromley because it says so at the front – but it would take much longer than the direct 269.
    If the new blinds are to help the visually impaired, they would not be able to read the timetable or maps at the bus stop to find out the routes the bus takes – surely it is just as easy to ask the driver and keep the via points. Or just make the overall blinds bigger as on the Citaros.

    Comment by MT — Monday 12 February 2007 @ 10:48 pm

  16. While i’m a big fan of LED’s (check out the Oxford Tube for just about the best in London), i would miss the old roller blinds. It’s always fascinating watching the driver desperately searching for the always elusive WEST BROMPTON!

    What i will never understand though is the way they’re arranged- so random. First London are among the worst offenders. Also, a lot of garages have DDA compliant vehicles with non-DDA compliant blinds (Thornton Heath anyone?). They always look sloppily changed, unless the driver has been very precise. Maybe i’m being simple, but why can’t they just swap them round?

    While i agree that the new TfL doctrines on blinds are generally too restrictive and ridiculous, it is good to have a bit of uniformity. Remember the old days with so many different fonts and sizes? But as usual TfL have taken a good idea and executed it incredibly poorly.

    On the subject of visibility, check out the new Scania’s on the 148, they have just about the clearest blinds i’ve ever seen. They certainly give LED’s a good run for their money- even at night you can see them coming from miles off, and read them!

    Comment by ejc — Tuesday 13 February 2007 @ 12:41 am

  17. I had the fun of programming the LED blinds on our MCV Stirlings/ Evolutions at OFJ connections.

    The HELEN software required the the blind dimensions (dots across by dots down) being entered.

    If the blind size was too small for the font selected, you would get the blank screen appear.

    I found the LED blinds looked a lot more professional than the paper type as they didn’t tear or get dirty and fade.

    Comment by Gavin Cork — Tuesday 13 February 2007 @ 9:40 am

  18. Oh, as an afterthought

    You can addor remove destinations or via points without the cost of getting new paper blinds printed.

    Comment by Gavin Cork — Tuesday 13 February 2007 @ 9:55 am

  19. I think point 18 is the most valid. In SW we have recently changed all the blinds for route 87. We are now adding inserts for route 639 (an offshoot of route 670) and by November we will have to add route 24 to them all. Blinds cost a lot of money and each bus takes about 1 person an hour to change all the blinds (thus there are still buses without 87 on the blinds)!
    If it were an LED blind linked to the ticket machine/radio, this would be one change on a central computer surely. Makes sense to me.

    Comment by Simon — Tuesday 13 February 2007 @ 10:39 am

  20. As a reply to point 11, DP503 was repainted red after suffering an RTA (I think) and was then used at BC on route 152 when Centra decided to leave their London operations.

    Comment by Enfieldian — Tuesday 13 February 2007 @ 7:21 pm

  21. I am not a big fan of LED blinds, but I dont really know why!! I think that the black on white blinds (as opposed to the the black and ‘day glo’ yellow) are by far the best, and much more legible. Guess i’m just too much of a traditionalist!!!!

    I first noticed the use of LED blinds in the London area when the 441 went to MPD’s a few months back (although I believe they heve been used for a long time on non-TfL services on the fringes of the capital.)

    As for the use of via points (or not) I think that it is a truly retrograde step. If you are in Kingston for example and you want to travel to Staines, there are 4 routes to choose from. The 216 (TfL) and the 218, 451 and 461. How are you supposed to know where they pass through, and how long they take, although I admit that the bus stop information is greatly improved of late.

    One more point a bit off subject. Why does the TfL website tell you that routes such as the 218, 441, 451 and 461 are operated on behalf of London Buses??? Im sure that you lot know that they are operated on contract to Surrey CC!

    Comment by GJ — Wednesday 14 February 2007 @ 12:58 am

  22. I find a certain irony in the fact that TfL are so set against LED displays on buses when the TRAMLINK fleet has been re equipped with LED displays, and the newest rolling stock on the mainline and tube all carry LED units.

    There should be a cull of the TfL ostriches who insist on buses on TfL contracts must continue with pre war destination display technology.

    I cannot understand why the most modern bus fleet in the uk has to persevere with destination displays that belong in the darkest corner of Covent Garden, or Acton depot come to that.

    Comment by david hulls — Wednesday 14 February 2007 @ 11:35 am

  23. The red buses are transfers from the 152 after they were put into service after the short notice contract award from Centra.

    Comment by Chris — Saturday 17 February 2007 @ 2:01 pm

  24. #22. I think that the fitting of LED blinds on Tramlink in particular is and indication from TfL that they are slowly coming round to LED blinds. I am willing to bet that within 10 years, after a trial on some selected routes, all buses will be equipted with LED blinds within a short space of time.

    However, I still am of the belief that traditional blinds are better and easier to read, and they do certainly not belong in the Acton Depot!

    Comment by GJ — Sunday 18 February 2007 @ 8:53 pm

  25. I believe that TfL will eventually adopt LEDs or whatever the dominant technology is at the relevant time but until then, yes, it is somewhat ironic that the newest fleet has the most antediluvian destination equipment.

    TfL’s emphasis on minimal blind information suits LEDs down to the ground but they can be capable of quite sophisticated displays, are easily updated / amended and, moreover, are essentially a ‘whole-life’ component compared to the many issues of printed blinds that some vehicles must get through in their lifetime.

    The other point well made here is that the puritanical approach of the ‘BBC’ to what can and cannot be shown on blinds is not matched by equal vigilance on buses where DDA and non-DDA blinds have been incorrectly fitted. The savvier operators have tried to minimise this problem by specifying non-DDA front intermediate blinds to DDA specification so more flexible across old and new vehicles but occasionally this convinces the fitters that a lower-case destination blind is also needed when the aperture on non-DDA buses is suitable only for the traditional 6″ upper case blinds.

    Comment by Andrew Jeffreys — Friday 23 February 2007 @ 11:54 am

  26. #15 – First are now using DDA blinds on there older Dennis Marshall Darts, these old Darts {T-Reg to W-reg} are all non-DDA but it cost less to get one set of blinds made as the blind boxes on the Marshalls are the same size.

    Comment by Richard — Saturday 24 February 2007 @ 6:47 pm

  27. my last entry #25, this was for #25 and not for #15, i’m sorry for the mistake.

    Comment by Richard — Sunday 25 February 2007 @ 4:07 pm

  28. #27, yes, and First’s non-DDA single-deckers have carried DDA compliant blinds for some time now; there is nothing in the legislation prohibiting operators from fitting older buses with DDA blinds and in some cases like this it make sense to do so.

    In my earlier comment I was just trying to highlight instances where fitment of the ‘wrong’ blind on double-deckers is particularly obvious. In that respect the main flaw with the approach of having a common DDA-compliant front ultimate for both DDA and non-DDA vehicles is that it still requires the correct type of destination blind to be fitted to the relevant vehicles. In other cases, fitment of the incorrect type of blind is probably linked to the engineers having to know which batch numbers of more-or-less identical vehicles need non-DDA blinds and which need DDA blinds. Unless this information is clearly stamped on blind hems (the best method IMHO) the potential to go wrong is fairly high, particularly as blind fitment does not tend to rank very highly in engineers’ priorities anyway.

    Comment by Andrew Jeffreys — Sunday 25 February 2007 @ 7:51 pm

  29. My turn to make a correction: “common DDA compliant front ultimate” should read as “common DDA-compliant front intermediate”.

    Comment by Andrew Jeffreys — Sunday 25 February 2007 @ 7:53 pm

  30. Andrew, i know what you mean about the blinds on double deckers, East London buses {formerly Stagecoach London} there DDA blinds are sometimes found on non-DDA buses and are not clear, the same the other way with non-DDA binds on DDA double deckers, going back to single decker blinds, Arriva have started to put DDA blinds on there older darts and some of East London Darts this did happen aswell, when route 296 went to East London, the older darts there had DDA blinds made to fit the old buses.

    Comment by Richard — Monday 26 February 2007 @ 9:51 am

  31. TfL dont have the digital displays because they ‘think’ that its not fair on the visually impaired… which brings up the debate, what if a ‘visually impaired’ person wants to ride the Spirit of London?

    Comment by Jay — Monday 19 March 2007 @ 11:57 pm

  32. thanks to those who responded to my original post (22).
    I feel its time to select another hand grenade to lob into the room.
    Once upon a time there was an orgenisation which rejoiced in the title of London Transport. This body specified a high specification when it came to providing route information on it’s buses, having the route number, route destination and passing points displayed both on the front of the bus AND on the back. (not forgetting the side).
    Over the years this provision had been reduced to a single line destination and route number on the front, a route number and a worthless via point on the side, and a route number on the rear. (those on the wright bodied ‘deckers set ludrcously high on the offside)
    The adoption of a led based system could allow a return to a better provision of route information.

    I would like to sugest the BBC take a day trip to Brighton or Preston where the local oporators are setting a new benchmark for what could and should be displayed front and back. The scania single deckers have led displays showing destination, via points and route number at both ends. Brighton and Hove do too.
    If the BBC do not desire a fact finding away day maybe they should look at the displays used on the London tour buses, or the back end of stagecoach’s meggabus and oxford tube Skyliners that by using led units display route number and destination details in a box no larger than the rear appeture used on london buses for a papar route number.

    If TfL need a nomination for a trial route may i nominate the 358. The buses thereon have powered blinds which cannot be changed when the winding motors fail (someone forgot to specify a manual back up when these buses were built)

    WHAT DO YOU ALL THINK?

    Comment by david hulls — Tuesday 20 March 2007 @ 3:05 pm

  33. with all this debate about blinds vs led can I point out that London TfL bus fleet is not 100% red ….yet.

    Yellow and Blue Tridents of Metrobus are still plodding around on the 261 Lewisham to Locksbottom, but only for a short while. They should have gone in december but some of the new red omnicitys were spirited away to double deck the 405 whose slf darts wernt coping with the increased loadings created by free pensioner travel in Surrey.

    So get your camera out, there are 6 out there and being blue and yellow in a sea of red they stick out like the proverbial whatsit at a funeral.

    261 customers dont look at the blinds, they just catch the blue bus!!!!

    Comment by peacefulplonker — Tuesday 20 March 2007 @ 3:38 pm

  34. no31…………
    that shows just how short sighted tfl are.
    Do visually impared use the tube? Yes
    Do they use National Express?
    yes
    Tramlink?
    yes
    National Rail?
    yes

    What do they all have in common?
    tHEY HAVE ALL ADOPTED LED DISPLAYS FOR THEIR VEHICLES, and most have moved to led for in vehicle information displays and static displays on platforms.

    what will Tfl accept for ON BUS next stop displays that are supposed to be comming when their gps based countdown replacement comes on line.

    ….. AND AM I MISTAKEN IN THINKING THAT THE EXISTING COUNTDOWN BUS SHELTER BOARDS EMPLOY RED LEDs……………. or do they use rolls of dotted paper?

    Last week i was on a 358…..nothing unusual in that except the driver had a small led scrolling message on the assault screen which was warning customers about a route diversion that affected my journey through Bromley.
    I managed to ask him about it, it was something he found on ebay and was using it to communicate information to his customers, information that TfL, london buses and Metrobus seem unable to do by on bus notices.

    The panel was credit card size and only showed 4 characrers , but he had it programmed to scroll a large message which was run at a readable speed.
    Well done for showing initative

    Maybe this driver should be co -opted onto the “bbc”

    Comment by peacefulplonker — Tuesday 20 March 2007 @ 3:56 pm

  35. #31 – the LED blinds have been removed from ‘Sprit of London’.

    Comment by Chris — Tuesday 20 March 2007 @ 9:03 pm

  36. Here an example of how it can be done:

    Surely, the use of red LEDs instead of yellow is the problem?

    steve
    http://isarsteve.de/blog/index.php?/plugin/tag/Buses

    Comment by IsarSteve — Thursday 22 March 2007 @ 10:48 am

  37. #36. That looks like a dot-matrix, not an LED

    Comment by Arriva436 — Friday 23 March 2007 @ 5:09 pm

  38. oh! “red-face” ..you’re quite right.. sorry
    steve

    Comment by IsarSteve — Friday 23 March 2007 @ 5:42 pm

  39. on seconds
    thoughts… it is a LED..

    dot -matrix have been used since the early 90’s on new buses..

    steve

    Comment by IsarSteve — Friday 23 March 2007 @ 5:44 pm

  40. #39 should read ..”haven’t been used”

    Comment by IsarSteve — Friday 23 March 2007 @ 5:45 pm

  41. Well, this link: http://isarsteve.de/blog/uploads/MBLN021729.jpg (the first one) definatley looks more like a dot matrix. It’s more like a traditional blind then and LEDs.

    Comment by Arriva436 — Friday 23 March 2007 @ 5:59 pm

  42. TALKING about buses being practically 100% red i dont think they should be as every bus nowadays looks the same what tfl should do is make all major routes that go in to central london make them routes have strictly red branding but routes with garages serving routes in subutbs example zone 2,3 outwards should be allowed to carrie there own company colours like arrivas green with the cow horn on outskirt routes example being woodfords w14 operated with nicely presented green alexander darts

    Comment by koe — Saturday 24 March 2007 @ 6:09 am

  43. Just one last point from me and I don’t think it has been mentioned yet and that is:
    “Have pity on the driver’s hands and fingers!”.

    All this reminiscing about the good old days, when by the way, it took LT approx. two years just to decided, whether to have three, four or five line via point displays on RT’S and RM’s, really misses the point.

    As an ex-driver myself, I’ve haven’t forgotten how difficult it was sometimes, turning the blind and how stiff they often became, especially on LS’s. Also the many times I cut or bruised my hands and fingers in the process.

    A friend of mine told me recently, how drivers these days often have to do contortions when changing the blind, as most bus bodies are built with LED’s in mind and not enough room is allowed for a drivers hand.

    So let’s quietly move on into the 21st century, where paper tickets, linen blinds and open platforms are things of the past, just like two-bar electric heaters and typewriters.

    Comment by IsarSteve — Saturday 24 March 2007 @ 4:04 pm

  44. TfL specify yellow out of black blinds for good reason. If you are colour blind you need good colour contrast. LEDs don’t give this.

    Whoever decided to show Blackheath as the destination for the extended 386 clearly has no idea of local geography. The route goes through part of Blackheath (Royal Standard) then Greenwich before returning to Blackheath Village.

    New buses in London are having large areas of the blind box masked. DDA requirements state that the destination has to be a particular size. They don’t rule out secondary information.

    If passengers don’t need this helpful information to get on the bus, why are London buses being equipped with displays and announcements to tell people where they are once on the bus?

    Comment by Chris — Sunday 25 March 2007 @ 2:40 pm

  45. I have to agree with #43, i cant tell you how many times i have left a terminus with my hand cut open, changing the blinds.

    This has been a problem, even with Metro’s

    I used to drive the 82 as a metro and if we had LED displays it would be a much easier job, just correct the wayfarer II and your blinds are changed.

    If not give us the Metroline DMS or DML, where you could open the entire blind box and save you the bleeding.

    Also you could set it perfectly. i remember driving scania’s on the 84, Metro’s on the 217, 317, 231 and 82’s i used to try and keep the bus, i was a perfectionst and wouldn’t leave the stop until i had the route and destination lined up perfectly. hence i usually left late!!!!

    Go LED!!!!

    Comment by Steve — Tuesday 27 March 2007 @ 9:28 pm

  46. #32, good point by David about how technology can be used to partially restore more informative displays to the side and rear of vehicles.

    #45, technology also saves on drivers (and those of us who have fitted / changed roller blinds through incredibly cramped or miniscule apertures) having to resort to the Band-Aids!

    Comment by Andrew Jeffreys — Monday 2 April 2007 @ 10:35 am

  47. Has anyone else noticed that with buses with coloured route number LEDs, in photos the colour seems less likely to come out properly than the main orange. Obviously, they all all difficult to take photos of, but it seems getting the whole display to be captured on film is hard:

    http://simplygo.com/notices/10___02___06.htm – Fist Omnicity down

    And in this one the orange is gone completely and the pink still not right:

    Comment by Arriva436 — Thursday 5 April 2007 @ 10:59 am

  48. Interesting comments.. šŸ˜€

    Comment by tracce — Tuesday 10 April 2007 @ 12:32 pm

  49. Had to happen I suppose.

    Just got on 386 in Woolwich which was being turned short at Blackheath Royal Standard.

    Only problem is that some very sensible person has removed the Royal Standard part from the Plumstead Garage blinds so that it can be used for Blackheath Village.

    Comment by chris — Tuesday 10 April 2007 @ 4:45 pm

  50. my memory isnt what it used to be but…………………. i have a recolection that might be relevent. When London Buses closed aldenham and chiswick they lost their inhouse destimation blind facility. They helped an outside contractor to set up a blind printing works with the promise of regular orders. Would a move to led displays break a binding agreement ? surely not!

    Comment by peacefulplonker — Wednesday 11 April 2007 @ 7:43 am

  51. In reply to post #44 – I’m colour blind and find the newer LED screens very easy to read!

    Comment by Soton Jon — Thursday 17 May 2007 @ 7:15 pm

  52. As a matter of fact, the PSV regulations require on post-2000 buses that the route number and destination is shown “at all times” and that these items therefore have to be part of a static display, and cannot be part of scrolling or changing information.

    Also, regulation 13 of the 1989 Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations prohibits lights on vehicles that are not steady, except for direction indicators and exceptions for emergency vehicles etc. Illuminated scrolling, moving, or changing displays that involve the automatic switching of lights, or reflectors which move, are therefore illegal.

    There is no exemption on this for displays on buses. The only dynamic displays that would be allowed are lcd like some advert panels (which are not bright enough for destination and route displays), because lcd’s do not involve automatically switched lamps or moving reflectors.

    Comment by Martin — Saturday 25 August 2007 @ 12:28 pm

  53. The exception of the Montfort requires green, blue or orange screens.

    Comment by Montfort Buses — Sunday 26 August 2007 @ 11:26 am

  54. Don’t quite understand that point about colour.

    The RVLR rules on coloured lights on vehicles are that they must not be red on the front or white on the back. But the rear display of a bus is exempt, and there are no restrictions on the sides.

    So the only restriction of display colour on a bus, is that it must not show red on the front.

    What I was saying is that displays where the text changes, scrolls or moves is illegal, but it is a widely infringed regulation that bus operators (at the moment) appear to be getting away with.

    Even, if you set aside the RVLA requirements, buses to which the DDA requirements apply must display the route number and destination/route at all times – and I believe there has been a case where the relevant tribunal decided that this means they must be shown all the time and not as part of an alternating display.

    Just why the tribunal, VOSA or the Traffic Commissioners did not pick up on the moving traffic offence aspect beggars belief.

    Comment by Martin — Sunday 26 August 2007 @ 7:56 pm

  55. Above was not quite correct. Rear lighting must be red except for certain exceptions – but bus rear route number displays can be any colour.

    Comment by Martin — Sunday 26 August 2007 @ 10:44 pm

  56. What is happening at London Buses?

    Catford Garage which is clearly identified as such and has worked for many years becomes Bellingham/Catford Bus Garage. The new buses on the 286 show Queen Mary’s Hospital without Sidcup. Not much help to someone in Greenwich where most buses go to Woolwich.

    Different operators display different destination blinds for the same place.

    Comment by Chris — Tuesday 4 September 2007 @ 7:45 pm

  57. As regards images where led displays do not show properly.

    A lot of led panels use a system of dimming the lights by rapidly flashing them. By adjusting the proportion of time that the light is on, the actual visible light can be varied. An observer sees a steady light whose brightness is adjustable.

    But if you take a photograph which has a very short exposure, it is possible that the exposure lies entirely within the “off” part of the cycle, and the light does not show properly or at all, in the photograph.

    Comment by Martin — Thursday 27 September 2007 @ 5:41 pm

  58. #57 was very informative. One thing i do detest though is pepole (enthusiasts) who complain because the electronic destination display has not been faithfully reproduced in their photographs. My response to them is simply ” hard cheese and get a life” Bus destination displays are provided for the benifit of intending passengers, not frustrated Paperatzzi.

    Comment by David Hulls — Sunday 7 October 2007 @ 5:27 pm

  59. angelina jolie billy bob thornton

    Thanks for the nice read, keep up the interesting posts..

    Trackback by angelina jolie billy bob thornton — Tuesday 30 October 2007 @ 3:00 pm

  60. Encountered iBus for the first time this week.

    Announcements were far too loud.

    Everyone was told that we were heading towards Shepherd’s Bush.

    Unfortunately the bus was going to Camberwell!

    Hardly a good start!

    Comment by chris — Saturday 3 November 2007 @ 10:24 am

  61. Interesting to note I have just returned back from Hong Kong where many of their fancy new air-conditioned double decker buses have hi-res LED screens which show the numbers, destinations and intermediate points in the LT standard Johnston typeface (usually only seen on London Transport signage) – which suggests the manufacturers of these have TfL in their sights!

    Comment by Paul Egan — Thursday 24 April 2008 @ 6:09 pm

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