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Camden New Journal - By CHARLOTTE CHAMBERS
Published: 27 March 2008
There’s no plan to stop the ‘crazy train’

Despite mayor Ken’s pledge to bin the bendy bus, TfL stands firm on troubled 29 route

THE most notorious bus route in Camden – the N29 – will remain a bendy bus despite Mayor of London Ken Livingstone’s recent pledge not to order any more “bendys”.
Detractors of the route – branded the “Crazy Train” by fed-up commuters who claim it is always overcrowded and a magnet for crime – say now is the perfect time to review the route and remove the much-maligned bus.
But in the face of opposition from passengers and politicians, Transport for London (TfL) have stood firm on the future of the N29 and its daytime equivalent, the 29.
A spokeswoman this week confirmed they still had no plans to return the route to a double-decker.
Patricia Mitchell, head of customer services at TfL, said: “We believe that these bendy buses on route 29 are the best way to meet passenger requirements, in terms of safety, comfort and capacity and we have no intention of removing them from the service at this time.”
She added: “There have been no reviews, meetings or discussions about whether articulated buses should be removed from route 29.”
Last year the N29 and the 29 notched up Camden’s – and one of London’s – highest “code red” records.
Drivers pushed their emergency buttons more than 1,500 times in 2007, double the statistic posted the year before.
Councillor Ben Rawlings, Camden’s Lib Dem crime chief, said not only should the 29 have been one of the first buses Mr Livingstone scrapped it should have been the inspiration behind his change of heart on ordering new bendy buses.
Cllr Rawlings said: “The 29 – if it’s not the reason [behind the change] it should be the reason. A lot of the problems on it are because it’s a bendy bus.
“Transport for London would be stupid not to be thinking about scrapping it, there are so many problems and complaints about the N29. It’s reputation is terrible.
“On top of that they must be losing masses of money through fare evasion.
“I’m surprised they can find drivers who are willing to drive them.”
Another critic of bendy buses, Andrew Bosi, former chair of an Islington transport committee, said crime could be tempered by reinstating double deckers.
He said: “I’d put double-deckers on the 29 route and open the back door in peak periods and have a conductor to check tickets and make people move away from the doors.
“I think bendy buses aren’t suitable for larger routes in London.
“More people get on and off at each stop and they congregate around the door meaning you can’t then get on and off. And there’s the crime. It’s easier to steal on bendy buses.”

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