New bendy-bus trial plan

TIGHT CORNER: A bendy-bus eases round the corner on to Bank Hill in Douglas during the 2009 trial

TIGHT CORNER: A bendy-bus eases round the corner on to Bank Hill in Douglas during the 2009 trial

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A SECOND trial of bendy-buses will be held before any plans go to Tynwald – to see if any changes would be needed to accommodate them on Isle of Man roads.

An Arriva bendy-bus from London was first trialled in the island back in 2009.

That trial was deemed a success despite there being little support from the travelling public.

Now the Department of Community Culture and Leisure has announced it is looking again at introducing the articulated buses following approval by the Council of Ministers.

DCCL Minister Graham Cregeen MHK believes they could lead to significant savings.

There would have to be a change in legislation to allow the use of longer vehicles on our roads before any bendy-buses can be ordered.

DCCL chief executive officer Nick Black said a new trial would take place before any legislation is presented to Tynwald but that it was not thought any significant changes would be required to the road infrastructure to allow the bendy-buses to operate here.

He said: ‘With regards to road infrastructure for articulated buses – the department has agreed that it will run another trial prior to the legislation being presented to Tynwald.

‘The department does not believe that any significant changes will be required but is working with the Department of Infrastructure to make sure that this is the case.’

Mr Black said that drivers do not currently require specific licences to drive articulated buses. ‘However, if the legislation is approved, we would be giving our drivers specialist training to prepare them for driving an articulated vehicle rather than a rigid one,’ he added.

The DCCL is investigating the use of controversial articulated buses on a limited number of suitable routes.

Minister Cregeen said that the department may have little alternative if it is to make budget savings and protect existing services.

He said a second-hand articulated bus could be purchased for £40,000 and, for each one brought into service, two older double deckers could be sold, fetching between £20,000 to £25,000 each.

However, bendy-buses have not found favour elsewhere.

They were banished from the streets of the English capital by London Mayor Boris Johnson who branded them ‘cumbersome machines’.

The DCCL is also considering acquiring minibuses to use on skipper services in areas of less frequent demand.

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