Can't slate, but can't rate

Metroline are now the first London bus operator to be allocated with two batches of Wright Borismaster hybrids from the same garage.

Converting route 390 through Archway Station to Notting Hill Gate Palace Gardens Terrace from Holloway (HT), this would also mark the beginning of Borismaster service in Oxford Street, a long anticipated theme that was considered primarily to attract the many shoppers and tourists who busily roam the massive shopping district. However, maybe too many shoppers and tourists.
LT110 (LTZ 1110), a Wright Borismaster allocated
to route 390. Prior to conversion saw its batch serve
route 24, meaning both routes' batches would intertwine.
Warren Street, Tottenham Court Road. ©London Bus Breh.
Normally, between conversions there have been either abundant news or something big that has happened in relation to the Borismasters. This time, I need not update you on much, except that LT11 (LTZ 1011) allocated to route 24 crashed into a post near Goodge Street Station and left a massive dent on the front of the vehicle (according to a friend who witnessed this), sending it out of service for just under three weeks, having returned to service on Friday. Also, route 24 began following the same one-person operated (OPO) weekend procedure as route 9, which was pretty disappointing and further decreased the similarity between these vehicles and the AEC Routemaster with no 'conductor' or rear-open platform, hence I never refer to them as the "New Routemaster".

LT100 (LTZ 1100), a Wright Borismaster allocated to the 390.
Seen on Ipswich shuttle route 38 prior to conversion.
©Will Swain.
A few days prior to converting route 390 to Borismaster operation, a few buses of this batch (LT95-117) commenced service on route 24, answering enthusiasts' queries as to whether or not Holloway (HT) would mix the route 24 batch of Boirsmasters with the 390's. Here, we saw Metroline's new logo, in full white text - first seen on Edgware (EW)'s newly refurbished Alexander Dennis Enviro400 (TE) buses - as opposed to the mixture of white, blue and orange from the previous logo. Also, LT100 (LTZ 1100) began serving Ipswich shuttle route '38' - coincidentally.

During the build-up to conversion, many wondered whether LT95-117 would indeed have customer assistants riding along with the driver or be one-man operated during the weekend. It was not until the actual day that we found out that it would be running in OPO and upon hearing this my friend and I came to the decision not to ride onboard these new buses as we would not be able to have a pleasant conversation with a 'conductor' whilst waiting in traffic or jump off anywhere we'd like where the bus was stationary between stops amidst the heavy congestion that Oxford Street was having to endure throughout the majority of the day.
After retiring for the usual relaxing cuppa, I decided to make my way to Warren Street to get some photos, on the way noticing a 390 exit Great Portland Street onto the Euston Road towards Archway, seemingly diverted to avoid immense congestion being created at the new New Oxford Street / Tottenham Court Road junctions.

The 2011 Metroline logo seen on LT26 (LTZ 1026).
Oxford Circus. ©London Bus Breh.
The new Metroline logo seen on LT112 (LTZ 1112).
Oxford Circus. ©London Bus Breh.


I must say on  first sight a three-digit number on the Borismasters did look rather neat, rather welcoming. Notwithstanding, somehow I just did not want to get on them myself either and, after taking some okay photos outside the University College London (Warren Street) of the 390, instead took a 10 to Oxford Street, in the hope of getting some nice photos outside Oxford Circus Station where I have previously taken some self-impressive photos of poppy buses and odd-workings without the nuisance of busy shoppers and tourists getting in the way. However, on a more important day such as today, the shopping district was busier than ever! And what really started to infuriate my short-tempered self was the fact that I would be shunted off the pavement onto the road because people would not allow me to walk on the pavements, even though I could see spaces which they could have easily walked into. In exacerbation, the crowds got bigger and bigger whichever direction I walked (backwards towards Tottenham Court Road or forward towards Marble Arch).
I was standing further down Oxford Street towards Marble Arch in one of the unoccupied bus stop boxes on the road to ensure no-one could possibly get in the way of my photos as no-one would be stupid enough to walk on the actual main road and risk getting run over. Oh, but guess what happened? Some imbeciles started walking on the road to avoid walking into someone when there was still so much space to avoid doing this on the pavements, and then others started following until people started walking on the road and not only block my photographs, but also block vehicles from moving! Ingenious twats.
Not only was my temper not having this, but my phone battery was losing patience, too. Before I reacted to an ignorant shopper or tourist, I had to depart Oxford Street entirely and returned home for a recharge.

LT26 (LTZ 1026), a Wright Borismaster allocated to route 24.
Seen on the 390. Oxford Circus. ©London Bus Breh.
Now it was around ten o'clock. I headed back out for a small journey on the 390. Oxford Street would be less packed with shops closed, I could roam around freely now. I was relieved to find a more relaxed atmosphere as Oxford Street welcomed me with its beautiful Christmas lights, and wonderful variety of bus routes and models, creating traffic / frequently turning its traffic lights to red, thus inviting me to take a sufficient quantity of photos of its first ever Borismasters as the buses could not move (with a Samsung Galaxy S III phone camera, I cannot take moving night photos unless I am using an iPhone 4S and I am fully focused on the object I am photographing).
I was also now able to take some photos at my favourite area of Oxford Street, Oxford Circus. After creating satisfying photos, I moved towards Old Cavendish Street (OS) and waited to ride onboard a 390 to Notting Hill Gate; a short ride but running down the Bayswater Road was bound to be thrilling, for sure.
LT26 (LTZ 1026), a Wright Borismaster allocated to route 390.
Marble Arch, Oxford Street. ©London Bus Breh.
As LT106 (LTZ 1106) approached the bus stop, the destination boards started changing. A curtailment. I got on the bus to hear the iBus System say, "390 to Marble Arch." Oh, great.

What was great without sarcasm, however, was the smell of the interior. If you have rode on a Borismaster before, you will know what I am talking about when I say you must have been accompanied by its distinctive indescribable smell, a sort of new bus smell, yes? However, onboard LT106 I was instead engulfed in a rather pleasant combination of what smelt of Borismaster and nail varnish, albeit strong and possibly sickening after a full journey onboard!
That was all I could analyse about this particular journey as by the time I knew it I was in Marble Arch, having to get off. On the way off, though, I did encounter a funny false, to a weekend extent, sticker near to the rear staircase:
So, I couldn't even take my short journey to Notting Hill Gate and with the frequency of the 390 (apparently every twelve minutes today), was I bothered to wait for a next one when I got off at Marble Arch Station (P)?
No, because another 390 was approaching, but the destination boards said "Warren Street", meaning it was to take a U-turn via Tyburn Way and make a very short journey to the University College London / Warren Street Station and I just could not be bothered with that, either.
Luckily LT95 (LTZ 1095) arrived, not curtailed. I started off analysing the iBus System once I made myself comfortable inside the bus; it was not of the perfect volume loudness and crystal clarity of batch LT69-94 for London United route 9. It was the same as any other conventional London bus except that clarity was better only because of the Borismasters' extremely quiet engine. However, the loud vibrations of the hybrid motors occasionally made it difficult to hear the iBus System at some points of the journey. Also, the only stupid thing I could say about the iBus System was its uttering of "Watch out for traffic when leaving the bus" - no, I will not watch out because you ain't got no conductor and rear open platform to jump off whenever we please, so we will be watching out for nothing other than the safe pavement when leaving the bus. So how about you just do your usual job of telling me the route, its destination and the approaching bus stop and stop hassling me with your extra unnecessary details, thank you very much.
It was pretty dark, both down Bayswater Road but before that when the driver failed to allow two to-be passengers on at the turn-in onto Cumberland Gate from Oxford Street - the way he shouted "the bus stop is there", pointing to the darkness of the closed end of Cumberland Gate ahead where there was no bus stop until after the right and left turn into Bayswater. If only the rear-open platform was available; can you not see the minor but major (for the public) problems your incompetence is causing, Transport for London and Boris Johnson ... and whoever else is involved in your simply atrocious decisions?
Then to add to the now solemn atmosphere was the slowness of LT95 (LTZ 1095) - there was virtually no traffic on the road and no-one occupying bus stops, so why could you not just press on the accelerator a tad bit more, driver? It was not as bad as the infamous LT62 journey, however it forced me to get off at Lancaster Gate - I'd had enough. Everything about this conversion could only provide a boring synopsis, but I really do hope I have provided an entertaining read - it was truly difficult to do so considering all of the above.

LT39 (LTZ 1039), a Wright Borismaster allocated to route 24. Seen on the 390.
LT105 (LTZ 1105) follows behind, allocated to route 390, picking up passengers despite the
destination boards saying Transport for London with the company's logo replacing the route number.
Marble Arch, Oxford Street. ©London Bus Breh.
So where would I put this conversion in the hierarchy? Route 24 was interesting but controversial, route 11 was slow and full of curtailments, route 9 was inch perfect, and route 390 tried to be good but failed and was a consequently boring conversion. So, as we wait for the next conversion, which will be on route 148 and unfortunately one-man operated, I shall leave putting route 9 as my favourite Borismaster service, followed by route 24, then the 390 with route 11 bringing up the rear.


  1. This was a Very entertaining post London Bus Breh. I loved reading it and it made me chuckle a great lot. Keep up the good work ;)

  2. A truly well written post by the amazing London Bus Breh, I enjoyed reading that rather long but entertaining post. A true inspiration for LTBB ;) .

  3. Really appreciate such positive comments, guys. More definitely to come!

  4. A great read! - May I link to this rather pretty (and pretty rare) sighting of a Borismaster in Salisbury, taking part in a bus rally (a fun day out, but ultimately designed as a sweetener / distraction from the fact the city was losing its bus station after 70 years).

  5. Thanks! A very good observation on your part with a great photo to add to it. This only started service last Thursday, one of two replacements of the infamously destroyed LT62.