DMS 1 was delivered in late September 1970, followed by DMS 2-10 & 16-25 in October and DMS 26-50 the following month. The plan was to convert routes 95, 95A and 220 to DMS on the 5th of December, but this was delayed until the 2nd of January. However, the 95A was not converted due to a weight restriction on the southern approaches to London Bridge. This route was withdrawn and the 95 was introduced on Sundays instead. The first DMS into service was DMS 1, leaving Shepherds Bush garage at 12:45am on the 2nd of January 1971, on route 220. The first DMS from Brixton garage was DMS 31, which left at 4.10am on route 95. The next two conversions followed at fortnightly intervals, with route 271 from Highgate (later renamed Holloway) on the 16th and Merton's route 189 on the 30th. The buses on these four routes were the only ones to have pre-decimal ticket & afc machines. Most operators went over to decimal on the 21st of February, six days after its introduction, to allow the new coins to circulate.
DMS 72 at Shepherds Bush had an afc cabinet with a Setright ticket machine inside, while all the others had Bell Punch equipment. The Setright machine issued tickets from a roll, whereas the Bell Punch used a folded pack, which was liable to jam up. All Bell Punch equipment (on DMS 1-71, 73-157 & 285-367) was replaced by Setright, the programme being completed by the end of '72. As is normal with the introduction of a new type of bus, one was allocated to the Chiswick experimental department. DMS 6 was to spend most of 1971 on these duties. Also at Chiswick in February was DMS 76, which had a white relief band applied on each side and had fewer internal public address speakers fitted as an experiment. DMS 88 was used in experiments to quieten the engine and could be recognized by the grilles in the rear shrouds, which had been fitted by sound engineers Ricardo of Shoreham. It entered service in November. DMS 88 was replaced at the experimental shop by DMS 240, which made visits to the MCW factory and had experimental two piece glider doors fitted. The entrance doors were painted yellow and it lost its white relief. When it entered service in October '73, it had reverted to red four leaf doors.
The remainder of the combined first and second batch of 117 were used for route 32 from Cricklewood, on the 13th of March and route 5 from Poplar and West Ham, on the 17th of April. With the completion of this first batch in early March, deliveries came to a temporary stop. They re-commenced in June with the third batch of 250, which all had the white relief as tried on DMS 76, but lacked the coin-in-the-slot symbols on the front. They also lacked the external public address speakers, the beading strips on the side used to align the adverts and the illuminated no entry sign by the exit doors. The internal grab rail by the windscreen was altered as was the front demister motor cover. A modification which occurred within this batch was the repositioning of the head and side lights, which took effect from DMS 168 upwards. Demand for the Gardner 6LXB engine was high and L.T. decided that about half of the 1972-1974 order would be Leyland engined. To gain some experience, DMS 132 was delivered with a Leyland O.680 engine in July, but did not enter service until November '72.
London Transport's fares went up in 2½p stages and relied on the old sixpence coin (equal to 2½ new pence) for use in the afc machines. By June there was a shortage of these 6d coins, which was causing delays as only 10% of passengers on split entrance buses were using self service. The GLC approved plans to raise the 2�p fare to 3p and reduce the higher fares by �p. This came into affect on the 1st of August. Just before these changes, on the 24th of July, routes 50 from Brixton and 170 from Wandsworth were converted to DMS. On the night of the 3rd/4th of September Holloway (J) closed. Nearby Highgate (HT) took over the routes and buses and was renamed Holloway. The 18th of September saw the conversion of route 267 at Fulwell and the introduction of a new allocation for this route at Turnham Green. Walworth was the next garage to receive DMSs, when on the 16th of October the 184 went over to the type. The next route for conversion, the 96, was planned for the 2nd of October, but was delayed until the 6th of November to benefit from the increased bus grant (from 25% to 50%) which came into effect from the 1st of December. Conversions up until now had seen a reduction in the number of buses used on each route because the DMS carried more passengers than the types it replaced. This idea did not work, so the 96 conversion saw a one for one replacement of buses. From late '72, omo conversion actually increased the allocations on routes due to slow boarding times! The last conversions of the year occurred on the 4th of December and involved the 64 at Thornton Heath and the 67 at Stamford Hill.
The first conversions of the year occurred on the 8th of January, when routes 124/124A from Catford and route 177 from Abbey Wood and New Cross went over to omo. Routes 106 and 295 were due to be next, on the 5th of February, but were postponed to allow the conversion of routes 85 and 297 instead. This released SMSs (from the 85) and MBs (from the 297) to cover shortages around the fleet. It was also the first time that the DMS had been used to upgrade single deck routes. DMS 328-331 were used on a special service in connection with the Ideal Home Exhibition from the 29th of February to the 25th of March
Delivery of the third batch (118-367) was completed in March. The next order was for 1600 to be delivered in 1972 (400), 1973 (600) and 1974 (600). The order was to be split between Park Royal (880) and MCW (720), each body builder having its own batch of numbers, so DMS 368 upwards and DMS 1248 upwards would be delivered at the same time. The first 367 DMSs had 'rexine' (leathercloth) on the seat backs and internal side walls. This was replaced on later batches with a laminate (except at the entrance, where the criss-cross metal was extended up to windscreen level. The livery reverted to all red. Although the MCW bodied buses looked almost identical to the Park Royal ones, they were very different. The most noticeable differences were the emergency exits The downstairs one on the MCW was taller and had rounded top corners, whereas the upstairs one was smaller, with a smaller window. The window pans on the MCW met up flush with each other and only needed a beading strip to cover the join. The Park Royal window pans did not meet up and needed extra panels to fill the gaps. MCW also used extra beading strips on the front and rear roof domes, which became more evident when the white top livery was introduced. The rain water channels were more pronounced with MCW and the drain holes were round, Park Royal used rectangular ones. Also, the beading on the rear of the MCW buses meant that the adverts had to be spaced further apart. It was intended to equip all MCW buses with Leyland engines, and DMS 1250 was the first to arrive in late March. The engine was deemed to be too loud and the bus was returned. Park Royal deliveries of the new batch arrived in April, almost without a break. The noise problem with the Leyland engines resulted in the MCW batch using Gardner engines, DMS 1250 was re-engined, and deliveries commenced in June.
Peckham was the next garage to receive the DMS, for routes 78 and night routes N85 & N86, which became the first omo night routes. Planned to be introduced on the 8th of April, these routes had to wait until the 13th of May due to delays with the deliveries of the afc equipment. Park Royal DMSs from the 1972 order entered service on the 17th of June at three garages. Barking had them for the 199, which was a new Monday to Saturday route replacing part of the 179. On Sundays the DMSs were used on the 179, which remained single deck for the rest of the week. Chalk Farm (route 46) and Wandsworth (routes 44, 168B and 295) were the other two garages affected. Route 168B was unusual in that it was a re-numbering of the Saturday service on route 168. This was due to the different fare scales introduced with the conversion to omo.
A mixture of Park Royal and MCW buses were used to convert Bromley's route 61 on the 15th of July. These were the first MCW DMSs into service. The plan was to eventually concentrate the MCW ones at certain garages to reduce the body spares held- something that was never achieved. On the same day, Battersea got DMSs for the 19A, 39 and 39A. The 19A was a new Sunday only route to provide some omo work on that day of the week. The 263 at Finchley and Holloway was also converted on the same day. Sutton and Norbiton were the next garages to receive the DMS, postponed from the 15th of July, with routes 213 and 213A converted on the 5th of August. The conversion of route 106, delayed since February, went ahead the following week. Both Tottenham and Hackney got MCW buses, as did Sutton, but Norbiton had Park Royal ones. During August the London Transport Passengers Committee requested if side ultimate destination displays could be provided on omo buses. The first ones arrived the following year. There was only one conversion in September, that of Enfield's 107 on the 9th, the first SM to DMS upgrade. Also during September, DMS 451 was displayed at the Commercial Motor Show and DMS 443 appeared at the Brent Show.
On the 14th of October the Star Bus service started in conjunction with Westminster City Council, operated by Victoria, Putney, Walworth and Wandsworth garages. The buses had special blue blinds and white stars on their sides. The service was provided to take theatre goers back to designated car parks to help reduce the traffic in the West End. There were quite a few changes on the 28th of October that affected the DMS. Two new routes, 10A from Victoria and 22A from Clapton were introduced. Bow was allocated DMSs for the 10, Leyton got them for the 55 (and 262 on Sundays) and West Ham got them for the 278 (and 262 on Sundays). Part of West Ham's allocation were five experimental buses (DMS 463-467) fitted with two piece 'glider' doors. On the 9th of November L.T. announced that it had abandoned plans to convert Central London bus routes to omo. The last conversions of the year occurred on the 18th of November when Hornchurch's route 246 was converted, and nearby North Street converted routes 247A and the Sunday allocation on route 175
1973 saw new DMS allocations introduced at Croydon, Elmers End, Uxbridge, Edmonton, Wood Green, Stockwell, Upton Park, Edgware, Southall, Muswell Hill and Potters Bar. Interesting events were the replacement of the XAs and the FRM at Croydon and the joint working of SMS and DMS types on the 83 on Sundays. The allocation at Stockwell was for the 'Round London Sightseeing Tour'. Buses were replaced every six months as the bus grant required that buses were used on stage carriage work within six months of being registered. New DMSs were used as crew buses at Cricklewood, Muswell Hill and Potters Bar, but were replaced by DMs the following year.
At the beginning of 1973 it was announced that the XA class was to be sold to the China Motor Bus Company of Hong Kong. DMSs were to replace the XAs and SMSs at Croydon during the first three months of the year. The first conversions were on the 6th of January and saw routes 166, 166A, 197B, 233 and 233A at Croydon go from SMS to DMS. On the same day, Fulwell's route 90B was converted to DMS, as was the 194 at Elmers End and the 222 at Uxbridge. On the 20th of January Croydon received more DMSs for routes 234 and 234B to start the XA replacement. The FRM was also taken out of service. Route 245 at Cricklewood was converted from SM to DMS at the same time. The flat fare routes at Croydon, C1, C2, C3 & C4, started to receive DMSs from the 17th of February and new route C5 was started, with the last XA being taken out of service on the 29th of March. The DMSs on the flat fare 'C' routes had a fare box and a one value afc machine which didn't issue tickets.
DMS 1332 was sent to the experimental department at Chiswick in February, where it was fitted with Clayton Dewandre hydraulic brakes. It entered service in August at Turnham Green, just down the road from Chiswick, so that the experiment could be monitored in service. When this bus was withdrawn from service in 1979, it returned to Chiswick for other research and development work. From the 3rd of March the unsuccessful Star Bus service was withdrawn and route 168B was renumbered 168, so now the 168 had RTs Monday to Friday and DMSs on Saturday. This year the Ideal Home Exhibition service was operated by Victoria garage with DMS 556-558 between the 6th & 31st of March. Barking was allocated more DMSs on the 10th of March for route 156 (ex RT) and route 291 (ex RF), and Putney also gained more DMSs, this time for the 85A. At the same time route 259, worked jointly by Tottenham and Edmonton, was converted to DMS, both garages also operating the new Sunday only route 279A. The last DMS conversion of March was route 221, at Finchley and Wood Green, on the 24th.
A new livery was introduced from DMS 580 onwards and on DMS 1416 and 1418 onwards. The open bullseye was replaced by a solid white roundel, the one on the nearside being repositioned to above the entrance doors, which were now yellow. Yellow 'PLEASE PAY AS YOU ENTER' transfers replaced the previous black on a yellow background ones and the fleet numbers went from gold to white. Earlier in the year DMS 563-565 had been delivered with yellow entrance doors, but these were repainted before entering service. The '1973' bodies had nearside separate number and destination displays as requested by the LTPC, The changes affected DMS 586-594, 597 onwards and DMS 1428 onwards, but DMS 595 & 596 had '1972' bodies. Also during the year the front upper deck windows changed from push out to pull in. Buses delivered with push outs were DMS 1-539, 545-554, 1248-1345 & 1347, but many of these buses were to have the windows changed on overhaul or during accident repair.
An interesting point during March was the swapping of 8 Gardner buses at Clapton with 8 Leyland ones from Cricklewood. This was due to the fitting of radio equipment on route 22A buses at Clapton. It was found that the alternator on the Gardner engine did not supply sufficient charge, whereas the Leyland ones did. Some of the first buses with the nearside destination screen were used on the Round London Sightseeing Tour, where all the blind boxes, except the front via points one, were painted over. These DMSs had afc cabinets but with no afc equipment inside them. They also lacked the 'Pay as you enter' transfers. They were the first London Transport double deckers to operate the Tour since the Routemasters of 1962. The buses were based at Stockwell and the service started on the 14th of April. On the 20th of April the Sunday allocation on route 83 was partly converted to DMS. Alperton used the buses allocated to the 297, which did not run on Sundays, but did not have enough of them, so three SMSs worked alongside the DMSs. This unique arrangement lasted until Alperton was allocated more DMSs on the 27th of October, for route 92.
The next major omo conversion took place on the 12th of May and saw the introduction of DMSs with yellow entrance doors. The routes involved were 131, 154, 157, 185 and 197A. The pace of omo conversions slowed down during the summer due to staff shortages. With the conversion of route 165 on the 16th of June, Hornchurch became the first all omo garage. Other changes in east London at this time were the conversion of route 241 at West Ham and the introduction of new DMS route 173 at Upton Park. On the 30th of June, new DMS route 295A at Wandsworth commenced. On the 14th of July, Edgware became the second all omo garage when route 292 was converted. No DMS conversions occurred in August, the next being the 169 and 169C at Barking on the 1st of September.
In August the GLC agreed to the ordering of 843 double deckers to be delivered in 1975/1976. 679 of these were to be DMS/DM buses (the other 164 were to be the MD class). The current order was altered to have 460 purpose built crew buses, to be called the DM class. They were numbered in the same sequence as the DMS as it was intended that they would eventually be used as omo. They had a bench seat for three in place of the afc cabinet & barrier, which was separated from the entrance by a glazed bulkhead. This meant that the fare chart holder had to be moved, becaming part of the door to the conductor's locker under the stairs. They lacked the 'Pay as you enter' transfers and the fittings associated with the Almex ticket machine. The ceiling mounted hand rails (of which there was an extra one placed by the front nearside bench seat) were given plastic rings. As with all crew buses, only 5 standing passengers were allowed. The first DMs arrived in 1974.
During September, production of the Fleetline was transferred from Daimler's Radford Road works in Coventry to Leyland's Farington site. This resulted in an unauthorized change in the gearbox brake drums which put many new buses out of service with gearbox failure. Also during September, DMS 1 began the repaint cycle for the class as it was now three years old. Repaints were to be into the new livery, so the white relief band on the third batch was destined to disappear.
During October, at a meeting of the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU), members voted to lift their ban on women drivers, which would help London Transport ease its chronic staff shortage. It was not until May 1974 that London Transport got its first woman driver, although the term 'one man operated' continued to be used for some time afterwards. As already mentioned, the conversion of route 92 on the 27th of October saw the end of joint DMS and SMS operation on route 83. The 92 was also operated by Southall, a garage new to the DMS. To release SMSs to cover shortages, route 91 was converted to DMS on the 10th of November. A week later, new DMS route 198 was introduced to serve the Thamesmead area. More DMSs came to the Croydon area when Elmers End received another batch to convert route 194B on the 1st of December, allowing spare buses to be used on the 54 on Sundays. On the 15th of December, crew operated DMSs were used to replace Routemasters on routes 16 and 134. These buses lacked the 'Pay as you enter' transfers and afc equipment, although the afc cabinet and barrier were still in place. This was a temporary measure until the purpose built DM class arrived the following year.
At the end of the year London Transport began plans to replace the MBA class on the Red Arrow routes with DMSs. This plan never materialized, but it was rumoured that the Red Arrow DMSs would have fare boxes and be coded DMF. It is likely that they would be standee buses, but the code reflected the fare collection method, not the seating arrangement. (See 'Why DMS?' on the previous page.)