History - 1980 to 1982

1980 - Dual-purpose Fleetlines

In June, as part of a Pay and Productivity Agreement, it became possible to operate any suitable type of bus on any route, as long as the crew were type trained and the type of bus had been cleared for the route. With many DMs being replaced by Routemasters during the year, a programme was started to convert the DM class for dual crew or omo use. When converted the bus was re-classified D. Two reversible signs (sometimes known as 'flip-flaps') were fitted, one below the windscreen on the front of the bus, and one on the cab door. When used for crew work, the front flip-flap showed PAY CONDUCTOR in white letters on a blue background. When used for omo, it showed PAY DRIVER in black letters on a yellow background. The flip-flap on the cab door had the same colour coding and referred to the number of standing passengers allowed, 5 when crew or 21 when omo. The other modifications were a cash tray and ticket machine base plate on top of the cab door, and a barrier to direct all boarding passengers towards the driver.

In January, DM 2646 was repainted (ex Shillibeer) and became the first all red B20. The attractive white top livery would eventually be lost on re-paint or overhaul. On the 28th of January DMS 2373 had a serious head on collision with a lorry, following which it was kept at Aldenham until March '83, when it was sold for scrap. During the year 54 DMSs were converted into permanent driver trainers, a programme that had started the previous year. Park Royal as well as MCW buses were chosen. In February a recertification program was started and, from April, MCW bodied DMSs were included. In a change of policy it was decided to retain some of the best MCW buses.

Most of the route changes involving the DMS/DM classes during the year were type conversions with new buses, and most of these were phased conversions done by garage and not by route. The gradual replacement of Alperton's DMSs by new Metros lasted from the 24th of January until the 24th of July. DMSs were lost from routes 18 (crew operated on Sundays), 79, 79A, 83 (Sundays), 92 (Mondays to Saturdays), 182 (Mondays to Saturdays) and 297. The next garage for Metros was Hendon, which lost its DMSs from routes 143 and 183 between the 10th of February and the 15th of June. On the 24th of February Peckham lost its DMSs, when routes 78, N85 and N86 were converted to MD operation.

Plumstead became an all MD garage on the 27th of April when routes 99 and 122A lost DMSs. On the 17th of April route 139 was reallocated from North Street to Seven Kings, which meant that it went from mixed DMS and T to full DMS operation. At the same time route N98 was reallocated from Barking to North Street, so it was converted from crew DMS to crew T. Cricklewood lost its DMs on the 24th of May, when they were replaced by overhauled ex-London Country RMLs on routes 16 and 16A. Night route N94 was scheduled for crew DMS, but in practice the crew operated pre-production Metros (M 1-5) continued to work it.

Barking's omo routes were converted from DMS to T between the 1st of June and the 31st of July, the routes being 23 (Sundays), 145, 148, 156, 169, 179, 199 and N95 (crew). Also on the 1st of June, Stonebridge began to lose its DMs in favour of crew Metros on routes 18 and its Sunday allocation on the 266, a conversion completed by the 19th of June. One other change on the 1st of June was the conversion of route 226 from DMS to M. On the 21st of June new DMS route 56 was introduced to serve the Isle of Dogs, and was operated from Poplar.

The next garage scheduled for new Titans was Seven Kings, which lost its DMSs between the 1st of July and the 15th of August on routes 129, 139, 148 (Sundays) and 150. Cricklewood began to lose it's DMSs, with routes 32 and 245 converted to M between the 6th and 10th of July, while route 616 was converted between the 21st and 31st of July. Route 42 reverted to full DMS operation from the 14th of July, having been SMS operated since November '79 due to the shortage of DMSs. On the 20th of July the conversion of North Street to Titan was finally completed, having started in November '79. Between the 20th and 27th of July, route 115 was converted from SMS to DMS.

Overhauled and modified ex-London Country RCLs were used to convert the Stamford Hill allocation of route 149 from DM on the 10th of August. Night route N83 was officially converted from DM to crew DMS, but it remained RML, or now RCL, operated. More DMs were replaced between the 17th of August and the 31st of October, when the Hanwell allocation of route 207 was converted to Routemaster operation.

The largest programme of the year occurred on the 27th of September. Route 84 at Potters Bar, which had been temporarily converted to SMS in November 1979, reverted to DMS operation. Potters Bar and Wood Green gained new DMS allocations on route 298, which had been RM operated by Palmers Green. Route 261 was withdrawn and route 121 was transferred from Enfield to Palmers Green. A start was made on the DMS to M conversion of Finchley's routes 125 and 263, which was completed by the 20th of October. DM route 283 was withdrawn and the 135 was converted from RM to DMS Monday to Saturday, already being DMS on Sundays. Edmonton's allocation on route 149 started to receive RCLs, being fully converted by the 21st of November. New DMS routes 152A and 178 were introduced and flat fare routes C1, C5 and W4 were withdrawn, although the C5 had not operated since November 1978. Route 192 was transferred from New Cross to Plumstead, thereby switching from DMS operation to MD. Route 224 was gradually converted from SMS to DMS at Uxbridge, and was completed by the 12th of January 1981.

The Uxbridge allocation of route 207 was next to lose its DMs, being converted to RM between the 20th of October and the 15th of November. A surprise move was the earlier than planned conversion of route 292 at Edgware from DMS to M between the 22nd of October and the 7th of November, allowing some of the DMSs made spare to be used temporarily on SMS routes 142, 186, 286 and 288 for about a week. Finchley's last DMS route, the 221, went over to M between the 1st and 7th of November.

On the 15th of December route 168 was converted from DM to RM Mondays to Fridays, but remained DM on Saturdays. This meant that Wandsworth and Stockwell were now scheduled to use RMs on their night routes, although in practice Stockwell continued to use the DMs it had allocated for the Round London Sightseeing Tour.

1981 - Fare Deal and Fares Fair

Politics were to have a major effect on London Transport's fares policy during the year, with the first ever fares reduction. The Conservative run GLC introduced a simplified fares scheme as part of its election campaign on the 5th of April. Called "Fare Deal", it replaced all graduated fares in the suburbs with a 25p flat fare. The scheme was not universally liked by passengers because, although some fares were reduced, the minimum short distance fare was substantially increased. If it had proved successful, it would have paved the way to convert all crew routes in the flat fare area to omo.

Fare Deal Leaflet
A leaflet showing the flat fare area.

Public dislike of "Fare Deal" was one of the factors that saw a Labour run GLC elected on the 7th of May. This new council was later to revise the fare structure with a new scheme called "Fares Fair", starting on the 4th of October, which divided the GLC area into four zones. The "Fare Deal" flat fare area became the Outer Zone, the Inner Zone was a ring (approximately 3 miles wide) between the Outer and Central areas, and the Central area was divided into the West End Zone and the City Zone. "Fairs Fare" introduced very low fares, as all child fares were reduced from 10p to 5p, a 10p short hop fare returned and a journey all in was zone was down to 20p.

part of the Fares Fair leaflet
part of a Fares Fair leaflet.

Unfortunately, the increase in the rates to fund "Fares Fair" was disliked by Bromley Council, which resulted in the GLC being taken to court. The GLC won but the court of appeal overturned the decision on the 10th of November. On the 17th of November the Law Lords upheld the decision of the court of appeal that the fares policy was illegal - a very bad day for London Transport - which ultimately brought about the demise of London Transport (1984) and the GLC (1986). Service reductions and the doubling of fares occurred in 1982.

Fleetlines continued to be withdrawn when their seven year Certificates of Fitness (C.o.F) expired, except the handful that were overhauled or given a recertification. Changes in EEC regulation from the 1st of April meant that every bus had to be given an annual Freedom From Defect (FFD) test (similar to, but more thorough than, a car MOT test). To allow bus operators to prepare for this, every bus with a current C.o.F on the 1st of April had it extended to the 31st of December 1982. This resulted in buses being withdrawn due to their condition, not their C.o.F expiry date. London Transport could decide which buses it wished to retain into 1983 and give them an FFD during 1982. With the DMSs, it was the B20s that would be retained, and DMS 2351 was the first to be overhauled, entering Aldenham on the 28th of May. The replacement of DMSs by Metrobuses and Titans on a garage by garage basis continued during the year. The phased conversion of Hanwell's DMS routes (E1 and E2) to Metrobus started on the 17th of January, but was not completed until the 23rd of November. The DM replacement by Routemasters also continued, with the 53 being converted from joint DM and MD operation to RM from the 23rd of January to the 26th of February. The first major changes of the year occurred on the 31st of January and mainly affected routes in the Walthamstow area. Leyton lost its DMSs with the conversion of route 55 back to RM, which resulted in the conversion of route N96 to LS, the first single deck night route. New DMS routes 97, 97A, 158 and 212 were introduced and route W21 was withdrawn. Other changes on the same day were the conversion of route 4 from DM to RM, the 72 from RM to DMS (which resulted in Wandsworth gaining a share of the 220), the conversion of the N82 and the Inter Station Night Service from MD to DM, and the conversion of Abbey Wood's omo routes (177, 178, 198 and 272) from DMS to MD.

Walworth's DMs were replaced on the 21st of March by RMs on routes 12 (Sunday) and 45. Upton Park operated its first Titans on the 9th of April to start the phased conversions of DMS routes 23, 147, 162 and 238. This conversion was not completed until the following year. The next major changes occurred on the 25th of April. Poplar lost its allocation on route 5, while the West Ham allocation was converted from DMS to RM on Monday to Saturday. Upton Park gained a Sunday allocation on route 5, to be worked by DMS and Titans, but lost its allocation on route 23. Route 58 was converted from RM to DMS on Sundays only and route 262 was converted from RM to DMS, already being DMS on Sunday. The Saturday and Sunday DM allocation on route 40 at Camberwell was replaced by an increased RM allocation at Poplar. At Holloway the 45 and 172 were converted from DM to RM, the 104 from DM to RM/RML on Saturday and Sunday, the 168A from RM to DMS, the 214 from DM to DMS and the N92 and N93 from DM to RML. In South London routes 115, 168, 181 and 233 were withdrawn and new DMS routes 77B, 127 and 254 introduced. Route 80 was converted from BL to DMS on Monday to Saturday (already being DMS on Sunday) and route 85A was replaced by new DMS route 264.

The change in the leadership of the GLC in May brought an end to omo conversions, for a time. Fare box DMSs at Wood Green and Muswell Hill were replaced by Metrobuses, the W2 and W3 from the 4th of June and the W7 from the 11th of June, with these conversions completed by the 15th of August. Uxbridge lost its DMSs between the 15th of July and the 10th of September on routes 222, 223 and 224.

On the 15th of August a new bus garage at Westbourne Park replaced Middle Row and Stonebridge Park. The new allocation was all crew, DM and RM. The DMs, which came from the conversion of routes 109 and 133 to RM at Brixton, were used on routes 18 and 18A. DMs were also used on route 7 on Sunday from the 31st of August, but RMs took over from the 4th of October. DMS route 112 at Stonebridge was transferred to Cricklewood, thus becoming Metro operated. Now that Brixton had lost its DMs, DMSs were used on crew operated night route N87, with two of them reclassified DS - DS 2279 and DS 2287.

Walthamstow, which had become an all DMS garage from the 31st of January, started to operate new Titans from the 15th of September on routes 34, 97, 97A, 123, 144, 158, 212, 275 and 276. The conversion was completed in 1982. New Metros went to Palmers Green for routes 34 and 121 and Wood Green for routes 144, 221 and 298 from the 19th of September. The conversions were completed by the 17th of November (AD) and 20th of November (WN). So for a time it was possible to see DMS, M and T operation on routes 34 and 144.

On the 31st of October DMS route 152A was withdrawn, New Cross gained a new DMS allocation on route 184 and route 239 was converted from LS to DMS. The next garages to get new Metros for DMS replacement were Potters Bar from the 19th of November, for routes 84, 242 and 298, and Enfield from the 30th of December, for routes 107, 135, 191, 217, 217B and 231.

1982 - Service Reductions

The effects of the Law Lords decision were to result in a fares increase and service reductions. Fares doubled on the 21st of March and major service reductions took effect from the 4th of September. New Metrobuses and Titans continued to replace Fleetlines throughout the year. Crew operated Fleetlines and standards (non B20) with Gardner engines were first in line for replacement. The DMS to Metro conversion at Potters Bar and the DMS to Titan conversion at Walthamstow were completed in January. Metros were then used to continue the conversion programme at Enfield and Titans made a start on replacing the Fleetlines at Loughton.

Titans started to appear on the DMS routes at West Ham in February, but the last DMSs did not leave West Ham until the service reductions in September. The last Fleetlines left Enfield and Loughton in March, and a start was made on routes 191 and 259 at Edmonton. The last Fleetline at Loughton, DMS 2177, was transferred to Aldenham for use as a staff bus, a first for the class. During February, the front part of DM 963 was removed and placed on display in the London Transport Museum.

On the 8th of April a start was made to convert route 141 from DM to RM, this being a route operated by New Cross and Wood Green garages. Route 137A operated on Easter Sunday only, using DMSs from Battersea. During the month, Edmonton fully converted routes 191 and 259 to Metro and started to replace the Fleetlines on flat fare route W8 with Metros. The next garage for DMS to Titan conversion was Poplar, which started to operate the new type on the 18th of April. Changes to routes that crossed the GLC boundary resulted in the 80A and 280A being withdrawn on 24th of April. On the same day, the Merton allocation on route 293 was transferred to Sutton.

Overhauls of the standards came to an end in May, the last ones to leave works being DMSs 1857 and 1859. Overhauls of the B20s continued, but these also came to an end in August, and DMS 2317 was the last one to leave in December. The DMS to Titan conversion at Upton Park, which had started in April 1981, was completed on the 4th of June. The next DMs to be replaced by Routemasters were the ones on Camberwell's allocation of route 172. From the 12th of July Sidcup started to operate 6 Titan and 6 Metros on route 51, with the existing DMSs, for comparison tests. The phased conversion of Wood Green�s allocation of route 141 to RM was completed on the 17th of June, whereas the conversion at New Cross would not be completed until the service reduction in September. Edmonton lost is last Fleetlines during the month when route W8 was fully converted to Metro. Routes 67 and N83 at Stamford Hill, and routes 67 and 259 at Tottenham were also converted from DMS to Metro during the month. Sutton and Merton received some B20s for the Wimbledon Tennis service, which continued in normal service after the Tennis was over.

Route 10 at Bow got its first Titan on the 22nd of July, but the last Fleetlines were not replaced until the service reductions in September. Titans started to operate on routes 42 and 188 at Camberwell on the 26th of July, and at Clapton on routes 22A and 277 on the 12th of August. One of the Catford fire victims, DMS 2172, was reduced to a shortened chassis and donated to Paddington College for use by the apprentices.

The service reductions caused by the Law Lords decision that 'Fares Fair' was illegal (and the subsequent doubling of fares) finally took place on the 4th of September 1982 - a date many people still remember because it was the start of mass Routemaster withdrawals. Fleetline routes withdrawn were the 18A, 135, 168A, 234B, 239, 254, C3 and C4. Crew operated Fleetlines were lost on routes 43, 109 and 134, which were converted to RM, and routes 130 and 130B, which were converted to DMS, the 130B already being DMS on Sundays. Route 93, on the other hand, was converted from RM to DM and routes 104 and 229 from RM to DMS. Night routes N68 and N88 went from RM to crew operated DMS. Merton�s routes 127, 152 and 189 were converted from DMS to LS. Route 122A was converted from MD to DMS, and there were allocation changes on routes 99, 157, 170, 188 and 249. New DMS route 160A was introduced, while route S1 was converted from DMS to Titan. Following the service reductions, only 554 DMSs and 36 DMs were scheduled for service, the DM routes being the 18 and 93. The 93 was only converted to DM because not enough of the displaced DMs had been converted to D.

DM drawing by Ian Smith
A B20 DM transferred from Muswell Hill to Sutton for route 93 - drawing by Ian Smith.

The phased conversion of routes 184 and 185 at Walworth from DMS to Titan occurred between the 16th of September and the 18th of October. The Metro / Titan / DMS trial at Sidcup ended on the 1st of November when Sidcup started to receive more Titans, the last DMS had left by the 23rd of December. The Round London Sightseeing Tour, and its 10 DMs, were transferred from Stockwell to Victoria on the 6th of November. In December, DMS 2381, a fire victim, became the first B20 to be sold.

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