• Horses for courses
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Are passenger services in London so different from those in provincial cities that they require buses designed with an eye on the capital's special circumstances? There has always been a strong London Transport belief that this was true, but I now have it on the authority of one who was, as a provincial operator, among the sceptics — none other than Ralph Bennett, who is now managing director (buses) of LT but who made his name as a manager with Lancashire undertakings, and particularly as g.m. in Manchester.
I met him at the ECMT symposium at The Hague last week and quizzed him on this very point. He admitted that he was coming round to the view, which he had previously discounted, that London really did produce unparalleled "slogging" conditions that made the city a special case.
I asked him how the new Londoner double-deckers were doing, and he gave them an enthusiastic thumbs up, mentioning that the Gardner engine was showing up very well in economy and reliability. Now where have I heard that before?