Why do London buses use Roller-blind displays?

0118999

Do'er of administrative things
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Oct 24, 2016
551
A decent resolution LED display is nearly as clear as a smart blind imo, Citybus' Hong Kong displays even use the Johnstone font! It's part-tradition, part-stubbornness, part-vanity and I expect pressure from manufacturers like McKenna Bros & Mobitec.

Conventional blinds may have slightly superior readability but they're worth the extra costs imo. The only recent sizeable use outside of TfL I can think of is Lothian, and even they're going white LED. Of course there's always a third way with LCDs from the likes of Gorba, I rather like them but apparently they don't hold up too well on our rubbish roads.

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0118999

Do'er of administrative things
Administrator
Premium Subscriber
Oct 24, 2016
551
Anyone know the outcome of the "Kindle blind" trial that used e-paper? I know the vehicle was converted back to smart blinds.
 
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Deleted member 422

@Kaci It was one Metroline bus, which got converted back to SmartBlinds, so....
 
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Deleted member 422

@Kaci This is what he is talking about. It has blinds the same size and in the same place as an ordinary bus.
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P.S. I was about to say what happened, but @LB14 beat me to it :P
 
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LB14

Veteran Member
Mar 28, 2016
324
Anyone know the outcome of the "Kindle blind" trial that used e-paper? I know the vehicle was converted back to smart blinds.
It was on Metroline Enviro 400 TEH1224 fitted in June 2015 and until January 2016 when the bus was in service with the number box stuck. The trial was subsequently declared a faliure and the bus was refitted with standard paper blinds soon after.
 

SatoshiAaron

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2016
220
It was on Metroline Enviro 400 TEH1224 fitted in June 2015 and until January 2016 when the bus was in service with the number box stuck. The trial was subsequently declared a faliure and the bus was refitted with standard paper blinds soon after.
Yeah. I saw this. It was most likely screen burn after being left with the same number for such a long time. They probably left the number on over night which wouldn't help. It also looked very bad in sunny light and had a horrible back light which just... ugh, ugly.

the corner cuts and the centre line was also reeeeally ugly.
 
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HJALMAR

Well-Known Member
Dec 19, 2016
88
I don't understand what is the matter with using LED signs like the rest of the world. ;)
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Ps. Picture is only for demonstration purposes. (Not London related so mods may delete if need be.)
 
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Deleted member 422

@HJALMAR Its specified by TFL for any bus being purchased for use in London to have Rollblinds. Its just the way it is. Companies are always looking for cheaper alternatives to get around it but it seems there is nothing quite like rollblinds. I, as a Londoner, certainly would miss them if they were to be abolished. :(
 
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HJALMAR

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Dec 19, 2016
88
Yes I know this but there isn't really a debate about which is clearer to read on low light conditions or even generally. And the sole purpose of the signs is to provide readable information. Maybe in the future there will be uniform shape like LED's or even OLED displays that have the same look as roller blinds.
 
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Deleted member 422

Yes I know this but there isn't really a debate about which is clearer to read on low light conditions or even generally. And the sole purpose of the signs is to provide readable information. Maybe in the future there will be uniform shape like LED's or even OLED displays that have the same look as roller blinds.
Depends how old they are. Some of the newer white SmartBlinds are no worse but yes most of them are hard to read.

This Kindle trial, is the very proof that they are trying new ideas to keep the Rollblind image but with better visual aspects. OLED and LED displays have been tried but ultimately all fail.
 

Bradley Good

Someone who Love's London
Oct 20, 2016
123
TBH if London got rid of the rollblinds I would miss them and also as im used to rollblinds I can see rollblinds more clearly over LED or OLD lastly I think they are cheaper for the in the long run but maybe wrong :)
 

Rhys

Veteran Member
Mar 20, 2016
1,426
TBH if London got rid of the rollblinds I would miss them and also as im used to rollblinds I can see rollblinds more clearly over LED or OLD lastly I think they are cheaper for the in the long run but maybe wrong :)
Rollbands surely are more expensive to maintain. Especially when operators gain new routes or transfer routes between their garages. All the buses in the fleet then require a whole new rollband set just to include that specific route.
 

TFVL Team

Member
Oct 25, 2016
64
Well the mobitec (rollbands) that London buses use cost just for one unit and one blind in excess of £2000 so yes it is indeed extremely expensive but great quality and I do prefer them to the dots.

Rollbands surely are more expensive to maintain. Especially when operators gain new routes or transfer routes between their garages. All the buses in the fleet then require a whole new rollband set just to include that specific route.
 
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Deleted member 422

@TFVL Team @Rhys Given the benefit of the doubt, Rollblinds are what we as Londoner's have grown up to, ad are used to. Others may prefer LED's and OLED's due to growing up and are used to them. Whatever people opinions, Rollblinds are here and there hereto stay :P
 
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HJALMAR

Well-Known Member
Dec 19, 2016
88
The local organizer conducted a case study back in 02 here if I remember correctly about LCD displays vs roller binds and the binds lost then. I doubt that the outcome would be any different with modern day monochrome LED's. But I suppose in this case its more of an issue of brand and heritage. But technologically speaking rollers are objectively worse than proper LED's. This means the installation of light sensors to the displays that take care of appropriate brightness levels. No point to illuminate the road in front on the cost of readability.

EDIT: Flip dots are woeful, end of discussion lol.
 
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