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A Century of Transport - Other Design Developments
The conditions for bus drivers improved during the 1950s with more widespread use of air or disc brakes, semi or fully automatic gearboxes, power steering and better suspension to reduce the tiring nature of the job. Midland Red produced the prototype D9 in 1958, the trade press would subsequently roadtest a production version and declare it "a bus driver's dream of home"
Thirty feet long double-deckers like the D9 had become legal in 1956 and allowed more passengers to be carried without increasing crew costs. Midland Red retained the entrance at the rear but other operators adopted entrances at the front to allow the driver to supervise loading and unloading while the conductor attended to collecting fares from the greater number of passengers. This greater efficiency did not suit the trade union which successfully negotiated with some bus operators for the crews to share the efficiency savings at a time when bus pay was falling behind other industries.
The motorway age dawned on 2nd November 1959 with the opening of the M1. Midland Red had its purpose-built CM5T motorway coaches ready for the first day. The new motorway coaches had been thoroughly trialled at the MIRA test centre, near Nuneaton, to ensure reliability.
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