The Thick of It


Friday, September 05, 2008

A new bus for London? Why bother?

Is anyone going to design this new "Routemaster" bus for London that was such a hallmark of Boris Johnson's mayoral campaign to the suburbs? TfL recently issued a reminder to budding designers, though I wonder what the hurry is when going from conecept to public service is going to take years anyway. Perhaps nobody is interested?

After seeing BJ hike pulblic transport fares at the first possible opportunity, it is foolhardy to spend £100m on designing a new bus. BJ's specification will result in less capacity on London's busiest bus routes. It could also cause more delays. Bendy buses can stop, load and unload very quickly because there are three sets of doors and a single deck. Double deckers can be very slow. Just compare the 38 (bendy) and 19 (double decker) at Angel.

This is hardly efficient. This is pointless. This is also unfair on people who need public transport most. Less buses, higher fares. Tory all over. It didn't take long.

Ken Livingstone put it succinctly:

"London has a Mayor who transfers millions of pounds from ordinary Londoners who use public transport to drivers of gas guzzlers and residents of Kensington and Chelsea."


marmiteboy said...

The reason Routemasters were decommissioned is because they are extremely inaccessible to a large part of the population. Disabled people, people with pushchairs/prams and older people found them impossible to use.

Bendy buses have their disadvantages sure but they are accessible to all and have adequate space for wheelchair users.

Access is bad enough on London's public transport system with the Underground remaining a mystery to many disabled people. If BJ takes away Bendy buses on some nostalgic whim and without thought to people who realy on them then he really is proving what a buffoon he is.

Timmymc said...

I couldn't agree more. Disabled access is not only the right thing to do, it is also a legal requirement.

Capacity is also vital in London. The Mercedes bendy buses have the highest capacity of any urban bus on the market. BJ's specification for a new bus is for something smaller, yet the bensdy buses were deliberately placed on the busiest routes. They are also often crowded, so we need more, not less!