It’s amazing that some people still think that bendy buses are going to be directly replaced by Routemasters.  They’re not, of course, but, via the Bus Forum, we now have a steer on the amounts and types being ordered for the new operations later this year, which is another piece of data for our files:


  • 5 Wright ‘Gemini 2′ Diesel DD (Wood Green, later 38)
  • 57 Wright ‘Gemini 2′ Diesel DD for 38 [Euro V compliant, in service in November]
  • 18 Enviro 400s for 38

* 38 allocation to be DW201-262 + T66-83

507 and 521:

  • 49 Mercedes Citaros 12.0m for 507, 521

I make that 80 double deck buses for the 72 PVR 38 route plus 49 single deck buses for the 507 and 521 which have a combined PVR of 47.  Total of 129 new buses for absolutely no increase in the bus service.  Remarkable effort.  Note that the 38 order is split across two manufacturers (both of whom are looking at job cuts), presumably to speed delivery – I can’t think of a good reason why you’d do it otherwise.  This is the first time the 38 will ever have been operated by single door DOO double deckers, by the way.

Breaking it down by country of origin:

  • Scotland – 18 – 14%
  • Northern Ireland – 62 – 48%
  • Germany – 49 – 38%
  • England – 0 – 0%

Vielen Dank, then.  Doubtless the struggling German exporters will be pleased to hear that less than four years after buying 81 Citaro G articulated buses from Mercedes, London is going back for 49 more Citaros because we’ve decided we don’t like the bendy bit in the middle.  The rest of the bus is apparently completely fine for London use – they’ll look much the same and be much the same to travel in.  True, they’ll have 50% more drivers and cost more to run, but as far as the passenger is concerned the environment won’t change, assuming TfL and London General have done their sums right and they can get on.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with buying German buses – the Bendy Jihad is essentially a wail against fading Anglo-Saxon manhood, coupled with a rail against these masculinity-sapping European invaders pushing our beloved Routemasters off the road.  In these times a man needs to cling to his pole, not hand wads of money to Jerry, dammit.

Finally, as one prominent Bendy Jihadist claimed in 2007:

Bendy buses are miserable, inhuman and socialistic and should all be pensioned off to a Scandinavian airport.

This individual being Boris Johnson, of course, who will now preside over the introduction of nearly identical buses with the bend taken out.  Whether this removes whatever dark magic makes buses ‘miserable, inhuman and socialistic’ I have no idea.  You’d better ask Boris if he actually meant what he said.  He quite often doesn‘t, of course.

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18 Responses to Boris’s New Buses : British Jobs For German Workers?

  1. James says:

    Non-articulated Citaros can currently be found on route RV1 in London.

  2. Tom says:

    Yup, I’ve been on it. Dead useful for getting from Waterloo to places in an interesting fashion.

  3. Dave Cole says:

    One of the rationalisations for the objection to bendies was that people were allowed to get on and off at any door and so lots of people avoided paying. As I understand it, the solution that Boris came up with, when everyone pointed out that one of the advantages of bendies was passenger loading speed, was to, er, allow people to board at the back of the singles as well.

    The RV1 – riverside one – is a tourist route. I was living at Bankside Hall (an LSE residence) when it started running. It became very popular with LSE students as it saved walking over Blackfriars’ Bridge in the rain.


  4. Helen says:

    I don’t think driving-on-the-right Scandinavia would be at all keen on our second-hand artics.

  5. Peter says:

    Hope they don’t think the new ‘bendy trains’ on the Met, H & C and Circle Lines are going to be ‘miserable, inhuman and socialistic’ too.

    Hey, he could always use the bendies on his airport???

  6. Tom says:

    “Hey, he could always use the bendies on his airport???”


    Someone (Alex Harrowell?) did suggest building Boris Airport on the skeletons of dead bendies, as a symbolic gesture.

    By the way, has anyone heard from Doug Oakervee yet? He’s supposed to be reporting this month, isn’t he?

  7. AdamB says:

    I don’t get to travel on bendies much in my neck of the woods, but I used two of them last night (the 149 and the 521) and they were bloody marvelous. Comfortable, easy to use, trouble free, and I didn’t feel like I was taking my life in my hands by going to another part of the bus.

    They’re going to be missed.

  8. Mark Lee says:

    Hang on a second… single door DDs on the 37? As in just a door at the front and no middle door (like most non-London buses). Are you **sure**?

    Would be utterly amazed if they were doing this in London. It would destroy any semblance of respectable journey times.

    Is some cad at TfL trying to prove to Boris that a single rear door on the Borismaster is impractical and won’t work?

  9. Tom says:

    “Hang on a second… single door DDs on the 37? ”

    Sorry, should have said single door *boarding*. The 507 and 521 will be dual door boarding, which gives about the same amount of door width per stop (and exactly the same fare evasion problem, which is none on those routes). The 38 will be board-at-the-front-pay-driver (or mostly swipe Oyster these days), get off in the middle. The difficulty comes if there are stops with a lot of uneven flows, where 90%+ of the movements are boarding, say. The 507/521 are obviously the best example of this, which is why they’re so suitable for bendies. I’m not sure if the 38 has stops with those characteristics, but if it does it might be worth watching on Day Zero.

    The point I was making is that that type of bus is new to the 38, so in that sense we’re not going *back* to how it was before Ken ruined things, or whatever, we’re actually trying something entirely new, with Boris written all over it. I expect numbers travelling will be down by then, though, and some people will be put off travelling free, but not very many. It’s the stairs I’m interested in, since the effect of introducing the new buses is to move a lot of the capacity upstairs, where people will have to use it.

  10. I’d agree that common sense should have told people that bendies could not have been been replaced by new RMs given product development timescales. Clearly Gilligan’s in a world of his own. Boris however did his level best to confuse the two. Admitedly he didn’t go as far as this outright lie but if you purposely talk about “getting rid of bendies” and “new Routemaster” enough in close proximity to each other people will connect the two sub-consciously anyway.

  11. Tom says:

    “if you purposely talk about “getting rid of bendies” and “new Routemaster” enough in close proximity to each other people will connect the two sub-consciously anyway.”

    It’s noticeable that other media outlets not plugged into the whole Standard-Boris axis constantly combine the two, and talking to people I’d say about 90% of them immediately conflate the two when the subject comes up. I find it hard to understand how this can be accidental.

    However, this will cause amusement when people find out that the new 38 isn’t that nice shiny bus they saw in the paper last year, but, er, looks like all the other buses.

  12. Hamish says:

    This whole thing is so infuriating. I have never been much of a fan of the bendies, but what makes them horrible to ride on – and what made the RM such a pleasure – is nothing to do with the bendiness of the vehicle, but rather the quality and intelligence of the interior design. What nobody who advocates these new ‘Routemasters’ (which by the way I think is an insulting use of the name) seems to acknowledge is that they’ll be designed in exactly the same way as the other new buses in London – mass produced by large engineering firms who never seem to use buses, not tested enough, not refined enough and ultimately lacking the time and money investment that made the old London buses so durably suited to the city. Its a short-sighted, hollow political bit of propaganda that won’t benefit us. I’d be all up for a proper new ‘bus for London’, but I seriously seriously doubt this will be it.

  13. Tom says:

    “I’d be all up for a proper new ‘bus for London’, but I seriously seriously doubt this will be it.”

    This is at the core of my objection (apart from me not finding modern buses particularly horrible, and the ridership figures tend to suggest I’m not alone) – the people behind it were also behind the deliberate destruction of the concept of public service as a progressive force and the idea that good design was the right of every citizen. Of course they destroyed it – it was socialistic and therefore belonged to Swedish airports and such like, and why should the bloated public sector interfere in private transactions between private companies? Much the same thing happened in housing, of course, under both parties (Thatcher’s lot changed the rules on room size, IIRC), which makes Boris’s apparent interest in a ‘New House For London’ interesting, since the same objections apply. I’d love to see high standards of design and interior space given to council tenants as a right as part of a large-scale public housing programme, of course, but that’s why I’m not a Tory nor ever likely to be.

    Modern buses are designed around the needs of privatised bus companies, not users – it’s a competitive market, and the operator is the customer whose opinion matters. This means they’re reasonably comfortable but crucially cheap to operate and easy to maintain (this explains the weight issue, by the way – you could build them like aircraft but it would push your maintenance costs up above the competition). The criteria for modern bus design therefore differs sharply from that pertaining in the 1950s, where a lot of work went into the passenger environment but it was assumed as a design parameter that you’d always have plentiful labour for crewing and maintenance.

    It’s a kind of cargo cult mentality to think you can just magic a bus into thin air by sketching out how it should look, without putting in place the social and political infrastructure required for the original. Then again, Conservatives are ideologically forbidden from any proper understanding of systems or networks.

    Of course, it’s not actually Conservatives who are pushing the policy, it’s the culture warriors of Policy Exchange and associated Radical Nostalgists, but that doesn’t let Boris off the hook.

  14. Nigel says:

    Does anybody else remember this from Boris’s campaign website?

    “Everyone who has sweltered in a tube train stuck between stations, who has endured aggressive behaviour on the top deck of a bus, who has been gridlocked in London traffic, or who has dodged death while cycling through the streets, knows that there are serious problems with London transport.

    Getting from A to B is a daily struggle for many who live in this city, whether they live in zone 1 or zone 6.

    A Mayor exists to solve these problems, but not enough has been done. While we now have greater spending on transport, the money is not always invested wisely. For every pound we spend on fares, too much is spent on running costs – and too little on investment in the technology and infrastructure that will improve transport in the future.

    A first-class city needs a first-class transport network. We must take urgent action to get London moving:

    Our buses have improved, but there is more we can do. Londoners must see more police on the buses, especially in outer London.
    The tube needs to be rescued from the ruins of Gordon Brown’s finance deal, so that vital upgrades that were promised actually happen.
    The Congestion Charge must be reformed. We must re-invest more revenue in improving our roads, as well as in schemes to encourage walking and cycling. And for every £8 fee, less should be spent on administration.
    We must also encourage Londoners to give up their cars by making public transport more affordable and reliable. Cycling must be made easier and safer.
    We must end the lack of investment in London’s overstretched, unaffordable and overcrowded rail services. A Londoner in Richmond on the minimum wage will have to work two hours just cover the cost of their daily Travelcard. This has to change.
    The Freedom Pass will be protected as an untouchable right for London pensioners.”

  15. Simon K says:

    OT, but do we have any comment on this week’s announcement on plans to cut the c-charge outside the rush hour?

  16. […] shenanigans after my recent post about Boris taking the bend out but keeping the bus.  In it I linked to an online, publicly […]

  17. when are we going to get new buses on the 279 route as we are getting feed up with these old bangers of buses now please let us have new buses on this route.!!!!!!

  18. This post could not be more factual..

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