Regular readers will know that we’ve long wondered why Boris and Kulveer pretend that the NB4L is around a £3m cost to TfL, when any moderately informed back-of-envelope calculations bring things in a lot higher.  Let’s remind ourselves of Boris’s public statement in response to a 14th October 2009 question from Labour’s Val Shawcross:

The TfL business plan anticipates £1m being spent in 2009-10, £1.1m being spent in 2010-11 and £1.2m in 2011-12 for designing and prototyping the New Bus for London.

Now, a mere 3-and-a-bit months later, costs have been jacked sharply upwards.  Those three-and-a-bit months included the contract award and signing, of course.  Let’s take a look at the numbers [PDF] from the latest of those goldmine Project Monitoring and Approvals document (dated 21/1/2010) kindly brought to my attention by a reader, for which much thanks:

ST-PJ305 – New Bus for London

Approval      An additional £10.876m taking authority to £11.371m was approved to let a contract for the design and development of a new bus for London and delivery of five vehicles into service.

Outputs and Schedule
The scope of the contract covers the following activities:
• The design and development phase
• The delivery of a two-stage mock up
• The manufacture and delivery of an engineering test vehicle
• The delivery of an engineering test vehicle
• The delivery of a prototype vehicle
• The delivery of the first five production vehicles
The first five vehicles are to be delivered into service by 1 February 2012.

Last time we looked (24/11/2009) the drawdown was £0.495m out of an expected cumulative authority of £3.3m, so this is quite a jump – over £8m (£0.495m is the difference between the additional money and the total authority provided).  Is Boris’s most famous vanity project becoming a bit of a money pit, one wonders?  That’s £2.27m per bus, against a cost for an already developed hybrid of the same capacity at around £350k.  Wrightbus must be laughing all the way to the bank.

For completeness, Boris is spending our money in these other areas this month:

  • £5.6m more on the Urban Traffic Control centre and associated kit (total now: £25.69m)
  • £0.41m more on the Olympic Route Network (total now: £10.51m)
  • £10.876m more on the New Bus for London (total now: £11.371m)
  • £3.1m on Electric Vehicles (total now: £3.1m out of £20m) – notably this is just the costs of the bureaucracy, tendering and marketing!

Other matters of interest – two new items without budget appear in the project lists now – Croxley Rail Link (rerouting the Metropolitan Line into Watford Junction) and Northern Line Extension (presumably the Nine Elms/Battersea line Boris is trying to fund privately).  Finally the Cycle Superhighways are now a £145m project, up from £140.450m in July 2009.

 
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