Bendy buses, remember those? The capacious and efficient people carriers which were removed from busy London bus routes thanks to an election promise (and outright lie about them killing many cyclists – no cyclist in London has ever been killed by an articulated bus) from Boris Johnson.

The reasons given for their removal [PDF]:

The truth is they were never suited to London’s roads and the facts show they have twice as many accidents as normal buses. In addition, open boarding means they have become known as ‘free buses’, and the facts show they lose almost three times as much fare revenue as other types of buses. When routes that operate these buses come up for renewal, I will set new terms that specify a different type of bus must be used.

London, apparently, has roads that are completely to different to every other major city in the world. As for accidents, how about a comparison of boarding and alighting injuries to passengers on open-platform buses and one-person-operated buses?

Open-platform buses were, in fact, five times more dangerous for passengers than one-person-operated buses:

London Buses Ltd: Boarding and Alighting Accidents 1983–87
Accidents Accidents per million passenger journeys
1983
OPO bus 575 1.00
Crew bus 2,127 4.15
1984
OPO bus 807 1.24
Crew bus 2,230 4.37
1985
OPO bus 749 1.01
Crew bus 1,662 4.15
1986
OPO bus 737 0.91
Crew bus 1,305 4.56
1987
OPO bus 801 0.85
Crew bus 922 4.78

Fare evasion? That brings us to the Boris Johnson Vanity Bus, aka New Bus For London. The new bus will, just like the late bendy bus, have three doors and open boarding, meaning that despite the presence of a “conductor” nobody will be checking tickets or passes.

When this was pointed out to Boris Johnson by Caroline Pidgeon AM at January’s Mayor’s Question Time, the Mayor had the cheek to call her facetious; the Mayor-Who-Doesn’t-Do-Detail doesn’t like having facts pointed out to him.

A recent propaganda leaflet from the Back Boris campaign makes the following claims:

“Honouring his pledge to eradicate the dangerous bendy buses from London’s streets, Boris bid farewell to the last one just before Christmas. Loathed by many, especially after the removal of the much loved Routemaster bus, the bendy buses will now be replaced with an updated design of the old favourite. Kit says “Keep a lookout for the new Routemaster, they are on the streets now and will be introduced in greater numbers across the capital over the next few years”

Apart from the fact that the New Bus For London is *not* a Routemaster, updated or otherwise, TfL is currently committed to nine prototypes, produced at a cost of £11,065,000, and there is no timescale or budget for the model to go into full production.

The prototypes are currently *not* on the streets as the leaflet claims but when they are they will run on only one central London bus route, the 38. Following the removal of the bendy buses from the route it is currently running VDL DB300 10.4m / Wright Gemini 2 and Alexander Dennis Enviro400s.

The 207 bus route, the last to lose its bendy buses, is currently running the Scania OmniCity.

To state that the bendy buses will now be replaced with an updated design of the old favourite is a blatant lie.

 
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