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
OPO bus 575 1.00
Crew bus 2,127 4.15
OPO bus 807 1.24
Crew bus 2,230 4.37
OPO bus 749 1.01
Crew bus 1,662 4.15
OPO bus 737 0.91
Crew bus 1,305 4.56
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.


7 Responses to Lies About The Replacement Of The Bendy Bus From Team Boris

  1. Jim says:

    The whole point about Boris is that he seems to be able to get away anything because of his loveable rogue role
    However what would they say if they knew the true cost of the Borismaster.
    Its anyones guess what the press and others would be saying if any other politician had done this.

  2. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I seem to recall that when comparing the accident rate of bendies with conventional buses they took all bus routes operated by TfL into account. When compared on routes through the City and West End, which is where the bendies operated, there was little difference in the accident rate.

  3. Greg Tingey says:

    I notice some poseaur who thinks he/she/it is clever has used my name – again.
    Can’t you pathetic idiots grow up?

    Actually the bendy-buses, about which you seem to have an obsession, had one very significant safety hazard – they caught fire!
    Personally, Ididn’t like them.
    Whether the “replacement” will be any good we’ll have to wait and seee.
    Though your last post does make one wonder how effective they will be – omens are not good.

    Meanwhile, if you really want to have a pop at Boris, why not go for the applling Arab-Fly Dangleway, like I told you last time.

    I mean, a cable-car in an aircraft and helicopter flight-path, gratuituously advertising some airline or other…..
    Would have thought that was an easy target!

  4. Strange that the Mercedes-Benz Citaro is used all over the world but doesn’t seem to catch fire anywhere but London. Or suffer from huge amounts of fare evasion. Why?

    Greg – give up on the Cable Car, no one’s interested, mate.

  5. DePiffle says:


    Three bendy buses caught fire in 2003/2004. Then they were withdrawn temporarily while they were modified. Very few bendy buses have caught fire since then.

    Do a google search for something like london bus fire and see what images or videos it finds. You will see double-deckers also catch fire. Only last week one went up in flames in Harrow. Another one was burned out on the North Circular recently. There was one which caught fire in the Limehouse Link tunnel once. There was even a Routemaster which went up in flames on Tottenham Court Road. Yet these fires on double decker buses get far less media attention than the small number of fires on bendy buses.

    Boris Johnson needed people to think that bendy buses were a problem, so he could pretend getting rid of them was solving something. Empty gesture politics from someone who doesn’t have a clue.

  6. Greg Tingey says:

    Actually “Arab-Fy Dangleway” was first publicised by the brilliant London blogger “Diamond Geezer”
    I suggest you visit his site.
    Not my idea, more’s the pity.

  7. […] also reminds us of the lies told about the bendy bus, which Bozza claimed had killed many more cyclists than skip lorries. Apart from the fact that the […]

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