I put in an FoI request back in January for the in service fuel consumption for the prototype New Bus for London, as I’m fairly certain its weight problem will mean it’s a bit higher than expected (and certainly not the 11.6mpg spun to the press, which was a test track figure).

TfL’s response was basically ‘we don’t hold it and even if we do, bugger off and wait for the production buses’, which is obviously not on, so I requested a review in February.  Come late April and having heard nothing I sent a rude note promising a referral to the ICO if skates were not got on.  Today I got a response accepting that I’ve got a point, and my original request was perfectly clear in referring to prototypes and thus I can’t be fobbed off.

The initial finding of the review is to confirm that there are some potential discrepancies in the response and that the reference to the future publication of information of a statistically robust selection of production vehicles does not actually constitute the information that you have requested. It is clear that your request concerned the prototypes currently in use and the fuel use already experienced, and therefore we are seeking confirmation as to exactly what information is held, including whether it is held by any third parties on TfL’s behalf, and whether it is held in a form that answers the specific questions that you have raised.

Which doesn’t move us on very far – what were they doing in the 20 days from submission if not ‘seeking confirmation as to exactly what information is held’ – but at least they accept the fobbing off was not allowed.  Mind you, it’s not just me who gets this treatment, Darren Johnson AM got a suspiciously similar evasive answer to a question back in February, which ended:

I am confident that the carrying capacity will be in line with conventional buses once production vehicles are delivered to Route 24 in June. This will make the bus even cleaner on a per passenger basis.

Well, it isn’t, so that’s another Boris Lie, or possibly Boris Not Bothering To Check If TfL Are Bullshitting Him.

This isn’t the first time Darren has tried to extract the figures:

When will Transport for London produce the in-service data, from the significant running experience already available, on the real world New Bus for London fuel consumption?

Answer by Boris Johnson

TfL plans to publish fuel consumption figures when the vehicles have been in service for a reasonable evaluation period.

So they do keep fuel consumption figures, then?  According to my FoI response:

TfL does not currently hold this information.

So they’ll publish data they don’t keep at a time they won’t say?  Yeah, right.  I’m considering my response, but I may contact the ICO anyway due to the delays and admittance the FoI request was incorrectly handled.

Finally, it’s nice to help Boris out from time to time. Having not answered this question in March, tonight’s revelations have enabled me to tell the questioner what he wanted. It’s a service we provide, this.

Question by Stephen Knight

Further to your commitment to roll-out 600 new buses by 2016, are you now in a position to confirm the anticipated kerb weight and maximum gross vehicle weight (GVW) of your new bus for London?

Answer by Boris Johnson

The weight-saving programme for production vehicles continues and the kerb weight will be determined over the next couple of months.

There’s another one in this month’s MQTs, too, requesting publication of the data underlying Boris’s emissions claims. For some reason the Lib Dems don’t trust him, which won’t be helped by the discovery that this answer was all BS too.  Dear oh dear.  Transparency, value for money and environmental credentials all gone up in diesel smoke.

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