You can use the word “iconic” as often as you like – it doesn’t change the fact that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has inflicted upon London a new bus which is utterly unable to cope with temperatures above, say, 18°C.
16 March 2012: Boris Johnson lavishes fulsome praise on his vanity project, declaring it to have, amongst other fantastic attributes:
amazing new air conditioning
June 2013: The first production models of the bus enter service on route 24. Reports of vehicles frequently breaking down and passengers complain about the high temperatures on the buses and lack of ventilation.
3 July 2013: TfL claim to BBC Transport Correspondent Tom Edwards that:
heat problems on top deck of New Bus on route 24 are fixed
This is simply a teething problem and I’ve spoken to several people who said they had a fine, a fantastic experience on, er, I know there’ve been some people who’ve had Bikram Yoga-type experiences, you know, obviously we’re sorry for that.
There was a technical problem which has been rectified.
10 July 2013: Transport for London Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy, takes Thomas Heatherwick, the designer of the New Bus For London, for a spin on an empty bus, armed with a thermometer. Hendy declares that the temperature issue was nothing to do with the lack of opening windows and was merely a manufacturing and operating failure which has now been fixed by the manufacturers:
We found that the new bus, when the cooling is working properly, is cooler than the equivalent latest ordinary bus.
Wright’s [the Northern Ireland bus manufacturer] have fixed all the buses on the 24 and are now checking the ones on the 38 and fixing those too.
It’s not a political issue, nor is it a fundamental design failure, and it’s nothing to do with a lack of opening windows; it’s a manufacturing and operating failure which has been fixed by Wrights.
19 July 2013: Passengers on the New Bus For London still complain that it is like travelling on a sauna. Grayson Thermal Systems announce that they have been commissioned by WrightBus to fix the problems with the air conditioning system on the New Bus For London. Those problems which Boris Johnson had claimed had been rectified nearly a fortnight earlier. Those same problems which Sir Peter Hendy subsequently claimed had been fixed by manufacturer WrightBus:
Grayson Thermal Systems is proud to have been commissioned by Wrightbus to fix the problems that Transport for London (TfL) is having with the air conditioning systems on some of its new Routemaster buses.
Grayson service director Ian Hateley said: “Grayson did not supply the air conditioning systems that were installed on the “Boris Buses”, but nonetheless we are able to offer a full diagnostic and repair service. We have a large number of service vans and trained technicians based in the London area, and we are geared up to offer a fast and responsive emergency service.
“It’s a real shame that the current hot weather has led to problems with these great new buses, but we are confident that Grayson will be able to take the heat out of the situation quickly and efficiently.”
5 September 2013: Buses still breaking down. Passengers still complain of unbearably hot temperatures inside the buses. I record a temperature of 32.5°C on both the lower and upper decks of a number 24 bus.
And today, almost a year on from the first production models going into service on route 24?
Massive flaw of the new routemaster.. There are no windows.! So when the aircon fails, everyone's roasting inside. @TfLOfficial
— Joon Shern Soo (@soochilled) May 17, 2014
On a #borisbus & 1st nice w/e of year – top deck is boiling. Blowers noisy but no draught to be felt. Passengers will boil again this year
— Emma Beattie (@EmmaJaneBeattie) May 17, 2014
— Steve Rochford (@SteveRochford) May 17, 2014
@TfLOfficial Just got off top deck of new double decker 148. It was so hot & stuffy. Difficult to breathe. Is it safe?
— Ike Anya (@ikeanya) May 17, 2014
— Seph Brown (@SephRBrown) May 17, 2014
Would advise no one to use a #borisbus on a hot day except maybe footballers training for the heat of the Qatar World Cup.
— James Lewis (@jmtlewis) May 17, 2014
The new buses are now running on routes 9, 10, 11, 24, 38, 148 and 390. The weather in London over the past few days has been around 20°C and passengers have, again, been complaining that the New Bus For London is like a sauna. Two days ago, I recorded temperatures of 29.4°C on one of the latest batch of new buses on route 148.
Summer is coming. The weather will get hotter. The inability of the New Bus For London to cope with normal spring/summer temperatures must surely be an inherent design flaw, not some “teething problem” that Boris Johnson and various employees of Transport for London repeatedly claimed to have been “fixed” – Londoners deserve better than this.
A brand new bespoke bus, designed and manufactured at great expense, just for Boris Johnson. Claimed to have “amazing new air conditioning” yet temperatures inside the bus have exceeded those at which it is legal to transport animals.
When is Boris Johnson going to admit to us that his new bus is not as described and cancel the remainder of his order of 600 vehicles with WrightBus?
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