Yes, it’s Monday and a high of 26°C in London. How did other Londoners enjoy their journeys on Boris Johnson’s New Bus For London today?

Not so much enjoying as enduring, then.

At 10:10am this morning, I boarded LT157 on route 10 at Hammersmith Bus Station. None of the Oyster readers were working so I got a free ride. 22°C outside. Both the ceiling vents and the skirting-level vents on the upper deck of the bus were blowing their weedy streams of air. Very few passengers, air inside the bus stuffy and with the usual horrible smell. By the time I alighted at the Royal Albert Hall, the temperature upstairs on the back seat was 25.4°C:
At 10:38am I boarded a Routemaster, RM1913. The conductor’s hand-held Oyster validator wasn’t working so I got another free ride. Upstairs, there were only three other passengers and it felt like a greenhouse – all the windows were shut. I walked the length of the bus and opened all the windows – the difference was palpable almost instantly with a cooling breeze blowing through the bus.

I got off the bus at Trafalgar Square. Even having started with all its upstairs windows closed, the temperature on the upper deck didn’t exceed 25.3°C – .1 of a degree centigrade cooler than the New Bus For London with its air cooling going full blast:
Note that the relative humidity was also much less on the Routemaster.

11:06am, I boarded LT112 on route 24 at the top of Whitehall – as I reached the upper deck it was like walking into a sauna. There was no air coming out of either the ceiling vents or the skirting vents – it was hot, stuffy and humid. I got off at Westminster Cathedral on Victoria Street as I couldn’t stand the oppressive heat any longer. The temperature had reached 29.1°C:

As I descended the stairs, I had the following exchange with the Customer Assistant:

Me: It’s sweltering up there – why isn’t the air conditioning on?

Customer Assistant: It’s automatically controlled – the driver can’t control it.

I’m confident that the temperature would have continued to climb, had I stayed on the bus.

What is the truth about the air cooling system on these new buses?

Is its regulation beyond the control of the bus crews?

Do any of the new vehicles have cooling systems which do actually regulate the internal temperature and humidity adequately on a reasonably hot day in London?

Why were Londoners promised expensive new buses with “amazing air conditioning” by Boris Johnson when they clearly have nothing of the sort and are hotter than a vehicle type which is now 60 years old?

Will Londoners have to suffer another summer of sauna-like conditions with some poor passengers requiring medical attention after travelling on the new bus?

We’d like some answers, Boris Johnson.

Maybe you’d like a reminder of your predecessor, Ken Livingstone, who kept his promise about air-conditioned trains for the Metropolitan, Circle, District and Hammersmith & City Lines:

Of course, Boris, you then came along and took all the glory for the new air-conditioned trains which were delivered after you had been elected Mayor of London.

What will your legacy to London’s transport be? Oh, yes, 600 bespoke buses which have been touted all over the world yet no other country wants to buy and which cannot even cope with normal summer temperatures in London.

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