We could take a guess…


We may just have an inkling…

Possibly the same idiot who appeared on Vanessa Feltz’s BBC Radio London show this morning [limited availability online] denying any evidence that there’s a heat problem on his “stupid vanity buses” :

Vanessa Feltz: This is from Sandy – I’ve got to tell you that these are Sandy’s sentiments and they’re put in Sandy’s own personal way and this is what Sandy says:

“Ask him about his stupid vanity buses that cost half a million pounds each but have no open windows. I had to get off one, the last time I used the 38, and that was on a cool day in May”

I must say, the heat in the buses, or On The Buses, Reg Varney-style, and the heat down on the Tubes, is one of the pressing London conversations at this point. It’s the sort of thing when, you know, people are standing at the water cooler recovering, having to tip a glass of water over their heads because they’re so hot, this is what they’re talking about – boy, was it hot on the bus and the Tube.

Boris Johnson: Sure. For starters, the buses cost nothing like that amount and there’s no evidence at the moment, and I’ve asked TfL this question, there’s no evidence that the buses…they’re all as hot as each other or as cool as each other. We’re trying to, obviously, make them cooler, and on the Tube we’re putting in a huge amount of stuff to make that system better. I’ll single out the air-conditioned service on the Metropolitan and Circle, Hammersmith and City.

Vanessa Feltz: Loads of people are saying “Go on the Metropolitan Line, it’s the only one that’s cool!” – that’s exactly what they’re saying.

Boris Johnson: That’s right, well, the, the, the…but it’s coming. The new Tube for London, it’s going to be on the Piccadilly, the Central, the Bakerloo and the Waterloo and City lines so that will be a cooled train, that will being heat relief, as it were, to 8 out of 11 of the Tube lines. And on the stations, I mean, we’ve got this incredible…we’re pumping ground-water out, we’re pumping it through the sta…we’re cooling the stations with fans, we’ve got chiller units, we’ve got all sorts of devices for trying to cool down the stations. I do appreciate that it’s hot and I do, you know, as the Chairman of TfL, I apologise to Londoners who are suffering excess heat.

Vanessa Feltz: Dwayne says: “The old Routemasters are definitely better than the new Routemasters”

“They’re all as hot as each other or as cool as each other” – No, they’re not. Some of London’s double-decker buses have very effective air-conditioning units positioned on the upper decks, above the stairs. I proved in September last year that a Routemaster built more than 50 years ago was three degrees cooler than a brand new “New Routemaster” and there is no evidence to convince me that this situation has changed.

When TfL Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy and “New Routemaster” designer Thomas Heatherwick took a spin on an empty bus just over a year ago, to “prove” that the new buses weren’t airless sweat-boxes, they gave no evidence of the temperature they recorded.

I think we’re going to see exactly the same TfL attitude as last year – continual denials that there’s anything wrong with these vehicles, holding out until the weather gets cooler and people have forgotten. London can expect over 300 more of these not-fit-for-purpose buses to enter service on central London routes by 2016, condemning even more bus users to journeys made thoroughly unpleasant and, in some cases, utterly unbearable by this badly-designed vanity bus.

A round-up of passengers’ experiences in the last couple of days:


8 Responses to “Which idiot in charge decided to buy buses with windows that don’t open?”

  1. ASLEF shrugged says:

    So they look good from the outside but are sweatboxes that smell like piss on the inside, a perfect metaphor for Boris’s political career. On the plus side the 600 on order will only be 10% of the whole bus fleet.

    Slightly off topic….

    “Boris Johnson: That’s right, well, the, the, the…but it’s coming. The new Tube for London, it’s going to be on the Piccadilly, the Central, the Bakerloo and the Waterloo and City lines so that will be a cooled train, that will being heat relief, as it were, to 8 out of 11 of the Tube lines”

    Obviously it didn’t occur to Faultz to ask when the new trains would be arriving, the first NTfL isn’t expected to enter service on the Piccadilly Line until 2021/22.

  2. Alexandra Jane Kirby says:

    Oh these new style busses like 148 are unbearable to travel on and I nearly fainted as the air con is so bad i had to get off 5 stops before hand because I cpuldnt stand it any longer this is a serious health and safety issue that needs to get fixed quickly before people start getting ill on these busses.

  3. Dave H says:

    2 details – around 40 years ago LT was selling their expertise with British Rail International to Hong Kong MTR (generating exports and revenue) and advising them that they could not fit air conditioning to full US standards to the new MTR trains for the basic reason that if the heat is taken out of the train it ends up in the tunnel, and heats up the train… a sort of travails of Sisyphus issue.

    It did note however the most in HK would be dressed for being outdoors in high temp and high humidity, do freezing them to perfect a/c conditions would not be appreciated anyway. Of course the Met and subsurface lines are not in a confined tube and have air circulation plus open vented sections, so a/c can work on these trains.

    So what is it with the buses? Well is the condenser, where the hot refrigerant is cooled down and liquefied ready to evaporate and cool down the air passing over the evaporator, getting cooled to make the process work? If the airflow is blocked (clogged filters, faulty fans) the system, cannot dump the heat, if the condenser gets too hot (eg next to an engine which is getting too hot) it won’t dump the heat, and if the ambient air temperature is too hot it wont dump heat. Drive around Central London and the excessive amount of hard landscaping gets very hot – especially the black tarmac of the roads, and then you get queues of traffic with that heat further concentrated and trapped between the lines of buses and other traffic (not this as it is important later).

    The colour of the bus is also important. Look down on London’s buses from the upper levels of a building, and you’ll see that many have white painted roofs. White is the colour that reflects – both visible light and its infra-red (heat) radiation element. Problems with heat in a building – paint the roof gloss white, want a high efficiency radiator paint it matt black. So what have we got in the height of summer – an advertising campaign where there are several of the new ‘roastmaster’ buses painted BLACK – the perfect colour to absorb as much heat as possible!

    So the bus air cooling/air conditioning system is ‘tested’
    Probably not in service, and perhaps even on a cooler, under-cover bus garage. Great – it works exactly as specified – but put that bus out on the street, let the engine heating up have an effect on the condenser’s ability to work efficiently, draw on the roasting hot air sitting over the tarmac and you get the result – a roasting hot bus.

    Playing with airflow, Bernoulli’s equation and other effects, and with opening vents or windows can deliver some natural enhancements, and in fact the bus itself has a short-term emergency cooling option which is already being carried around, although this cannot be used continuously and comes with its own penalties. This emergency option might also be used on tube trains, again as an emergency cooling facility (it could also be the basis of cooling the tube but that is a bigger and more complex deal)

    Happy to discuss this but perhaps we might make a start by getting that advertiser to consider using their ‘white’ brand image and painting a dew ‘roastmasters’ gloss white instead of red or black all over

  4. Jim Blake says:

    Will it take someone to die of heatstroke, or one of them to catch fire and kill its “customers” before those responsible for them finally take notice of the lack of air? I remember the prototype front entrance Routemaster (a REAL one numbered FRM1) did not at first have opening windows when it entered service in 1967…but then it caught fire, and when it was repaired its windows were changed so that some (including the front ones) DID open! After that this one-off prototype worked perfectly and still does in preserved state today, as TfL’s Leon Daniels well knows: he drives the thing at special events!

  5. Anonymous says:

    If you recall, a number of the bendy buses caught fire. They were got rid of because Boris hated them and made a commitment to getting them off London’s roads. The ‘New Bus for London’ is a pet project and only if a significant number of people was to die in a conflagration might someone finally take notice. The weather is now on the turn, so the problems can be shelved until next summer.

  6. Steve says:

    Anon @05.31 The number of double deckers that have regularly caught fire over the past few years considerably outweighs the number of bendy buses that caught fire.

  7. […] Routemaster cruising along Beresford Street – in reality, it’s highly unlikely that the Roastmaster will ever make it to […]

  8. […] able to plunder Transport for London’s budget to waste on his own personal projects – a not-fit-for-purpose bus, a money-haemorrhaging cycle hire scheme which he promised would be at no cost to taxpayers, a […]

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