£3m of TfL’s budget has already been wasted by Boris Johnson on lobbying for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary, despite the fact that the Mayor of London has no responsibility for aviation and no jurisdiction over Kent.

Not content with publication of the report Making Connections: Improving the UK’s Domestic Aviation Connectivity with a New Four Runway Hub Airport [PDF] a mere two months ago, Johnson then commissioned the same organisations, York Aviation and Oxford Economics, to produce yet another report, Gateway To Our Future: Why The UK Needs A New Hub Airport [PDF]which was released today – on the same day that Johnson’s Conservative candidate application for the seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip was revealed.

Johnson’s astonishing level of political interference in the aviation capacity debate sees the latest report exhort readers to contact the Aviation Commission or their MP and both reports feature the website address www.newairportforlondon.com on their back covers, whilst the latest report also carries the Twitter address @NewAirport4UK.

www.newairportforlondon.com diverts to the Estuary Airport propaganda page on TfL’s website whilst the Twitter account @NewAirport4UK is evidently the complementary social media account which is staffed by TfL.

Johnson’s role as Mayor of London has meant that he has been 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 cable car which is nothing more than a tourist attraction rather than public transport, a privately-owned garden bridge which he can’t see the point of and a fantasy airport which would see the closure of Heathrow Airport, the largest single-site employer in the UK which provides work for many residents in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, where Johnson is desperate to be elected as MP.


It was confirmed today that the Mayor of London has submitted his application as prospective Conservative candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip to Conservative Campaign HQ.

Boris Johnson’s current term as Mayor of London does not expire until May 2016 yet his desire to return to Parliament means that, if selected for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, it’s possible that he will both serve as an MP and continue in his post as Mayor of London.

London’s part-time Mayor already has his weekly chickenfeed column in the Telegraph and has been devoting a considerable amount of time to his forthcoming biography of Winston Churchill - curious, then, that at his first general news conference as Mayor, in June 2008, he announced that he was standing down as MP for Henley, saying:

This job, here in City Hall, is simply too big, and it is growing all the time

What has changed? If the job of Mayor of London is simply too big to cope with whilst also serving as an MP, how much contempt does Johnson have for Londoners?

Yes, Ken Livingstone continued to serve as MP for Brent East until June 2001, just over a year after he was first elected Mayor of London, but Livingstone did not spend this time canvassing for re-election as MP, yet Johnson will spend the time from his successful selection up until the 2015 General Election canvassing for Uxbridge and South Ruislip.


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:


The hottest day of the year so far in London today – 30°C.

Boris Johnson has described his “New Routemaster” as having amazing new air conditioning .

TfL Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy has claimed that the new bus, when the cooling is working properly, is cooler than the equivalent latest ordinary bus .

TfL have recently stated The air cooling system on NRMs is now working effectively on virtually all vehicles in the fleet as verified by assurance checks carried out in early summer.

Can we, then, assume that the temperatures for passengers onboard the vehicles today were perfectly acceptable and exactly what could reasonably be expected from a bus touted as being designed for Londoners and the bus to the future?

Why not compare the tweets that follow with those from a year ago:

To get to the nub of the problem:

It’s summer – this is what the weather is like in summer. To explain in terms that even Boris Johnson could understand: In the autumn, it gets a bit chilly. After that comes winter, when it’s pretty nippy and you’ll want to wrap up warm. Then comes spring, when it gets warmer. Spring becomes summer, when temperatures increase even further until it’s really quite hot, like it is today.

Boris Johnson, however, like many of his fellow Conservatives, is a climate change-denier – his favourite meteorologist is one Piers Corbyn.

When Boris Johnson was first elected Mayor of London in 2008, one of his manifesto pledges [PDF] was:

commissioning a 21st century Routemaster with conductors

We’re now into the second decade of the 21st century and it’s been apparent for quite some time that summers are getting hotter. 600 of Boris Johnson’s “New Routemaster” buses will be on London’s streets until at least 2026 – they have a projected working life in London of 14 years. This, remember, is a bespoke bus which was supposedly designed specifically for London – a city whose summer temperatures make a vehicle with sealed windows and inadequate air cooling utterly unsuitable.

In the 2007 BBC TV programme Climate Change – Britain Under Threat, presenter Kate Humble examined the effects of increasing temperature on transport:

We’re already seeing the first signs of a warmer climate. Last July was the hottest since records began. But, with prolonged high temperatures, comes danger, especially for the very young and the elderly. In August 2003, during a ten-day heatwave, 35,000 people across Europe died from the heat. It’s predicted that by 2020, heatwaves like this will be 25 times more likely.

The impact will be felt most in our cities – that’s because of a phenomenon called the Urban Heat Island. What happens is that buildings and man-made surfaces absorb much more heat than green spaces do. That heat is then slowly released, increasing city air temperatures well into the night. On 9 August 2003, central London recorded night-time temperatures 9 degrees hotter than the surrounding countryside. So, is there anything we can do to cope with the anticipated increase in heat?

In London, one of the hottest places is the Underground. If a train breaks down in a tunnel, then the situation can, quite quickly, become really dangerous. In July 2001, 4,000 people were trapped for 90 minutes. Temperatures soared to 40 degrees. 17 people were taken to hospital and nearly 600 were treated for heat problems. But trying to cool down the Tube is a major challenge. You’d think the obvious answer would be air conditioning, but the problem is that most of the tunnels on the Underground network are simply too narrow to fit air conditioning on the outside of the trains. And even if you could, the air conditioning systems would simply throw the heat back out onto the platforms.

But now, London Underground believes it may have found an answer. Parts of the Victoria Line are so deep underground that they’re actually below the water table. Pumping stations work around the clock to prevent the tunnels from flooding. David Waboso, London Underground’s Head Engineer, hopes that this water will help cool down the Tube.

Waboso: “The Victoria’s got a particular abundance of ground-water, we pump out enough to fill two Olympic-size pools every hour”

Humble: “That’s extraordinary, and it feels quite cool down here compared to upstairs”

Waboso: “It’s quite cold, it’s about 11-12 degrees centigrade”

This cold ground-water is pumped up to the station where it cools the air.

Humble [on platform, holds hand up to vent]: “Yeah, I can definitely feel that the air is definitely cooler coming out of there”

It’s early days, but they are already seeing a drop of 2 degrees Celcius.

Humble: “But the real problem is on the trains themselves. How’s that going to help the people on the trains?”

Waboso: “If we did this all over the station, eventually the whole station would cool down, the cold air gets into the tunnels and the trains get cooler”

A 2 degree fall in temperature so far is, no doubt, a help, but is it enough? Cooling the Tube in the years ahead is going to be an increasing challenge but the impact of heat doesn’t just stop with London Underground. By 2020, thanks to our hotter summers, we could face major problems across the country on all our transport networks. The first effects of climate change we will face are likely to be nuisance and cost. Rail lines can buckle in the heat, causing delays and chaos to commuters. Our roads can soften, like these did last year in Norfolk. One answer would be to resurface using better, heat-resistant materials, but with nearly 250,000 miles of road it could take decades.

Boris Johnson’s predecessor, Ken Livingstone, delivered what he promised - air-conditioned trains on several of the London Underground lines. Sadly for Ken, the first air-conditioned trains were delivered just a few months after Boris Johnson had been elected Mayor of London, so Johnson took all the credit for them. And yes, they work, unlike Boris Johnson’s promised amazing new air conditioning on his “New Routemaster”:


Last weekend saw London’s celebration of 60 years of the first prototype of the Routemaster bus – the vehicle which saw regular service on the streets of London for nearly 50 years. Boris Johnson’s New Routemaster (née New Bus For London) is an attempt to ape the external design of (and cash in on the perceived nostalgic affection for) the AEC Routemaster.

It took 11 years of design and development and four different prototypes from three different manufacturers before London Transport were satisfied that the Routemaster was ready to go into full-scale production.

Boris Johnson’s new bus, however, was rushed through for political reasons, with more attention given to superficial aesthetics than practicality and capacity specifications.

Despite several hundred New Routemasters now being in service, they are still under-capacity due to being overweight, meaning the vehicles each carry fewer passengers than the standard double-deckers which they replaced. As they are also much longer than any other current London bus, they take up even more road space.

The New Routemaster has been touted by Transport for London as the “Bus To The Future” yet it is becoming more and more apparent that there are many problems with the vehicles which TfL refuse to acknowledge. Tom has covered TfL’s caginess in releasing details of the vehicle’s fuel economy.

Apart from failing to achieve the promised reduction in fuel consumption, the new buses frequently break down, a fact which is becoming more widely noticed as the vehicles are rolled out onto more routes:

We have been sent, anonymously, a list of major faults noted by a driver of the New Routemaster (reproduced verbatim):

10 major problems with this new Boris Bus…
1.fare dodgers sneeking on at the back door.

2. 1 button opens all 3 doors at the same time causing problems when the bus is rammed full but someone has rang the bell for the next stop where there are some 10+ passengers waiting to get on, need I say more!!

3. upstairs passengers sometimes will not get up from their seats until the bus has stopped, by this time the doors have been open long enough that boarding passenges are now walking up the stairs!!

4. no camera monitor on the centre door when moving, this creates a problem when alighting wheelchair users as you can not align the ramp between obsticals i.e. lamppost, bins and bollards ect.

[5 is missing from our transcript]

6. the air cooling does not work hard enough in hot weather so the bus feels like a mobile greenhouse.

7. the internal mirrors that look down inside are to small and reflect light off the perspex reflective screen, so you can not see anything in them.

8. reliability issues…bells, oyster readers, blinds not working, automated anouncements coming out wrong, doors not closing properly, air pressure problems, overheating batteries and other software problems.

9. the windscreen wipers arc upwards dragging rain water to the top of the screen so that in a heavy downpoor the water falls back down the screen in your line of vision.

10. it’s plain ugly at the front!!

TfL have got this completely wrong, £30m development cost and £345,000 per bus…more than twice the cost of a normal bus that does the job better!! They could have saved millions by just using a conventional hybrid bus with 1 stairwell and 2 doors…on at the front, off at the back, IT WORKS!!

Conventional hybrid double-deckers may well work, Mr Bus Driver, but they do not pay tribute to the ego of Boris Johnson, which is the purpose of the New Routemaster.

23°C in London at midday today, so how is the vehicle’s air cooling system, which, despite repeated and continued evidence to the contrary, TfL claim is “working effectively” and “provides reasonable comfort in normal summer conditions”:

A comment from a tweeter in Ballymena, where the New Routemaster is manufactured:

Retweeted by a London journalist who obviously feels their pain:

Windows? Who needs old-fashioned ventilation when expensive mechanical air cooling which is utterly inadequate can make your bus look “futuristic”:

Good luck to anybody forced to use these vehicles tomorrow as temperatures are predicted to reach 31°C in London.


It’s the middle of summer and, guess what, reports of sauna-like conditions on the “New Routemaster” vehicles continue.

Transport for London has issued the following statement in response to an enquiry about the manufacture, operation and efficacy of the cooling system on these vehicles:

The manufacturer of the air cooling system is Heavac of The Netherlands.

Transport for London (TfL) became aware of a configuration issue affecting
the way the air cooling system had been set up on some New Routemasters
(NRM) on route 24 for which we apologised to customers at the time.
Wrightbus worked throughout the weekend immediately after the roll out to
configure the systems in the way expected. Immediately after work was
conducted, passengers experienced more comfortable temperature levels that
were comparable or slightly cooler than other double deck buses fitted
with a similar air-chill system.

We are not aware of correspondence conducted by email or letter between
TfL, WrightBus and Grayson Thermal Systems or other third parties as the
issue was connected to how the systems were set up, not a functional
defect, and was dealt with verbally with our main supplier WrightBus and
operator Metroline to expedite the matter.

The air cooling system on NRMs is now working effectively on virtually all
vehicles in the fleet as verified by assurance checks carried out in early
summer. As with buses of all types in the fleet, there can be a small
number of systems not functioning at full effectiveness and these are
referred to the companies concerned so checks can take place and remedial
action can be conducted to improve performance. The air cooling system on
double deck buses in the fleet is thermostatically controlled, rather than
permanently on, and works at partial, then full capacity, in response to
warmer summer temperatures, but this does not mean it isn’t currently
working effectively.

TfL does not advocate more powerful air cooling systems on buses as it is
striking a balance between providing reasonable comfort in normal summer
conditions, and minimising exhaust emissions from the fleet that could
arise from greater fuel consumption.

Because of the nature of bus journeys, cooled air will be lost from the vehicle during the frequent
intervals at which it stops and the doors open to allow passengers to
board and alight every few hundred metres on its route. Buses cannot
regulate temperatures in the same way as coaches or trains which stop less
often and tend to involve longer overall journey times for passengers.

TfL assures itself of the maintenance standard of the fleet by
independently inspecting the condition of vehicles in approximately a
quarter of the 8,700 fleet each year. Additional regular checks are also
conducted on vehicles in service as part of normal business.

All vehicles in the fleet are fit for purpose and any issues raised about the specific
performance of a bus are referred to bus operator concerned with the
details so checks can take place and additional maintenance can be
undertaken where necessary. If you believe a vehicle’s air cooling system
is not operating in the way expected, you can provide details to our
Customer Services team along with the vehicle’s number plate or running
number so that we can look into the matter on your behalf.

TfL claim that the excessive temperatures experienced by passengers last summer only occurred on vehicles on route 24; they made repeated claims in the summer of 2013 that the “problems” had been fixed yet the sauna-like conditions on the vehicles on all routes continued into September.

TfL claim that there is no written correspondence between TfL, WrightBus, Grayson Thermal Systems or any third parties concerning the air cooling failure – I find that astonishing.

TfL claim that “the air cooling system on NRMs is now working effectively on virtually all
vehicles in the fleet as verified by assurance checks carried out in early summer”
– not the experience of passengers. TfL Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy, recently dismissed claims about the unpleasantly hot and humid conditions on the vehicles as a folk myth.

When I attempted to report online the complete absence of air cooling that I had experienced on route 24 back in May, I was unable to as the TfL website just returned an error message. An easy way to pretend that no complaints have been received?

My favourite part of TfL’s response: “TfL does not advocate more powerful air cooling systems on buses as it is striking a balance between providing reasonable comfort in normal summer conditions, and minimising exhaust emissions from the fleet that could arise from greater fuel consumption”

Quite right – which is why a bus with sealed windows and a mechanical air-cooling system which requires generated energy to operate, relying on a diesel engine, is definitely not “clean” or “green” or “the bus to the future” as TfL have been claiming.

Meanwhile, TfL’s been bragging that one of their vehicles features in a new film:

Has it forgotten that the vehicles’ summer temperatures exceed the legal maximum for transporting animals?

Temperatures are predicted to hit 30C in London on Friday – expect more Twitter comments such as these, and perhaps some ambulances being called due to passengers passing out:


As might have been expected, the poisoned chalice of SSL resignalling (and, we assume, Piccadilly Line signalling as an add-on) has not attracted a great deal of interest from the signalling supply sector – out of the two possible organisations that could have bid, Siemens and Thales, only Thales have decided to submit a tender.

LU subsequently issued an OJEU notice at the beginning of the year asking for expressions of interest to supply a signalling system for the Sub-Surface Railway, one of the oldest and most complex sections of its underground network. LU says that Thales subsequently presented a solution that will meet the intricate operational requirements of the lines, which comprise 40% of the network.

From the mists of time, you might recall that, as far as the Piccadilly is concerned and assuming the logical decision is taken to roll out SELTRAC there as well, we’re back to where we were seven years ago:

LONDON Underground PPP contractor Tube Lines announced on January 29 that it had awarded Thales a ?160m contract extension covering the resignalling of the Piccadilly Line. Thales took over contracts to supply Seltrac signalling to the Jubilee and Northern lines when it acquired Alcatel-Lucent’s transport activities at the end of 2006.

That contract presumably went out of the window at some unspecified time during the wind down of PPP.  It’d be interesting to know when.  Anyway, keep an eye on that figure of 160m, in 2007 money.

Back to the Sub Surface Lines ATC – it’s worth refreshing our minds about the suspected timeline of the SSL this documented back in January:

  • Bombardier CityFlo650 scrapped – December 2013
  • ITT issued – February 2015
  • Shortlist – February 2016
  • Awarded to ? – December 2016
  • Full in service date – July 2024

One nice thing about only having one firm responding to tender is that the entire shortlist and award process can be rather shorter – the latest Operation Performance report suggests an accelerated timescale:

Following termination in December 2013 of the contract with Bombardier for the supply of the Automatic Train Control (ATC) signalling system and after a detailed pre-qualification process, Thales have been invited to the next level of the tendering process to let the ATC signalling supply contract for SUP. It is anticipated that a new contract will be awarded later this summer and will be a significant step towards ensuring we deliver our upgrade by 2018.

That’s running about 18 months ahead of where we thought, which pulls the full in service date, if they take the same amount of time to install Bombardier thought they would, back to about, er, the end of 2022, four years late.  However, Thales would be rolling on from the Northern Line project, which would have the benefit of an existing, well resourced and experienced team in place using a proven product, so you’d expect an accelerated timetable there, but can they really take four years out of it?

The downside is that you can’t get a guarantee of a competitive quote – Thales will not be going all out to put in a low cost deal, due to the reputational risk involved and the lack of any possibility of someone else getting the deal and chucking their tender investment down the drain.  This puts LU in an awkward spot – there’s no realistic way they can prove to anyone that they’ve got value for money on this deal, and since it’s now clear Bombardier’s problems started with an unsuitable product at an unrealistic price, the Thales sticker price is likely to be substantially higher, on the basis that they know LU know they’re the only people with a chance of saving their skin with a proven, working product.

What this does for TfL’s finances is interesting – curiously the latest Operational Performance report  (the final one for 2013-14) shows a 36m shortfall in efficiency savings due to banking savings from CityFlo650 deployment before they happened.  That sort of Enron accounting is what makes TfL’s public claims about value for money somewhat dubious.

The £36m downside in secured efficiencies against the Quarter 3 forecast is partially due to the removal of efficiencies forecast to be delivered through the Sub Surface Rail ATC contract, which is now in the process of being retendered. It is expected that proposals to deliver further efficiencies will be considered in 2014/15

We’ll be watching the size of the project finance bucket with interest in forthcoming PMPA documents, along with the target dates and if the Piccadilly is included in the main works or as a follow on and whether the existing Piccadilly Line trains will be SELTRAC-fitted for the period between 2018 and the target replacement date of 2025.

One final thing on the tube – the Bakerloo Line, as expected, is to have its trains life-extended to a mammoth 58 years, with a 31m programme of welding up the cracks in the underframes caused by the punishing curves on the line.  That bodes well for reliability in, oo, ten years time.


Yes, summer is definitely here and so are the very real problems with the temperature and humidity on Boris Johnson’s vanity bus.

Just a few weeks ago, TfL Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy was dismissing the unacceptably hot and humid conditions on these brand new vehicles as “a folk myth” – so how are passengers really finding the buses in these normal early-summer temperatures?

Note that a number of the sweltering passengers specifically refer to the 148 – the route which runs without a platform attendant and therefore has its rear door closed between bus stops.

According to Peter Hendy, not having opening windows makes the air “conditioning” work more effectively so it should follow that keeping the doors closed as much as possible also increases its efficacy. Nah, mate.

As for the routes which do have platform attendants for some of the day, here’s another example of the futility of their non-jobs:

There was a very old-school platform attendant on the 390 that I took from Bloomsbury Street towards Notting Hill last Friday lunch time – he warned me that the bus was hardly moving before I touched in with my Oyster. He was right – it took half an hour to get to Cambridge Circus, a distance that can be walked in a mere 11 minutes. Glad to see the Mayor of London’s “smoothing traffic flow” agenda is working so well.

I did take some photos inside the bus so let’s see how the interior of LT13, one of the very first batch of New Bus For London vehicles, is coping with wear and tear afer just a year on the streets of London – these vehicles are supposed to have a working life of 14 years in the city.

Upstairs, the moulding around the top of the window above the rearmost seat – I always inspect this area as it never seems to be put together in the same way on any two buses. On LT13, the moulding is visibly cracked and out of alignment with filthy black soot all around it and a drip of black paint behind it:

I only had to look down towards the middle of the top deck to find another example of WrightBus’s great workmanship:

Come to London this summer and travel on our brand new, bespoke buses – ideal if you fancy a mobile sauna and like inspecting bare wires and broken panelling!


After last year’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office world tour by two (later three, presumably to cope with the breakdowns) of WrightBus’s Boris Johnson-commissioned New Bus For London vehicles, orders for this “pinnacle of British automotive engineering design” must surely be rolling in in an uncontrollable tsunami of enthusiasm from those countries who endured it breaking down enjoyed the experience of travelling on a mobile sauna.

Hong Kong, as Tom reported last October, were so impressed by the new bus that they ordered over 530 of Alexander Dennis’s new generation Enviro500 instead.

Now, Singapore has followed suit, rejected the WrightBus New Bus For London and placed an order for 201 Alexander Dennis Enviro500s :

Singapore transport operator, SMRT Corporation, has signed a contract with Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL) for the supply of 201 Enviro500 double deckers. The deal is understood to be worth £50m. The contract is part of a major initiative by SMRT to upgrade its fleet and will result in the introduction of new generation ADL deckers, all of which will be built and delivered during 2014 and 2015. The Enviro500s will be two-door, 12m vehicles with Cummins Euro5 nine-litre, 340hp engines, capable of carrying 84 seated passengers and 40 standees.

SMRT’s Senior Vice President, Roads Business Group, Benny Lim, said, ‘After going out to international tender and evaluating product offerings from around the world we have agreed on a supply contract with ADL. We have been impressed by their new Enviro500 high capacity double deck and by their aim to build a long term relationship with us. The Enviro500 is a modern, low emissions vehicle that carries large numbers of people but still has the same footprint as a conventional single deck. This means we can reduce traffic congestion but still maintain our high standards of service. In addition, the safety, reliability, passenger comfort and fuel performance of the Enviro500 is impressive. We now look forward to working with ADL and building a strong business partnership that will take us into the future.’

ADL’s Commercial and International Business Development Director, Robert Davey, said, ‘We are delighted to be part of a new future in Singapore and to be involved in such a prestigious project with SMRT. Our new-generation, three-axle double deck – the Enviro500 – is proving to be a real winner. This latest order means that we have now sold over 1,000 Enviro500s since we introduced the new bus to the market in late 2012. It is testimony to our engineers, vehicle builders and aftermarket teams that we are taking competitors on head-to-head in numerous global markets and coming out in front. In this case there was fierce international competition, including well-established suppliers in the local market, so I am particularly pleased that we have prized open this gateway to Singapore and, in doing so, sent a signal to many other territories in the region.’

Maybe Singapore would rather not buy a vehicle which is unbearable to use in its climate without an enormous, portable air-conditioning unit onboard?


Now TfL Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy, is claiming that the unacceptably high temperatures and sauna-like conditions experienced over the past week on the New Bus For London are “a folk myth” – despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Hendy was a guest on the BBC Radio London 94.9 Drivetime With Eddie Nestor this afternoon:

Nestor: So, I’ve fallen asleep Thursday, Friday, to yesterday and today, ‘cos the Tubes are hot.

Hendy: Yup.

Nestor: But you’re getting loads of complaints – well, I am, anyway – about the people on the buses. On your brand new, state-of-the-art buses. Why are they so hot?

Hendy: They’re no hotter than any other bus.

Nestor: What does that mean?!

Hendy: It means they’re all fitted with air cooling and the moment you blew [sic] air cooling which blows cooler air through the upper saloon, if you open the window – the buses aren’t fitted with windows – this is becoming a folk myth.

The buses aren’t fitted with windows because, actually, air cooling is better if you don’t have opening windows. The moment you open the windows, the air you’re blowing through blows out the windows.

Just tell me, do you open the car windows with air conditioning?

Nestor: Well, no, you keep it closed so it works.

Hendy: Absolutely.

Let’s examine Hendy’s claims: “They’re no hotter than any other bus” – yes, they are. They’re hotter than a 50-year-old Routemaster which has no air-cooling but does have opening windows.

“Air cooling is better if you don’t have opening windows. The moment you open the windows, the air you’re blowing through blows out the windows” – the air cooling on the New Bus For London is totally inadequate in normal London summer temperatures and the lack of opening windows means there is no respite for the passengers who are suffering unnaceptably hot and humid conditions.

“Just tell me, do you open the car windows with air conditioning?” - of course not, because cars have proper air conditioning, not utterly ineffectual air cooling like the New Bus For London.

Just tell me, Commissioner Hendy, do you remove the back door from your car whilst running the air conditioning at full blast? No? Then why claim that the air cooling on the New Bus For London “is better if you don’t have opening windows” when all of the routes (minus the 148) operating the New Bus For London run during the day time with their back doors wide open. In any case, it’s been proven that the air cooling still doesn’t work when the back door is kept closed between stops on the 148.

As predicted, the denials have started.