After yesterday’s outbreak of bendy loving in the Standard, Boris, perched high up his gum tree, has hit back:

On a BBC Radio London phonein, Boris Johnson said the first bendy buses would be removed next year.

His pledge follows a warning by some London Assembly members that the change could lead to passengers facing more crowded and slower journeys, higher costs and increased carbon emissions.

Mr Johnson has already rejected such claims and said he was only staggering the abolition to ensure taxpayers were not “ripped off” by suppliers if replacement vehicles had to be ordered too quickly. “There is a timetable of doom up in my office,” he added.

This is pathetic stuff, coming dangerously close to actual mendacity.  Far from ‘drawing up’ a ‘timetable of doom’, Boris will merely be looking at our bendy bus contract replacement timetable, available to anyone who can read and navigate a web browser to the estimable London Bus Routes website.  Far from deliberately ‘staggering’ the abolition to save money, Boris is doing the sensible thing and avoiding having to break the long term contracts on those particular routes halfway, since he needs to keep on good terms with the bus companies*.  One consequence of this, as we’ve seen, is that he’s only going to abolish about 280 of the 340 bendy buses in use daily in London.  The bendy will see out the 2012 Olympics by several years, only leaving service three quarters of the way through the next Mayoralty.  Not so much the trumpet of doom, more a severe case of flatulence.

* There’s another flaw in his argument – if he’s worried about being ‘ripped off’ by suppliers, use the buses you’ve already got instead of injecting a wholly artificial renewal part way through the vehicle’s life.  In other words, any fear over being ‘ripped off’ stems wholly from his dogmatic and groundless objections to bendy buses.  It’s spin, pure and simple.

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