London’s print and broadcast media were leading today with the story of the sweltering temperatures being experienced on the New Bus For London on route 24.

The BBC showed footage of Leon Daniels, TfL’s Head of Surface Transport, giving his statement from Wednesday 3 July in which he claimed that the air cooling was working perfectly:

There were some teething troubles where the air-chill equipment wasn’t working as efficiently as it might have been coinciding with some really hot days just at the end of June last week.

It’s all working fine now, we’re not getting any complaints at all, all that system’s working perfectly and we’re very confident in it.

That’s not even spin – it’s barefaced lying.

Both ITV’s Simon Harris and BBC’s Alex Bushell recorded temperatures of over 31°C on the New Bus For London on route 24 today.

Why is it so hot on this brand new, bespoke bus which has been praised by Boris Johnson as “a breath of fresh air…light and airy…climate controlled air system” ?

TfL told ITV London:

Windows on the New Bus for London don’t open because it prevents the air cooling system from working

Were that the case, surely operating the bus with the back door wide open (the “open platform”) would also prevent it from working?

If it was the open back door which was preventing the air cooling system from working efficiently, then surely closing the door would ensure that it worked? It doesn’t, as a passenger told the Evening Standard today:

Everyone I know hates the buses. They look nice but there are no windows and the air conditioning doesn’t work.

And at night they close the back doors so you’re completely shut in. It was so hot the other day I thought I was going to faint.

TfL are just refusing to admit that the New Bus For London is disastrously hot and uncomfortable and has made commuting a thoroughly miserable experience for those who have to use this route.

The pathetically ineffectual air cooling was known about from at least February 2012, when the first prototype took to the road; yet now, as then, TfL are fobbing us off with the “teething problems” excuse.

The New Bus For London was the flagship policy of Boris Johnson on his election as Mayor of London in 2008. Whilst this expensive vanity project starts to unravel, will we see the New Bus For London vehicles withdrawn from the streets as temperatures threaten to hit 28°C in London by Sunday? At current reckoning, the temperature inside the buses will probably reach 35°C, making them a public health hazard.

Earlier today, the Mayor of London told ITV London:

Well, I’m fully aware of the problem. I was told that we’d fixed it – the air conditioning on the route 24 that you’re talking about.

There are some teething problems with it, and all I can tell you is that I thought it had been fixed.

It if hasn’t been fixed, I know that our teams will be working on it night and day.

He doesn’t sound very convinced, or convincing.




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