Goodbye to the Boris Bus

Goodbye to the Boris Bus

The new generation of red, double-decker Routemasters introduced amid great fanfare by former London Mayor, Boris Johnson, are being scrapped as ‘too expensive’.

During his campaign, Sadiq Khan pledged to phase out the buses in order to fund a four year freeze on public transport fares. Introduced in 2012 and designed to combine the iconic Routemaster design with the very latest green technology, the buses have been described as an expensive ‘vanity project’ for Boris Johnson and have been beset with problems.

While designed to be more environmentally friendly, the hybrid batteries of the new Routemasters have proven unreliable, leaving them more polluting than their predecessors. According to Claire Walters, Chief Executive of Bus Users, it wasn’t just their green credentials that caused problems: “Huge concerns have been raised over safety issues, the unique hop-on-hop-off feature has fallen foul of cuts to on-board conductors, and passengers have consistently complained of over-heating in summer as the windows don’t open.”

As well as moving towards more clean air vehicles, Sadiq Khan plans to continue investing in the current bus fleet, which will apparently be retro-fit with the Euro VI standard emission-reducing technology (see Diesel cars dirtier than buses)

Claire said: “While the move towards less polluting buses is welcome, it doesn’t have to be achieved at the expense of safety or the comfort of passengers. We want to see operators like TfL including passengers in the design and commissioning of new vehicles. UK bus manufacturers are among the best in the world but, all too often, buses are designed to meet the needs of the operator rather than the passenger.”

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