Whither the bendy bus

Ok, Bendy Buses: Dave Hill has got me excited on this in his Comment is Free piece this afternoon and I, and as on all things Londonian, have a very strong opinion on them.

So, here goes:

Firstly, if you looked at all the things that needed money spent on them in London today can we all really say, hand on heart, that buses, not having more of them but just changing the style of them, is the tip top priority for the whole of London?

More important than housing, reducing crime, dragging the tube into the 21st century, ensuring that the rail companies take the oyster card, the Olympics (well, maybe they're more important than the Olympics), congestion, climate change, the Thames barrier, keeping young people occupied on something else than stabbing each other, the threat of bombs, the City, making the west end more pedestrian friendly etc, etc, etc?????

I would say this week, like 16 other weeks already this year, many Londoners will be wondering what we can do about the high rate of teenage knife crime. Will replacing bendy buses with a modern version of the routemaster help? No, not really. Having conductors could help in an indirect way, I suppose. But, you don't have to have a routemaster to have conductors and frankly, it might be better to put the money to funding the British Transport Police; just a thought.....

I find it offensive the Boris Johnson is wasting our money on something as frivolous as this. If he was going to start up some new bus routes and put the routemasters there, then that at least would have the redeeming feature of improving public transport in London. But this, this is just frivolous!

Secondly: OK so, I too liked the open platform. It was great fun and very good for shopping on Oxford Street because the bus never went to fast that you couldn't just step on at any point down the road. But that's about it. They were too small and poky, too hot in summer, a nightmare to get off if you had any sort of shopping or luggage. And do I need to mention the fact that wheelchair users and mothers with buggies couldn't use them?

Boris Johnson told us that he was going to represent all Londoners but replacing accessible buses with routemasters is the opposite of inclusive.

I remember not long after the routemaster was phased out watching a young mother with two kids, one of whom was severely disabled. She waited at the bus stop, got on the bus, sat down putting her son in the wheelchair in the space allocated to them and then after a 5 or 10 minute ride she got off the bus and carried on wherever she was going. That journey would have been impossible with the routemaster; her new found freedom (and let's face it the efficiency because she doesn't have to use taxi's so much now) was breathtaking!

Routemasters were only fun for some people and moving away from the inclusive city that we have become should be resisted.

Thirdly, for many, many years before they were finally taken out of service the routemaster like the bendy bus that followed it only really served central London and a few arterial routes. The majority of Londoners and London bus journeys don't even use them, particularly in the suburbs. So once again, a whole lot of fuss over the centre of London and the suburbs are marginalised. Which is pretty damn surprising as it was the suburbs wot won it for him....when, oh, when will we have a Mayor that is interested in all Londoners?

The mort time we spend discussing whither the bendy bus the less time Boris has to spend on the real problems that Londoners are dealing with every day not a made up problem like the demise of the routemaster


Anonymous said...
9 Aug 2008, 10:22:00

Shopping the cheap battery,you can see from here.

Anonymous said...
15 Aug 2008, 15:55:00

The new Routemaster is going to be larger, air conditioned, and will have a lower rear platform and a wheelchair accessible front entrance.

Jo Christie-Smith said...
15 Aug 2008, 16:22:00

Well, I didn't think they were going to go backwards in terms of disability access - it is just that it's not our big priority in London.

Anonymous said...
16 Aug 2008, 21:02:00

It was probably said building Concorde wasn't a big priority. It was probably said the proposal to design and build the original Routemaster inhouse as a bus for London was too coslty as well, without appreciating it has paid back that investment many times over, and goes on to pour money into London. Ironically, it was the actions of politicians that made that return be less than it could have been by privatising buses in London, going against the people with the original long term vision of what was best financialy and for the passenger in London, who were not apt to be obsessed with the 'priority issue' of the moment. The situation now is as it was before Routemaster, a bus service provided by hundreads of different types of bus, with no regard for the waste or inefficiency as a whole that puts on the public purse. The initial investment is not the total cost of the porject. Short termism from politicians is what has killed a lot of this country.

Anonymous said...
4 Mar 2009, 12:18:00

i think bendy busses are very good as it would help the world from global warming. they are larger and probably only take up the same amount of petrol as other busses.

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