After a decade of moving people around London, this weekend saw the final journey of one of this country’s most controversial travel solutions. The bendy bus has been taken off London’s roads for good.
A few months before the end of his term, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has fulfilled his election pledge of banishing bendy buses. It seemed a popular move when Boris was elected back in 2008.
Bendy bus critics claimed that passengers hated them, and there was definitely uproar on the streets of London when bendy buses took over from the old Routemasters. But, as with many changes, when people got used to them, they quickly forgot what all the fuss was about.
Bye bye bendy bus
And now, predictably, the streets are ringing with complaints about the new double-deckers. Let’s just hope Boris won’t be so quick to change London’s buses again.
I’m no fan of the bendy bus. As a cyclist, they’ve proved to be pretty dangerous and were also a major hogger of bike-friendly bus lanes.
However, the roads won’t necessarily be any safer without them. A bendy bus takes 120 people and a double-decker only 85, so to meet the needs of London’s bus users, there will surely have to be an increase in the number of buses on the road.
The cost of scrapping bendy buses
Apparently Transport for London (TfL) will be £7m a year better off from the reduction in fare dodger numbers – thousands of people benefited from the bendy bus, also known as the ‘trust bus’, by getting on and off at the back entrances to avoid paying.
But surely those savings are cancelled out by the millions of pounds that have been spent on new buses – it’s costing £2.2m to convert just two of the twelve routes back to double-deckers.
So when every penny counts and council cutbacks are rife, it seems rather a waste of money to replace the whole fleet across 12 different routes. I’m sure TfL could think of better things to spend this money on.
Are you heralding the end of the bendy bus era? Or, like me, can you think of better ways to spend the millions that’s being pumped into reinventing the wheel?