The first job adverts have been published for the health and safety staff needed to supervise use of the New Bus For London’s rear platform.
As revealed by MayorWatch last year, Transport for London is having to meet the cost of employing the staff after it mandated the use of the buses on a number of routes.
The cost of providing the staff has been estimated at £37m by the Green group on the London Assembly.
Mayor Boris Johnson has disputed the figure, insisting that the cost would be lower because the rear platform would not be open all the time and the staff would only be on board when it was.
Addressing the Assembly in October, the Mayor Johnson: “First of all, that will not be anything like the total expenditure because it is not envisaged – and I hope this will not come as too much of a disappointment – that all 608 of them will be continually rolling with their rear door open and with conductors on them the whole time.
“There will be plenty parts of London, plenty of routes, where it will operate in a normal three door configuration with driver-only operation, so your figure is excessively high.”
Route 24 will be the first entirely served by the New Bus For London.
As well paying for the second crew member, TfL has been forced to buy the vehicles itself because under accounting rules their mandated use meant they’d be considered TfL assets even if operators purchased them directly as is normally the requirement.
In addition the TfL board was warned that: “The uniqueness of NBfL will…disfavour the financial deal that operating companies can obtain with the leasing companies”.
Metroline, which operates route 24, is now advertising for the first wave of rear platform supervisors.
Duties include “ensuring customers board and alight the vehicle in safety” and providing assistance to passengers.
However, as confirmed by TfL last year, the staff will not collect or check fares despite the open platform providing the same rear door entry blamed by TfL and the Mayor for high levels of fare evasion on the defunct bendy bus.