New Bus for London: Boris to spend £37m on Health & Safety army

TfL will now buy 600 vehicles and pay the salaries of the conductors. Photo: TfL
The cost of staff to supervise use of the New Bus for London’s open rear platform could be as high as £37m, City Hall’s Green group have claimed.

The figure was calculated by Assembly Member Darren Johnson during Wednesday’s Mayor’s Question Time and is based on the current additional staffing cost of £62,000 per bus.

Transport for London recently confirmed plans to order 600 of the new vehicles and has already admitted it will need to provide the funding for the extra crew members.

While TfL and the Mayor refer to the second crew members as ‘conductors’, they will not collect or check fares. Instead they will be responsible solely for supervising use of the open rear platform.

Critics have accused the Mayor of employing an army of health and safety inspectors merely to pursue a vanity project.

During the question and answer session Mayor Johnson disputed the claimed £37m price tag, insisting that the cost would be lower because the rear platform would not be open all the time and the staff would only be onboard when it was.

Commenting after the meeting, Assembly Member Johnson said: “The Mayor is completely contradicting himself on the cost of these new buses. He argues that not all of these buses will operate on routes where their rear door is open for the majority of the time.

“He therefore claims that the cost of the extra health and safety staff will be less than £37m a year in 2016 when all 600 buses are available. So why use these hop-on hop-off buses on routes where a normal, cheaper double decker would do the same job?”