Transport for London is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender staff network group, OUTbound, by commissioning a special rainbow covered bus.
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport said: “The rainbow bus is a great addition to the streets of London and is a fantastic way for us to celebrate diversity in this great city.
“London is the tourism capital of the world and it is fantastic that everyone who lives, visits or works in London will have an opportunity to see this bus while it’s in service.”
The bus will run on route 8, between Bow Church and Tottenham Court Road, and will be operated by Stagecoach, the company co-founded and chaired by Sir Brian Souter.
Sir Brian has previously been forced to deny accusations of homophobia after opposing the repeal of Section 28 and last year Scottish independence campaigners were urged to return a £100,000 donation over concerns about his stance on gay rights.
Commenting on the involvement of Stagecoach, Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson on the London Assembly, said: “Stagecoach was set up and is still led by a person who has had consistently been a major barrier to tackling discimination against gay and lesbian people.
“I am really concerned that TfL was not aware of this before this initiative with Stagecoach.”
Martyn Loukes, Chairman of TfL’s LGBT staff network group OUTBound, defended the decision to work with the firm, saying: “We talked to a number of bus operators about this and we’re really pleased that Stagecoach agreed to support it.
“As is the case with all of London’s bus operators, Stagecoach employs a diverse workforce and serves one of the most diverse cities in the world.
“We’re now looking forward to seeing the bus on the streets in the run up to Pride.”
The firm’s London Managing Director, Mark Threapleton, said: “This will be a travelling advertisement, spreading the message of diversity to the hearts of our communities and to visitors from across the world.
“We look forward to the bus raising a smile and awareness wherever it goes.”