TfL set to buy 600 Boris Buses and pay for conductors

TfL will now buy 600 vehicles and pay the salaries of the conductors. Photo: TfL
London tax and fare payers will have to incur the cost of hundreds of Boris Johnson’s New Bus For London buses according to Transport for London papers.

In an FOI response to this site TfL previously said its contract with manufacturers Wright Bus “allows for either TfL to purchase the buses and make them available to route operators (if appropriate) or for Wrights to supply them to our operators at capped prices.”

However papers for a TfL board meeting now say operator ownership “is not the most advantageous in the case of NBfL.”

The papers also say that because there is only one provider of the bus, the cost of buying the vehicles “will score against TfL’s borrowing capacity” and their value “included as an asset on TfL’s balance sheet regardless of whether it is purchased by operating companies or TfL.”

Board members are also advised that: “The uniqueness of NBfL will also disfavour the financial deal that operating companies can obtain with the leasing companies”.

Members are therefore being asked to authorise the purchase of 600 buses by TfL which would then be made available to operators.

Salaries for the so-called conductors on the buses who will supervise use of the rear platform but not collect or check fares are also to be met by TfL.

TfL had previously insisted responsibility for these additional staff would rest with the bus operators but the papers now say operators will merely be responsible for recruiting the extra staff while TfL will pay all associated costs including salaries.

Commenting on the proposals for TfL to buy the buses, Green Party London Assembly member Darren Johnson said: “The Mayor has called the New Bus for London a world class piece of technology, but the problem is that no one outside of London is going to buy it. If Transport for London go ahead with this madness, then fares will have to rise to pay for the New Bus for London and investment will have to be cut in other projects. It is everything that we warned the Mayor would happen. By 2016, Londoners will be paying upto £37m a year for the extra staff on these buses.

“The Mayor intends to force operators to use this bus, making the contracts more expensive. They won’t be given an option to choose the best bus from the best manufacturer and the best price. So these extra costs will be carried by Transport for London and that means higher fares. He is having to buy these buses from a monopoly supplier, rather than at a competitive market rate and unlike all the other buses in London we won’t be able to get money back by selling them on to operators in the rest of the country.”


  1. says

    Robin – Wrightbus are based in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, I don’t think they have any overseas production so all these will be made in the UK but not sure if they will create any more jobs.

    There doesn’t seem to be any interest outside of London for the Borisbus so if we do end up with 600 by 2016 we’ll be stuck with them until they fall apart.

  2. Robin says

    At least it should keep some people in employment.i bet in 20 years time they’ll be in Hongkong? Like RMTs?…Im no expert on transport,however without a Car in London i can get around,but outside Greater London area it would be difficult eg East Anglia villages

  3. Hilton Holloway says

    Get these machines on the most polluted routes and we could save millions in fines from the EU – these buses have engines half the normal size and much lower pollution than even conventional hybrids. TFL admitted in January that it was buses causing the huge pollution problems in Putney High Street.

    With this order in, we can show Brussels concrete measures are in the pipeline and bat off the fines…

  4. D.Miller says

    I’m glad that London is to get this bus.They have to be better than the rubbish buses operating at the moment.The few I have been on so far have given a far,far superior ride than any other double-deck bus I have been on.You also feel more secure,especially on the top deck descending to alight.

  5. Mark Johnson says

    Funny thing is that when the dear old RMs were withdrawn in 2005 a public consultation process took place and Londoners voted in their droves for the return of the Hop on-Hop off platform! and that’s exactly what Boris has delivered (with a little help from Thomas Heatherwick & Wrightbus).

    The new bus ticks all the boxes, its 30% greener than current double deckers, it has three sets of doors to accomondate all types of passengers, from buggy pushing Mum’s to wheelchair users to cash payers (front doors only please) to the hop on hop off Oyster card punters on the rear platform . . . . .

    Travel on any other Double decker, the take a ride on the NBFL, and I defy anybody not to be majorly impressed with the new battery powered-diesel Hybrid machine. Personally I can’t get enough of it on route 38, its just sooo smooth, its very comfortable, and its very pleasing on the eye, and best of all > you can alight between stops (or at traffic lights-traffic jams) via the rear platform . . .


  6. says

    Mark Johnson – take care when jumping off between stops, it’s still technically not allowed and if you injure yourself doing so you won’t be able to sue TfL.

    I hope you’re just as happy as you are now when your fares soar to pay for these new buses that none of the bus operating companies think are good enough to buy or lease themselves. I won’t care as LUL employees get free travel.

  7. Mark says

    Incredibly the Mayor once even said that the research and development costs for these buses would be paid for the private sector. This is what Boris Johnson said back in 2009:

    Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): If you are asking a question about the new bus which will be developed by private contractors, then I imagine that the cost of that development of that new bus will be borne by the industry and, as for the rolling out of the bus and as everybody knows because I have said it about five billion times – or people who follow these conversations will know – we are going to have some new buses, new prototype new buses on the streets by the back end of 2011 —

  8. Philip says

    it’s great news for London and grwat news for Londoners, the UK, and for the environment…

    I can’t wait to see 600 of these on Londons streets…

    ASLEF_Shrugged: – it IS allowed, though I wouldn’t try it except at traffic lights on Red and wouldn’t bother trying to sue TFL – everyone who tries it takes their own risk