The final bendy buses will leave London’s streets today with the conversion of Route 207 to double deck buses.
The removal of the bendy buses was a manifesto commitment by Mayor Boris Johnson at the 2008 election but fulfilling that promise has increased contract costs.
Removing the higher capacity bendy bus has required running additional buses to meet passenger demand. Transport for London claims overhead increases will be offset by a reduction in fare evasion on the routes.
This has often blamed on the ability of passengers to board via the rear doors on bendy buses. Despite this, a number of former bendy routes have converted to other rear-door entry models.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “Today we bid a final but not fond farewell to the bendy bus.
“These bulky and ungainly monstrosities were always more suitable for the wide open vistas of a Scandinavian airport than for London’s narrow streets and I am glad to see the back of them.”
Labour’s Val Shawcross said “a considerable amount of TfL’s time, effort and money has been spent replacing these buses which covered just 12 out of 700 bus routes in London.
“These resources which would have been put to far better use improving services for the majority of bus users and cutting fares.”
Liberal Democrat Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick said: “Who in their right mind would spend millions of pounds replacing perfectly roadworthy vehicles in the middle of a recession, with new ones that carry 1000 fewer passengers on each route every peak hour? The Mayor of London.
“Bendies were not perfect but they certainly weren’t more dangerous. If we hadn’t replaced them until they were worn out, we could have spent millions of pounds on reducing fares for Londoners at a time when passengers need all the help we can get.”
Youcef Bey Zekkoub, a caseworker at Transport for All, said the buses would be missed by some Londoners: “It’s a real shame the bendy bus is going. It’s the only bus on which I’ve never had any problems with buggies.
“On other buses in London, it’s like Russian Roulette whether you’ll actually be allowed to get on”.