Bendy buses on two routes (507 and 521) are to be replaced with single deck, 12 metre buses when contracts for the bendy buses end next summer. Buses on a third route (38) will be replaced by double deckers from next autumn.
City Hall says the move delivers on Boris Johnson’s election promises to scrap the bendy buses, which Johnson says are “completely unsuitable for the city’s streets”. Critics are questioning the impact on costs and pollution as additional buses will be need to be laid on to meet peak demand and ensure capacity is maintained.
Green Party Assembly Member Darren Johnson said the Mayor “has given no information on the impact that all these extra buses will have on air quality, congestion, CO2 and cost” despite a number of requests. Mr Johnson said there was currently “a Freedom of Information request to bring the environmental costs of this into the public domain.”
The AM accused Mayor Johnson of spending public money “on a gimmicky idea which will actually make things even worse for asthma sufferers and other people with respiratory problems.”
Sharon Grant, chair of passenger watchdog London TravelWatch, said the body “believes that the use of the bendy buses on routes like the 521, 507 and 38 has overwhelming advantages, in terms of accessibility, effective use of limited road space, and minimising time spent at stops.”
Grant called on TfL “to publish the figures involved, so everyone can judge whether it represents value for money or not.”
“London TravelWatch has seen no evidence that points to the need to replace bendy buses on these routes, and unless TfL can provide evidence to the contrary, we will continue to argue that it is a backwards step for transport users in terms of accessibility, capacity and congestion, which does not appear to represent value for money.”