Bendy buses: Boris is back-tracking…

I’m concerned that London Mayor Boris Johnson is already back-tracking on his election pledge to replace the hated bendy buses. Quizzed by my fellow Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon, Boris has admitted that bringing in a new generation of routemasters is now an aspiration not a commitment.

It’s barely a month since the election, but Boris is already back-tracking. Bendy buses are dangerous, crime-ridden and take up too much space on our crowded streets. Islington residents hate them. Boris must keep his word: bendy buses have got to go. We were promised more staff on buses, but bendy-buses are still driver only. My purse was stolen on a 73 last year, and I’m not the only Islington resident to be robbed on a bendy bus; they really are crime scenes on wheels.

The Mayor shouldn’t waste time and money designing a new bus, but swiftly replace bendy buses with modern double-deckers instead. And he should immediately reintroduce conductors to tackle fare-dodging and crime. Last year a shocking 7.2 million individual fares were dodged – one for every Londoner.

Back in March, Ken gave in and conceded there would be no more bendy buses. But now we’ve got to start over with Boris. So I’ve relaunched the No More Bendy Buses petition to demand that Mayor Boris keeps his promise to get rid of bendy buses.

The petition says Mayor Boris and TfL must:
– Keep the promise to get rid of bendy buses
– Bring back conductors on bendy buses to cut crime, fare-dodging and make buses safer
– Stop wasting time designing a new bus – use modern double-deckers instead.

You can sign the petition and add your views here.


  1. dreamingspire said

    The simple statement about people not paying, and the number that goes with it, are not what they seem. Yes, people who always pay will get riled at people who don’t pay, but the simple truth is that, certainly under Ken’s regime, it was more important that people use the buses than that every last one of them paid the due amount. And nobody actually knows how many don’t pay, or what fraction of them don’t pay because of a system problem (those problems do occur).
    As for the design of double deckers, deleting the front entrance past the driver would make them much better for passengers. Make them a little bit longer, with a nice clear area in the middle where the door is, and away you go – with a conductor, of course (but maybe not on all services). With present day chassis design, the engine would still have to be at the back, but it would not take long to produce a design in which the engine is tucked up by the driver at the front and hydraulic motors are fitted to the front wheels. You heard it here first…

  2. […] Fox thinks that Boris is going backwards on a […]

  3. john b said

    “Islington residents hate them”

    You’ve got a survey showing that, I assume? I was an Islington resident when they bendified the 29, and I was absolutely delighted that instead of having to wait ages for a bus and then squeeze into a poorly designed standing-area-cum-corridor while stopping for aeons at each stop, the bendies improved capacity and made the journey faster and more comfortable. Now I’m a Tower Hamlets resident, I’d be very annoyed if they de-bendified the 25 for the same reason.

    Re conductors – at least they wouldn’t make the journey actively worse like moving back to deckers, but they’d cost a hell of a lot of money purely to reassure the paranoid. And like train guards, they’d be guaranteed to make themselves scarce if there appeared to be any real danger…

  4. john b said

    Also, even if debendification is the goal, axing the bendies before the end of their design lives – 10ish years is the standard for London buses IIRC – is extremely wasteful of our money and the environment. Most other UK cities have the same or worse issues as London regarding crowded streets and crime, and there aren’t many other right-hand-drive places where they could be redeployed…

  5. bridgetfox said

    Thank you for your comments – it’s good to know there are others out there interested in these topics, even if we don’t always agree.

    Boris was elected on a platform to replace bendies; instead of a vague uncosted plan for a new routemaster design, my argument is that he should simply replace them with the existing designs of modern double-deckers. This could be done on a phased basis, as individual units come out of service or routes are retendered; you could redeploy the bendies on arterial routes or in a newtown environment where the road layout may cope better – they’ve even been suggested for use at airports – but only if people want them there.

    Restoring conductors would be much cheaper than Boris’ grand design and have immediate benefits for all London bus users, whether they use bendies or not.

  6. […] Boris is stalling on his promise to rid London’s street of the bendy bus. He is now stating this is his asperation not his promise. See Liberal the Democrat Bridget Fox Blos here […]

  7. Ann King said

    I voted for Boris as I have been a regular bus traveller for a long time and thought Boris was going to get rid of the Bendybus I agree with all of Brigets comments that the routemaster should be bought back.

    Apparently they got rid of them because of health and safety reasons, why then does Boris allow the rickshaws to be licensed to work in the west end, much more dangerous than routemaster and also holds up traffic.

    When is Boris going to get rid of the bendybus.
    they are uncomfortable travel as there is only a limited amount of good seats, often sitting backwards and if you have to stand on the bendy part very uncomfortable ride and encourages fare evasion, also takes up a lot of road space and blocks junctions, always happening at the crossing at the Angel.

    Why aren’t the bendy buses fined for blocking the crossing.

  8. bridgetfox said

    Thank you for your comments Ann – you describe very well the problems with bendy buses in Islington. You might want to sign my petition

  9. […] Boris Johnson, Highbury Corner, planning Has Boris lost the plot? First he backtracks on bendy buses. Now there are fears he’s abandoning plans for better public spaces […]

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