Boris wastes £200k promoting himself and 103 year old bus route

Val Shawcross AM is London Assembly Labour Group Transport Spokeswoman

This week it was revealed that Boris Johnson spent £200,000 of farepayers’ money promoting his New Bus for London on the route 24 and elements of route 11. It could be argued that it is reasonable to spend money promoting a new bus route so that passengers know they have a new way of getting from A to B. However, route 24 has been operating for 101 years, I’m pretty sure Londoners know it exists.

The £200,000 was spent by the Mayor promoting himself and his “New Bus for London”. There were billboards, adverts and £30,000 alone was spent on postcards delivered to 141,000 residents. If that isn’t ‘campaigning on the rates’ then I don’t know what is.

This waste is the latest revelation about excessive costs on the new bus. They each cost £50,000 more than a comparable hybrid bus, for all 600 buses this excess will be £30million. Each bus requires a second crew member when its rear platform is in operation, and this has been estimated to add a cost of £62,000 per vehicle per year, or £37million for all 600 buses. From a man who claims to care about delivering value for money this is truly astounding.

The new buses have also been beset by design flaws with the buses reaching above 300C during the summer because the “air-cooling” system couldn’t cope and the buses were designed without windows. To make matters worse they reached 77% humidity – twice that on the Tube.

The new bus was designed and built by WrightBus, however they came third in the open design competition. Boris drafted in another company to help them with the re-design, at a cost of £428,000 to the farepayer. Boris approached them directly and serious questions have been raised over whether the correct process was followed for a contract of this nature.

The slap dash approach to the new bus follows Boris getting terrible value for money on the Cable Car, which wasn’t supposed to cost the taxpayer any money but actually cost £30million. To make matters worse the sponsorship contract for the Cable Car with Emirates also included clauses that discriminated against Israel and Israelis. It was only under sustained pressure that the Mayor and TfL backed down and had these clauses removed.

The sponsorship of the cycle hire scheme and also the way in which Barclays were chosen as the successful bidder have both been heavily criticised for lack of value for money. Boris reportedly agreed the deal after a 45 second chat in a cloakroom at Davos. The latest hike in annual membership has also failed to increase income as expected and MayorWatch has revealed that the build and operating costs of the scheme are £225m, so far Barclays have only paid £13.5m towards these costs.

Boris seems to think that the rules don’t apply to him, but the truth is there are rules in place to protect the public sector and the public’s interests. Rather than taking a sloppy, intellectually lazy approach Boris should remember he was elected to serve the public interest, not to waste the public’s money.

Under Boris transport fares have risen above inflation for the past five years. At a time when wage growth is stagnant this is piling yet more pressure onto Londoners. Bus fares have gone up by 55% under Boris from 90p to £1.40, hitting Londoners in the pocket. He has already wasted millions on this vanity project and now he has spent even more of our money promoting his ‘Roast-Master’ and himself. Boris will shortly be deciding on how much to raise fares by in January. After five years of inflation-busting increases he needs to ease the pressure on Londoners and keep it to inflation. If he didn’t waste so much money this would be a lot easier.

We are asking Londoners to join with us and support our campaign to make Boris listen and cap this year’s fare rise. During last year’s election campaign Boris said he would “bear down on fare rises” and then raised them above inflation again. This year let’s make him listen and ease the pressure on Londoners.

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3 Responses to “Boris wastes £200k promoting himself and 103 year old bus route”

  1. Kinglouie

    “Each bus requires a second crew member when its rear platform is in operation, and this has been estimated to add a cost of £62,000 per vehicle per year”
    As a Labour spokeswoman, I’m surprised at your opposition to this specific fact. Surely this is one positive outcome of the new Routemaster, providing extra jobs for real people who can also assist passengers and contribute to the overall safety of Londoners travelling on the buses?

  2. Mr Spock

    You miss the point. These people add cost but dont actually add any value. They are there nit to contribute to safety but because someone has to be there these buses are unsafe. With other hybrid buses you wouldnt need someone to stop passengers falling off and these people could be used to make sure all passengers have paid and collect fares so saving some of the millions lost due to fare evasion. And how many hundreds if not thousands of jobs are being lost in London because of such wasteful spending by Boris?

  3. Oppressed Commuter

    Well TFL is doing a right thing for bringing back the open platform buses to London. But i know they close during the night times because they have the door at the rear.

    I am utterly disgraced what the Marxist Liberal Ken Livingstone done to London by withdrawing over 500 Routemasters from 2003 to 20 Routemasters on late 2005 on it’s Heritage Routes. We never had a single direct democracy referendum vote about it! Its because Ken Livingstone prefers the bendy buses that go on fire all the time. But recently the Ex London bendy buses went on fire in Malta.

    London is the origin of Double Decker buses and they do deserve it’s own bus type! It’s Cultural Marxism for removing our tradition which is our Routemaster. But thankfully TFL brought in the New Buses for London which includes the open platform and the conductor. Liberalism is also about destroying our traditions which is an act of Treason!

    The buses in London need a conductor because it makes the services more safer and it releases all the stress out of the drivers which they can drive the bus properly. When i was on the one person operated bus, the service is very awful where you have very rude drivers. Plus i am pro open platform because when your on the bus and then your stuck on a traffic jam and its 20 meters to the bus stop. The driver will not let you out which means your stuck like a prisoner on a bus till your late at work because of the traffic jam. Its ideal to have the open platform for busy commuting times and the conductor to control the flow of the bus. The good thing about having a conductor it helps people to know where they need to go and also help clear the wheelchair area to get the wheelchair user into the bus.

    I think its idea to get the lazy unemployed people (yes the ones which have no intention to work) out of benefits and get them to work as a conductor on the NBFL’s! The San Francisco MUNI have done stuff like that to deter fare evading on their buses, so should it be ideal for here? At least it will save the government wasting money in dole money for the unemployed staying at home then using the money correctly for doing something in favour for the public. And yes, sorry if i involved politics on there.
    Here is the video of what San Francisco “bouncers”.

    Its all common sense

    Taking ideas from other transport services from around the world will help bring ideas for TFL. I but TFL claims that they don’t have any resources to put police officers on the buses. But yet they can afford to put conductors during the day on the NBFL’s. The “conductors” are ideal for the bus routes that serves the Central and the inner London areas because it helps tourists and safety to travelers. But as what the NBFL driver on Episode 3 of the Routemasters programme said that the conductors takes the pressure off the drivers because it have the conductor to deal with the passengers.

    I know it cost over £200 million to have a new London Bus, but we need a new bus for the new generation. Not the cultural Marxist plan of buying a bus off the shelf and calling it a “London Bus”. Millions of people like the New Bus for London and its staying it! We deserve to have our national traditions not the Marxist Liberal agenda on destroying it because their plan is to destroy the traditions of the West!

    I know i moan about the high fare rises. If i had my way things will be very different!

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