Driven mad in London — 16 June 2009

Bendy bus sale Arthur Daily would have managed to move them. But it seems that the London mayor’s first attempt to sell off the capital’s bendy buses has not met with success. A batch of thirty-one of these 58ft-long monsters from Mercedes Benz advertised in a trade magazine has failed to attract a buyer after six weeks.

Those with the £80,000 spare can buy one of the 350 which ultimately will be sold.

But buyers may have been put off by their chequered history. Introduced by then mayor of London Ken Livingstone in 2001, bendy buses were temporarily taken out of service in 2005 when three suddenly caught fire.

A year later, evidence presented to the London Assembly showed that they are more likely to be involved in an accident than other buses in the fleet. Critics also said fare-dodgers were sneaking on the buses using the back doors, instead of the front ones next to the driver.

Go on, give a bus a home it would look great on the drive.

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Gibson

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  1. Bendybuses have attracted criticism but, as far as I can see, mainly from people who don’t use buses, including drivers of private cars who should arguably be kept off the capital’s roads anyway.

    The bendybuses are good and have been found good in many cities both in the UK and abroad.

    There is only one problem with London’s bendies and that is overcrowding at certain times of day because many treat the bendy as a “free bus” and use it in preference to those on which tickets are checked.

    This problem has been solved in other cities by making the rear doors exit-only and making boarding passengers pass by the driver to verify that they have paid. This slows down the boarding process, of course, but it is the price we have to pay for the public’s dishonesty.

    Fare dodgers do not “sneak onto the buses using the rear doors” because 1. entry by the rear doors is permitted and 2. drivers are not required to check tickets. There is no “sneaking” involved: this is another of those disingenuous claims make by those hostile to the bendy.

    It is wasteful of Boris to spend our money touting for new bus designs and replacing perfectly good vehicles. If he had to use buses like most of the rest of us, he might realize their virtues. Unfortunately, politicians are often unwilling to allow reality to get in the way of their pet theories.

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