Posted by Boris Johnson , Mayor, Friday, July 24 2009
Boris Johnson writes about the first of many new and improved buses to be rolled out across the capital.
One of the things about being a cycling Mayor is that you have a unique opportunity to gauge the opinions of Londoners on a daily basis.
Or, more accurately, you receive the views of Londoners whether you like it or not. Forget focus groups or opinion polls, I get all I need whilst waiting at the traffic lights.
I get a whole range of opinions vented at me, and if I had to pick the most frequent issues that come up, one of them would almost certainly be bendy buses. Every day, almost every Londoner I meet asks me "When are you getting rid of them?"
Well folks, today the first bendy buses meet their Waterloo. These writhing whales of the road have swung their hefty rear ends round our corners for the final time. Pedestrians that leapt, cyclists that skidded and drivers that dodged from the path of these monsters will breathe easier this weekend. For tonight, the bendy buses serving route 507 will slink away into the depot for the last time. Tomorrow morning, fifteen brand new single deck buses will appear in their place.
We've taken the opportunity to improve the service too. It will be the first time a weekend service has been run on the route. The new buses will also run more frequently. At peak times the frequency of route 507 will increase from a bus every five minutes (12 buses per hour) to one every three to four minutes (18 buses per hour).
The new buses will also be greener than their predecessors. They will emit less CO2, and harmful particulates.
Bendy buses on other routes are on borrowed time and, to answer the question I am most often asked, I can confirm they will all have gone by 2011. Engineers will now scrape all traces of the capital from these first nine buses and next week they will be sent back to their spiritual home, an airfield in the midlands.
Look out for Boris on Blue Blog