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Tfl: Borismasters “will save millions"

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London's fleet of 600 Borismasters will cost £213million. Transport for London has confirmed the average price of each bus will be £354,500 over the four-year procurement contract and says that “millions of pounds will be saved over the life of the vehicles”. And in the sort of hyperbole that seems inevitable in any announcement associated with London mayor Boris Johnson, TfL talks of “the return of the much loved open rear platform” as a benefit of the new buses.

TfL reiterates that its bulk order has reduced the cost of the buses compared with London's normal vehicle policy where individual operators or leasing companies buy smaller batches of vehicles for individual routes. And, making a virtue of the fact that the vehicles are unacceptable for operation anywhere else in the UK, TfL says that it “fully intends that these new buses will operate for their entire working life – of at least 14 years – in the capital – which means that a multi-million pound saving will be delivered over the useful life of the buses, even taking into account the marginally higher initial cost of the buses”.

Boris Johnson explains: “By keeping them in harness in the capital for the entirety of their useful life, we will be extracting every last drop of value out of them. Aside from its Hollywood blockbuster good looks, this bus offers an unparalleled passenger experience and is helping to improve the capital’s air quality. It also demonstrates that we, as a nation, remain a great force in design, engineering and manufacture.”

No mention is made of the added cost of employing conductors, a point picked up be Green Party London assembly member Darren Johnson who says: “The New Bus for London is an expensive vanity project which the next mayor will abandon as an outdated and polluting waste of money. Londoners simply can’t afford the higher fares that will come from paying £37million a year to bus assistants whose only real job is to stop people falling off the rear platform when it is open. The reason why these buses will spend their entire life in London is because no one else wants them. That is also the reason why TfL have had to buy the buses themselves, at a premium rate, rather than let the operators have all the upfront costs and risks.”

Alongside the 600 Borismasters London will also be taking 600 conventional – and presumably less expensive - hybrids over the next three years. When the final batch of Borismasters is delivered in 2016 more than 1,600 hybrids will be in service in London, representing around 20 per cent of the capital's 8,500-strong bus fleet.

www.tfl.gov.uk

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