And the cost to us as taxpayers for getting a non bendy 207? £2.2 million. Yes, that's right - over two million pounds. Here's what TfL admitted through gritted teeth on this press release put out after probing from members of the GLA: "A one off cost of £2.2m will be incurred this year in respect of routes 29 and 207, where the conversions are happening in advance of the operating contracts being retendered."
I totally understand the need to get rid of bendy buses when they clog up narrow streets and major traffic junctions all the time, I've sat behind enough of them watching the lights change and then change again as they inch forward. But is a one-size-fits-all approach really the right thing to do for everywhere?
I've never had that problem either as a passenger or a driver in and around the Bush, largely because the Uxbridge Road is basically long and straight all the way from W12 to Uxbridge and beyond. The only incident I've ever seen on the bus was this ridiculous fare dodger excercise I witnessed back in 2009 and the cost of changing them, so that Boris can say he's delivered on a pledge before next year's election is at least partly responsible for the fare hikes.
Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the LibDems on the Greater London Authority has this to say:
“If the Mayor wants to quickly get rid of every bendy bus route in London that is one thing. However he has no right to reduce bus capacity and increase overcrowding on these key bus routes.While Ken's campaign have released this video making the case for what the Labour candidate calls his "fare deal" - geddit?
“Under Boris Johnson we have already seen the cost of a single Oyster bus fare increase from 90 pence to £1.30, and in January it will go up to £1.40.
“To increase bus fares by 55% over four years and to also increase overcrowding for bus users is a double whammy. Bus users are getting a rotten deal under Boris Johnson".
Not to be out-done, however, Boris' team have hit back with their own blockbuster which you can have a watch of here:
The bus frequency will be slightly increased due to this change with the figures provided by TfL below, but remember these buses have less capacity inside - so less seats and fewer people able to stand: