Page last updated at 17:19 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 18:19 UK

Bendy buses plan 'to cost 60m'

Bendy Bus in London
TfL is consulting on proposals to remove bendy buses on three routes

London Mayor Boris Johnson's plan to scrap bendy buses will cost 60m and is against Transport for London's (TfL) advice, opponents have claimed.

The London Assembly Labour group said the mayor is ignoring TfL's opinion that the buses pose no safety risk.

She added that independent figures show getting rid of bendy buses on three services will cost an extra 13m a year, or 60m for all the routes.

A mayoral spokesman said Mr Johnson was not ignoring TfL advice.

"TfL are currently evaluating tenders to operate services on two of the routes and trying to secure the very best deal for Londoners," the spokesman said.

"This means it would be massively irresponsible to make public the figure TfL anticipate to be the cost of replacing bendy buses as it could affect the deals that bus companies have offered."

Busy routes

He added that the mayor was determined to rid the streets of bendy buses in "the most cost-effective way".

TfL is currently consulting on proposals to remove bendy buses on three busy London routes, the 521, the 507 and the 38.

We see no reason to scrap these buses
Janet Cooke, Chief Executive of London TravelWatch

Independent transport watchdog London TravelWatch, has estimated it will cost an extra 12m to 13m a year to replace bendy buses on those three routes alone.

Using these figures, the assembly Labour group said to replace bendy buses on all the routes on which they currently operate would cost around 60m.

Earlier this month Janet Cooke, the chief executive of London TravelWatch, said they saw "no reason" to scrap the buses.

Val Shawcross, Labour's transport spokeswoman, said Mr Johnson was ignoring professional advice from TfL officers, who earlier this year said the bendy bus was no more dangerous than any other bus in London.

Ms Shawcross said: "The mayor seems determined to press ahead with his plans, no matter what the cost to Londoners.

"He is letting his personal prejudice override any sense of reason and should return to the drawing board as soon as possible.

"It's not too late for him to change his mind."


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