Tuesday, 18 September 2012


The Boris bus has long been a bone of contention for the dogs on either the red or blue sides of the mayoral camp to bitch over. Exciting new news means that there will be more of these slightly doe-eyed and asymmetrically bottomed scandal-buses about in London over the next few years and not just running to Hackney.

Yes according to the BBC it seems TFL want to build 600 of the Boris babies at a cost of £180m which equates to around £300k per bus. Now Tom Edwards asks you to twitter him;

“Let me know what you think about the new bus and if it's worth the money.”

But how can you, a lowly soul in this ill informed world possibly make such a judgement. Is it worth the money? I had to do a seriously extensive google search to find out the cost of a ‘normal’ london bus amongst a million hits for the costs of bus fares. I found this gem from the propaganda bureau;

“But in an open letter to the mayor, Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy said each new bus costs £1.4m compared with the conventional double-decker bus which costs about £190,000.”

So at least I have a sample of one figure which suggests built to scale of 600 each Boris bus is 58% more expensive than a normal bus. With so few buses the current cost is £1.4m each.  Alas I’m not sure I should trust Lammy who clearly is either a demagogue or a moron;

"Riding this bus is surely the most expensive bus ticket in history," he said.
"With 62 seats at a cost of £1.4m, the cost per seat is £22,580. At £22,695, you can buy a brand new 3 series BMW."

Lammy presents us with the most useless statistic. I could buy a BMW for the cost of a seat but since people don’t buy private seats on a bus the comparison is totally meaningless. This is the kind of totally pointless bit of arithmetic poisoning what should be a reasoned debate on whether the bus represents value for money vis-à-vis other buses in London. Note also how Lammy used a BMW instead of say a VW just to demonstrate a little ‘class warfare’.

Whether the longer term savings in fuel and leasing costs justify the 58% higher capex of the Boris bus only time will tell. But I cannot possibly answer that question when the information surrounding the ‘debate’ is totally opaque and the level of political discourse frankly retarded.