Amid the rumblings of discontent over the use of its proposed rear platform entrance, development of the New Bus For London (aka Boris Bus or Bozzamaster) continues. But, as I pointed out recently, in its current form, the economics of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s vanity project do not stack up.
Nor will the Bozzabus find much favour with the very public it is intended to serve: as it has three large doors as well as two sets of stairs, the vehicle seats only 62, two less than the “short” Routemaster, and a whole ten less than the “long” one (even though the latter is nothing like the length of its supposed successor).
And in the lower deck, the Bozzabus seats just 22, with many seats rear facing, or needing a step up to access them. This matters to that target audience: family groups, parents with small children, elderly people, or anyone else who values the reassurance of travelling on the lower deck and being that bit closer to the driver.
Those kinds of people are the bread and butter of off peak bus travel around London, and many of them use buses because of their accessibility. For the same reason, they would not use the tube, even at quiet times. Also important is that this demographic is one of the reasons advanced for removing “bendy” buses from the capital’s streets: the reality is that the replacement offering is if anything worse.
And, talking of the “bendy” bus, there appears to be a spreading of questionable information suggesting that the Bozzabus will be as good for short dwell times as the long single deckers it replaces. But Dave Hill’s informant didn’t tell the Guardian man the whole story: getting folks through those doors two abreast is no good when there are stairs and that small lower deck capacity in the same equation.
The more that the design of the Bozzabus is studied, the less like A Very Good Idea it appears. There is next to no chance of an export market, and most other cities across Europe are happy to be out of step with Bozza, relying on the “bendy” bus that he so irrationally dislikes.
How much longer does the pretence have to continue?