Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Boris's Bendy Bus Jihad: the doublethink edition

Back in the early days of Boris's bendy revolution, mere facts were as nothing to the greater good of the bendy jihad. But as Boris takes on his new role as the arbiter of truth, these facts are becoming a little more difficult.

Take these written answers sent out to assembly members last night. Asked whether replacing bendy buses will be good value for money, he replied:

"Londoners elected me on a clear manifesto of ridding the capital’s streets of bendy buses, which due to their vast length that makes them so unsuitable for London’s roads.

I have made it very clear I believe that London needs a bus that is fit for the 21st century and that the bendy bus, the scourge of the capital’s cyclists, is not the solution."

Scourge eh? So how many have fallen to this scourge so far?

"I am informed that, thankfully, there have been no fatal accidents arising from collisions between cyclists and articulated buses in London since the introduction of articulated vehicles."

Okay, but surely there must have been many other serious collisions?

"Serious incidents are defined by TfL as those where a cyclist may have required treatment, including in hospital. There was one serious incident involving a cyclist in each of the years 2005/06 and 2006/07, and two in 2007/08."

So there has been just four incidents in three years?

"This does not weaken the case for their removal. The perception of safety is an important element in whether people decide to cycle or not.

The bottom line is bendy buses contribute to the perception that cycling is unsafe, and it is my intention to correct this perception in order to get more people cycling."

So we have established that they're not all that dangerous and that their value for money doesn't check out either.  

But surely there must be some benefit to getting rid of them?

"It is important to point out, however, that the extra congestion caused by the bendy bus on some roads can have a significant environmental impact.

We know that congestion causes emissions to increase, and it is my hope that the removal of the bendy buses will contribute to a reduction in congestion which should, in turn, lead to a positive impact on emissions."

So by that logic, getting rid of bendies should actually decrease congestion on London's streets, no? How about the first routes to be debendified?

"TfL do not consider that the replacement of articulated buses on services 38, 507 and 521 will have an impact on congestion along these bus routes."

So the 'killer' bendy bus hasn't actually killed anyone, and getting rid of the 'road-clogging' artic won't actually un-clog any roads.

Oh well, at least we can cling on to our 'perceptions' once he has frittered away that extra £60 million

See also: Boris's Bendy Jihad: the smog of war.


prj45 said...

I'm a cyclist and I have no problems whatsoever with bendy buses. They are pretty much always driven slowly and with care.

I certainly don't like the idea of one vehicle being replaced with two (or more).

Just like any large vehicle (including all buses) you must avoid them, primary rule of cycling full stop.

If the main reason for getting rid of them Boris is now spinning is perceptions in saftey the 60million would be far better spent improving the roads (I consider drains and potholes that force cyclists to deviate off a stright line a major problem) and fitting extra visability features to HGV's.

Tom said...

This is absolute gold - Boris admits that everything we've been saying for months is true, and he isn't going to change course. What do you have to do to make this egomaniac see sense?

[By the way, at this point you checkmate him by pointing to the reams of documentation on gyratory systems and perceived cycling safety, particularly referring to Parliament Square, Elephant and Castle, Aldgate etc.]

The Troll said...

It is bonkers really. I always thought the job of our leaders was to dispel false perceptions rather than hype them up and spend millions on 'solving them'. Terribly naive of me I know.

Anonymous said...

This once and for all settles this as the Godson-style wedge issue that it always was. He is getting rid of a bus which was cheaper, safer and more efficient than the buses which will replace them on the strength of a 'perception' AND he admits it!!! Why weren't his claims demolished during the course of the election campaign?

John B said...

Because the London media is run by Tories. This has been another exciting episode of Easy Answers To Simple Questions.

Agreed wholeheartedly, and have posted on my blog.

The point is that Boris doesn't care in the slightest about cycling - rather, he's following a traditional Tory policy of screwing over public transport in favour o cars wherever he can, and if he can attract a few misguided green-ish votes by lying then so much the better...

The Troll said...

Thanks for the link John.

I have to say there does seem to be a very lazy response particularly in the left-wing press to recent statements of the Conservative leadership. Just because Cameron talks about 'fairness' and 'liberty', doesn't mean he is actually going to do anything to forward those things. Similarly, just because Boris and Cameron pose on their bikes, doesn't mean that they will actually do anything to help cyclists. In fact, the opposite has been the case so far.

prj45 said...

I love this:

"I have made it very
clear I believe that London needs a bus that is fit for the 21st century and that the bendy bus,
the scourge of the capital’s cyclists"

Scourge, yet they havn't killed anybody.

In the menatime HGVs have killed many.

Remind me again, what is the scourge of the captial's cyclists?

The Troll said...

More on the jihad from Beau Bo D'or

Anonymous said...

Why not have the bendy and the new routemaster.

We keep the bendy for the routes that need high capacity and don't cause congestion. To get rid of so many buses is not a very sound enviromental policy. Where will they go, not much of a right hand drive market in europe?

Lets have the new routemaster to replace the current batch of ageing Double deckers that are in use today.

The likes of ADL and Wrightbus currently develop buses by themselves. They should be able to develop a new routemaster without costs to the passengers. They have orders from the bus companies in London. I'm sure they would buy a New routemaster rather than the Enviros.

The next competition should be between ADL and Wrightbus to get a new routemaster on the open market as soon as they can, without TFL funding the costs.

Tom said...

Two things - the double deckers aren't particularly aged yet, certainly not replacement territory, and the concentration has been and should be on reducing the environmental impact of bus travel.

Anonymous said...

If they ever do replace these ones at Victoria station, most affected will be those commuters struggling in from Zone 5&6 ie, them that voted for Boris, so serves 'em right when Victoria station, which regularly gets closed due to congestion at the moment, turns into congestion hell.

As a smug zone 1 Ken voter, don't bovver me.

Tom said...

Victoria is due for a pretty large scale rebuilding, too, which will have knock on effects. Unless Boris scraps it, of course.

Some of the commuters affected will not have votes at all, since they'll have come in from outside London entirely. This is a side-effect of devolution in highly mobile societies, of course.

prj45 said...

I'm actually quite angry about this.

Before the election Boris was putting about the idea that "bendy buses kill many cyclists each year".

He's now answered a question asking exactly how many cyclists have been killed by bendies, and it's a big fat zero.

At the same time though he stated that he wants to get rid of bendies because they contribute to the perception that cycling is unsafe.

Said the man who fu****g said "bendy buses kill many cyclists each year" when it wasn't true!

Remind me, what is contributing to the perception that cycling is unsafe, bendy buses or BORIS JOHNSON?