London's Travel Watchdog and London Assembly Members are calling on Boris Johnson to finally reveal the cost of replacing bendy buses in London.
London Travelwatch Chair Sharon Grant said earlier today:
"The costs of using conventional buses on these routes may be significantly higher than using bendy buses, and TfL really needs to publish the figures involved, so everyone can judge whether it represents value for money or not."
Assembly Member Darren Johnson said:
"I want to know what the mayor is hiding. I’m shocked by the fact that the mayor has given no information on the impact that all these extra buses will have on air quality, congestion, CO2 and cost. I have been pestering the mayor for this information since September and there is a Freedom of Information request to bring the environmental costs of this into the public domain."
As well as these undisclosed costs there is also a real cost in the terms of lost capacity.
Because single deckers have a much lower capacity than bendy buses, up to 12 extra buses an hour will be brought in by Boris on some routes.
However, what this hides is the fact that even with this increased frequency there will still be a substantial reduction in capacity.
On Route 507, commuters will get an additional eight buses an hour, but still lose 140 'places' in terms of the route's capacity.
And in off-peak times, there will be no added frequency at all on that route, meaning that the capacity will actually be halved.
Given this loss of service, it is even more important that we should be told exactly how much Boris's policy is going to cost.
Boris has refused to give any estimates of the cost in the past, supposedly to avoid prejudicing any negotiations.
But given that contracts for the first three routes have now been settled, what possible reason can he have for keeping the costs of doing this from us any longer?
-Update- BBC London have succeeded where I have failed and managed to get a costing from TfL. They are reporting that the first three routes to be debendified will cost an extra £3 million a year.