Boris Johnson will not pay for conductors to staff his "new Routemaster" and will not supply extra funding to police them either he confirmed today.
Speaking to the London Assembly he said that:
"We're confident that we can use our existing resources to make sure that whenever the open platform is open, which will be a lot of the time, there will be someone in uniform to help oversee."
However, despite promising them in his manifesto, there will be no "old fashioned conductors" on the buses:
"When it is running in open platform mode as it will on busy streets in the centre of town... then clearly there will be someone on the bus in uniform who will helping passengers. There won't be an old fashioned conductor because there's no need to take tickets in the same way, but there will be someone in uniform to help customers."
He said that the "uniformed presence" would comprise instead of existing fare evasion teams and Police Community Support Officers
Labour Assembly Member Val Shawcross pressed the Mayor today on whether these officers would be taken away from their normal duties.
The Mayor refused to be drawn on this but insisted that it was "not beyond the wit of man" to manage staff on the new buses.
When there is no extra staff to mind them, the platforms will be closed with what Boris called a "shower curtain type jobby."
These will also be closed in the evenings, making the "new Routemasters" appear for all intents and purposes to be standard double deckers for much of the time.
The final designs have had a mixed reception so far with many criticisms focusing on the high cost and lack of "Routemasterishness" about the plans.
The first model is not expected to appear until the end of 2011 with only five being built before the end of Boris's first term.