Snipe - The Scoop

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

How the bendy bus "beat the tube strike"

Ever since Boris Johnson gave up on his promised no-strike deal with tube unions we have been submitted to a long list of headlines claiming that the "Boris Bike" scheme has "beaten the tube strike."

See examples  here, here, here, here and my favourite here.

Now I enjoy a good "Boris Bike" ride as much as the next person, but if there was one vehicle keeping Central London moving during the tube strikes, it wasn't the one painted blue and sponsored by Barclays.

No the real vehicle moving masses of stranded Londoners around was the soon to be extinct London bendy bus:

*Figures for 2nd November for the evening of the 2 November through to 3 November inclusive.

Figures I've obtained via Freedom of Information reveal that on the last strike day recorded, more journeys were made on the supposedly "loathed" bendy buses than on all of London's trams or the DLR.

And this is despite the fact that five of London's bendy bus routes have already been taken off the road.

By comparison on the last comparable strike day (04/10/2010) "Boris Bike" journeys made up just 0.3 per cent of all public transport journeys (river travel and taxis excluded).

And according to one report most of those journeys would have been made by hire bike in any case.

Because the truth is, the bike hire scheme whilst great fun will never be a mass form of transport in London.

Walk around Central London today for half an hour and I bet you will see more people on just one bendy bus than on all "Boris Bikes" put together.

So while I'm sure I'll enjoy my next ride on a "Boris Bike" I won't fool myself into thinking I'm "beating the tube strikes" or taking part in a "cycling revolution."

I'll just be taking part in a niche activity enjoyed by a lucky few. Unlike riding a bendy bus of course, which is a mass activity objected to by an obsessed few.

10 comments:

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I personally love them, they can carry so many people, so makes sense they shifted so many folk around during the strike.

I'll miss them, I live on the 29 route, so we still have them for now.

thegreatunrest said...

It's also worth saying that the media language of "beating" the strike by taking other transport is kind of rubbish. The primary idea of the strike is to hit the pockets of London Underground. The tube workers don't really care if you go to work, as long as you don't go to work on the tube. No-one is "beating" them by taking a bike to work instead.

prj45 said...

Boris Johnson is such a that. Can I say that?

john b said...

"The primary idea of the strike is to hit the pockets of London Underground"

Disagree. That's the primary idea of a private sector strike.

In the public sector, where conditions and wages for LU staff are ultimately decided by elected politicians (both Mayor and Westminster), causing disruption that encourages politicians to support your claims is at least as important an aim as loss of revenue.

greg tingey said...

And, of course in the case of LUL (London Undergound Liars) - which came first:
The arrogant, lying, bullying, incompetent management ...
Or the arrogant, loud-mouthed, crypto-marxist, bullying, lying Crowe?
A pox on both their houses!

EtonMess said...

here here

Anonymous said...

Sorry, where is the figure illustrating greater use of bendy busses than DLR and trams combined? Not in that spreadsheet.

AdamB said...

"Sorry, where is the figure illustrating greater use of bendy busses than DLR and trams combined? Not in that spreadsheet."

Er, nowhere because I didn't claim that.

Anonymous said...

"Figures I've obtained via Freedom of Information reveal that on the last strike day recorded, more journeys were made on the supposedly "loathed" bendy buses than on all of London's trams or the DLR."

AdamB said...

Er yes. That's "or" not "and"