Bye bye Bendies!

Posted by Boris Johnson , Mayor, Friday, July 24 2009

Boris Johnson writes about the first of many new and improved buses to be rolled out across the capital.

One of the things about being a cycling Mayor is that you have a unique opportunity to gauge the opinions of Londoners on a daily basis.

Or, more accurately, you receive the views of Londoners whether you like it or not. Forget focus groups or opinion polls, I get all I need whilst waiting at the traffic lights.

I get a whole range of opinions vented at me, and if I had to pick the most frequent issues that come up, one of them would almost certainly be bendy buses. Every day, almost every Londoner I meet asks me “When are you getting rid of them?”

Well folks, today the first bendy buses meet their Waterloo. These writhing whales of the road have swung their hefty rear ends round our corners for the final time. Pedestrians that leapt, cyclists that skidded and drivers that dodged from the path of these monsters will breathe easier this weekend. For tonight, the bendy buses serving route 507 will slink away into the depot for the last time. Tomorrow morning, fifteen brand new single deck buses will appear in their place. 

We’ve taken the opportunity to improve the service too. It will be the first time a weekend service has been run on the route. The new buses will also run more frequently. At peak times the frequency of route 507 will increase from a bus every five minutes (12 buses per hour) to one every three to four minutes (18 buses per hour).

The new buses will also be greener than their predecessors. They will emit less CO2, and harmful particulates. 

Bendy buses on other routes are on borrowed time and, to answer the question I am most often asked, I can confirm they will all have gone by 2011. Engineers will now scrape all traces of the capital from these first nine buses and next week they will be sent back to their spiritual home, an airfield in the midlands.

Look out for Boris on Blue Blog

24 thoughts on “Bye bye Bendies!”

  1. Boris’s first pledge – to get rid of the bendy buses – is being honoured. These clumsy, dangerous eyesores are being phased out, this is phase one, and the rest of the bendies are living on borrowed time.

  2. What will they do on the airfield ?

    You could do worse than to apply some gunge to the doors, fill them up with water and use them as oversize newt tanks in honour of their maker, no ?

  3. I hope you melt down those horrible bendy buses, and make the scrap into new routemasters – built in britain – hopefully ?

  4. Bendy buses in London. A question of paradigmatic dimensions obviously. As for the pivotal topic seemingly finding its crucial extention on the vertical axis there may be some expert advice of substantial help. Aptly a high profile task for the ‘Royal Society for putting things on top of other things’.

  5. Well done Boris! We knew you could do it. Now can you please wave your magic wand and stop those idiots at the Beeb from trotting out Adenoids Livingstone every time they need a comment on a London topic? He’s such a boring old …..hasbeen.

  6. Am I the only person sorry that the bendy buses are to be scrapped? I like them! Given the choice I always take the bendy rather than a double decker.

  7. Boris, thanks for making good on your election pledge. Who ever wanted the bendy stuff should be deported.

    Roadmasters rule.

  8. You could make up the extra passenger space by putting it on top of the main cabin and having stairs up to it. There would still be plenty of space for people who couldn’t use stairs. These buses would use less road space and you would get a nicer view from the top. We could call them “buses with two decks.”

  9. Rid of the London Icon – bendy double decks? Huge mistakes!!!!!!. You are going to rid of the jewel of your tourism industry. I see may be you consider tourism business is not important for London anymore. As a visitor, I find Bendy Double Decks are charming and convenient. Best thing ever that defy London. It makes London London. I’m going to cry for Bendy Buses remembering all that old good times when I was last there – Summer 2006….

  10. What is the problem with the ‘bendies’? Here in Riga we have had bendy trams for years. They do not cause problems.

  11. There are several problems. Because the bendies have so many carriages, fare dodging is rife. People evading payment get in right at the end, and do not swipe their cards, or pay, and it is impossible to check unless an inspector gets on.

    The bendies are not green friendly and have high CO2 emissions.

    Finally, they are dangerous, awkward and cumbersome. There are far more accidents with bendy buses than with any other bus, and cyclists find them an absolute menace.

  12. Last one off the roads in 2011? Perfect. Just in time to recycle them for transport between the Olympic Village and the main stadium. And for a finale, burn the b***$#@* as the climax of the closing ceremony – giant bonfire of Ken’s vanities in the Viking manner.

  13. Oh, I see. I thought Bendies were Expense-Cheating-MPs and Boris was saying bye bye to them.

  14. A bonfire of Ken’s vanities…. I like the sound of that!

    Yes, it’s the end of an era. The traces of “Ken – the Golden Age” are rapidly becoming lost in the sands of time.

  15. Yes that is a nice idea but have you ever thought of going up to the biggest guy on the subway and telling him your thoughts on this. I wonder what he might do, or would you even do it.
    Sean Cruz

  16. Nice one Boris!

    Now just get rid of this damn Congestion Charge and London will have finally rid herself of any lingering livingstoneisms.

    The charge is killing our business. It really is.

  17. I for one will miss the 507 bendies, because I think they looked rather fab, but if there are better, cleaner alternatives, then I suppose that’s for the best.

  18. Bendy buses are better than crowded single deck buses, they have more capacity, therefore more efficient.

    They have to increase the number of the new single deck buses on the route to meet route capacity demands. Boris has presented this as if it is in addition to the scrapping of the bendy bus. I bet the overall capacity of the route is still the same. And the total amount of emitted particles could easily be more with 50% more busses per hour each new engine would have to emit 1/3 less particles and be 1/3 more fuel efficient to be better than the bendy bus.

    Bendy buses are stigmatised beyond reason!

  19. Well done Boris – that’s one of the reasons I voted for you.

    The bendy buses are uncomfortable and there aren’t enough seats. Have you tried reading on a bendy bus?

    They encourage passengers to be inconsiderate by not letting people off before others get on (have you tried getting off and ignorant people just push you back in?).

    They are usually slower than double deckers and they encourage fare dodging which must have a high success rate because inspectors are quite rare. When there are inspectors each one is paid approximately £36000 a year for a 35 hour week and there’s a minimum of two – thats £72000 just to catch a fraction of the fare dodgers.

    Bendy buses are not suited to London’s streets. Yes, they exist in Paris but that’s because Paris was redesigned 200 years ago with wide avenues and boulevards that allow bendy buses to work. Also the bendy buses (which they appropriately call “Accordian” buses) in Paris are better designed with more seats and are more comfortable.

    Thanks Boris for fulfilling your pledge.

  20. Why do the tories and other misanthropists hate the bendy bus? Because it is simply more sociable, and convenient for mothers with prams anmd causes less stress to the people who use it, who are then are less likely to get cars and become part of that atomised, anti-social sect.
    The access and seating arrangements of the articulated bus are far superior to the carmped mobile queue of the routemaster, providing speedier stops, and mixing agegroups together in on space face-to-face, which is why there are very few school fights on them, unlike the upstairs nightmare world of the double-decker – reeling from side to side as it attempts to hurl its bulk around London’s streets. Which raises the whole question of manoevreability. When cornering, the routemaster throws all its upstairs load across the turn, and when cutting that corner, endangers any cyclist at the cusp far more than the Bendy, which goes around corners as if on rails, leaving more space alongside the kerb, as it was intended to.
    The Bendy Bus is the epitome of social transport. Those who say it ‘has no soul’ and other embicilities, are obviously afraid of the human face, which the layout of the Bendy encourages contact with, and don’t mind waiting for and queuing and shoving to get on to the bottle-neck routemaster, with its upstairs ghetto for squabbling schoolkids and greasy chicken remains. Still less have they tried to get a pram or shopping trolley on a bus. In other words, they are never use buses, are in hock to a sentimental vision of tourist Designer London and are willing to make working Londoners pay for their fantasy.

  21. @Lucinda:
    But then, you actually use buses. All of us who do know the benefits of the Bendies, and know that the campaign against them was built on lies; a cheap political focus for Batty Boris’s grimy mayoral campaign. And now Londoners will pay through the nose for this folly with exorbitant fare rises.

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