Now, what’s the proper reaction to a political announcement squeezed out on Christmas Eve?
Let’s go back a bit. Just over twenty seven months, in fact. We find this:
Boris Johnson has vowed that his first act as Mayor of London will be to scrap bendy buses and replace them with a modern-day Routemaster.
For the record, that was 12th September 2007: say, seven months before Blasted Boris entered the Great Testicle to be en-stooled. In the meanwhile, from time to time, the expectant public have managed to suppress the odd yawn when this non-event was up-dated. Now, finally, we have a manufacturer, Wrightbus, and an unoriginal specification:
Due to be introduced into service in 2011, the bus will have an open platform at one of its three entrances, with the platform able to be closed off at certain times, such as at night.
There will be two staircases and the bus will incorporate the latest hybrid technology to make it 40% more fuel efficient than conventional diesel buses and 15% more fuel efficient than current London hybrid buses.
That interprets as:
- barely in time for the next Mayoral election;
- a conventional double-decker which may, from time to time, be a two-person operation (and that’s when, and only when, – apart from the initial photo-op – the “hop-on, hop-off” arrangement would be permitted);
- less efficient than the derided articulated bus;
- occupying twelve metres length of road space (which, in itself, limits the routes on which it might be used);
- probably not many seats on the lower deck; and
- probably only a couple of buses for “evaluation” in the initial order.
It seems likely we are looking at is a slight up-dating and re-panelling of the Scania model that is operated by the Kowloon Motor Bus Company. So here it is:
The coded message is in the footnote to the (remarkably unenthused) barely-adjusted press release, as relayed by the professional website, busandcoach.com:
The Capoco conception, joint winner of the initial design competition which may bear little resemblance to the final product due to hit London streets in 2011.
In other words, no more coverage for Boris’s well-cut flannel.