Ex-Mayor Livingstone

£1 million buses

Gold plated busesYesterday the Mayor proudly announced that he has paid £9.68 million for ten buses. They are wonderful American hydrogen powered buses but you have got to think that they must be gold-plated into the bargain.

It is all very well pioneering the outer reaches of green technology but it is unaffordable. We know from TfL’s own figures that we are already subsidising London’s buses to the tune of £617 million.

We know from TfL itself that its bus occupancy figure is only 15. In other words the average London bus has 15 passengers at any one time.

If the Mayor was really green rather than just being a poseur he would not be buying gold plated buses. He would work out how to increase occupancy. Only this might involve him having to look at some services that are not actually used enough. Empty buses costing us £617 million are not green. If he was still intent on spending cash after that he might look at increasing the efficiency of current buses. That wouldn’t be very exciting but it might be a whole lot more effective.

4 replies on “£1 million buses”

If Ken really wanted to reduce air pollution, rather than play with expensive ‘perhaps jam tomorrow’ technologies then he would be looking at trolleybuses.

Unlike fuel cell buses trolleybuses are a proven technology, used in 350 towns and cities globally, and as there are no exhaust fumes are as clean as trams.

They are also considerably cheaper than fuel cell buses!

The Canadian city of Vancouver investigated fuel cell buses and found that in addition to the high cost of the vehicles the sourcing, storing and delivery of the hydrogen was so energy intensive that the amount of energy required to operate one fuel cell bus would power a dozen trolleybuses. Even though their hydro-electric power does not create greenhouse gases they still saw that a fleet of fuel cell buses would be an exeptionally wasteful way to use electricity. Vancouver is now part way through rolling out a new fleet of 230 trolleybuses.

If Ken started installing trolleybuses now then by the 2012 Olympics he would have a truly ‘green’ transport system with which to welcome the world. The resulting improvement in air quality would see Londoners thanking him too.


The “green” footprint to cart 15 people around in a diesel bus is greater than 15 cars! And of course the idea is to suck more cars into the CCZ as that gives our dear Ken more money to waste rather than actually solving a public transport problem.

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