May 24 2013 Latest news:
Emma Bartholomew, Senior Reporter
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Hackney’s Green party have slammed the new Boris Routemaster bus, dubbing it an “expensive publicity stunt,” which is delaying the wider fight against life-threatening air pollution levels.
The hop-on, hop-off red double-decker, which comes complete with driver and conductor, is running on route 38 between Victoria station and Clapton Pond.
Just eight buses have cost £9.6 million.
The Greens accuse London Mayor Boris Johnson of quietly scrapping his pledge for all new buses to be hybrids, which produce much less air pollution
They say of the 800 buses TfL will introduce this year, only 52 will be hybrids - but if the money hadn’t been spent on the new bus design, there would have been enough for 148.
Caroline Allen, Green Party Greater London Assembly candidate for Hackney said people would not be impressed to hear that their health was being sacrificed for an “expensive publicity stunt” for the Mayoral campaign.
“We know that people are suffering from respiratory and cardiac diseases in Hackney due to levels of air pollution exceeding EU limits and children are disproportionately affected.
“More hybrid buses is a simple step the Mayor can take,” she added.
“While TfL claim the new the bus has some good green credentials, they have not released all the test results, and there are still questions to be asked on why this bus is considered such a great improvement.”
Leon Daniels, managing director of TfL’s Surface Transport Panel, claimed the bus uses the latest green engine technology and is the most environmentally friendly bus of its kind.
“In tests the bus emitted less than half the CO2 and Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) of a diesel bus and was more than twice as fuel efficient,” he added.
“Advances in technology need investment at the outset. We expect the cost of buses, once in full production, to be broadly comparable with a standard double deck hybrid.”
The last of the popular, open-platform Routemasters was withdrawn from regular service in December 2005, although some still run on tourist routes.
Mr Johnson promised a new “green” successor to the Routemaster as well as vowing to get rid of the bendy buses, which have now all been withdrawn.