In some excellent timing right at the end of summer, London Mayor Boris Johnson has U-turned on adding windows to the fleet of New Routemaster buses that have been unaffectionately dubbed the "Roastmaster" for searing temperatures during the height of summer.
That's right, as we slide into a cold Autumn, the part-time Mayor has finally admitted that the new buses are unbearable when it gets warm. MayorWatch reports that windows will now be retrofitted on to the existing fleet of buses at a cost of £2m - and will come as standard on any new buses the city buys.
MayorWatch quotes Mike Weston, Transport for London’s Director of Buses as saying that: “We were aware of passenger concerns about the cooling system on the New Routemaster and the Mayor asked us to work with Wrights to look at possible design options to improve passenger comfort.
“We’re pleased they’ve now been able to come up with an affordable and working design to install opening windows, which we anticipate will have been installed across our entire fleet by next summer.”
Apparently London Assembly members openly mocked the head of Transport for London's Surface Transport division when he claimed that complaints about the heat were more to do with "customer perceptions" than actual temperatures, which have been measured variously as high as 38 degrees on the upper deck. The buses were supposed to have been cooled by the buses air conditioning system.
The U-turn is the latest twist in the short troubled history of Boris's vanity project. Previously despite promises of opening up the rear platform of the buses, now most are closed off for health & safety reasons. Worse still, the environmental credibility of the buses are in doubt after it emerged that the electric motors don't work properly. [MayorWatch]