The new London bus

Taking the public for a ride, and other stories

New London bus New London bus
Nearly there, the new London bus takes another step closer to production and the streets of the capital. When Boris Johnson started on the campaign trail to be Mayor of London he made a lot of comments about bendy buses. As a well known cyclist Johnson came out with phrases like "being scraped to paste", this had a meaning understood by fellow cyclists' who have feared the things since their introduction.

Other people may have thought his comments had an ideological element to them as it was his predecessor, Ken Livingstone who had introduced the continental styled, and built, 'bendies' to London. Initial fears were that this would be too much of a good thing and a flop were routinely expressed. On this blog the bus, its design and manufacture were discussed HERE.

All could be well as the bus will be built in Ballemena, Northern Ireland by Wrightbus. This is a family run business and a success few people will have heard about. It currently employs about 1,000 staff and could expand to meet the London order. Ironically Wrightbus is a manufacturer and exporter of bendy buses! The company is privately run and warrants comparison with the DeLorean sports car project. John DeLorean, once a General Motors' senior executive, went into business in Northern Ireland to make a futuristic sports car in 1981. British government money was used, via the Industrial Development Board, to 'create' jobs in the region. Ultimately the venture failed.

Another and more up-to-date example of this waste of public money is anything to do with 'Green' industries. Over £400,0000 has been given to a company run by Dale Vince a man estimated to be worth over £90 million. He made himself this rich playing the subsidy game; Vince is an eco-energy entrepreneur. Now, in the style of Jeremy Clarkson, he wants a sports car and has managed to get the taxpayer to give him some money to build an electric version. Will this project be any better than the DeLorean venture? Only time will tell us that. What we do know from EU referendum is -

Sales of new electric cars in the UK plummeted by nearly 90 percent in 2009 compared with their peak in 2007, according to motoring trade association figures released this week - This is on the eve of the start of the government scheme to offer a subsidy of £5,000 to any idiot stupid enough to buy one of these machines.

That may sound harsh but let's face it the smart, though some might say disingenuous, folk are not paying out but raking it in. This is in direct contrast to the new London bus, which is being built by a successful company operating in a conventional market place manner. We should all wish them well. The London Evening Standard is very supportive. Mind you the reporter at the Guardian did not like the new bus; are you surprised? Of course not!