Author Archives: Dave Hill

Boris’s Bus (A Political Journey) Part 44: The Flat Battery Affair

What are the implications of the New Routemaster’s technical problems?

The problems with the batteries on Boris Johnson’s “New Routemaster” hybrid London bus first emerged back in March when the BBC’s Tom Edwards reported that the initial batch was having to be replaced. The story’s recent second wind owes much to the initiative of Christian Wolmar, the most overtly green of those hoping to become Labour’s candidate for mayor, and the sudden media appetite for Boris-bashing stories following seven years of non-stop fawning.

It’s been variously written that up to 80 or as many as 200 of the batteries in the 500-strong (and growing) New Routemaster fleet are having to be mended, upgraded or replaced. These include the majority of those fitted in the 55 vehicles working on Metroline’s route 24, which was the first to convert to the new bus in June 2013. Transport for London (TfL) had already set about dealing with the problem, which is being addressed at no extra charge by manufacturer Wrightbus of Ballymena.

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