It’s fair to say things haven’t been going well for the new Routemaster buses since they first started rolling down our roads in 2012. First, we found out the so-called ‘eco-friendly’ buses were only running on diesel thanks to some faulty batteries, then new windows that could actually open had to be fitted after the old ones left everyone in a sweat, and they’ve never really been the same since the hop-on hop-off feature was scrapped last year.
Now, adding to the timeline of disasters to beset the buses, it's been announced more than 400 have had to be recalled after a fault with the rear doors meant it was possible for them to open while moving. Blimey. All the trouble was discovered in November when one driver repeatedly pressed the door close button, which overloaded the system and caused the doors to open – not exactly the desired effect. The bus was moving at the time (at under five miles per hour), meaning it stopped suddenly and left a passenger 'slightly injured'.
The buses' manufacturer Wrightbus said they're carrying out a software update on 423 affected buses and 200 have already been fixed. TfL's director of strategy and contracted services said they won't be footing the bill for repairs and that the fault only happens 'at a very slow speed and if the driver doesn't follow the correct procedure'.
This isn't the first time a number of the hybrid buses, which cost £350,000 each, have had to be recalled. Last year, two thirds of all Routemasters had to be taken off the roads after their steering risked becoming 'non-functional'. After all the dysfunction, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has now stopped purchasing the vehicles to tighten up London's transport budget, so let's hope this bumpy ride is heading for smoother ground.