Need for disabled access could hail return of the bendy bus

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

A new report from the London Assembly Transport Committee has urged the city’s Mayor Sadiq Khan to consider bringing back controversial bendy buses, partly because they offer better disabled access for passengers than regular buses.

The report warned that the number of passengers is in decline, despite there being around double the number of people who use the London Underground. In the last two years the number of passenger journeys made on buses fell by 6%.

Bendy buses were scrapped from London in 2011 by the then Mayor Boris Johnson, who said they were not suited for the capital’s narrow streets. But the Committee thinks that bendy buses in the outskirts of London could help to increase accessibility for disabled people because they have more space for wheelchairs.

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“As a Committee, we’ve looked in detail at London’s buses in the past year – and what we’ve discovered has highlighted the urgency for change,” said Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, deputy chair of the Committee.

“There’s a huge demand for more buses in outer London – but at the same time, we need to make bus travel more attractive to passengers. Bendy buses are controversial – but in outer London they may be the solution to more capacity on routes that feed stations. They increase accessibility, with more space for wheelchairs.”

The report recommends that bendy buses might be the best option for some routes as they provide both a higher capacity and faster loading/unloading than standard double decker vehicles.

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