It’s been a long and winding route for the New Bus for London project. I commissioned the first proposal in December 2007 and took the drawings to the then-Conservative candidate for London Mayor, Boris Johnson.
Johnson won in May 2008 and set the project in motion – in the face of significant opposition from people who called him mad and the bus a ‘vanity project’. Today, there are just three prototype versions of the finished object running in London at the moment.
Eight of the electrically-driven Wrightbus prototypes have been ordered, with the expectation that between 300 and 600 will arrive over the next four years. However, last Friday night the NB4L came perilously close to being hauled off to the scrap yard. Candidate Ken Livingstone – an avowed opponent of the bus – said if he became London mayor he’d scrap the project, even though Transport for London desperately wanted it, Northern Ireland needed the investment and the development costs of less than £12m had already been spent.