Disappointingly downbeat and humourless reaction from Transport for London to our 21st century Routemaster
This, if you missed it, was our idea for a New Bus for London powered by hydrogen and electric motors. No kerbside emissions, more seats than a bendy bus and, crucially, much better built and designed to give passengers a quiet, smooth ride free of all the awful juddering and crashing dealt out by most today's public transport.
TfL didn't like it. According to London Buses' director of operations, Mike Weston, it would lose TfL benefits in advances from ticketing technologies which have greatly improved boarding times. He didn't say how, though.
We'd rather assumed our bus would have an Oyster card reader. They're not tricky to fit. That, by the way, is the same ticketing technology that means you have to buy a ticket before you get on the bus from a machine that doesn't give any change. Shouldn't public transport be made easier to use, not harder?
TfL also, oddly, didn't give us any credit for designing a clean bus, free of a diesel engine pumping out particulates and pollutants.
Cities such as Barcelona, New York and New Delhi are running bus fleets on natural gas, but London is still buying new buses powered by diesel. Now they're saying it would cost £600m to build a fleet of our buses.
Where did they get that figure from? They're not saying. Oddly, it's the same amount that they say it would cost to bring back conductors. I didn't know conductors were that well paid. But what we were really trying to achieve was to present the idea that public transport doesn't have to be a bad experience.
Properly designed buses, specific to the cities they operate in, work well. Do away with the noise, vibration and harshness by building it on a rigid alloy spaceframe with floors made from aircraft-grade honeycomb, and add a dash of the engineering excellence that characterises today's car industry and you might get people to leave their cars at home a bit more.