So.. what do you get when you have a British politician flatulating about how the newest, greatest (most expensive) hybrid bus they just bought is a “masterpiece of British engineering?”
Why, you end up with a breakdown on the side of the road and a tow truck on the bus’ debut, of course. It’s pure comedy that just writes itself, folks. You have a politician, a hybrid bus paid for with tax money that breaks down, an Irish angle, a boondoggle thanks to poor planning.. All you need is a Scotsman with a wayward kilt malfunction and you’re Pulitzer bound!
The first (!) of London’s next-generation, iconic double-decker buses made its debut in the city. Unveiled in Trafalgar Square, the Routemaster-inspired hybrid bus was conceived only two years ago and is already rolling. For short distances, anyway.
Transport for London awarded the lucrative contract for engineering design to a Northern Ireland-based company, Wrightbus, in January of 2010. The Irish, possibly still holding a grudge, completed the first prototype and sent it to London.
Then the politician pontificated:
“It is the latest, greatest masterpiece of British engineering and design, and I am certain it will become a much-loved and iconic vehicle akin to the legendary Routemaster from which it draws so much inspiration,” said London Mayor Boris Johnson, who called for the new bus during his election campaign.
At which point, the bus broke down on the M1 motorway.
The short-range batteries on the bus are designed for stop-and-go city traffic, but apparently nobody informed the driver or the event’s planners of this little detail. The bus arrived, speeches were made, photo ops on the double-decker’s doorways were given, and they were off. Without any diesel..
The next 7 buses will appear in the next couple of months to take their place at the side of the road with their flagship, safety cones and flares included as part of a package deal.