Concern over ‘Boris buses’ misplaced, says Paisley

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has promised a price freeze on fares
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has promised a price freeze on fares

Concern over the decision to halt purchases of the iconic Ballymena-made ‘Boris Bus’ is “misplaced”, a DUP MP has said.

News emerged over the weekend that Transport for London would discontinue purchases of the iconic New Routemaster, the high-tech London bus designed and manufactured by Ballymena-based company Wright Group.

However, DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr said the company will still complete an existing order of 1,000 buses and is well placed to secure future orders for other models.

The Transport for London(TFL) business plan, published just before Christmas, states: “New capital investment will be reduced significantly as we discontinue purchases of New Routemaster buses.” The decision comes as part of a cost-saving scheme designed to ensure the price-freeze on fares promised by the current Mayor of London, the Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan.

Ian Paisley Jr, who represents the Ballymena area at Westminster, said any concern sparked by the decision to discontinue the Rouetmaster buses is “misplaced”.

In a statement, Mr Paisley said: “Obviously this causes a flurry of activity and some misplaced concern.

“The company will finish the 1,000 buses as planned, and then revert to competition to supply bus operators in the normal way. I expect Wright Group to be well placed to successfully win a considerable part of ongoing London Bus contracts as they come forward over the next three years.

“Earlier last year I met with TFL bosses and they have indicated that London will require a further 1,000 buses before the end of 2020.

“They see Wright group as one of their foundation partners in delivering that objective.”