The second of Boris Johnson’s so-called “vanity buses” was launched with a bare minimum of publicity yesterday — already delayed by three weeks amid rumours of transmission problems and a crash during testing.

The buses cost £1.4 million each compared to £300,000 for a normal model and require the additional expense of an extra member of staff to stop people falling off the open rear platform.

Manufacturers Wrightbus have been banned from speaking about the vehicle — adding to the mystery surrounding the vehicle and its technical troubles.

But a source with knowledge of the situation told Scrapbook:

“The driver tried to accelerate while the bus was being tested and nothing happened.  He dabbed the pedal again but the bus’ local traffic configuration had changed and the bus lurched forward and apparently hit something.”

The bus launched yesterday (LT1) was the first to be manufactured but the second to hit the roads after a series of malfunctions. Transport for London have admitted that the vehicle was sent back to manufacturers in Northern Ireland to undergo yet more work before launch.

February’s “son of Routemaster” press launch in February was marred by a break down and the LT2 bus arriving at its destination thirty minutes late after suffering erroneous alarm warnings and a failure to close its doors before departure.

£1.4 million for a bus rushed out for election time. Folly isn’t the word.

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